Our students

Laura Jane Brooks

PhD Physics, Nanophotonics Centre, University of Cambridge

Clare Hall is a small college with a big heart. The College's informal atmosphere, and the genuine sense of community and belonging, have been central to my experience at the University. I chose Clare Hall because I was searching for a college that would cater specifically to the needs of graduates, took an informal approach to college life, and celebrated a widely international membership. I have not been disappointed.  The College is home - for all its members - a place where graduate students, Fellows and senior academics feel at ease, free from the formalities and hierarchical structures characteristic of many Cambridge colleges.

Clare Hall provides a peaceful, cosy and family-friendly environment in which to live and work, welcoming students from all across the world into an open and diverse community. I'm thankful to have met so many warm, interesting and inspirational people, and also to have been given the opportunity to make a real difference. Students at Clare Hall have a strong voice through the Graduate Student Body and are encouraged to organise social and sporting events, as well as promote student well-being.

Over the last three years I have had many unforgettable moments here, from summer BBQs on the lawn, late-night parties in the bar, Ceilidh dancing at the Burns Night Supper, and of course celebrating boat club victories in the Bumps rowing races. If you're looking for a small, stimulating, international and community-focused college to support you through your studies at Cambridge, I recommend Clare Hall as the perfect place for you.

Simon Hoyte

The Evolutionary Anthropologist

MPhil student in Evolutionary Studies, 2015-16


Giovanna Maria Dimitri

PhD student in Computer Science

When I was asked to write down a preference for a college in my Masters application last year, I had no doubts about choosing Clare Hall.  I already knew the College, and I was sure that the friendly and lively atmosphere would be the perfect environment for my studies.

I began my Masters in Computer Science in October 2014, and my Cambridge experience wouldn’t have been the same without Clare Hall.   There are so many positive things that I could list; great staff, strategic location, new accommodation and good food (not easy to say for an Italian…).  

Apart from the practical reasons, there is also another element that made Clare Hall my first choice. The College is relatively small, which allows you to get to know your fellow students easily - it feels like being part of a big family.   This does not refer only to other students, but to the College community as a whole, including Clare Hall Fellows.  Indeed, unlike other colleges, you can sit and eat with Fellows and Professors, which gives you a unique opportunity to talk about your Cambridge experience. 

There is a very active student community here who organise parties, sports activities, concerts and conferences.  Try to join as many of these as you can, and you will come away from your Cambridge experience with a whole new family.

Aftab Jalia

PhD Candidate in the Department of Architecture Centre for Natural Material Innovation

Clare Hall has been home to myself and my young family since October 2013.  The University’s venerated collegial structure ensures that students have access to both intellectual stimulation and pastoral care and Clare Hall offers a unique experience in Cambridge for both. 

As an architect, I cannot help link Clare Hall’s architecture to its evolving culture: Modern yet of its place, modest but confident, informal but valuing tradition and most importantly human-scaled to foster congeniality. 

In the Cambridge timeline, Clare Hall is indeed very young, but over the past 50 years, it has established a distinguished reputation for itself especially among the Postgraduate only community. Students will find that support for research is both generous and forthcoming ensuring well-rounded development. Unlike other colleges, Clare Hall is very accommodating of students with families, extending this welcome to its dining and recreational facilities. As a result, my family feels as much a part of the College as I do.

One of my most rewarding social engagements at the College has been reviving its cricketing tradition. The spectacular annual Fellows vs students match sees virtually the entire College participating in non-hierarchical camaraderie. This is the quintessential spirit of Clare Hall. 

I have met collaborators and made friends here and immersed myself in the College environment. It is not somewhere that I am simply associated with at the University of Cambridge; it’s the College I belong to.

Andrew Buskell

PhD candidate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science with a specialisation in the Philosophy of Science

The four years I have spent at Cambridge, in the city and at other colleges, have only highlighted the uniqueness of Clare Hall, and the extent to which it shares my values. It is a friendly and informal hub of activity; I meet professionals, postdoctoral researchers, and academics from around the world at every lunch, dinner, or event.  It prizes discussion; I have been an enthusiastic participant in College-run seminars, consistently encouraged to meet with Fellows, and aided in my travels to speak about my work in the UK and abroad. 

Most importantly, Clare Hall is dedicated to improving itself and the world around it.  Its two lecture series – the Tanner and the Ashby Lectures – focus on understanding human behaviour and improving well-being, and its governing committees are open and welcoming to student initiatives and endeavours.

My time at Clare Hall allowed me to discover my passion for philosophy of science, to publish my first academic papers, and to secure a postdoctoral appointment at a strong institution.  I found that Clare Hall supported my studies at every turn, financial support in the form of matching funds for my studentships, academic support from my Senior Tutor and Clare Hall Fellows, and a stream of social events and activities that kept me from working all the time. I know that Clare Hall has played no small part in my success.