Clare College Cambridge


Clare students are required to study diligently and to take and pass all necessary examinations appropriate to their course.  In respect of all courses, unless otherwise permitted in particular cases, students are required by the College to undertake periods of study, tuition or work experience of at least 24 weeks in each year of the course, which, taken together, amount in each year to an average of at least 21 hours a week.

Responsibility for educational matters is divided between the University and the Colleges. Thus the University - through the Faculties and Departments - determines the content of courses, sets and marks examinations, organises lectures and classes, provides laboratories and the major libraries. In a College, responsibility for academic arrangements in each subject lies with the respective Directors of Studies

Director of Studies

Your Director of Studies will see you at the beginning and end of every Term to advise you on your work, arrange supervisions, check your examination entries, and generally monitor your progress. When you apply for jobs or grants, your Director of Studies will write your academic reference. If any problems or questions arise in relation to your work, you should discuss them with your Director of Studies. Most Directors of Studies are also Fellows of the College and members of University Departments, and are well placed to view problems in context and to liaise with others (eg your Tutor) if appropriate. During Term Directors of Studies do not have set 'office hours', but they can usually be contacted in College or in their Departments by e-mail or telephone.


Supervisions are the feature which distinguishes Cambridge and Oxford from most other universities in the UK. They provide the opportunity for you to present and discuss, on a regular basis, your own work. Supervisors will advise you on your reading, clarify points which may emerge from lectures, set you written work, and read and discuss that work with you. They also write termly reports on your progress, and your Director of Studies will go through the reports with you at the end of each Term. The quality of supervisions depends to a considerable extent on your contribution, and it is important that you prepare for them carefully.

The supervision system is an expensive privilege and should never be taken for granted. Supervisors are appointed by the College (through your Director of Studies) for your benefit.

If you miss supervisions without good reason, or if you consistently fail to prepare for them adequately, you will be charged for the supervisor's wasted time.

If you experience difficulties with any particular supervisor or set of supervisions, you should see your Director of Studies.

You will be asked to complete an on-line student questionnaire towards the end of the Lent Term. This questionnaire helps the College to monitor its educational provision, and give you the opportunity to reflect and comment on your own progress and on your supervisions. If the exercise is to be effective, it is essential that all students should respond.  Please note that Travel and/or book grants will not be paid out unless you have completed the on-line questionnaire.  Details will be sent out by the Tutorial Office early in the Lent Term to all undergraduates.


Examinations are arranged by the University, with the entry process being arranged by the College. It is essential that you consult your Director of Studies thoroughly about your examination entry and collect any forms promptly when requested to do so by the Tutorial Office.

University examinations are sat in central locations. In exceptional circumstances, the University may allow students to sit papers in College, with, where necessary, an allowance for extra time. Such permission is only granted to students with a serious illness or disability which would make it impossible for them to get to the examination room and/or write their answers in the normal way. In all other cases, candidates are expected to sit examinations under the usual conditions, even if they feel there are factors which could detract from their performance. Candidates with certified mild dyslexia are not allowed additional time, but the Examiners will be instructed to ignore minor errors of spelling (except in language examinations where precision is essential).

If you believe you have good reason to take your examinations in College, you should see your Tutor, who may apply to the University's Board of Examinations on your behalf. Applications must be supported with medical evidence, whether from a doctor or educational psychologist (in the case of dyslexia) or other professional consultant. You should be aware, however, that the provision of such evidence will not automatically ensure that the application will be successful. Permission is granted only for the year of application, and on-going medical conditions must be re-assessed in subsequent years. When the application relates to a pre-existing medical condition, you should normally apply before the end of the Lent Term. Applications relating to unforeseen illness or injury can be made during the Easter Term. Last-minute arrangements can only be made in genuine emergencies,and only – as in all other cases – when the illness or injury is of such severity that it would be out of the question for you to sit the papers under normal conditions.

If you take your examinations in normal conditions, but believe, either in advance or subsequently, that your performance either will be or has been seriously affected by adverse factors, you should consult your Tutor as soon as possible. In acute cases (again, supported by medical evidence) the University may take such factors into account. The University cannot specifically raise a candidate to a higher class, but it can allow a candidate an examination in which the examiners' marks indicate failure, or it can `declare to have deserved honours' a candidate whose class– based on the examiners' marks alone – it considers seriously misleading.


For many students a significant part of the assessment will be based upon written coursework of various kinds. Any work that you submit as part of your formal assessment should be your own original work. If you are found to have plagiarised any part of this work, that is to say copied material from any other source, the penalties both from the College and the University will be extremely severe. If you are in any doubt what constitutes plagiarism you should consult your Director of Studies. Similar penalties will apply to any student found to have adopted unfair means in any part of their examinations.

Action following poor exam results

The College expects all students to apply themselves to their studies to the best of their ability, and, under normal circumstances to achieve, at the very minimum, Honours standard in their Tripos examinations. The College will not permit students who fail to achieve this minimum to remain in residence, even though they may be in standing with the University to do so (unless there are exceptional medical or tutorial circumstances approved by the College Council).