Hughes Hall is the oldest of the University of Cambridge’s graduate colleges. It was established during the Victorian golden age of Cambridge college foundations with a pioneering purpose to provide postgraduate training for women teachers. While today the College accepts male and female students for all the subjects taught in the University, it has preserved a distinctive mission to support University education in fields that apply academic excellence to practical and positive outcomes in the wider world. Background to the origins and story of the College is available on the History of Hughes Hall page.
The College strives to support excellent teaching, learning and research, and fosters an interdisciplinary environment that is global in outlook, egalitarian in ethos, and cosmopolitan in character. By bridging the academic and the wider world, the College aims to contribute to the improvement of society, and it is especially active in interdisciplinary areas and those with direct practical impacts. Alongside the full breadth of academic activity in the University, core areas of research, study and engagement include Business and Economics including Land Economy, the range of Engineering including physical and applied Mathematical sciences, Medicine and the Biological sciences, Law, and Education. More information about these areas of activity is available on the Research and Study page.
As a graduate college, Hughes Hall specialises in supporting students studying for taught and research graduate degrees. We also welcome mature students studying for undergraduate degrees. All students share in a distinctive and dedicated academic context created by a mature and committed community of scholars. A distinctive aspect of college life at Hughes Hall is an egalitarian culture where interaction and engagement between Fellows and students is open and encouraged. Unlike most colleges, for example, Hughes Hall does not have a “high table” reserved for Fellows at mealtimes, and walking on the lawns is not a privilege reserved only for Fellows – students are permitted to walk on the grass.
The College has an enviable position at the heart of the City, halfway between the Railway Station and the Market Square. While it enjoys the tranquillity of overlooking the University cricket ground, the main site is adjacent to Mill Road, famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and variety of eateries, and Hills Road, now a commercial centre and the City’s “High Street” but originally the Roman Via Devana linking Cambridge to the Roman capital at Colchester. A short walk across Parker’s Piece, an open park which was famously the place where the rules of Football were first codified, transports students from the scholarly calm of the College to the bustle of the old centre of the City.
The University of Cambridge is over 800 years old, and its unique collegiate system is a central part of the experience of studying here. Historically, Hughes Hall has had a unique role in enhancing and supporting graduate study, and the College welcomes excellent students working in traditional and innovative fields throughout the University.