About Cambridge University and Its History

Cambridge University is one of the oldest and largest English universities. It was founded in 1209. Here, you will learn more about the history of the university and some interesting facts about it.

1209 – year of foundation
The history of Cambridge is closely connected with Oxford University. The second oldest university in Great Britain was established in 1209 by a group of teachers and students who fled Oxford because of a conflict with the local community. They found a new shelter in a small market town near the navigable river. By 1226, an organization headed by the rector had already been established and regular courses had been set up. Interestingly, over time Cambridge has grown to such an extent that almost all the inhabitants of that town have become either teachers or students.

In 1231, the students of Cambridge were taken by King Henry III himself under his care. From this time, the active development and formation of the university began.

Subsequently, several colleges formed according to different criteria (separate system of subjects, age category, women’s and men’s colleges) appeared, which were gradually absorbed by more successful colleges within the university. To this day, Cambridge uses an old system of student separation by age and sex. For centuries Cambridge University has gained authority in the scientific world, today it gathers thousands of brilliant students from all over the world and is a powerful research center both within the UK and in the world.

Interesting facts
Cambridge is a collegiate university. It consists of autonomous colleges that have their own property and income. Today Cambridge University has 31 colleges, which are informally divided into 16 old ones (with the date of foundation between 1284 and 1596) and 15 new ones (the date of foundation between 1800 and 1977).

Cambridge University has its own constitution, which, of course, does not contradict the laws of the United Kingdom, and the Regent House legislature.

One of the most famous Cambridge traditions is the tradition of the wooden spoon. It was awarded to the student who received the lowest score in the final exams. In 1909, a wooden spoon of the size of a paddle was awarded for the last time. Its owner was Cuthbert Lepraer Holthaus, the rower of the Lady Margaret Boat Club at St. John’s College.

Famous graduates
Cambridge University is especially famous for its success in the field of exact sciences and medicine. 88 graduates and teachers from Cambridge received the Nobel Prize: 29 of them received prizes in physics, 25 in medicine, 21 in chemistry, 9 in economics, 2 in literature, and one in peace. Famous scholars of the Middle Ages such as Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon were trained here. In Cambridge, the creators of modern nuclear physics – Lord Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr, and Julius Robert Oppenheimer – were taught and engaged in scientific work.

Cambridge is also famous for the achievements of its alumni in the political arena: 15 prime ministers of Great Britain and 25 heads of government of other countries were taught in Cambridge. Among the graduates and teachers of Cambridge, you can find well-known writers such as Alan Alexander Milne, Laurence Stern, J. B. Priestley, William Makepeace Thackeray, Kingsley Amis, and C. S. Lewis. A graduate of Trinity College, Vladimir Nabokov, was educated in Cambridge.

Current state of affairs
Today, at Cambridge University, there are more than 150 faculties, departments, research centers and institutes, united in 6 separate schools, 28 courses are taught. At the moment, about 18.5 thousand students study at Cambridge. As in the case of Oxford, the training is paid, but it is possible to receive a grant.

Getting a scholarship at Cambridge University
Receiving a scholarship or a grant to study at the University of Cambridge is the most difficult part of the application process since many talented and gifted students from different parts of the world wish to study in one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

To qualify for financial support from a university or an alternative organization, you need to show your professional achievements, desire and ability to develop in the research field, and leadership skills, confirming this with a high average score and recommendations from professors. Often, you need to write an essay on a certain topic, for example, male and female employees how they differ at work and submit it along with the personal statement and other documents to the University.

How to enter Cambridge
Probably many of you want to enter one of the oldest and elite universities in the world. But can an ordinary schoolboy in high school get a place there? Everything depends on diligence, knowledge, and on whether or not you can afford it. A freshman must be at least 18 years old. But you can always visit the official website, which will help you understand the whole procedure.

  • First, you need to study the programs that the university or college offers. This must be done in April–May. If you are at a loss with the choice, you can always contact an adviser who will give you recommendations on the program.
  • The application must be submitted before October 15 by filling out a certain form that can be filled on the official website. The application must enclose all the documents. Everything is submitted through a centralized UCAS system.
  • From September to December, future students will need to go to Cambridge University, where you need to pass an interview.
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