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Study with us

Find out everything you need to know about academic life here at Murray Edwards
A student holds a book in the Fellows Garden

Studying at university is very different from school or college. Not only are you focusing on one subject (or sometimes two), you will also be working far more independently, and in new ways. At Cambridge, there are particular ways of learning, such as the supervision system (see below), which are unusual even among universities. 

At Murray Edwards, we pride ourselves on the academic support we give our students to help you make the transition to university, develop great study skills and habits and ensure you get the most out of your course as you progress. We have a renowned programme called Gateway, open to all our undergraduates, which offers help with everything from essay-writing and exam technique to dealing with procrastination, using the expertise of our own tutors and fellow students from years above who share their tips.

Our academics (known as 'Fellows' at Cambridge) are also known for the extra care and time they give students to ensure you really get the most out of your course. We want you to work hard, but to enjoy the experience too.

Below, we introduce you to the people and approaches you'll come across here.

Director of Studies

Each undergraduate student has a Director of Studies who oversees 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 at the heart of the Cambridge system. Students are taught in very small groups or even one to one, and the focus is on discussion of your ideas with the aim of really getting you to think and test your conclusions.

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, you're likely to 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.