Cambridge is a collegiate university, meaning that it is oriented around self-governing and independent colleges. Many of the best-known buildings associated with Cambridge University are part of one of its colleges.
All Cambridge University students are attached to a college. A college is the place where students live, eat and socialise, and it provides the focus for sports and cultural activities. College life offers an ideal opportunity for students to interact closely with peers from different academic disciplines and various regions around the world.
There are 31 colleges in Cambridge, three of which only admit women students (Lucy Cavendish, Murray Edwards and Newnham). Each college is a charitable corporation with its own property and income. Within each college, staff and students working in a wide variety of disciplines are brought together. Most University teaching officers are, at the same time, fellows of colleges, and those in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (including Law) often work primarily from their college rooms.
Colleges have considerable control over the admission of students at undergraduate level but for graduate courses such as the MCL the relevant Faculty or Department deals with the admission process. Likewise, while colleges provide undergraduate students with small group teaching sessions known as supervisions, for the MCL and other graduate courses the relevant Faculty or Department provides all of the course teaching.
Admission to a college is formally separate from admission to the MCL, but admission to the MCL does ensure that an applicant will secure a place at one of the Cambridge colleges. Applicants are provided with the opportunity to nominate preferred colleges on their course application form. The Graduate Admissions Office will circulate successful applicants’ files to their preferred colleges, but unfortunately due to space limitations, it is not possible to guarantee that applicants will receive membership of one of their chosen colleges.
Because the Law Faculty provides all of the MCL teaching and because the MCL cohort is small enough to foster substantial interchange between students as well as between students and academics, the Law Faculty is the primary reference point for MCL students during their time in Cambridge. Nevertheless, college life is a fundamental and rewarding aspect of the Cambridge experience for MCL students.