How you are taught

A student writing outdoors

Teaching at Cambridge is divided between a faculty and a college. There is a University faculty for each subject and anyone studying that subject, regardless of their college, attends the faculty for lectures, classes or laboratory work.


Colleges complement this teaching by providing some classes, but above all supervisions. This is tuition in very small groups, usually of one to three students, taken by a King's Fellow. You can browse a list of relevant fellows on the subject pages and look at their publications and research interests. For these supervisions you will be expected to do preparatory reading and write essays or answer questions.

A supervision with two students

The supervision is the great strength of the Cambridge teaching system, as it gives you the chance to have individually tailored discussions on your work. Here you can ask questions, develop ideas and deepen your knowledge with an expert in the field. Supervisions are challenging, stimulating and enjoyable for those with a commitment to their studies.

Directors of Studies and Tutors

You have a Director of Studies (an academic in your subject) who organises your teaching, advises you and oversees your progress. You normally meet with them formally twice a term to discuss your progress and plans, and you can go and see them at other times if there is an aspect of your course you want to discuss. In many cases your Director of Studies may also teach you but either way you will see them around College.

A student giving a talk

A student presentation at the King's Maths and Physics Society

Directors of Studies also organise occasional social gatherings and other events for their subject. Alongside lectures, supervisions and your set work, it is both helpful and a very enjoyable aspect of College life to get to know the network of undergraduates, graduate students and academics in your subject, and to feel comfortable discussing mutual interests with them. It is often in college that students have their closest intellectual and personal contacts.

As well as your Director of Studies you also have Tutors to whom you can talk about your education and wellbeing. Tutors are academics in any subject and are there to help you with difficulties you may be having so that you can get the most out of your time at King's. Additional support with specific study skills is available as needed.


King's accepts applicants for all subjects except Veterinary Science, Land Economy and Education. We provide information about choosing a subject, and detailed information about each subject is available through the subjects page.

In most subjects there are a number of very different 'routes' you can pursue through the course and papers that can be taken in related subjects. Some students change subject between 'Part I' and 'Part II' of their degree.

Terms are relatively short and concentrated, which means that students work hard while here — and they are expected to work for part of the holidays. With the wide range of extracurricular activities also available, the Cambridge term can be a busy and exciting experience.

Further information

Undergraduate study | Back to the top