The path through the Deer Park in the spring

Freshers FAQ

These are some of the most frequently asked questions for new students starting at Peterhouse. If you have any further questions, then please get in touch.

  • Accommodation and arrival

    When shall I arrive?

    First years must be in residence by the night of Sunday 30th September. You can arrive on either Saturday 29th or Sunday 30th unless you have permissions to arrive early (see below). Most students will probably arrive on the Saturday.

    Can I arrive early?

    Students from outside of the UK may want to arrive a few days early and sort out a UK bank account, collect their visa etc. The University Students Union (CUSU) will be running some evening sessions for international students from the middle of the week before but these are entirely optional (you will not miss out if you don't go) and students should note that extra residence outside of the room license will be charged to their college bill. You also need to ensure that you have left sufficient time for your visa application once your CAS has been issued - it may be that trying to come a whole week early isn't feasible. Rooms for non-UK students will generally be available from the 22nd September but this must be agreed individually with the Senior Tutor and Rooms Coordinator.

    If you need to arrive early to attend a compulsory pre-sessional course then let us know and we will arrange for you to move into your room.

    Can I see pictures of my room? Can I change room? What are my rooms' measurements?

    Unfortunately it is not possible for us to help with these queries.

    How do I unload?

    We don't have set arrival times, just turn up at the Porter's Lodge to sign in and collect your key. You will be able to park reasonably close to the accommodation to unload but be prepared to have to carry everything upstairs!

    What is 'caution money'?

    Caution money is £100 paid as a deposit in case of damage to accommodation or unpaid fines. It will be refunded when you leave Cambridge at the end of your degree.

    What bedding do I need?

    You will be provided with a bed and a mattress. You can pre-order linen packs from the College but you must do this no later than 1 week before your arrival. These will come at a cost of £20 and will include a pillow, duvet, fitted sheet, pillow case, and duvet case.  The linen is in a block colour.  College will arrange for these to be in rooms for arrival. Please order a week (at the latest) before the start of the licence via Housekeeper

    What will my address be?

    Your address will be:



    Trumpington St


    CB2 1RD

    Note that it is just Peterhouse not 'Peterhouse College' and that your address is simply that of the Porters' Lodge (where you will have a pigeonhole for post and where parcels can be collected ) and not the address of your accommodation.

    What is the Matriculation Dinner?

    The Matriculation Dinner is a dinner to welcome new students to the college and to give students a chance to meet the Fellows in their subject. It is reasonably (but not excessively) formal and you are asked to dress smartly in business dress (suit and tie, trousers/skirt and blouse, smart dress) with a gown.

    What should I wear for Matriculation?

    You should dress smartly (suit and tie, trousers/skirt and blouse, smart dress) with a gown. There is not a strict code but you should look smart as you will be photographed!

    When do lectures start?

    Lectures begin on Thursday 4th October but you are likely to have some course-related things to do (including supervisions) from the Tuesday.


  • What to bring

    Should I bring a desk/desk chair?

    All rooms have a chest of drawers, bookcase, chair etc. You may not bring your own furniture.

    What decorations can I use in my room?

    We understand that you want to make your room comfortable and encourage you to make yourself at home. However, the use of pins, blu-tack, sticky tape or similar fixatives to attach articles to the walls or windows is strictly forbidden. Those who mark walls in this way risk incurring a substantial charge for the redecoration of the entire wall(s). Junior Members should contact to have hooks fixed onto walls if they wish to hang pictures and posters where there is no picture rail. Similarly damage to carpets caused by burns or spillage is likely to result in the occupant being charged the cost of re-carpeting the entire room. Occupants will also be charged the actual cost of clearing any blocked sink or WC for which they are responsible. Junior Members are reminded that paper hand towels should not be flushed down the toilets, as this is a frequent cause of blockages. Charges may be levied against all occupants of a staircase or house where the culprit(s) are not readily identifiable.

    What sort of clothes do I need?

    There is no dress code for most of the things our students do. In addition to normal clothes to wear to lectures etc. you may want sports kit or something to wear to the gym, something to wear to go out and something smarter for formal halls or matriculation. The first term in particular can be difficult as Cambridge is often quite mild in October but gets quite cold by Christmas!

    Should I bring cleaning supplies/equipment?

    Cleaning supplies will be provided. Your rooms will be cleaned fortnightly, kitchens and bathrooms several times a week.

    Are there kettles and/or fridges in our rooms?

    Kettles and fridges are provided in the kitchens. If you need a fridge (e.g. for storing medicine) then you will be provided with one.

    What is provided in the kitchens?

    Kitchens have a shared fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle. Do not bring your own appliances. Crockery, cutlery, pans or utensils are not provided.

    Students who require fridges in their rooms for medical or dietary reasons should discuss this with their tutor or the College Nurse; students are expected to buy their own fridges and maintain them.

    Students wishing to have a fridge in their rooms for non-medical/dietary reasons, may apply for this via the Accommodation Office before arriving at College.  The fridge must not exceed 50 litres, it must be kept inside the student room, and a maximum of only one fridge per room is allowed.  Additional caution money will be taken for this to cover for any damage to the room and disposal if the fridge is not removed at the end of term.  If no damage is caused and the fridge is removed each term, the caution money will be refunded upon graduation.  If a student brings a fridge without registering with the Accommodation Office, an additional charge will be made of £200 or which only £100 will refunded upon graduation. More information can be found in the undergraduate handbook.

    Do I need to clear my room at the end of term?

    Yes, unless you have obtained permission from the Senior Tutor and Rooms Coordinator to remain in residence. Some limited storage of belongings may be available to international students, but otherwise everything must be removed.

  • Living at Peterhouse

    How does laundry work?

    There is a laundry room with coin-operated washing machines and driers is the basement of Fen Court. Alternatively, Saffron Walden Laundry is appointed by the College to provide a laundry service for Junior Members. Collections are made on Mondays and Thursdays in full term (for laundry parcels left in the Porter’s Lodge by 8.30am), with deliveries one week later. Any losses or damage should be reported to the laundry company immediately. Laundry bills are recharged to students on a termly basis via their College account.

    When will my bill arrive? How do I pay?

    Your bill will probably be issued in the first week of October, by email to your address. Instructions on how to pay will be included in the information given in your email. You will be able to pay by debit or credit card, or by cheque. The College is not able to accept cash payments for the College bill.

    What is the KFC?

    The Kitchen Fixed Charge (KFC) is added to the College Bill each term. It contributes to the subsidised costs of food in Hall.

    What are travel/sports/study grants? How do I apply for them?

    Grants are monetary gifts which do not require repayment. Peterhouse has a number of grants for travel with a cultural and/or adventurous purpose, and for support in covering costs related to sports or study. Undergraduates can apply for these grants by completing forms found on the College website. These forms will then be submitted for review within College.

    Do I need insurance?

    The college does not have insurance to cover students' belongings. Any students wishing to arrange cover must do this themselves.

    How do I register with the GP? (And dentist?)

    You will need to go to your chosen practice once you are in Cambridge and ask at reception about registering as a patient. The College Nurse and/or the JCR Committee will be able to give you recommendations of practices in the city if you are unsure where to go.

    What can I do if I am unable to complete my academic work due to illness?

    If you are unwell and therefore unable to complete your academic work, you should contact your supervisor to explain that you will be unable to submit your work on time. You should also speak to the College Nurse, who will be able to confirm that you are not well enough to complete your work. You should also inform your Director of Studies who may be able to offer you additional support. You may be able to rearrange your supervision for a time when you will be better able to complete the work, although this is not always possible.

    Who are my college parents?

    Your college parents will be second, third or four years at Peterhouse who are studying the same or similar subjects. They are there to help you settle in and act as a point of contact during your first year.

    What's the difference between Term and Full Term?

    The academic year is divided into three Terms ('Michaelmas': October to early December; 'Lent': January to early March; and 'Easter': April to mid-June). Term is the period when the University administration is in full swing but teaching etc. happens in a shorter period inside term called 'Full Term'. Students are expected to be in residence during Full Term. You will need to have 'kept term' (been resident in Cambridge for the requried periods) in order to be eligible to graduate.

    How do I borrow from the Library?

    Upon your arrival in College, you will be issued with a University Card. This will grant you access to card-only doors in Peterhouse. It will also be the card you use to register for libraries across the University. You will scan your card and the books you wish to borrow, and a log of all your loans will be available for you to check online.

    Who can I go to if I am struggling during term?

    Welfare concerns (e.g. illness, homesickness, mental health issues, etc.): For medical emergencies, call 999 and alert the Porters (01223 338200). For non-urgent health issues, go to your GP. You may also wish to speak to the College Nurse, who will be able to offer you advice on taking any issues to your Tutor, supervisors and/or Director of Studies. You can also seek support and advice from members of the JCR Committee.

    Academic issues (e.g. struggling with material, unhappiness with your course, etc.): If you have questions about a piece of work you are set, contact your supervisor. They should be able to help you to complete the work to the best of your ability, and/or reassure you that you can go over any issues during your supervision. If you are unhappy with your supervision provision, you should speak to your Director of Studies. If you feel you are falling behind or not enjoying your course, you should speak to your Tutor and the College Nurse or Pastoral Dean. They will be able to discuss your options with you, refer you to any additional support services within the university, and advise you on meeting with your Director of Studies to discuss your concerns.