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Term dates & vacation arrangements

Important information

Term and Full Term

There is often confusion about the distinction between Term and Full Term. Full Term defines the period (usually about 8/9 weeks) during which teaching takes place. Term defines the period within which you must keep the number of nights residence required by University regulations.

Residence During Term

“Keeping Term” involves being resident in Cambridge for the minimum requisite number of nights, which is in fact the period of Full Term.

College Residence Dates

College undergraduate tenancies are 37 or 38 weeks in length (depending on the length of the academic year) apart from in Ash Court where the tenancies are 31 or 32 weeks. Subject to the residence requirement above, undergraduates may come into residence at any time after the start of the tenancy and remain until its end, except that undergraduate students will be required to leave College for a period of about ten days over Christmas (Christmas Closure). Other than those students who live in Ash Court, students do not have to empty their rooms and transport belongings home during the Christmas Closure period.

Signing In and Out

All students must sign for keys when coming into residence and sign out and hand in keys at the appropriate Porters’ Lodge when going down. The Lodge will notify Tutors of any students not arrived by the first day of Full Term and any students who fail to leave by noon on the designated departure date before the Christmas Closure.

Variations to Accommodation Dates

Leaving Early

You must ensure that you have kept the required number of nights residence. Arrival after the first day of Full Term and/or departure before the last day of Full Term require Tutorial permission.

Notifying Domestic Staff

At the end of your tenancy you are requested to give assistance to cleaning staff by notifying early departure times on corridor lists so that rooms can be prepared for re-use efficiently. Graduands are expected to give notice if vacating rooms prior to General Admission.

Reporting Arrival and Exeats

You must report to your Tutor within a week of the beginning of term. It is important that you do this. Your Tutor has to certify that you are herel to enable your student loan to be released and has to certify your attendance for the requisite number of nights each term. Failure to report will result in a fine of £50 in the first instance and the possibility that you may not be able to sit your exams.

Your Tutor is also concerned to make sure that you have no academic, financial or other worries at this time and can often offer help before things get out of hand.


It is possible to spend a night away from Cambridge during Full Term on the condition that you obtain an “exeat”(leave to be away) from your Tutor and make the nights up during Term.

Exeats are not normally issued during the week, when absence from lectures or supervisions could cause problems. (In any case, the Cambridge term is so concentrated that there is rarely time to get away at all, and there are often lectures and other events on Saturdays too).

The exeat slip, issued by your Tutor, should be taken to the Porters’ Lodge either in College or Swirles Court and it is important that you remember to tell the Lodge when you return, so the time away may be properly registered. If you are not going home, you are asked to write a contact phone number on the back of the exeat slip, for use in case of emergency.

The 37 or 38 weeks’ residence to which your tenancy entitles you includes any nights spent away from Cambridge with tutorial permission; any nights spent in Cambridge outside the tenancy period must be paid for.

Vacation Residence

Staying in Residence outside the Tenancy Period

Students can apply to stay up in Swirles Court during the Long Vacation although please be aware that many of the normal facilities and services may not be available during these times. Spaces are limited and you must book your vacation room at the earliest opportunity with either the Accommodation Manager.

Residence outside the normal tenancy period is charged at the student vacation residence rate per night. Unauthorised residence will be subject to large Tutorial fines.

It is expected that all undergraduates will return home during the Christmas Closure period. Undergraduate students who are unable to return home can apply to the Accommodation Manager for available graduate student rooms.

Keeping Your Room

It is not usually possible to keep your room when staying in residence during the Long Vacation.  If it is necessary for you to move, you will be notified by the Accommodation Manager.

Rooms in the Vacation

Long Vacation: all rooms and kitchens must be completely cleared, with all cupboards open and clear. Doors should be cleared of notices and walls of pictures etc.

Failure to clear rooms, as described above, will leave you liable to the payment of rent for the vacation period. Blu tack, nails, pins and rubbish left in rooms are also charged for as well as other damage.


There is a storage area set aside specifically for overseas students to put some of their belongings during the Long Vacation. Notices will be posted about access and space available.