Pembroke College Graduate Parlour

Graduates’ Guide to Cambridge


Whether you’re a new student, thinking of applying, or just curious, Cambridge and its colleges can be tricky to navigate from the outside. This Graduates’ Guide to Cambridge has been put together by Pembroke graduates – people who have been part of the college and the university – and demystifies some of the day-to-day practicalities of Pembroke and Cambridge life. For additional information, see the following guide, put together by the University:, and a dedicated section to international students can be found at:

Your Department or Faculty

Your department is responsible for your academic work. Although college and the Board of Graduate Studies theoretically have control of aspects of your studies, in practice they will only play a small part, especially if you are doing a research degree (as opposed to a taught course with lectures and supervisions). The facilities your department provides for you will vary with the type of course/research you are undertaking. If you are a research student, you will have a supervisor who has an office either in your department or in college (note: undergraduates and some graduates on taught courses have small group teaching sessions called “supervisions”. The teacher in these sessions is also known as a supervisor). Your department may also provide you with details of conferences, seminars and how to obtain funds and grants (you may need to ask to be given this information).


The College is meant to provide what your department doesn’t – accommodation, food and lots of social opportunities. Pembroke has a diverse community of about 230 graduates from a range of backgrounds across the world. There are also about 400 undergraduate students who make up the Junior Parlour (JP). Graduates are members of the JP as well as the GP and can attend JP-run events. College facilities include:

The Porters’ Lodge and Mail Room

 In the Porters’ Lodge (‘Plodge’ for short) you will find your pigeonhole – this is where all of your post will arrive! The porters are very useful people to get to know, and the best ones to ask if you’re not sure about anything to do with college. 

The Hall and Buttery

 Pembroke offers buffet-style dining in the Buttery (lovingly referred to as ‘Trough’) three times a day. We’re renowned for our good food here! The menu is updated daily on their blog, ‘Under Pressure’.

In addition, a table service meal (‘formal hall’) is served every evening, but you must sign up in advance to attend formal halls, using Upay. To purchase tickets for yourself and any guests you would like to bring along, make sure you do so before 2pm two days prior to the event. Every graduate has an initial limit of £100 spending credit on his or her card – this can be topped up with cash on Upay, in the Buttery (at quiet times, not in the queue for lunch!) or at the College Bar or with a cheque/debit card at the Finance Office.

The College Bar and Café Pembroke

Found through N staircase, the college bar is open most nights of the year, serving a variety of beers, wines and spirits at lower prices than most local pubs. During the daytime, the café serves a good range of sandwiches, snacks and hot and cold drinks. You will find table football, a pool table and a lively atmosphere most evenings during term time. 

Computer Rooms

A graduate-only workroom close to the GP, with computers and desk space, is available! The main computer room, shared with the undergrads, is in the basement of CC (Foundress Court). The computers in both rooms provide standard office software and internet access. If you’d like a computer where you can just check your email, come along to the GP. The Library also has computers and facilities to plug in laptops, along with some catalogue and email only computers. 


 There are many libraries in Cambridge, but our library is a beautiful space and offers many pleasant areas for studying! Find out a little more about it here.


There is a small gym in CC basement (Foundress Court) with a variety of equipment, including treamills, rowing machines and weights. You will need to get an induction before you can use the gym, which occur at the start of each term. You can sign up for this at the Porter’s Lodge and it is advised you do so immediately upon arrival, as bookings fill up quickly once the undergraduates arrive.

TV rooms

 Two TV rooms are available, with VCRs and a DVD player in N and BB staircases. The former is opened by the late night gate key, but you must ask the porters for access to the VCR or DVD player. There is also a flat-screen TV in the GP available for watching DVDs (the key for the entertainment system is located in the Porter’s Lodge). 

Sports ground

The Pembroke College Sports grounds are located in Grantchester Meadows (about 10 minutes cycle from College). It has lawn and synthetic tennis courts, squash courts and various pitches for football, rugby, hockey and cricket. For more info, check out the Societies, Clubs and Teams page!


Coin operated washing machines and tumble dryers can be found in the basement of O staircase, the basement of Foundress Court, and at a number of the College hostels. 

You can download the pdf version of this guide, including an FAQs section here:

 Graduates’ Guide to Cambridge and FAQs
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