Accommodation for New Postgraduate Students

Accommodation for New Postgraduate Students

If you wish to apply for accommodation at Queens', please read the information contained in this letter as it explains the processes involved and the options available to you.

Accommodation at Queens' College

There are four types of accommodation for postgraduate students in Cambridge:

1.    Accommodation in Owlstone Croft, a College hostel primarily housing postgraduates

2.    Accommodation in a College-owned house or flat in the city

3.    Accommodation on Queens' College central site

4.    Privately-rented accommodation.

Queens' aims to offer rooms to all of its commencing, single postgraduate students who apply for College accommodation by the 1st of May. You can of course apply later, but the chances of obtaining a room decrease after this date. Equally you are welcome to submit your accommodation application earlier, although early submissions will not receive priority. After the allocation of rooms in June most College accommodation will have been offered to applicants.

Charges for the current academic year are given on the website , but please be aware that they are subject to change prior to the 2020/21 academic year.

1.  Owlstone Croft

Queens' College owns a hostel, Owlstone Croft, approximately 1.3km from the central site in Newnham village.  It houses mainly Queens' postgraduate students, and consists of three blocks, A and B and D.  Block B contains 69 virtually identical single study-bedrooms which are relatively small (about 10sq.m.) with built-in storage units and wash basins. Block A study-bedrooms vary in size with most, but not all, being larger than those in B Block and six of them have en-suite facilities.  Not all of the rooms in A Block have wash basins. The four rooms in Block D are en-suite. There are communal showers and WCs in blocks A & B and shared kitchen facilities in all blocks. Residents of Owlstone Croft are responsible for keeping their own rooms clean.

Accommodation at Owlstone Croft is charged on a quarterly basis (every three months) meaning students do not have to leave their rooms during vacation periods.  Charges are levied at the beginning of October, January and April. A charge for gas (to include heating during Michaelmas and Lent quarters) as calculated from meter readings will be apportioned equally between all residents and charged in the quarter following the reading. All other utility charges are included. Students may reside until the end of the academic year in June or may apply to extend their stay into the Long Vacation period.

The hostel has communal self-catering and laundry facilities while the surrounding area of Newnham has a small number of shops including a chemist, Post Office and various food stores.

2.  Other College properties in the city

Single postgraduates:  The College owns houses in Panton Street and Norwich Street (just over 1.8km from college, close to the University Chemical Laboratories and the Departments of Engineering and Architecture), and in Maids Causeway (just over 3km from college), and Newnham (as for Owlstone Croft).  The houses vary in size, having from three to seventeen single study-bedrooms with shared kichens and bathrooms. Charges in all houses exclude utility charges.

The Panton Street houses and 71 Maids Causeway are particularly suited to students studying for PhD's as, subject to certain eligibility criteria, the accommodation licence can be renewed each year.  Priority will, therefore, be given to them when allocating.

Students in Norwich Street and 73 Maids Causeway may reside until the end of the academic year in June, or may apply to extend their stay into the Long Vacation period.

Couples without children: Queens' owns fourteen one-bedroom flats suitable for couples without children.  There are eight in the Newnham Village area (about 1.3kms from college) and five over the Queens' College Boathouse near Chesterton (about 2.8kms from college).  Parking at the boathouse flats is extremely limited and by permit only; residence in a flat is not a guarantee of a parking space. In recent years, we have been unable to meet the demand for flats. If the demand exceeds the number of flats available, accommodation will be offered according to a random ballot. 

Couples with children: The College has no accommodation suitable for occupation by a family.  Couples with children should therefore look for privately rented housing (see below).

Please note that rental charges for College houses and flats are strictly quarterly i.e no rent reductions will normally be given for absences from Cambridge during vacations or owing to coursework.  Houses and flats are therefore most suitable for students who intend to remain in Cambridge for much of the Christmas and Easter vacations.  Tenants of the houses and flats are responsible for keeping the house clean and the gardens tended.

3.  The Central Site

Accommodation on the central site is very limited. You will therefore only be able to indicate an interest in being allocated a main site room and any offer you initially receive will be for a room off the main site. Any rooms available after allocating the undergraduates will then be allocated via a random ballot to those expressing an interest.  You must accept your initial offer to then be considered for a main site room.  If no main site room is offered to you then your original offer (and acceptance) will stand.

All rooms allocated to postgraduates on the central site are for single occupancy whether the rooms are described as single study-bedrooms or sets (a study plus bedroom). Occasionally, undergraduate withdrawals through the year lead to rooms in other buildings becoming available.  These will be advertised via the MCR e-mail.

It is a University regulation that students may not keep motor vehicles in Cambridge without permission from the University Proctors and the student's Tutor. Queens' College itself imposes a further rule that such permission will not normally be granted to students in central site rooms.  Please do not apply for central site accommodation if you intend to apply for permission to bring a car to Cambridge.  Some parking is available at Owlstone Croft, Maids Causeway and the couples' flats.

Self-catering is not supported on the main site.  College gyp rooms (kitchenettes) have provision for light cooking on electric rings only; no ovens are provided. Students who want to self-cater should apply for a room in Owlstone Croft or a College house, not on the central site.

Meals taken in the College dining hall are charged as and when they are taken.

4.  Privately-rented accommodation

Queens' College has no responsibility for finding privately rented accommodation, the responsibility lies with the student. You may wish to contact the University Accommodation Service who can provide you with further information.  

General Information

Residents in College houses and flats are expected to remain at least until the end of June.  Departures before the end of June are only possible subject to the terms given in the document Schedule of Fees and Charges to Members. This and more detailed information about college owned properties can be found on the Queens' College website

You will be asked if you want to place a bedding pack order if you are offered accommodation.

Smoking is not permitted anywhere within Queens' College or its properties.

How to Apply

Students who have been conditionally admitted by the College may register and apply for accommodation.  Please contact the Accommodation Officer on who will then email you the neccessary links to enable you to register.  If you wish to make a case for special consideration in respect of accommodation on medical or other grounds, you should contact the Health & Wellbeing Team to discuss your needs by e-mailing

The deadline for applying for accommodation is 1st May.  Late applications may be considered, but only where availability permits.

You will also receive an email from the Finance Office with regards to caution money.  Please note that caution money is not a housing deposit and all students must pay it whether in college accommodation or not.  However, if you are allocated college accommodation, you will not be permitted to collect the key to your room until your caution money payment has been made.

Once you have registered your preferences, you will not hear anything more regarding accommodation until you are emailed, by the Accommodation Officer, in June.

Rooms will be allocated as far as possible according to stated preferences although no guarantee can be given that your preferences can be met.  Postgraduate students who have previously had a room on the central site for three or more terms will not be eligible for central site accommodation.

What to do if you receive an offer

Offers of accommodation will be made by email. If you receive an offer of accommodation, please log in to your account and accept or decline as soon as possible. This applies whether you intend to accept the offer, reject it as unsuitable, or withdraw your University application entirely.  If you are going to be on holiday in June, please ensure that you arrange for someone to deal with your emails.

If you fail to reply to an offer within the timeline specified on the offer email, we will assume that you are not interested in the room and it will be offered to another student. Please note that if you reject an offer, another offer will not be made unless accommodation remains available after all applicants have been allocated.

If you find our accommodation offer is unacceptable, you would be advised to make alternative arrangements without delay rather than wait for the possibility of something different becoming available.

If it becomes clear that you will not be able to meet the conditions (financial or otherwise) attached to your offer of admission, please write to the Accommodation Officer withdrawing your application for accommodation.

Should you accept an offer of accommodation, you have the right to cancel the agreement within 7 days of the date of your acceptance.  Late cancellations may incur charges if the room cannot be re-let.  The appropriate amount will be charged to your College account or deducted from your Caution Money.

What to do if you are on the waiting list

If there is no accommodation left to offer you, your name may be placed on a waiting list.  If placed on the waiting list, you should consider whether or not to make alternative arrangements as there is no guarantee of a room becoming available. If you find alternative accommodation, please inform the Accommodation Officer so that your name can be removed.

Rooms which become unexpectedly available during term time are advertised via the MCR email.  

Please note, if you wish to contact me regarding accommodation, please do so by email only as it is a very busy time of year.

Donna Pullen
Accommodation Officer
Queens' College