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University of Cambridge

Academic life

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    Director of Studies

    Each undergraduate student has a Director of Studies who overseas their academic career while at Cambridge. They will monitor and discuss your progress with you, arrange your supervisions, and can advise you on issues relating to your course.


    Your Tutor is responsible for your wellbeing and will not be an academic in your subject. Your Tutor is your first port of call for any non-academic questions or issues you might have.


    Supervisions are a highly effective form of teaching due to small group sizes, which range from one-to-one or from two to five students per supervision. The nature and frequency of supervisions differ from subject to subject. As a general rule, you will be required to submit work before your supervision, which will then form the basis of the supervision itself.

    A supervision usually lasts for about an hour and typically, students studying Science subjects will have more supervisions in a term than those studying Arts subjects. For Science subjects, it is likely you will have several supervisions a week whereas in the Arts, you may only have one. In Science subjects, supervisions tend to focus on consolidating lecture material while in Arts subjects, supervisions tend to involve discussions of essays you've written.

    Supervisions give you the opportunity to ask questions, clarify your understanding and consolidate your knowledge.


    Lectures run throughout the eight weeks of term and are organised by the University's faculties and departments. Students from all Colleges attend lectures together.

    Amount of work

    During term-time, you're expected to spend an average of 42-46 hours a week on your academic studies. You will also need to do some work– such as further reading or research, revision or assignments– during the vacations.

    Every student adjusts to the workload in their own way and in their own time. There are plenty of people (including your Director of Studies and Tutor) who can offer advice and support throughout your degree.

    Find out more

    The current undergraduate Student Handbook also has lots of helpful information.