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What Magdalene can offer

By coming to Magdalene you will be joining a vibrant, international community of roughly 200 postgraduate students, within a wider College community of more than 800.

There are more than thirty Colleges within the University of Cambridge. All have excellent facilities and are inspiring places to study, but each is distinct and has its own character. There are a number of reasons why you might choose Magdalene as the place for your postgraduate studies, including:


A beautiful, welcoming riverside home

Magdalene is not one of the grandest Colleges in Cambridge, but it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. We have occupied the same site for nearly 600 years, and have the longest river frontage of any of the colleges (as well as our own punts, which students are able to use).

Whilst we are very close to the centre of the City - about a five-minute walk from the Market Place - we are just far enough away from the main tourist trail for the College to remain quiet and uncrowded. Our extensive gardens are available for all Members of the College to use all year round (unlike in some Colleges, the Fellows' Garden is not just for the Fellows).

The College is relatively small and close-knit, and we hope something of a home-from-home for all our Members. We expect to be able to accommodate all our postgraduate students in their first year on or near the main College site, and about a third of our postgraduate rooms are reserved for those students going into their second or third year that want to remain in College accommodation.

Exclusive scholarship opportunities

Postgraduate study is expensive. Whilst most postgraduate students need substantial financial support from outside the College in order to fund their studies, we do have a number of both full- and part-cost scholarships, at both MPhil and PhD level.

More infomation on postgraduate funding opportunities at Magdalene.

Magdalene is also one of just four Cambridge Colleges able to recommend eligible students for consideration for postgraduate funding from the Jardine Foundation. These substantial scholarships are for students from a range of countries in Southeast Asia. It is also one of only six Cambridge Colleges working in partnership with the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, which awards Marshall Scholarships to postgraduate students from the United States.

Magdalene PhD students are also able to enter the annual competition for election to College Bye-Fellowships in their third year (see below).

Subsidised fine dining (by candlelight)

A very popular part of postgraduate life is the weekly B.A. Dinner, every Friday during full term.

Magdalene has a formal candlelit dinner in Hall every night in Term and postgraduate students are welcome to attend formal as often as they wish. On Friday evenings, however, a special menu is provided for postgraduates and many choose to attend to celebrate the coming of the weekend and to catch up with the rest of the postgraduate community.

The College subsidises the cost of these B.A. Dinners for current postgraduates, and the MCR provides free pre- and post-dinner drinks.

Once a term, the B.A. Dinner is replaced by an MCR Banquet, at which you can expect excellent company, the best food the kitchens can offer, and usually a number of speeches.

Of course, there is no obligation to dine formally! The College also has an excellent cafeteria which is open throughout the year and provides good, affordable food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Bye-Fellowship competition for PhD students

A special feature of Magdalene is that, for the duration of their third year, research students studying for the PhD degree may be elected as Bye-Fellows, entitling them to free rooms in College, membership of the Senior Combination Room, and full High Table dining rights. We usually award two Bye-Fellowships in each academic year, and the competition is open exclusively to PhD students at Magdalene.

One Bye-Fellowship is usually awarded in the arts, and one in the sciences.

In addition, the College advertises a number of prestigious Research Fellowships each year for Early Career Researchers, usually people who have just completed or are about to complete their PhD. These Junior Research Fellowships last for three years and offer a stipend, accommodation, and full High Table dining rights. There are usually between six and nine JRFs in the College at any one time.

Excellent facilities, for work and play

Postgraduate students have their own Combination Room (the MCR) located centrally in the College's medieval First Court, which provides a comfortable social centre for postgraduates, with separate reading and television rooms.

Postgraduates also have full use of all College facilities, which continue to be available in the vacations. Postgraduates have access to the College Bar, the Computer Suite (containing a good range of PCs and Macs; printers, copiers, and scanners are also available), seminar and supervision rooms, and all the general recreational and sporting facilities which the College offers: music practice rooms, two gyms, squash and fives courts; and for the summer months the Jesus Green swimming pool is just next door.

Rowing, squash, football, rugby, netball, athletics, golf and hockey are among the most popular sporting activities but this is only the tip of the iceberg - almost all sports are available to members of the College either in Magdalene itself or through the intercollegiate clubs and societies. There are also excellent opportunities to pursue journalism, debating, drama, music and many other activities.

The College's Library facilities are wide-ranging; two research collections, the world-famous Pepys Library, (housing Samuel Pepys' personal collection) and the Old Library (17th century and earlier), as well as the College Library proper, containing 25,000 modern texts and the Wigglesworth Library specializing in Law.

World-class networking opportunities

Magdalene's Fellowship and Honorary Fellowship includes scholars of international reputation from across the disciplines, as well as top lawyers, business people, artists, musicians, diplomats, and politicians.

Postgraduate students are encouraged to interact with these senior members of College throughout their time here, whether informally, through seminars and other events, or over dinner on High Table (which all postgraduate students are invited to enjoy twice a year) and other special occasions.

Amongst your own peers in the MCR, of course, you will find many of the leaders of the future, whether in business, research, politics or elsewhere. The friendships and connections you make here you are likely to keep for many years to come.

And once you are a Member of Magdalene, you are a Member for life. When you graduate you will become part of the College's worldwide alumni community of nearly 8000. The College has active alumni groups across the globe and, through the Alumni and Development Office, provides year-round opportunities for Members to connect and re-connect.

The best MCR in Cambridge

Ok, so every College will probably claim that, but Magdalene MCR has plenty to shout about.

The Middle Combination Room (or MCR) is, in fact, two things at once: it is both a physical place, a comfortable common room in historic First Court exclusively for the use of the postgraduate community; and the body of postgraduate students itself, with an elected committee to represent MCR interests and improve postgraduate student life.

MCR officers sit on a variety of College committees, and the President attends meetings of the Governing Body. The MCR also provides a focus for the social and intellectual lives of Magdalene's postgraduate community, with a busy schedule of events throughout the year.

See more on the MCR website.