Undergraduate Study at Clare

In Cambridge, responsibility for teaching is shared between the Colleges and the University. The Faculties and Departments structure the courses offered, organise lectures, practicals and classes, and set, invigilate and mark the examinations. Since the courses are offered by the University rather than the Colleges, all students in each subject take the same course, whatever their College.

The academic role of the College is different from the University's. Colleges arrange the small-group teaching (supervisions) that is such a special characteristic of Cambridge. In supervisions, students have a chance to explore their content in much greater depth, to make connections with other areas in the field, to have problems discussed, and written work marked. Supervisions provide unique opportunities for students to receive personal help and feedback and to work closely with supervisors who are leading scholars in their field. It is this aspect of teaching at Cambridge that attracts many students to the University and makes students’ time here intellectually memorable. Supervisions also offer an opportunity to get out and visit other Colleges. This is because students in Cambridge are not supervised entirely within their own College, but are rather sent to the best supervisors available in each subject specialism, whichever their College.

Clare is committed to making the supervision system work for the best possible benefit of its students. All students are assigned a Director of Studies in their subject who is responsible for their overall academic progress and wellbeing. The Director of Studies advises on paper choices, arranges supervision teaching for each student, is available to help sort out academic problems, and liaises generally between the College and the University on the student’s behalf. Often, a Director of Studies will act as a supervisor if a student is studying a subject in which they specialise. Students get to know their Directors of Studies extremely well and at Clare we try hard to make this relationship a rewarding one. We have our own internal Directors of Studies in most subjects, and all our Directors of Studies regularly see all students under their care at the start and end of every term, as well as being readily available to give advice and deal with difficulties.

Clare provides additional support for all of its students. Studying at Cambridge is a very different experience from being at school or college and Clare makes sure that all of its students are given opportunities to receive further guidance. During Freshers’ Week, current students run sessions on topics such as supervisions, essay writing, note-taking and time management. These are specially designed to help newcomers to the Cambridge system understand how everything works. Throughout their time here, all students can also receive one-on-one help from one of our essay writing supervisors in addition to the help given in supervisions. If you have a disability, the College will work with the University’s Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre to ensure that you have the support you need during your studies.

Clare offers academic excellence across all our undergraduate subjects. Please visit our subject pages for more information about individual subjects, entry requirements, and our teaching Fellows. 

Our Clare Schools YouTube offers an array of resources, including taster lectures, talks by our Admissions Tutors, and student led tours of the College. 

Sign up for our Year 12 mailing list for young people thinking about undergraduate study to learn more about some of the events and opportunities on offer across the University

Forbes Mellon Library

Catherine Reid, Head Librarian
The Forbes Mellon Library is the College's main library and houses over 30,000 books across all undergraduate subjects. The Library also offers a variety of study spaces and a Library Common Room. The Library team are on hand to help you find the print and electronic resources you need from the FML and other libraries in the University. Academic skills training is provided by the Library Team and we can also direct you to training provided by the faculty and departmental libraries.
Catherine Reid, College Librarian