Here are some frequently asked questions to help you get started or simply learn more about Fitz and the University. For instance …
Where to start? Our people, our facilities, our library, our friendliness… Seriously, Fitz is college that caters to all your needs, academically, socially and personally. Not only do we have a new library, a new gym, and a new auditorium, we also have a warm and encouraging atmosphere that helps you develop your interests in all directions. With travel grants available to all grad students, Fitz is one of the most generous Cambridge colleges. Add in guaranteed housing, and you’ll realise that the College really does want you to have the best possible experience. As one of the most diverse Cambridge colleges, we welcome all our members and make sure they have an unforgettable time here.
Cambridge University has 31 Colleges, autonomous institutions in which students eat, socialise, and sometimes live. Undergrads receive teaching in college, and as a grad student you will be assigned a grad tutor to provide you with pastoral support. Each College has its own internal procedures, select their own students, and work together with the University and other colleges to ensure world-class education and research facilities. As a grad student, you might choose to live in a college house (an option guaranteed at Fitz, unlike most colleges), eat in the Buttery, attend college formals, use the library and gym, pop into the café, and attend out Fitzwilliam MCR social events!
Fitzwilliam has 6 graduate tutors (Dr. Bhaskar Vira overseeing all graduate tutorials). Each graduate student will be assigned to a tutor. The tutor will take an active interest in your personal, academic and financial wellbeing during your time in Fitz, and can offer confidential help and advice (or at the very least, advice you on whom to contact for further help).
A director of studies (DoS) is only assigned to Master’s students in a limited number of subjects (for example, Master of Advanced Studies courses). Your DoS will be a college fellow who specialises in the same (or similar) subject to your course. Whilst teaching is conducted in your respective departments, your DoS will be your college-based contact for academic-related concerns.
The Senior Tutor of each college oversees its academic life, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. As a graduate, however, your first point of contact for academic matters will be your supervisor or your graduate tutor.
Not at all – although some people live in College, many more live in College-owned houses or else rent on the private market. Have a think about what is most important to you (easy access to your department, to eating facilities, to the centre of town…) and choose on that basis. Don’t worry about missing out on any College events, they are always well-advertised and everyone is welcome. If you prefer living with others to establish a stronger sense of community, the College houses can certainly help in this regard!
Washing (and drying) tokens can be purchased from the porters lodge (cash) or from the College cafe (cash/Uni card). Washing tokens are currently £1.50 each and drying tokens are 20p each. Purchasing these from the cafe counts to your minimum Meal fee.
Ah, the famous FAQ! If there is something seriously wrong, for example you need an emergency plumber, go to the Porters. They can also sort out blown fuses and give you replacement light-bulbs. In general, the best thing to do is contact Maintenance or Housekeeping. There is an online job reporting form (requires your Raven password), which should be used for almost all problems. Most issues should be dealt within one working day.
If there are continuous issues with your College accommodation, please contact an MCR member and we will try our best to sort it out!
Fitz is slightly out of town, and for times where you are short on time and look to miss Fitz’s buttery hours, you can eat at another College’s buttery, so long as you have your Cambridge student card with you and are able to pay by cash.
Buttery full-term opening hours:
Lunch: Mon to Fri 12:00 – 13:30
Brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30 – 13:30
Dinner: Mon to Sun 18:00 – 19:00
The college buttery has reduced hours out of term time.
More information on the college website.
Fitz MCR organises formal swaps with various other Colleges throughout the year – but these often sell out fast so be sure to sign up quickly! You are also able to attend formals at other Colleges as a guest of a student at that College, or by asking/selling/swapping formal tickets on the “Cambridge Formals Marketplace” Facebook group.
A good place to start would be the CamFunds database: http://webservices.admin.cam.a
Fitzwilliam offers several scholarships for incoming graduate students:
Additionally, the college also has several funds which provide support for research and related activities, including travel and conference attendance:
The University also provides support for students who find themselves in need of extra financial assistance or facing unexpected financial hardships:
The JMA grants the MCR an annual budget on the basis of an annual budget projection for the fiscal year (April-March). This must include some detail as to how the money is intended to be spent.
Initially, the JMA must approve the annual budget projection of the MCR. Within this framework, the MCR committee allocates the funds to specific purposes. The payments are recorded, approved and executed by the MCR treasurer.
Of course! We are very keen to develop links between the undergrad and postgrad student bodies, and fourth year students are automatically members of the MCR too, so are welcome at all our events. We also run events joint between all the undergrad and postgrad communities at various points throughout the year.
Fitz has a beautiful new Chapel open to people regardless of their religious beliefs. It holds regular services, quiet times, has a choir and is run by the Chaplain who is always happy to have a friendly, confidential chat, on any topic. Chaplain Helen Arnold will also be happy to provide contact details for other religious groups and places of worship in Cambridge.
Yes! As a 4th-year undergraduate, you are automatically a member of both the JCR and the MCR, meaning you get the best of both worlds. Being a member of the MCR means that you can use the MCR Common Room in the Grove at any time, and are most welcome at all our events.
You’ll be given a unique five digit code when you arrive in Cambridge, which will be your email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and be used to log in to University computing systems, internet services, and as identification within the university system.
Many people find that having a bike is essential for getting around, especially those working at Addenbrooke’s. Whilst you can survive without a bike, most current members of the MCR would probably recommend that you consider having one whilst in Cambridge, particularly because Fitzwilliam is a little way out of the city centre. It is quite easy to buy second-hand bikes in Cambridge, so don’t worry if you don’t have one when you arrive, although it’s best to look for one quite early in the term.
You may need smart clothing for formal occasions. A few events require a suit, and most men will have one.
Linen can be rented from the College at a small fee but if you are within your PhD, you may want to head to Primark to buy some of your own.
Every student has a pigeon hole opposite to the Porters’ Lodge, into which their mail will be placed. If a letter or parcel is especially large (includes all online purchases as well), it will be held by the Porters and a note placed in your pigeon hole telling you to pick it up. Your address will be:
Fitzwilliam College, Storey’s way
In Cambridge, Porters perform a variety of tasks. Porters are in charge of College security; visitors should report to the Porters’ Lodge (or P’Lodge), which serves as a reception. Porters hold keys to the various parts of College and they are responsible for fire safety and are useful for first aid. They also sort College mail. In general, they are an excellent first point of contact for any problems or enquires, just head over to the Porters Lodge, at the entrance to College. We have an extremely friendly and open porter staff at Fitz!
They don’t carry your bags!
The number 8 from Victoria Road goes straight to the train station for £2.60.
Sports and Societies
Postgrads are more than welcome to be a member of any College or University sport team. You can find out about and sign up to any of the College teams during a specific Fitz Societies & Clubs fair during Freshers week, and any University teams during the University wide Fresher’s Fair. In both of these cases, most teams greatly support coming along to a few initial sessions before deciding if you want to join that team or not, and there is no obligation to take part in any matches if you only want to practice or play for fun. College sport in particular is very chilled and open to anyone of any ability or experience, and we have sports ranging from Rowing to Ultimate Frisbee!
Every college member is permitted to use the gym between the opening
hours of 7am to midnight (last card entry 10:59pm). In order to do so, you
will need to schedule a compulsory gym induction with Tristan Coles, Fitness,
Strength & Conditioning Manager. This should only take around 30 minutes
and will run you through the basics of using the gym.
CUSU represents the Cambridge undergrad and postgrad students as a block, whether to the University itself, Colleges, or to student communities nationwide. It has lots of functions but might, for example: help students campaign against unfair rent increases in College; provide free sexual health supplies; provide binding and admin services; run the Student Advice Service; offer free yoga classes; manage campaigns such as the Women’s Campaign, or BME students campaign; and much more! CUSU holds fortnightly meetings open to everyone, and is run by six students taking a sabbatical year.
There are many opportunities to get involved with music at Fitz! The college music society (FCMS)is a senior society and so incorporates undergraduates, graduates and fellows. The society organises a dedicated MCR Concert each year for performers, although you can also request your own recital if you would like to do so. A Graduate Music Salon is also held several times a year which provides a more informal performing opportunity. The Chapel Choir is open to graduate as well as undergraduate singers. Fitzwilliam also has its own close-harmony a capella groups, Fitz Barbershop and the Fitz Sirens. You can sign up for these, and any other musical group at Fitz, at the college societies’ fair in Fresher’s Week. Graduates are also able to join any of the university-wide choirs, orchestras and musical groups; more information about these can be found at the CUSU Societies’ Fair in Fresher’s Week. If you would like more information on music at Fitz, you can contact the MCR Representative on FCMS or the Director of Music, Katharine Parton (email: email@example.com).