Cambridge’s coat of arms was adopted in 1583Lucas Maddalena

Thesis submissions are exempt from rules restricting the use of the University’s logo, Varsity has learnt. 

Despite confusion that Cambridge had banned the use of its coat of arms from thesis submissions for certain postgraduate qualifications, the University has since clarified that, as part of an “unwritten rule”, dissertation title pages were exempt from guidelines. 

Confusion was sparked by a web page which stated that the University’s logo “should not be used anywhere as your thesis is your work and not the work of the University. If you wish to use a logo on your title page or the cover of your thesis, you are advised to ask your College about the use of their logo.” 

However, the above paragraph has since been removed from the University’s site and a spokesperson told Varsity that while longstanding guidelines limited use of the crest, there was an “unwritten rule” which exempted thesis submissions. 


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The University said it “has not changed its guidelines with regards to the use of its logo. These longstanding guidelines do typically restrict the use of the logo to represent official University business. But it has also been an unwritten rule over the same time that dissertation title pages which include the logo are exempt from those guidelines.

“We understand the pride our students take from being part of the Cambridge community and we’ve recently begun discussions about providing a pre-defined template of the logo specifically for dissertation title pages as a useful tool to clear up any confusion.”

Cambridge’s coat of arms was adopted in 1583 after being granted by Robert Cook, Clarenceux King of Arms and graduate of St. John’s College, for use by the Chancellor, Masters, Fellows and Scholars. The shield features four lions between a cross ermine and a Bible laying at the centre, representing the University’s royal patronage, dignity, knowledge, and faith.

The University has upheld a strict policy on its terms of usage for the coat of arms, distinguishing between its logo, motto and shield, adding that despite the coat of arms often mistakenly being called the “University crest”, the University actually has no “crest.”

This article was updated 25/2 to include new information from the University.