University of Cambridge: A Guide for Indian Students

The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. Founded in 1209, it has a rich history of academic excellence, innovation, and cultural diversity. It is home to more than 23,000 students, including over 4,000 international students from more than 150 countries. Among them, there are about 500 Indian students who pursue various undergraduate and postgraduate programs at Cambridge.

If you are an Indian student who dreams of studying at Cambridge, this article will provide you with some essential information and guidance on how to apply, what to expect, and how to make the most of your experience.

Academic Prestige

The University of Cambridge is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world by various international rankings. It is renowned for its high-quality teaching, cutting-edge research, and outstanding facilities. It has produced many notable scholars, scientists, writers, and leaders, including 121 Nobel laureates, 11 Fields medalists, 15 British prime ministers, and 3 Indian presidents.

As a student at Cambridge, you will have the opportunity to learn from some of the best faculty members in their fields, who are also actively involved in research and innovation. You will also have access to a wide range of resources, such as libraries, laboratories, museums, and online platforms, that will support your learning and development.

Admission Guidelines

The admission process for the University of Cambridge is highly competitive and selective. It requires a lot of preparation, planning, and hard work. Here are some of the essential requirements and steps for Indian students who want to apply to Cambridge:

  • Academic qualifications: You will need to have excellent academic records and grades in your previous studies. For undergraduate programs, you will need to have completed the Indian School Certificate (ISC), the All India Senior School Certificate (AISSC), or the International Baccalaureate (IB) with high marks. For postgraduate programs, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from a recognized university in India or abroad, with a minimum of 60% or equivalent. You may also need to have specific subject requirements depending on the course you choose.
  • English language proficiency: You will need to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively in English, both in writing and speaking. You will need to take an English language test, such as the IELTS, the TOEFL, or the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), and achieve the minimum score required by your course. The typical score ranges from 7.0 to 7.5 for IELTS, 100 to 110 for TOEFL, and 185 to 191 for CAE.
  • Entrance tests and interviews: Depending on the course you apply for, you may also need to take an entrance test, such as the BMAT, the TSA, the STEP, or the ELAT, and achieve a high score. These tests are designed to assess your aptitude, skills, and knowledge in specific subjects. You may also need to attend an interview, either in person or online, where you will be asked questions about your academic interests, motivation, and potential. The interviewers will evaluate your critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.
  • Application procedures and deadlines: You will need to submit your application online through the UCAS system, which is the central platform for applying to UK universities. You will need to register, fill in your personal and academic details, choose up to five courses, write a personal statement, and provide references. You will also need to pay an application fee of £26. The deadline for applying to Cambridge is usually October 15 of the year before you intend to start your course. You will also need to submit any additional documents, such as transcripts, test scores, or portfolios, directly to the university or through your school. You will receive a confirmation email once your application is complete. You will then wait for the university to review your application and inform you of the outcome. You may receive an offer, a rejection, or an invitation for an interview or a test. If you receive an offer, you will need to accept it and meet any conditions, such as achieving certain grades or paying a deposit. You will also need to apply for a student visa, which will allow you to enter and study in the UK.

Highlighted Programs

The University of Cambridge offers a wide range of courses and disciplines, covering arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, medicine, and business. You can choose from over 30 undergraduate courses, which are usually three or four years long, and over 300 postgraduate courses, which are usually one or two years long. Some of the most popular and prestigious courses among Indian students are:

  • Computer Science: This course will provide you with a comprehensive and rigorous education in the theory and practice of computing. You will learn about the fundamental principles, concepts, and techniques of computer science, such as programming, algorithms, data structures, software engineering, artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and cybersecurity. You will also have the opportunity to specialize in areas of your interest, such as graphics, natural language processing, robotics, or bioinformatics. You will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Computer Laboratory, the Cambridge Centre for AI, and the Microsoft Research Lab.
  • Economics: This course will provide you with a thorough and analytical understanding of the economic issues and problems facing the world today. You will learn about the core concepts, models, and methods of economics, such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, game theory, and behavioral economics. You will also have the opportunity to explore various topics and applications of economics, such as development, trade, finance, environment, health, education, and public policy. You will also benefit from the expertise and guidance of some of the leading economists in the world, such as Sir Partha Dasgupta, Professor Amartya Sen, and Professor James Mirrlees.
  • Engineering: This course will provide you with a broad and solid foundation in the principles and practice of engineering. You will learn about the essential aspects of engineering, such as mathematics, physics, mechanics, materials, design, and management. You will also have the opportunity to specialize in one of the six branches of engineering, such as civil, mechanical, electrical, electronic, chemical, or biomedical engineering. You will also have access to world-class facilities, such as the Engineering Department, the Institute for Manufacturing, and the Cambridge Graphene Centre.
  • Law: This course will provide you with a comprehensive and critical education in the theory and practice of law. You will learn about the main areas and sources of law, such as constitutional, criminal, contract, tort, property, equity, and human rights law. You will also have the opportunity to study optional subjects of your interest, such as international law, commercial law, family law, environmental law, or intellectual property law. You will also develop your legal skills, such as research, analysis, argumentation, and advocacy. You will also benefit from the rich legal tradition and culture of Cambridge, such as the Faculty of Law, the Squire Law Library, and the Cambridge Law Journal.

Financial Support

Studying at the University of Cambridge can be expensive, especially for international students. The tuition fees vary depending on the course and the level of study, but they are generally higher than the fees for UK and EU students. For example, the tuition fees for undergraduate courses range from £21,732 to £55,272 per year, while the tuition fees for postgraduate courses range from £12,159 to £57,456 per year. These fees do not include the living costs, such as accommodation, food, transport, books, and other expenses, which can amount to about £12,000 per year.

However, there are various sources of financial support available for Indian students who want to study at Cambridge. These include:

  • Scholarships and grants: These are awards that do not need to be repaid and are based on academic merit, financial need, or other criteria. There are many scholarships and grants offered by the university, the colleges, the departments, and external organizations. Some of the most prominent and generous scholarships and grants for Indian students are:
    • The Cambridge Trust Scholarships: These are scholarships that cover the full or partial cost of tuition fees and living expenses for undergraduate and postgraduate students. They are awarded by the Cambridge Trust, which is a charitable organization that supports international students at Cambridge. There are different types of Cambridge Trust Scholarships, such as the Cambridge International Scholarships, the Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarships, the Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholarships, and the Cambridge Nehru Scholarships.
    • The Chevening Scholarships: These are scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition fees and living expenses for postgraduate students. They are awarded by the UK government, which is the main sponsor of the Chevening program. The Chevening program aims to support future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from around the world. The Chevening Scholarships are open to students from over 160 countries, including India.
    • The Gates Cambridge Scholarships: These are scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition fees and living expenses for postgraduate students. They are awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the main funder of the Gates Cambridge program. The Gates Cambridge program aims to support outstanding students who have the potential to make a significant contribution to society. The Gates Cambridge Scholarships are open to students from outside the UK.

Campus Life

Studying at the University of Cambridge is not only about academics, but also about enjoying a vibrant and diverse campus life. As a student at Cambridge, you will be part of a college, which is a small community of students and staff that provides you with accommodation, academic support, social activities, and welfare services. There are 31 colleges in Cambridge, each with its own history, culture, and facilities. You can choose your preferred college when you apply, or you can let the university assign you to one. Some of the most popular colleges among Indian students are:

CollegeFoundedFamous AlumniFeatures
Trinity College1546Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi, RamanujanLargest and wealthiest college, has a grand library, a chapel, and a clock tower
King’s College1441Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Zia ModyFamous for its Gothic chapel, choir, and Christmas carols, has a riverfront and a large lawn
St John’s College1511Manmohan Singh, Amartya Sen, Abhijit BanerjeeSecond largest and wealthiest college, has a bridge, a library, and a chapel
Churchill College1960Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Kofi AnnanModern and spacious college, dedicated to science, technology, and engineering, has a Nobel Prize gallery
Some of the most popular colleges among Indian students

Besides your college, you will also be part of a department or a faculty, which is a larger academic unit that organizes your lectures, seminars, labs, and exams. You will have the opportunity to interact with students and staff from different colleges and disciplines, and access various resources and facilities.

You will also have plenty of options to engage in extracurricular activities and hobbies, such as sports, music, arts, drama, volunteering, and more. There are over 800 clubs and societies in Cambridge, catering to different interests, passions, and causes. Some of the most popular and active clubs and societies among Indian students are:

  • Cambridge University India Society (CUIS): This is the largest and oldest society for Indian students in Cambridge. It aims to promote and celebrate the Indian culture, heritage, and diversity. It organizes various events and activities throughout the year, such as Diwali, Holi, Republic Day, Independence Day, Bollywood nights, cricket matches, and more.
  • Cambridge University Cricket Club (CUCC): This is the official cricket club of the university, which has a long and illustrious history of producing international cricketers, such as Mike Atherton, Derek Pringle, and John Crawley. It plays regular matches against other universities, counties, and clubs, as well as the annual varsity match against Oxford at Lord’s.
  • Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS): This is the umbrella organization for all the musical groups and ensembles in the university, such as the Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, the Chorus, the Concert Orchestra, and more. It offers opportunities for students to perform, conduct, compose, and listen to a wide range of musical genres and styles.
  • Cambridge University Debating Society (CUDS): This is the oldest and most prestigious debating society in the world, which has hosted many famous speakers, such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Dalai Lama. It holds weekly debates on various topics and issues, as well as competitions and workshops for students to improve their debating skills.

Cultural Integration

Studying at the University of Cambridge can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it can also be challenging and stressful at times. You may face some difficulties in adjusting to a new culture, environment, and lifestyle. You may also encounter some stereotypes, prejudices, or discrimination based on your nationality, ethnicity, religion, or other factors. However, there are many ways to overcome these challenges and integrate into the Cambridge community. Here are some tips and suggestions for Indian students who want to adapt and thrive in Cambridge:

  • Be open-minded and respectful: Cambridge is a diverse and multicultural place, where you will meet people from different backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives. You should be willing to learn from and appreciate the differences, as well as the similarities, among people. You should also be respectful of the customs, norms, and values of the host culture, as well as your own. You should avoid making assumptions or judgments based on stereotypes or biases, and instead, seek to understand and empathize with others.
  • Be proactive and sociable: Cambridge offers many opportunities and platforms for you to interact and network with other students and staff, both within and outside your college and department. You should take advantage of these opportunities and join clubs, societies, events, and activities that interest you or challenge you. You should also initiate and maintain conversations and friendships with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and share your own experiences and insights. You should also seek and offer help and support when needed, and be a good team player and collaborator.
  • Be confident and assertive: Cambridge is a competitive and demanding place, where you will face high expectations and standards, both academically and personally. You should be confident in your abilities and achievements, and be proud of your identity and culture. You should also be assertive in expressing your opinions, ideas, and needs, and be willing to stand up for yourself and others when necessary. You should also be flexible and adaptable to changing situations and challenges, and be ready to take risks and learn from mistakes.
  • Be balanced and healthy: Cambridge can be a stressful and hectic place, where you may have to deal with heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and multiple commitments. You should be balanced in managing your time, energy, and resources, and prioritize your tasks and goals. You should also be healthy in taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and seek professional help if you experience any problems or difficulties. You should also be mindful of your diet, exercise, sleep, and relaxation, and enjoy your hobbies and passions.

Career Pathways

Studying at the University of Cambridge can open up many doors and opportunities for your future career. You will gain valuable knowledge, skills, and experience that will make you stand out in the global job market. You will also have access to a wide network of alumni, employers, and organizations that can help you find and pursue your career goals. Some of the benefits and resources that Cambridge offers for your career development are:

  • Notable alumni and their achievements: Cambridge has produced many distinguished and influential alumni who have excelled in various fields and sectors, such as politics, business, science, arts, and sports. Some of the most prominent and inspiring alumni from India are:
    • Jawaharlal Nehru: He was the first prime minister of India and a leader of the Indian independence movement. He is widely regarded as the architect of modern India and a champion of democracy, secularism, and socialism. He graduated from Trinity College with a degree in natural sciences in 1910.
    • Manmohan Singh: He was the 13th prime minister of India and a renowned economist. He is credited with implementing the economic reforms that transformed India into a global power. He graduated from St John’s College with a degree in economics in 1957, and later earned a PhD in the same subject from Nuffield College, Oxford.
    • Amartya Sen: He is a Nobel laureate and a professor of economics and philosophy. He is known for his contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, human development, and ethics. He graduated from Trinity College with a degree in economics in 1955, and later became the Master of the same college from 1998 to 2004.
    • Indira Gandhi: She was the third and the first female prime minister of India and a leader of the Indian National Congress. She is remembered for her role in the Green Revolution, the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Emergency, and the Operation Blue Star. She studied at Newnham College for a year in 1937, but did not complete her degree due to the outbreak of World War II.
    • Ramanujan: He was a self-taught mathematician and a genius. He made remarkable contributions to number theory, infinite series, fractions, and partitions. He was discovered by G.H. Hardy, a professor of mathematics at Cambridge, who invited him to study at Trinity College in 1914. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree by research in 1916, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1918.
  • Career services and internship programs: Cambridge offers various services and programs that can help you plan and prepare for your career, such as:
    • The Careers Service: This is the central office that provides information, advice, and guidance on all aspects of career development, such as CV writing, interview skills, job search, and career options. It also organizes events and workshops, such as career fairs, employer presentations, and skills sessions, where you can meet and network with potential employers and organizations.
    • The Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU): This is the representative body of all the students at Cambridge, which also runs several initiatives and campaigns to support students’ welfare, education, and employability. It also offers a range of services and resources, such as the CUSU Alternative Careers Guide, the CUSU Internship Scheme, and the CUSU Shadowing Scheme, which can help you explore and access different career opportunities and experiences.
    • The Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE): This is the largest and most successful student-run entrepreneurship society in Europe, which aims to foster and promote entrepreneurship and innovation among students and alumni. It runs various competitions, events, and programs, such as the CUE £100 Challenge, the CUE Business Creation Competition, and the CUE Venture Creation Weekend, where you can pitch your ideas, win funding, and receive mentoring and support.

Living in Cambridge

Living in Cambridge can be an exciting and enjoyable experience, but it can also be challenging and expensive at times. You will need to adapt to a new city, climate, and lifestyle. You will also need to manage your budget, expenses, and lifestyle. Here are some practical tips and suggestions for Indian students who want to live comfortably and affordably in Cambridge:

  • Accommodation: Most colleges provide accommodation for their students, either on-campus or off-campus. The accommodation can vary in size, quality, and price, depending on the college and the location. The average rent for a single room in a college is about £600 per month, which usually includes utilities, internet, and meals. However, some colleges may charge more or less, or have different arrangements. You should check with your college before you arrive and book your accommodation in advance. Alternatively, you can rent a private accommodation, such as a flat, a house, or a room, either by yourself or with other students. The average rent for a private accommodation in Cambridge is about £800 per month, which usually does not include utilities, internet, or meals. However, you may have more freedom, privacy, and space in a private accommodation. You can search for private accommodation online, through websites such as Rightmove, Zoopla, or SpareRoom, or through local agents, newspapers, or notice boards.
  • Transport: Cambridge is a small and compact city, which means you can easily get around by walking, cycling, or taking public transport. Walking is the cheapest and healthiest option, but it can be time-consuming and tiring. Cycling is the most popular and convenient option, but it can be risky and stressful. You will need to buy or rent a bike, a helmet, a lock, and lights, and follow the traffic rules and regulations. You can buy or rent a bike from various shops, such as Station Cycles, Rutland Cycling, or Cambridge Bike Hire, or from online platforms, such as Cycle.land or Spinlister. Taking public transport is the most comfortable and reliable option, but it can be costly and infrequent. You can take buses, trains, or taxis to travel within or outside Cambridge. You can buy tickets or passes from the operators, such as Stagecoach, Whippet, or National Rail, or from online platforms, such as Traveline, Trainline, or Uber.
  • Food: Food is an essential and enjoyable part of living in Cambridge, but it can also be a major expense and a challenge. You will need to balance your diet, budget, and preferences, and try to cook your own food as much as possible. You can buy groceries and ingredients from various supermarkets, such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, or Aldi, or from local markets, such as the Cambridge Market, the Mill Road Market, or the Arbury Market. You can also order food online, through websites such as Ocado, Asda, or Amazon Fresh, or through apps, such as Deliveroo, Just Eat, or Uber Eats. You can also eat out occasionally, either at your college canteen, or at various restaurants, cafes, or pubs in Cambridge. You can find a variety of cuisines and dishes, such as Indian, Chinese, Italian, or British, and vegetarian, vegan, or halal options. You can search for places to eat online, through websites such as TripAdvisor, Zomato, or HappyCow, or through apps, such as Google Maps, Yelp, or Foursquare.
  • Entertainment: Entertainment is an important and fun part of living in Cambridge, but it can also be a minor expense and a distraction. You will need to balance your work, leisure, and social life, and try to enjoy the cultural and natural attractions of Cambridge. You can visit various museums, galleries, and landmarks, such as the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Kettle’s Yard, or the King’s College Chapel, or attend various events, festivals, and shows, such as the Cambridge Science Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival, or the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. You can also explore various parks, gardens, and rivers, such as the Botanic Garden, the Parker’s Piece, or the River Cam, or join various activities, sports, and hobbies, such as punting, rowing, or chess. You can search for things to do online, through websites such as Visit Cambridge, Cambridge Live, or Cambridge News, or through apps, such as Eventbrite, Meetup, or Facebook.

Conclusion

The University of Cambridge is a dream destination for many Indian students who want to pursue higher education in the UK. It offers a world-class education, a vibrant campus life, and a diverse and supportive community. It also provides various opportunities and resources for your career development and personal growth. However, studying at Cambridge also comes with some challenges and costs, such as the admission process, the tuition fees, the living expenses, and the cultural adjustment. You will need to prepare well, plan ahead, and work hard to achieve your goals and make the most of your experience.

If you are an Indian student who is interested in applying to Cambridge, you should start by researching the courses, the colleges, the requirements, and the deadlines. You should also consult your teachers, counselors, parents, and peers for advice and guidance. You should also visit the official website of the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Trust, and the British Council India for more information and support.

We hope this article has given you some useful and insightful information and guidance on studying at the University of Cambridge as an Indian student. We wish you all the best in your academic journey and future endeavors. 🙌

Leave a Reply