Cambridge is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Great Britain. From the very beginning it was founded as an elitarian institution and has remained so to the present day, only very rich and aristocratic families can afford to send their children to this university.
The Cambridge University is located at the Cam River. It was founded at the beginning of the 12-th century. It differs greatly from other universities in general organization, methods of instructions, syllabuses, history, traditions and many other aspects.
The University's general organization is very complex. There is no University as such. The "University" is just an administrative body. It provides educational facilities, libraries, laboratories; it organizes lectures, seminars, examinations, conferences and competitions; it grants degrees. But it consists of more than 30 different colleges including 5 colleges for women and several mixed colleges. Each college is self-governing. The number of students in colleges is different: from several tens to 4 or 5 hundred. The head of the University is the Chancellor who is elected for life. Each college is governed by a Master. The teachers are commonly called "dons" and “tutors"
Teaching at Cambridge is carried out by most tutorial system. It is a system of individual tuition organized by the colleges. Each student has a tutor who practically guides him through the whole course of studies. The University teaching combines lectures, practical classes, seminars or tutorials at which the students work in small groups. Tutorials include individual and group discussions and a lot of independent work, reading extensively and writing essays.
The training course lasts 4 years. The academic year is divided into 3 terms. The students study natural and technical sciences, law, history, languages, geography, medicine,) economics, divinity, agriculture, music and many other subjects. After 3 years of study a student may proceed to a Bachelor's degree, and later to the degrees of Master and Doctor.
There are many ancient traditions that are still observed at Cambridge. Students are required to wear gowns at lectures, in the University library, in the street in the evening, for dinners in the colleges and for official visits. One more tradition is to use Latin during public ceremonies of awarding degrees.
All the students must pay for their education, examinations, books, laboratories, university hostel, the use of libraries. The cost is high. It depends on college and specialty. Very few students get grants.
The University has over a hundred societies and clubs, enough for every interest one could imagine. Sport is part of students' life at Cambridge. The most popular sports are rowing and punting.
Many great men studied at Cambridge, among them Erasmus, the great Dutch scholar, Bacon, the philosopher, Milton and Byron, the poets, Cromwell, _the soldier, Newton and Darwin, the scientists and Kapitsa, the famous Russian physicist.
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