Applying to Downing

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When applying to Cambridge it is important to choose the right college for you as this will be your home for the next few years. If you decide Downing is right for you, the Middle Combination Room (MCR) will be where you meet with other graduate students, receive academic advice and pastoral care as well as attend Downing events.

The Middle Combination Room is the primary college organisation with which you will have contact with. This is a student body that represents the interests of the graduates within the college. The MCR is also a physical room within the college which graduate students have access to 24 hours a day. There is a bar open regularly, television and weekly newspaper and magazine subscriptions. There is also unlimited free coffee so it’s a great place to meet with friends between classes to relax.

The best way to get a feel for a college is to visit an open day or if you are unable to do so you may find the graduate prospectus and alternative prospectus helpful.


The graduate students which make up the MCR at Downing College are very social, friendly and welcoming. Although Downing was traditionally a college set up for the study of medicine and law, graduate students here are studying a diverse range of subjects across the humanities and science. Students in the MCR are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, many get involved in theatre productions and a large proportion of the MCR row for the college. The MCR at Downing is also very sociable, the graduate bar will often be open on a Friday night, formal dinners three times a week and the committee organise big events every other week. The MCR are also incredibly supportive of one another and we have a fantastic welfare team at hand to confidentially deal with any pastoral issues students may be having as well as make emergency cookie deliveries to MCR members late at night! The MCR also organises a Fresher’s week at the start of the year with lots of activities, new students are also assigned “college parents”, older students who will help you settle in. The best way to get a feel about everyday MCR life at Downing would be to check out our instagram  here and our facebook page here both of which are updated every couple of days.

Why Downing?

  • Downing benefits from a huge open layout, unlike most other colleges that are made up of smaller courts. Downing has a large piece of grass called The Paddock which students use to relax on or play sports.
  • The college community makes Downing special. The MCR hold a fresher’s week at the start of the year and each new student is given “college parents”, these are students who will help you settle in.
  • The accommodation! Downing has some of the best rooms in the university with the majority being on site. Battcock Lodge was built in 2015 for postgraduate students at Downing and boasts ensuite facilities, large kitchens and double beds.
  • Downing has the best food at Cambridge. Hall does lunch and dinner every day of the week and at the weekends brunch (think pancakes, full english breakfast and croissants) and dinner are served. There is always a vegetarian option available and often a vegan option. The Butterfield Cafe also serves food throughout the day. Formal hall happens three times a week (students wear their gowns!) where a three course meal is served with wine. There is also the option to cook in your accommodation as most are well equipped with kitchens.
  • Downing is great at sport! Downing has strong teams in nearly every sport such as ; Netball, Hockey, Rowing, Rugby, Football and many others! Check out the list here for more information.

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Useful links….

  • You can download the Graduate Application Pack here
  • If you need help, please feel free to contact either the Tutorial and Admissions Office (01223-334811 or email) or any member of the MCR Committee.
  • Useful information for international students can be found here…
  • The Downing MCR Freshers’ Handbook is here.