University is the second oldest - after Oxford - in Britain. The
university has 31 colleges
(see the list of colleges).
In 2009 the university celebrated its 800 year anniversary.
The origins of Cambridge University date back to the arrival of former
students of Oxford University in 1209 but it wasn't until 1284 that
the first college - Peterhouse
- was founded. By the end of the 16th century another fifteen colleges
had been established and then - in the 19th and 20th centuries - fifteen
As with Oxford, Cambridge University - especially its older established
colleges - has seen many of its students go on to achieve notable
But a successful completion of their studies was not always necessary
for former students to achieve success in life. The Poet Laureates
Tennyson, the poets Samuel
Sassoon and the writers William Makepeace
Thackeray and Christopher Isherwood
all left Cambridge without a degree. A degree also eluded Edward
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi,
Britain's first Prime Minister Sir
Robert Walpole and the chemist Henry Cavendish
(whose descendants endowed the university's world-famous Cavendish
It wasn't until Girton
(1869) and Newnham
(1871) opened that women were finally admitted to Cambridge. Since
then graduates have included the first British woman to win a Nobel
Hodgkin; the poet Sylvia
Plath and the writer Iris Murdoch.
The following list shows the thirty-one colleges, grouped by the century
in which they were founded.
The colleges founded before the 18th century include information on
a selection of famous people who have been connected to the college
and links to the college website and its history webpage.
The colleges founded since 1800 have links to their websites.
The 31 Cambridge Colleges
selection of famous people who have been connected with the college.
was founded by Hugo de Balsham, the Bishop of Ely, in 1284.
It is the oldest - and smallest - college at Cambridge University.
Chemist. Natural philosopher
Mathematician. Computer pioneer
Professor of Mathematics, 1828-39
for Chemistry, 1952
for Chemistry, 1962
for Chemistry, 1962
for Chemistry, 1982
Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2013
Research student, 1968-71
Minister of Britain, 1768-70
1734-38 (No degree), 1742-43
Regius Professor of Modern History, 1768-71
lived at the college until 1756 when he moved to Pembroke