Prospective Students – Start Here

So, you’re interested in studying Natural Sciences at Gonville & Caius! Great choice. Find below some information about Cambridge, the Natural Sciences Course, and Caius. If you have any questions about anything to do with Cambridge you’re very welcome to contact us using the form found here. Your questions will be sent directly to students at Caius studying Natural Sciences who will respond via email. No question is too small or silly!


  1. Cambridge University
  2. The College System
  3. Gonville & Caius
  4. Natural Sciences

1. Cambridge University

With more than 18,000 students from all walks of life and all corners of the world, over 11,000 staff, 31 Colleges and 150 Departments, Faculties, Schools and other institutions, no two days are ever the same at the University of Cambridge.

As of September 2017, Cambridge is ranked the world’s second best university by THE World University Rankings, the world’s fourth best university by three other ranking tables, and no other institution in the world ranks in the top 10 for as many subjects.The university has educated many notable alumni, including eminent mathematicians, scientists, politicians, lawyers, philosophers, writers, actors and foreign Heads of State. As of 2017, 116 Nobel Laureates, 10 Fields Medalists, 6 Turing Award winners and 15 British prime ministers have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, faculty or alumni.

2. The College System

Cambridge is a ‘collegiate’ university – it’s made up of faculties/departments in different academic subjects and Colleges.

The key functions that the University (through its faculties/departments) and Colleges are responsible for are outlined below, to show how it all fits together.

The University: The Colleges:
  • determines course content
  • organises lectures, seminars, practicals and projects
  • sets and marks examinations
  • awards degrees
  • admit undergraduate students
  • organise small-group teaching (supervisions)
  • offer accommodation, places to eat and recreational facilities
  • provide pastoral and academic care

3. Gonville & Caius

If you’re interested in studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, you’ll need to pick a College. Gonville & Caius (pronounced ‘keys’) College is one of the 31 Colleges to choose from. Your choice of College doesn’t really impact your teaching, as this is mostly done at a University level, particularly as you progress through your degree. A quick summary of Caius, from our ‘alternative prospectus’ can be found below:

Community: All colleges have a good sense of community, but Caius’ is especially strong because the freshers all live together in Harvey Court and Stephen Hawking Building. Additionally, students eat dinner in college more frequently than students at other colleges.

Location: Caius is right in the centre of town.

Size: Caius is the third-largest college (measured by undergraduate population). Each year has roughly 160 students, so you’ll know most people’s names while still having a wide range of potential friends.

Accommodation: Caius’ accommodation is in the top end in comparison with other colleges (especially our freshers’ accommodation which is all en-suite).

Sport/Music: We have a good reputation for sport, with bursaries available. Likewise, our choir is one of the world’s finest mixed collegiate choirs. We have choral and organ scholarships available.

Library: Voted the best library in Oxford and Cambridge.

4. Natural Sciences

At Cambridge, you can’t come to study just a single subject. The Natural Sciences Tripos is the framework within which most of the sciences are taught in Cambridge and involves being educated first as a scientist, doing multiple subjects, and later specialising in just one or two. It is taught by sixteen Departments and includes a wide range of physical and biological sciences and the history and philosophy of science.

You can find information about Biological Natural Sciences and Physical Natural Sciences here on our website, including brief overviews of the subjects and typical days and timetables supplied by Caius students. The GCSU (Caius’ Student Union) website also has Q&As with students studying Biological Natural Sciences and Physical Natural Sciences at Caius.

More information is available at