Skip to main content

News Articles

  • On Friday July 2nd the college held its first in-person graduation ceremony since the start of the pandemic. The University of Cambridge General Admission took place across four days, with students receiving their degrees in the Senate House. The Selwyn contingent formed the traditional procession from the college to the centre of the city, led by the head porter, master and praelector. Earlier in the week they were entertained to a graduation dinner, which this year was held in the marquee on Old Court lawn.  

    We offer our heartiest congratulations to all our new graduates. We’re looking forward to more in-person events during the course of the summer, including a delayed General Admission for the 2020 cohort on September 11th.

    Graduation 2021 Students Outside Hall StepsGraduation Students West Bye Lane ProcessionGraduate Students Outside Hall StepsGraduate Procession Kings Parade

    For more photographs please see our social media feeds.

  • The Selwyn College and University of Cambridge open days take place on July 8th and 9th.

    Open Day

    We've made a video which you can watch anytime and which introduces the college and its people to potential applicants. You’ll also see our beautiful site on the west side of Cambridge.


    The open days themselves will be online. Click here for all the details:


    There’s also all the information you might need on our undergraduate admissions page:

  • The photograph shows students at a Selwyn matriculation in 2019


    A new enhanced bursary scheme is being launched by the University of Cambridge to support undergraduate students facing financial pressures. Over the next ten years, more than £100 million will be awarded to students across all the colleges including Selwyn. The additional funding, to help with living costs, will enable students to enjoy the benefits a Cambridge education offers, regardless of their personal financial circumstances. Students will start benefiting from October 2021.

    The new scheme is being made possible through the generosity of philanthropic donations from alumni and friends of the collegiate University. The Harding Challenge, established by David and Claudia Harding as part of their £100 million gift to Cambridge in February 2019, was designed to underpin this expansion in bursary provision. A number of donations to Selwyn have attracted matched funding from the Hardings.

    Far more students will qualify for support since the threshold for eligibility will rise from the current maximum household income of £42,620 to £62,215. The University expects 25 – 30% of students will be eligible for the enhanced support (currently it’s around 20%). Once fully rolled out, around 700 students will also qualify for an additional £1,000 because they were eligible for free school meals.

    UK students can apply to the Student Loans Company for a maintenance loan to cover basic living costs. There is widespread take-up of these loans: repayments are linked to future earnings which means they are more like a tax than conventional debt, and they are an invaluable support to making University more affordable for as many students as possible.  However, research conducted by the University suggests many students struggle to meet all their expenses because parents often can’t afford to contribute to the extent that these means-tested loans assume they will. It’s these financial gaps that the new bursary scheme will help to alleviate.

    Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, said:

    “This new enhanced bursary scheme, which wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors, will help to ease some of our students' financial worries. The scheme’s launch means far more students will be eligible for support. This is particularly relevant now, at a time when many families’ incomes have been affected adversely by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    The launch of the enhanced bursary scheme follows a pilot scheme involving 20 colleges – including this one – and established and largely funded by Trinity College. Students in receipt of these bursaries said they were able to participate more fully in the academic and wider student activities Cambridge has to offer. The awards also had a positive impact on their mental well-being, reducing the anxieties they had about finances. Colleges also noted that there was a marked reduction in applications for hardship funding in-year. 

    Dr Mike Sewell, Senior Tutor of Selwyn College, said:

    “The enhanced bursary scheme targets support at students from families whose income is less than £60,000 a year. This removes barriers to such students coming to Cambridge and helps them to participate fully in University life. It not only makes it easier for them to thrive while studying here, it also relieves their families of significant concerns.”

    The University’s Faculty of Education has conducted research to find out how effective this level of support is for students. This found it contributes substantially to their wellbeing, participation in academic life and student societies, and overall student experience.

    Under the new scheme, bursaries of up to £3,500 per year will be given to students from households with an assessed income of up to £62,215, without any application needed. Previously students were given support if the assessed income rose to £42,620. The bursary will be tapered so those at the lower end will receive more. For example, all undergraduates from households with assessed incomes below £25,000 will receive the full amount. Those at the top end will receive £100. The amount they receive is a grant and so is non-repayable. Awards will be further enhanced for students who join the University from local authority care or who are estranged from their families. In addition, the scheme will include a supplementary award of £1,000 per year to all low-income students who qualified for free school meals, contributing to a bursary of £4,500 in each year of their undergraduate studies.

    The photograph shows students at a Selwyn matriculation in 2019.

  • The Quarry Whitehouse auditorium was officially opened on June 4th by its principal benefactors Gareth Quarry and Jill Whitehouse. Mr Quarry and Ms Whitehouse are both Selwyn alumni, and we are deeply appreciative of their generosity.


    The auditorium has hosted its first events with a live audience present: the Ramsay Murray lecture and a concert by the college Music Society. It has a capacity of around 140 in tiered seating, but it is designed to be a flexible space for a variety of meetings, conferences and performances. It is on the ground floor of the new building which completes Ann’s Court.


    Ann's Court


  • The college welcomed Dr Christopher Dobson (SE 1957) back to Selwyn this week to mark the completion of Ann’s Court – for which he has been the principal donor. We are enormously grateful for his substantial gifts to the college, going back over many years.

    Chris, accompanied by his daughter Abigail, formally named the first two phases of the project as the Christopher Dobson Building. He then unveiled a plaque on the new library and auditorium which marks the contribution that he and his wife Ann – after whom the Court is named – have made to the college. The photograph shows Chris visiting the library with Abigail, and accompanied by the master of Selwyn Roger Mosey (left) and the vice-chancellor of the university Professor Stephen Toope (right).


    Chris Abigail Roger VC


    The cost of the third phase of construction was just under £13m, and all the money was raised by Selwyn alumni and friends.

  • StaySafeCambridgeUni

    Please additionally see the COVID-19 documents page.

    The master Roger Mosey wrote to all students at Selwyn on September 22nd about the term ahead:

    "Dear all

    We’ve already welcomed a number of students back to the college – joining the small community that’s been here throughout the health emergency – and now we’re prepared for the full contingent of undergraduate and postgraduate students to arrive in the next couple of weeks. We’re delighted that the college is buzzing with activity again; but I have a very important message to share.

    If we are to continue through this academic year with the maximum activity and the minimum disruption, it will require all of us to live our lives as safely as possible. We must take the greatest possible care of ourselves as individuals, and also think continuously about our responsibilities to others. That applies to me as master, to the fellows and staff and to every single student. Only by doing so will we minimise the risks.  Looking after each other, a key part of Selwyn since its foundation, is now more important than ever.

    So please read thoroughly and carefully all the latest guidance. This gives an overview across Cambridge:

    And this section, as an example, explains one of the main ways we’re going to organise ourselves within colleges – by having student ‘households’ who are able to socialise safely with each other:

    As in other colleges, student households will be the foundation stone for living together at Selwyn. A household is defined by the sharing of kitchen and, where appropriate, bathroom/toilet facilities. In general this means that your household will be formed by the other students on the same landing as you in a staircase or those with whom you share a hostel kitchen. In a number of cases - staircases C to F in Old Court, ground floor of H, parts of J and K, ground floor and first floor of N, ground floor and first floor of P,  ground floor and first floor of Q, ground floor and first floor of R - students will be part of a household with others on the floor above/below. In Selwyn the smallest households consist of four students; the largest of 11. The vast majority include between six and eight students. Specific guidance on which students will make up your household will follow very shortly.

    Generally the university-wide advice is supplemented by a lot of detail that we have developed here within the college. We’ve been working with student and staff representatives – and taking the latest external advice – through the past months; and there is a full reopening plan that has been approved by the college council. Let me highlight three key points:

    • We have adopted a colour-coded status system to allow us to react quickly to national and local developments.  Any move to a new status will be agreed by the college council, which includes JCR and MCR representatives. A copy is attached.
    • We have also developed a student protocol to summarise the key things you can do to help everyone stay safe at Selwyn. It will be circulated later this week, along with more details about testing and isolation. Attached is the college social distancing and face coverings policy which is now in operation.
    • Along with most of Higher Education we have come to the view that we cannot responsibly allow overnight visitors in the college for the foreseeable future, because all the advice we receive is that this would significantly increase the risks to everyone and it wouldn’t be possible to operate safely and fairly within a household system.  

    While you will notice that a lot has changed here at Selwyn to keep everyone safe, a lot is also still the same. Provided national guidance continues to allow it, in-person small group teaching wherever possible will remain a cornerstone of our approach. We have put a marquee in Old Court and screens in the servery to make sure we can still offer sit-down meals; and college bar is open, with the marquee doubling up as extra social space in the evenings.  

    More will follow later this week. It's important to say that the guidance nationally and locally will change, sometimes at short notice. We will update you whenever it does. But the responsibility sits with each one of us to know what the college is asking of everyone, either because it is legally required or because it is best practice; and because of the seriousness of Covid, as a community we will not be able to tolerate any wilful breaking of the rules.

    Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your tutor or with the senior tutor, bursar, vice-master or me direct if you have any immediate questions. But in the meantime, despite these challenging times, a warm welcome whether you’re new here or returning; and I’ll look forward to seeing everyone again very soon.

    Roger Mosey"



  • Bartlam Library 2nd floor

    The college is delighted to report that the new library and auditorium building is open for Selwyn students from Friday, April 30th. In the first instance, the Bartlam library will be available as additional study space.

    The building is a major declaration by the college in providing excellent facilities for students; and it has been funded – at a total figure of close to £13m – entirely by alumni and friends. We’re enormously grateful for their gifts to future generations.

    Here's the latest information on both the college libraries:

    Study space: current library

    If you are in Cambridge, you can continue to use the old college library for study space. We have been able to increase the number of spaces available, in line with our Covid-related risk assessments. You will need to book a space and sit in the location you have booked. You do not need to book to access the printer/copier/scanner or to borrow and return books and DVDs.

    Study space: Bartlam Library

    If you wish to use the new space, you must first book a brief familiarisation visit so we can let you know how to use the building safely. Future familiarisation visits will be advertised on the Bartlam Library (study space) guide, or you will be able to email the library to arrange one.

    You can book a study space on the first or second floor of the new library, or book one of the two study rooms, using our booking calendar. You will also find more information on what to expect in the new space this term in our guide.

    The Bartlam library will open fully in time for the start of Michaelmas Term. We will be moving the library collection during the long vacation, along with the printer/copier/scanner, remaining MCS PCs, and other resources. We will also be adding adjustable desk chairs and armchairs to the new library, together with extra facilities and seating in the library common room. Students are getting a sneak preview now, but there's more to come.

  • This year’s Ramsay Murray lecture was given by Professor Rana Mitter, with the title "Where China goes next: How authoritarianism, history and technology are creating a new superpower"

    The Ramsay Murray lecture is the college’s most prestigious annual lecture, and recent speakers have included Trevor Phillips, David Reynolds, Bridget Kendall, Frank Gardner and Amanda Vickery. This year’s event was held in person in the Quarry Whitehouse auditorium on Friday June 4th with live streaming available to alumni and friends at home and abroad.  This is the link to watch the recording:


    Professor Rana Mitter OBE FBA


    Rana Mitter OBE FBA is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of several books, including China’s War with Japan: The Struggle for Survival, 1937-1945 (Penguin, 2013), which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and was named a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and Economist. His latest book is China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (Harvard, 2020). He has commented regularly on China in media and forums around the world, including at the World Economic Forum at Davos. His recent documentary on contemporary Chinese politics “Meanwhile in Beijing" is available on BBC Sounds. He is co-author, with Sophia Gaston, of the report “Conceptualizing a UK-China Engagement Strategy” (British Foreign Policy Group, 2020). He is a Cambridge alumnus and was supervised by the former master of Selwyn, Professor Richard Bowring.

  • Our new building was handed over to the college on March 22nd by the contractors Barnes Construction.

    Handover lineup

    The keys were received on behalf of the Selwyn community by representatives of the MCR and JCR: Mehmet Doğar, MCR treasurer; Anamaria Koeva, MCR part-time students officer; and Poppy Robinson, JCR vice-president.

    Handover inside

    They and the construction team are seen outside the doors to the Quarry Whitehouse auditorium - and then inside the building. The auditorium will be opened later this Spring; and the Bartlam library, on the top two floors of the building, will be operational by the start of Michaelmas term.

    Handover library

    The project has cost almost £13m - all of it funded by college alumni and friends. We're extremely grateful for the amazing support.

  • The college has elected two new honorary fellows.

    Professor David Dabydeen is an academic, a writer and a diplomat. Born in Guyana, he studied English at Selwyn and he is an award-winning novelist and poet - and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was a professor at the University of Warwick, based in the Centre for Caribbean Studies. Having previously been a member of the Unesco executive board, he became Guyana’s ambassador to China in 2010 and served until 2015. Professor Dabydeen is now the director of the Ameena Gafoor institute for the study of indentureship and its legacies.    


    Prof David Dabydeen


    Sir Clive Lewis, a former fellow, became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2020 and is the college’s highest ranking alumnus in the judiciary. Clive is the son of a miner, and was brought up in the south Wales coalfields. He was an undergraduate at Churchill College as part of an early outreach scheme and initially pursued an academic career which brought him to Selwyn and the Law Faculty. On leaving academia, Sir Clive qualified at the bar, became a QC in 2003 and was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2013.


    Sir Clive Lewis