New graduate students arriving at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
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New members

For the Michaelmas term 2020 make travel arrangements so that you can arrive at the College on Thursday 1 October. 

If your course starts in September, or you will not be able to arrive on 1 October, contact the Graduate Office. Full term starts on 6 October (term dates). College orientation will be on 1-4 October with further evening social events during the week from 5 October. Most departments will arrange their orientation from 5 October onwards.

Please note, the official start date of courses starting in Michaelmas Term is always 1 October. This date does not change year to year. However, the University 'Full Term' dates do vary and in 2020 the start of Full Term falls on 6 October. Unless you have specific teaching or orientation events that you have been invited to attend by your Department, there is no need to arrive in Cambridge before 1 October.

If you start in the Lent Term (January) or the Easter Term (April), there will be fewer scheduled events, but you will still need to pick up keys and cards as below. Please contact the Graduate Office to discuss arrival dates.

The following may be useful when planning your travel to Cambridge:  

  • University of Cambridge arrival information for new students - including the student registration process (annual for all students). You will receive access to your email address once you have completed the registration process

  • Pre-arrival information for international students including the International Student Guide

  • Our of hours arrival - The College Porters' Lodge (Reception) is open 24 hours a day. However, overnight, the Duty Porter acts as a security officer, so may have to leave the Lodge from time to time and lock the front door. If the Lodge is locked when you arrive, please wait for the Duty Porter's return.

Go to the Porters’ Lodge at the College main entrance on Storey’s Way (map). At the Porters’ Lodge, you can:

  • Collect your room key and sign your accommodation contract

  • Collect your University Card. The University Card allows access to University buildings, and works as a charge card in the College buttery and Café Bar. (If you collected your University Card from your Department or elsewhere, bring it with you so that it can be registered.)

  • Find your pigeon hole in the shelves near the Porters’ Lodge. Collect your welcome pack and any other information that's waiting for you. Please check your pigeon hole at least once a week, even if you live away from the main College site. If you can't find your pigeon hole, or your welcome pack, please ask the Porters' Lodge staff

  • Meet the MCR. If you arrive on 1 October, members of the MCR (Middle Combination Room) will be there to welcome you. If you miss them on your first day, Committee Members and other postgraduate students can usually be found in the MCR Common Room in The Grove in the evenings.

  • Students cannot keep cars in Cambridge without permission. Student members must have University permission to keep a car in Cambridge and permission will be conditional on meeting certain requirements and on the availability of authorised parking for the vehicle. More information on how to apply.

  • The College cannot take responsibility for your property before you arrive, and there is no storage space available. If you need to send your belongings by post, arrange for them to arrive at the same time as you do.

If you start your course in the Michaelmas term, there will be events you must attend and a few more which are optional. If you start your course in January or April, there will be fewer scheduled events - please visit the Graduate Officer (L staircase) soon after you arrive in order to check matriculation and other details.

Things to do in your first week

The dates below apply to those arriving for the Michaelmas Term 2020. If you are arriving in January or April, there are few specific dates, but please complete everything as soon as possible.

Connect to the College network

College rooms have internet connections for your own computer, and there are computer facilities in the library. For help and instructions, visit our Computing section.

Complete the Student on-line Registration process 

This is an annual process which should be completed before 1 October. If you have not completed it before your arrival in Cambridge, it should be completed immediately. The process allows you to collect your University email address and passwords and to check the personal data that is held about you.

Register your visa

If you’re an overseas student who has travelled to the UK on any type of visa, or if you reside in the UK with a visa, the College is required to scan the visa  and passport within a few days of your arrival. Please bring your documents to the Tutorial Office (L staircase) on Saturday 5 October, at any time between 9.00am and 2.30pm. (N.B. If you arrive earlier than 5 October, bring your documents to the Tutorial Office as soon as you do arrive).

Pay your College bill

This bill will be sent to you via email during the first week of Full Term. Payment of the Michaelmas Term 2020 bill is due by Wednesday 14 October. For more information, visit our 'Fees, funding and awards' pages.

Open a bank account

If you are new to the UK, you will need to open a bank account. Many UK banks offer accounts tailored to the needs of students so it is best to speak to several and find out which is best for you.  The University Graduate Union have provided some information about banks in Cambridge on their website.

The bank will ask you to supply a letter from Fitzwilliam College which confirms that you are a student with accommodation in Cambridge. Letters of this type can be obtained from the Tutorial Office with a few days’ notice.  Please use the letter request form.

Buy an academic gown

You will need one for the matriculation photo and dinner on 10 October - and also for any Formal Hall dinners you attend, and for your graduation. The Graduate Union website explains which gown you will need and where to get it. (In addition, please note the College's own dress requirements for graduation day). The two criteria for determining which gown you need are a) whether you hold a Cambridge University degree already, and b) your age. You can buy or hire second hand gowns from the Graduate Union, or from the outfitters shops Ede and Ravenscroft, or Ryder and Amies.

Meet your tutor

The College has a team of Graduate Tutors. In the first week or two of term, you will have a chance to meet your assigned postgraduate Tutor. Your Tutor's name will be included in the 'Welcome Pack' sent to your pigeon hole and also on your University record (CamSIS) after the start of Term. Your Tutor assists with non-academic care and welfare issues while you’re at College. Your Tutor does not teach you – for teaching, your department will allocate a supervisor and/or course director.

Find out about social events

The MCR Committee organizes a varied programme of events to bring the new graduate community together and to help them get to know Cambridge. Visit the MCR website.

Below is a list of events which new postgraduate students need to attend in the first two weeks of the Michaelmas term. In addition, the College MCR distributes a term card of social events.

If you start your course in January or April, there will be fewer scheduled events - please visit the Graduate Office soon after you arrive in order to check matriculation and other details.

Saturday 3 October 2020

Introduction | 3.00pm | College Auditorium

An introduction and welcome by the Graduate Tutors and other members of the College. All new postgraduate students must attend.

Matriculation | The Grove

Matriculation follows the introduction meeting. If you have not previously been a student at the University of Cambridge, you must attend in order to matriculate. You can meet the MCR Committee and the Graduate Tutors for tea, coffee and cake at the same time. 

If you are an international student, with a visa, you need to bring it with you to the matriculation, even if you have already done the visa registration. 

All students must bring their passport as photo ID (for other acceptable forms of ID contact the Graduate office)

Visa registration | 9.00am – 2.30pm | Graduate Office, L staircase

If you’re an overseas student who has entered, or is living in, the UK on any type of visa, the College is required to scan your visa and passport within a few days of your arrival. Please bring your documents to the Graduate Office. If you arrive before 1 October, bring your documents to as soon as you do arrive.

Tier 4 students will need to collect their BRP (British Residency Permit) after arriving in the UK. Most students will collect this in Cambridge, and will have been given instructions by the International Student Office. Any student without their BRP by 3 October should bring the Entry Permit to the office instead.

Saturday 10 October 2020

Graduate photo | 4.00pm | The Grove Lawn

A formal College photograph of all postgraduate students, marking your arrival and matriculation. You will be able to order a copy for yourself. Academic gowns are required. Individual photos can be taken from 4.00pm onwards, followed by large group photo at 4.30pm.

Graduate conference and dinner | 5.00pm onwards | Auditorium and Dining Hall

Talks on their own research by some of our current PhD students.  The Conference will be followed immediately by a drinks reception and Graduate Welcome Dinner. All new postgraduate students should attend.   Dinner places and dietary requests need to be confirmed by replying to the invitations which are sent out in September. Academic gowns are required for the dinner.

Note on academic gowns - these can be bought second hand from the Graduate Union, or new from the outfitters shops in King's Parade (Ryder and Amies, or Ede and Ravenscroft). Wherever you buy, it is recommended that you read the notes on which gown you need, included in the Graduate Union site. It will not be the gown of the degree you are about to study for!