Christ's College informed affected students two days after all rooms had been filled, advising them to "make enquiries to other Colleges" The wub (Wikimedia Commons)

Students at Christ’s College who are continuing on to postgraduate degrees are outraged after Christ’s unexpectedly announced that there was no available accommodation for many of them.

Due to the ongoing marking and assessment boycott, students who have completed undergraduate degrees in subjects including English, History and Geography have not been awarded a final degree grade. Christ’s offered accommodation to students returning for master’s degrees only after they met their offer, which students without grades are still unable to do. This means that Christ’s has already allocated all their rooms, leaving many MPhil candidates unhoused.

Christ’s did not inform all of the affected students until August 9th, two days after all rooms had been filled. This announcement came after several students emailed Christ’s asking for updates on the accommodation situation. Many students had already learned of the situation from a student group chat, where one student had shared the college’s response to their worried email.

In the year-wide email, the College’s Postgraduate Admissions Office stated that they allocate accommodation in this way “to make the room allocation process as equitable as we can.” The email continues: “this year a higher number of offer-holders were confirmed to us by early August and, as of 7th August, we had allocated all available rooms”.

The email then suggests that students “start exploring housing options” using the University’s Accommodation Service, and that “you can make enquiries to other Colleges to see if they have vacant rooms.” The email ends, “there are a number of commercial student accommodation companies in Cambridge as well.”

Several affected students have expressed their anger at the situation. One said that “this whole episode just could not have been handled any worse by the college”, and told us that, at the point of application, Christ’s did not make clear that they may not be able to accommodate all MPhil students. “I would have chosen another college if I knew this was going to happen.” Another student characterised the college’s replies as “curt” and “unhelpful”, and that they “have done nothing to alleviate the stress for [the] student body of 2023 – students who had also endured the chaos of the 2020 A Level fiasco.”

The lack of MPhil accommodation has potentially serious consequences. One student who spoke to Varsity had still not secured accommodation, despite the beginning of their master’s degree being just weeks away. Another said that the lateness of the college’s announcement means the private rent he will have to pay has now risen by around £300 per month. A third said that the scarcity of private accommodation “could mean I’m unable to do my master’s studies this year.”

These students now feel they have been placed into a “bidding war against other students”. One complained that Christ’s have failed to reply to any emails he has sent, while he is “faced with finding accommodation (that’s likely extortionately priced or miles outside Cambridge) over my only holiday of the summer after having already spent the last 5 days searching.”


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Cambridge SU’s Postgraduate President, Vareesh Pratap, remarked, “the threat of home insecurity, that many incoming and returning postgraduate students are facing, is a matter of great concern... [Christ’s] should be equally considerate in arranging accommodation as they were during offering admissions.”

Christ’s College commented the following: “Christ’s College provides accommodation for all undergraduate students and a proportion of postgraduate students in line with the College’s accommodation availability.

Those who are accepted for a postgraduate place are informed of the procedure regarding accommodation: allocation is made after the University of Cambridge’s Postgraduate Admissions Office confirms admission.

The College is committed to supporting all students including those seeking accommodation outside College.”