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Teaching and Student Support

Teaching Styles and Assessment Formats

Unlike most other universities, the hallmark of Cambridge teaching is the ‘supervision’  ̶  a weekly one-to-one or one-to-two meeting with an expert in your field. You will usually have one or two hour-long supervisions per week during term. Teaching in this way is personalised, highly rigorous, and allows you to hone your ideas and your academic skills in a hands-on, open and conversational environment. 

The supervision system is highly valued by our students. Your supervisors will be chosen depending on which area of the course you are studying, and could come from any of the colleges. That is why it doesn’t matter for your course which college you go to – you’ll receive access to expert teaching wherever you are based. Different supervisors may structure supervisions in different ways and they are often tailored for the individual students concerned, and can take into account your previous knowledge of a subject, your interests, and other special needs and requirements. 

You will usually be asked to prepare in some way for supervisions, by either submitting work beforehand or preparing other work to present. This work and the supervision are not formally assessed (they do not count towards the degree) and you are encouraged to use the time to explore new approaches to learning and topics outside of the lectures. You’ll receive regular reports from your supervisors and this feedback will ensure that you know where you’re making progress and what you need to do to improve.

Lectures and classes, including language teaching and study skill support, accompany your supervisions. 

Assessment formats include coursework, examinations and an optional dissertation in the third year. In addition to the modules you choose, you’ll also take our four-week Undergraduate Study Skills course to give you the best start to your degree.

Our students consistently praise our teaching. In the 2015 National Student Survey, 93 per cent said that overall, they were satisfied with the quality of the course; 95 per cent agreed that the staff are good at explaining things, and 98 per cent felt that the course is intellectually stimulating. For the last two years, our course was ranked first in all major Higher Education subject league tables.

College and Faculty Support

At Cambridge you will become a member of both the Faculty of Divinity and an individual college, where you will live, work and socialise. Your personal Director of Studies is your first port of call for both academic and pastoral advice, and there is a wider support network of personal tutors and welfare staff. The Faculty is a small, welcoming, inclusive community based in a beautiful modern building just 5 minutes walk from the river, central colleges, and the University Library.

The far-reaching welfare system in place at the University of Cambridge means we consistently have one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK. As well as the support you receive through your College and through student-run support networks, there are a number of University services that provide specialist assistance should you need or want it. You can read more about support for disabled students, student parents, care-leavers, mature students and others with particular needs here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/why-cambridge/support.

Faculty community

The international teaching staff include specialists in a variety of faith traditions and in the study of religion and religious practice. These world-class academics, along with students and researchers, comprise a supportive and enriching Faculty community. On weekdays we provide coffee for the whole Faculty to give you the opportunity to learn from peers and scholars in a relaxed setting.

Exceptional resources

The award-winning Faculty building has lecture and seminar rooms and is fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual facilities. As a student here you will benefit from exceptional learning resources including access to Faculty, College and University libraries. These contain specialist texts and manuscripts including the Codex Bezae, an important early version of the Gospel, and the Genizah collection, a globally significant source for medieval Judaism. 

More information is available on our library web pages.