How Many Students Are At Cambridge University?
UK, England, Cambridge, people punting on River Cam near Kings College

How Many Students Are At Cambridge University?

Jasmyne Jeffery November 12, 2022

It’s one of the most famous and highly-rated universities in the world. But how many students are at Cambridge University?

We all know at least someone who wants to go to Cambridge, but how many do we know that have actually gone? With all conversation around getting into the elite school, we take a look at how many students are at the University of Cambridge.

How Many Students Are At Cambridge University?

According to their 2020/21 figures, the University of Cambridge has 20,247 students. This is largely made up of undergraduates which there are 12,720. The other 7,527 students are postgraduate.

This is relatively small compared to other well-known universities. For instance, Cardiff University has around 30,000 students, while Manchester University has almost double Cambridge’s numbers.

This year, the university took on just under 3,600 new undergraduates. Of these new students, 72.5 per cent of them came from the maintained sector, up from 71.6 per cent in 2021.

On the intake, the Director of Admissions said the following:

“We’re delighted to be welcoming another cohort of talented young people onto our courses this year who have shown real resilience in going on to achieve superb results. Every student who gets a place at Cambridge thoroughly deserves it. We know that many will have faced challenging circumstances in the last two years and the Colleges are ready to help with the transition to university-level study.”

In 2020, just over 20,000 students applied for the limited spaces at the esteemed university. This year, the number rose to 22,000, proving that competition is high.

Elevated view of the skyline and spires of Cambridge and King’s college

How Big Is Cambridge University?

Looking at student numbers, Cambridge is not as big as other UK universities. However, the student population takes up 20% of the town, bringing the entire demographic of Cambridge down. As well as the students, the university employees of 12,000 members of staff in academic, academic-related, contract research, technical and administrative roles.

The university itself is broken down into seven sites across 288 hectares, or 710 acres of land. While we might be used to only having a couple of campuses for our university, Cambridge is made up of 31 constituent colleges. Some of the most famous are:

  • Christ’s College
  • Clare College
  • St Edmund’s College
  • Emmanuel College
  • Jesus College
  • King’s College
  • Queens’ College
  • St Catharine’s College
  • St John’s College
  • Trinity College

Cambridge considers itself a global university, with students coming from over 140 different countries around the world.

Not only is Cambridge smaller than Oxford, but they have fewer students too. The two universities are often compared, and on size, Oxford pips the former to the punch. With over 25,000 students in a bigger town, if the size is important to you then maybe Oxford is the university for you instead.

How Many Universities In Cambridge?

If you love the town of Cambridge but don’t want to attend the University of Cambridge, there are other options for you. There are two universities in Cambridge, the other being Anglia Ruskin. Located in the middle of Cambridge town, this university was originally known as Cambridge School of Art.

This bridge across the River Cam between the St John’s College’s Third Court and New Court is probably the most beautiful bridge in Cambridge. This is a view from the north of the bridge which the Kitchen Bridge can be seen in the background and the college second court is on the left.

Founded in 1858, Anglia Ruskin is considerably newer than Cambridge University. Having invested more than £100 million in the last few years, the university has the following facilities.

  • The Business School
  • Forensic Science Labs
  • TV Studio
  • New Science Center (with molecular biology/psychology laboratories)
  • University Library (with an open-access computer section)
  • Ruskin Gallery
  • Mumford Theatre 
  • Compass House (with audio recording studios and sport science labs)

Over the next five years, they plan to invest another £91 million into the university.

Although Anglia Ruskin is less well-known globally than its neighbour, it is actually bigger. With more than 40,000 students, many students have made the choice to attend so that they can still enjoy Cambridge’s famous scenery.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.