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Information for Incoming Postgraduates

Fresher activities and things to do

Welcome to Girton College!  

Most things on this page were for the Class of 2023 but we've left them here so you can get an idea of the events that occur in the first week of term.  Anyone starting their degree in Lent or Easter terms will be invited to the following year's Fresher activities.  

The International Student Office has prepared this helpful guide suitable for anyone arriving to Cambridge.  

Girton College Main Site address is: 
Huntingdon Road

and the Swirles Court address is
Pheasant Drive

Here's a link to a map of Cambridge.  

The University term begins 1 October so please plan to be in Cambridge by that date.  If you are on a student visa, you must have your documents scanned by us before you start study.  For those in College-owned accommodation, the College leases begin on Tuesday 24 September, therefore, the best window in which to arrive in Cambridge is between the 24th and the 1st if at all possible, and ideally not earlier unless you are undertaking an in-person pre-sessional course. 

If you are allocated a room in Swirles Court OR are living in private accommodation, please check in at the Swirles Court Porters' Lodge to obtain your University card.  If you have been allocated to the Grange or Girton Gate, please check in at the Main Site Porters' Lodge and they should have your University card there.  If your University card is not available, please email and we will check into its whereabouts for you.  

Here's a map of the Main site of the College.  

Please inform the College (and the Accommodation Office if moving into our accommodation) and your Faculty/Department if you will arrive after 1 October. 

Most Masters courses have an arrival deadline of 21 October, while PhD courses offer a latest start date of 9 November, but you should check directly with your Department/Faculty.     

We have a small cohort of part-time students each year. As part-time students, you are welcome to attend all induction activities that you are able to and should be in contact with the Postgraduate Administrator if you have any questions. 

You also have full access to all Girton facilities. Your University card will be available from the Swirles Court Porters' Lodge after 25 September (CB3 1AQ) but it's probably best to check with the Postgraduate Office before making a trip in.  

If you need assistance with short-term accommodation when in Cambridge, you may email the Accommodation Manager at to check on availability of rooms in College, however, it is unlikely that there will be so you may need to plan to book privately.   

College Induction Events

Some of the following events are compulsory (marked as *) for Postgraduates so please make sure to add them to your calendars - this is also a plug to have a calendar whether online or an old-fashioned paper version. You'll be glad of it as things get busier.  If you have any questions or have conflicts with events at your department, please email to let us know.

When: Tuesday 3 October, 5pm 
Location: The Marquee (the big white tent on the lawn through the main entry archway), Girton College's Main Site

Important information will be provided on student life in College and it is an opportunity to meet key members of College face-to-face who can provide support during your studies such as members of the Student Services team, Head Porter, Postgraduate Tutors, Librarian and College nurses.   

Please note: It is compulsory that you attend this gathering, even if you attended the September question and answer sessions on Zoom. If you are not yet in Cambridge by this date or have a conflict with a required departmental event, please contact us, and we'll arrange for you to have a link to this recorded event.

When: Wednesday 4 October, 8:30am
Location: Outdoors in Emily Davies Court, Girton College (main site)
Dress code: Please wear your academic gown (see information below about gowns) and smart clothes and do bring an umbrella in case of rain. 

The photograph is open to all postgraduates starting at Girton this year, whether or not you've been in a matriculation photo before.

There is also an opportunity for you to have individual photographs taken just after the group photograph. Please use the link on this form to book a 5-minute slot for an individual photograph. Don't worry if you can't make the times or if they are already booked - you can wait for a quick opening to have yours taken.  

Please arrive promptly. 

After the photograph, you are invited to enjoy brunch in the Great Hall with members of the MCR.  

When: Thursday 5 October, starting approx, 5:50pm
Where: Marquee, Girton College 

You'll also have a chance to meet the MCR at pre-Freshers' Formal drinks at the Main Site.  

You're welcome to ask questions about how you can get involved with your College society.  

When: Thursday 5 October, 6:15pm
Where: Marquee, Girton College 

The Postgraduate Tutors have prepared a Welcome Letter for you here.  You'll be sent an email prior to term telling you who your tutor is.  You are invited to join them for drinks before the Freshers' Formal - you can enjoy drinks even if you are not attending the Formal - you need to book the formal via UPay beforehand.  You don't need to sign up for this reception.

Dress code: Both the reception and dinner are "gowned" events, so please have your academic gown by then and wear "smart" clothes (don't need to be black but something you would wear out for a nice dinner - please no trainers (running shoes).


When: Thursday 5 October, 7:15pm
Where: Dining Hall, Girton College

The Postgraduate Freshers' Formal Hall in the Dining Hall is your first opportunity to experience a College formal and have dinner with your new colleagues. You will be sent an invitation from the Catering Department with information about how to sign up for this free event using UPay. 

Dress code: Both the reception and dinner are "gowned" events, so please have your academic gown by then and wear "smart" clothes (don't need to be black but something you would wear out for a nice dinner - please no trainers (running shoes). 

Please ask members of the MCR, if you have any questions about Formal Hall dinners.  

The College’s postgraduate students’ society, the MCR, will have a welcome desk at Swirles Court and social events planned for you starting on Saturday 21 September – exact dates and times will be available closer to the time.   

The first few days

At the start of your University career, and at the beginning of each subsequent academic year, you will be sent an email from '' asking you to verify your data (please make sure to check your 'Junk Email' folder for this message).  If you are new to Cambridge, you will be sent this email sometime in September, depending on when you've fully confirmed so don't worry if you still haven't received it by the end of September. It's an automatic process that is managed directly by the University, not the College. It will arrive soon after your confirmation.  If you don't receive the email, you may still initiate the process by going to this link and clicking on "Create New Account".

It is compulsory that you do this, particularly in your first year, as at the end of the process, you will be taken into the pages (“University IT account collection”) where you will be allocated your University email address and Raven password. The latter allows you to log in to almost everything within the University.  Here are some screenshots that may be of help.  

Please make a note of this password – you may change it and if you do, PLEASE wait a couple of hours before trying to access email otherwise you may get locked out and need to ask to reset your password (email  Please note that it can look like you’re finished after confirming your personal details, but you do need to keep going in order to get your email! 

It is vital that you read your '@cam' emails regularly so please add it as an account to your phones and/or forward it to your personal email address.

There are two ways to receive your '@cam' email: 

  • Use Webmail – go to the Outlook Web App interface; type in your Username/Email = and Password (your Raven/UIS Password)
  • Use an email client on your laptop:  Instructions for setting-up various email apps (Outlook, Apple Mail, Windows Mail, Android Mail etc.) can be found here.

If you require assistance with this, you may contact the College IT office or ask a colleague who may have already connected themselves successfully.  

Just to let you know that as of 1 October, all emails sent from the College and Department will be sent to your Cambridge email address. 

University Lookup Directory

After you’ve obtained your University email address and Raven password, we recommend that you change what’s called your University Lookup Directory listing from your initials and surname to your full name (i.e. from W.J. Klein to Wendy Klein). HOWEVER, please change it a full LEGAL name, not a “known as” name so that you can be easily identified.

You can update your lookup page yourself (you'll need to login with Raven Access to access it, so can't access it until after 1 October).

This is the process by which new students become members of Girton College and of the University of Cambridge. Matriculation consists of signing an online form which you will be sent by email around 1 October. Once you've received this, please complete the task as soon as possible, as it is your formal registration with the University.

If you already have a degree from Cambridge, regardless of the College, you do not need to matriculate again. 

Everyone starting a new degree this year or in the previous Lent or Easter Terms, may be a part of the Matriculation photograph on Wednesday 4 October 2023. There will be a Matriculation Dinner in mid-November for those who have not been to one at Girton.  

On arrival and on presentation of photo ID, you will be issued with a University Card. 

The timing of its availability will be affected by how early you arrive to Cambridge. The bulk of cards for those living in Swirles accommodation, for those living out of College accommodation and part-time students will be available at Swirles Court Porters’ Lodge after 23 September 2023. Those living in the Grange should collect their cards at the Main Site Porters’ Lodge.  If you have confirmed quite late, please check with the Postgraduate Office before making a trip in to ensure the card is available.  

The card gives you access to College gates, doors and your student room at Swirles Court; enables you to pay for food at the subsidised rate via UPay in all College eateries including the Dining Hall and the Social Hub; allowed you to borrow books from the College Library (once you've registered with the library).  Access to your Department, Faculty and University Library can be added by the personnel at those places.    

If you lose your card, please inform the IT Office ( immediately. They will order you a replacement which you will be charged for (about £15.00). 

All Cambridge students are expected to buy an academic gown. To know which gown to purchase (dependent on past degree and your age), look at the pdf linked below. Gowns are worn at Formal Halls at all Colleges in Cambridge and at major College events. 

Postgraduates are invited to purchase their academic gowns from Churchill Gowns. 

You may buy one online and have it delivered to your Cambridge address for arrival (there will be a charge for delivery). 

In Michaelmas Term, Churchill will be at Swirles Court selling gowns on Monday 30 September from 10 am to 1 pm in the MCR Room.  See the information on this flyer (PDF). New students should obtain an academic gown in time for their Matriculation photograph (in Michaelmas term).

We require you to complete the following documents and upload them using this form, please, by 15 October. 

All students: 

ID checks will happen when you either have your passports scanned (Overseas students) or pick up your University card - you will need to present your photo ID to the Porters in order to receive your card.  You are also asked to take your photo ID when you meet your Postgraduate Tutor for the first time.  


If you arrive after the 23rd of September, the Postgraduate Student Services Office will offer bookable sessions for scanning of your immigration documents. You'll need your passport, Student visa entry vignette (or other visa) and evidence of when you entered the country if this applies to you (if you've entered via an e-gate). An email with further details about this will be sent to you so if you have not received it and think you should have, please email the above address.  You can find out which documents to present here.   

If you arrive before 23 September, please contact to arrange a time to have your documents scanned. 

If you have elected to collect your BRP from the University, College will let you know when it has arrived and you will be able to pick it up at one of these bookable sessions. Some of you may need to go to the main Cambridge post office to get your BRP.  There's no need to worry if you do not yet have your BRP.  If you have applied for your visa in the UK, you will likely be issued with digital status and will be sent information about how to obtain a share code to return to us.    

There may be others of you who are not on a student visa but need to bring in documents - please wait for instructions from the Postgraduate Office.  

Please note that there is no longer a requirement to register with the police. 

UIS (University Information Services) produce two helpful guides for new students that are very worth reading called 'Getting Started' and 'IT Matters @ Cambridge' - both are available at this link.

The College IT Department is located on the A Corridor at the main College site. Further information can be found here or by emailing

You will not have a Cambridge email address until you go through the Student Registration procedure (see above).  You will be sent the Student Registration email once you have fully confirmed - the emails begin going out mid-September. 

Two documents that you'll find helpful.  

If asked to submit a new photograph to the IT office, please follow the guidelines at this link.  

Students receive a bill for rent and prepayment at the start of Michaelmas term and a bill for fees in November, and then further bills in both Lent and Easter Terms. 

Late payment fees will be charged for overdue payments so if you cannot pay on time it is very important that you contact your tutor in advance of the due date. International students can utilise TransferMate for easy overseas payments.  

We've created a sample Costs and Fee Statement for your information. View sample statement (PDF).

Please read the following documents:  

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system providing a wide range of health care services including appointments with a doctor, hospital treatment and dental care. 

All students are strongly advised to register with a NHS Doctors Surgery (office) as soon as possibleWhy Register with a GP?.

The majority of Girton students register with the Huntingdon Road Surgery, however if you are not living in College or Swirles Court, another surgery may be more convenient.

  • Click here for further information about healthcare for International students.  

The College has two nurses and all students whether resident or non-resident, may consult the Nurses who hold regular surgery hours in the College Health & Wellbeing Centre at the Main Site. The nurses can treat minor ailments/ minor injuries and can give health care advice.  

To do:

  • Read the Nurses' Welcome Letter
  • Return the Confidential Health Questionnaire sent to you directly - if you haven't received it, please first check your junk mail and if not received, then email
  • Double check the information about vaccinations on the Checklist
  • Go through the Health Checklist

Also helpful are the University's Wellbeing web pages.  

The University offers a Counselling service to students.  It also offers a number of self-help leaflets on a wide variety of issues and concerns. Please contact your Tutor for more information once you have received your allocation.  

If you require a letter to open a UK bank account, please email with the request, letting us know which bank you've chosen . Please try to limit it to one bank and allow a 48-hour turnaround. 

The International Students Office offers this document for information.  

2023 - If you have do not yet have a Cambridge address, the following bank possibilities have been offered:  

Some of the online-only banks like Monzo and Revolut shouldn't need proof of address, and the International Office did have the following confirmation from Lloyds:

“Students who use a Biometric Residency Permit Card do not require a letter from their college as proof of address. This can be used for both ID and Address confirmation.”

The College Chaplain, Rev Dr Tim Boniface, is in charge of all matters connected with the services and use of the Chapel. He is also available to help any member of the College with any personal problem or difficulty. 

The Director of Chapel Music, Dr Gareth Wilson, invites you to become involved in the musical life in College in his welcome letter.