Single graduate students will normally be offered a room in College or in a College house in their first year, once the College has received notification of a confirmed place from the Graduate Admissions Office (accommodation is guaranteed if a place is confirmed by 1 August).

Each year applications are invited for a very limited number of Hostelkeepers.  Occasionally the College may be able to provide accommodation in a flat for graduate students with partners by appointing each of the couple as a Hostelkeeper.  Some other accommodation for graduate students with partners is also available.

All rooms are furnished, centrally heated and vary in size and outlook.  Rooms are study-bedrooms and many offer en-suite facilities. There are no shared rooms.

All rooms have access to kitchen facilities.  Students will require their own pillows, duvets and bed linen.  It is possible for students to hire bed linen by contacting the Housekeeping Office.

The majority of College accommodation for postgraduates is located on the main College site, with rooms in the Singer Building and Battcock Lodge, and in houses on Lensfield Road and Regent Street.  There are also rooms in the Boathouse.

For detailed accommodation information see our accommodation pages

Accommodation for first year graduate students is allocated by the Accommodation Office. An accommodation ballot is held for College accommodation for students in their second and subsequent years.

Most new postgraduates prefer to move into College-allocated accommodation for their first year. These residences have the benefit of their own management and cleaning services and are cost effective. Factors to consider:

  • All residences are self-catering. Prepared meals are available in College for the majority of the year.
  • You may be sharing communal facilities with people from different nationalities and cultural habits. Some compromises may be required.
  • It is illegal to smoke in any College building or on the College site except in the designated smoking areas for students.
  • Information about applying for accommodation, and the accommodation application form, is sent out with the offer letter.

More general information regarding accommodation.

Couple and family accommodation

The College has very limited accommodation for couples and no accommodation suitable for students with children.

We strongly advise you not to bring your family to Cambridge until you have arranged and confirmed accommodation for them.

Students seeking couple or family accommodation are advised to contact the University Accommodation Service.

Step-by-step guide to the accommodation process

  1. Receive conditional offer. Applications for accommodation can only be made once you have received an offer of study from Downing.
  2. Choose the price band of accommodation most suitable for you.
  3. Return your completed Accommodation Application form as soon as possible but by 1 August.
  4. Rooms are allocated only once the College has received notification of a confirmed place from the Graduate Admissions Office.
  5. Read the Allocation Policy below.
  6. Check how accommodation offers are made.
  7. Accept your accommodation offer.
  8. A Residential Agreement will be emailed to you.
  9. Return a signed copy of your Residential Agreement to the Accommodation Office.

Accommodation allocation policy

Every effort is made to place students in their preferred rent band. We will consider all the information given on the application form including the student’s stated preferences and the rent applicable to their choice.

The College aims to provide an offer of accommodation to students who:

  • apply for accommodation by 1 August of the year their course commences
  • receive unconditional offers from the Graduate Admissions Office by 1 August
  • are unaccompanied
  • have firmly accepted (with the College) an offer of study
  • are new, full-time students in their first year of study at Downing
  • will be starting their studies by October
  • will be here for a full academic year.

All allocations of postgraduate accommodation will be made by the Accommodation Office. Priority will be given only to postgraduates who have special housing needs for reasons of disability or health.

The Accommodation Office will allocate spaces fairly and without bias, basing the decision solely upon the information provided by the applicant on the application form. Postgraduates who are unhappy with their allocation will be given the opportunity to join a transfer waiting list after their residency has started.

How accommodation offers are made

All offers are sent by email. We advise students holding unconditional offers to check their email at least twice each week.

You will usually have seven days to accept your offer. We cannot promise that you will receive an offer of a room in the rent band that you applied for, but we will always do our best to make an offer that is suitable for you.

The accommodation offer

The emailed offer may be PDF or Word format and can be up to 70Kb in size. Please make sure that there is enough space in your in-box to receive this message.

Your email offer will comprise a letter giving details of the room offered and the rent band. Once you have accepted this a Residential Agreement will be emailed to you for signature.

See details of privately rented accommodation in Cambridge.

Please contact the Accommodation Officer by email or on 01223 762063 if you have any further queries.