Why St Catharine's?

The structure of the University of Cambridge is unusual, but one of its most important (and enjoyable) features is that it is collegiate. Students spend some of their time in one of thirty-or-so colleges. All postgraduate students at Cambridge are affiliated with a college, so why might you choose St Catharine’s?

Why Catz?

Founded in 1473, St Catharine’s – or Catz, as it is belovedly called – is one of the oldest Cambridge colleges located in the heart of Cambridge city centre. Roughly 350 of our student community of 750 students are postgraduates, and every year we welcome around 110–120 new students from across the world. 

Studying at Catz

Catz is a vibrant intellectual community for postgraduate scholars of every discipline. In the academic year 2019–20, 195 of our 353 postgraduate student body were engaged in doctoral research while 110 postgraduates were undertaking Master's degrees. 81 of our postgraduate students were from the EU; 102 were Overseas while 170 were UK. 

Whether you wish to undertake a PhD programme or one of the many one-year Master's programmes offered across the University, Catz can be a home for you.

Meet our postgraduates

"Catz is great because it's super friendly. Everyone is friends with everyone" – Anna Hutchinson, PhD Biostatistics, 3rd year
"I've had the best eight years so far at Catz! Not only is the graduate community one of the most socially active at Cambridge (everyone is friendly, we can go punting for free) and its location (both main site and offsite accommodations) make it ideally placed for pretty much every department, the fellows are very approachable and knowledgeable, and the common room has a well-stocked coffee machine. The College has been far more mindful of supporting student welfare before and during the pandemic than many others" – Souradip Mookerjee, MB/PhD in Medicine
“I love Catz because of its ideal location and lovely atmosphere. It's right in the middle of town and the medium size means people are happy to stop and chat. The bar is great and well stocked, and the formals are possibly the best in Cambridge"  Jess Forsdyke, PhD Civil Engineering, 2nd year
"I had heard rumours of Catz’s reputation for friendliness and have found the community to be very supportive, with help on hand from postgraduate tutors” – Nadene Dermody, PhD Cognitive Neuroscience, 2nd year

Read the latest news about our postgraduates' and fellows' research.


St Catharine's has a particularly active and welcoming MCR. The Middle Combination Room (as the MCR is officially known) is the social, academic and collegiate hub of the postgraduate community. It is both the collective term for our postgraduate students, who choose elected representatives to work on behalf of their members, and the name of the common rooms used by the MCR, located in the heart of the College’s Main Court. The MCR Committee organises social events throughout the year and functions as an important liaison between postgraduates and the College and the University.

Visit the MCR's own website to find out more.

Financial support

"The Jas Bains scholarship has ensured that I am best placed to serve my local community in Cabinet at such a pivotal point in time locally, nationally, and globally. In light of probable economic and social challenges emanating from COVID-19, both the MPhil and my background mean that I am able to manage ambiguity, to consider the implications of this in the future of policymaking in Brent, where I am now implementing learnt skills in local Cabinet as Lead Member for Community Safety and Engagement" – Promise Knight, MPhil Public Policy
"Receiving the Bratton Bursary made my MPhil possible, let me focus on what I'm passionate about for a year, and has helped me build a foundation for a career in research. I'm so thankful to Catz for all the support they've given me" – Jon Tabbush, MPhil Political Thought & Intellectual History
"The Bratton Bursary has supported me as I broadened my knowledge through research of the polar regions. Without this fund, my year of study would not have been financially viable" –  Naomi Lefroy, MPhil Geography

In January 2019, the College launched its largest ever fundraising campaign entitled ‘Our College, Our Future’ to raise funds to support a wide range of major priorities, including financial support for students facing hardship. In 2019–20, 28 postgraduate students received MPhil and PhD bursaries and scholarships, a number we are increasing year on year. We firmly believe that finance should not prevent the most talented students from studying at Cambridge.

Accommodation and location

Catz has a range of high quality postgraduate accommodation located around and in easy access of the city centre. We aim to guarantee accommodation to all incoming postgraduate students for their first year of study, but are often able to offer accommodation beyond this point. (Please note that you do not have to live in college accommodation at any stage of your course.)

We are fortunate that our main site is located right in the historic centre of Cambridge within walking distance of most of the University of Cambridge's faculties and departments, as well as shops, social, cultural and other events. The College is also attractive and compact, combining 17th and 18th century buildings and gardens, with striking modern spaces created by more recent building projects.

Find out more about accommodation at Catz.

Reassuring pastoral support

Catz students often comment on how many people are available to help them if they have financial, health or emotional problems. The College runs an active pastoral system to support students, including access to the College’s own welfare team, and the University’s also has a student counselling service for any student who runs into difficulties. There are also many informal sources of support, such as friendly teaching staff, the Chaplain, our College Nurse, other staff and, of course, other students too. 

Find out about welfare at Catz.

Excellent facilities

The College has two libraries with an extensive collection of books, ancient and modern, and our postgraduate students also have access to the University’s vast library facilities. All college-owned properties have internet access. Catz also has many sports facilities, including a boathouse, a gym, squash and badminton courts, and a large sports ground a short cycle ride away from our central site at Grantchester Meadows, including an all-weather astroturf hockey pitch. Our students are actively involved in a range of different clubs and societies in both the College and University, which also provide unparellel careers support for students and alumni.

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