Collegiate system at Lancaster

Only a small number of UK universities have a collegiate system, and Lancaster is proud to be one of them. This means that when you become part of the University, you also join one of the Lancaster colleges.

Your college will shape a big part of your life at university. Combined with the additional support you will get from the International Study Centre during your first year, joining a college means becoming part of a strong community that will help you settle in quickly.

Your college is not only where you will live, but where you will meet both your first friends and the people you will eventually graduate with.

What is a collegiate system?

A collegiate system means that a university is split into a number of different colleges that form smaller academic communities. All staff and students become members of a college when they join the University, so you will be part of your college from day one. Choosing your college is a little like choosing your halls at other universities, but the college experience offers much more than just living in halls.

Not only do you live with other members of your college, but you will benefit from college-organised social events, sporting activities and support. Even if you choose to live off-campus, you will still be welcomed into your college.

Each college has its own distinctive character and opportunities, which offers you a deep sense of identity and community whilst at university.

The two most famous universities that offer this experience are Oxford and Cambridge. Lancaster University students, including those on a pathway programme at the International Study Centre, all join one of the Lancaster colleges.

What are the benefits of a collegiate system?

A collegiate system offers the unique experience of being part of a smaller, welcoming community from your first day at university. The college experience means:

  • Making friends more easily
  • Meeting students studying a different degree to yours
  • Joining in with college activities and events
  • More informal sporting opportunities through college-level sports
  • Access to more personalised services

Being part of both a college and the International Study Centre means double the support and community benefits available to you, so you will quickly make new friends and settle into life at Lancaster. Belonging to a college while studying your pathway programme will also make it easier to integrate into the university when you transition to your degree.

What can you expect from living in a college?

There are around 1,000 students in each of the Lancaster colleges. You will live in collegiate accommodation, which means your room will be located in your college. A team of Porters are on campus for round-the-clock security and support. The Porters are based in a Lodge where you can collect any post or parcels.

Lancaster colleges also offer social, games, and study facilities. Some colleges provide additional arts facilities such as music rooms, or have facilities such as kitchens and lockers for students who live off campus.

Sporting events can make up a big part of college life, with fierce competition between college sports teams. There are also plenty of non-sporting events that take place throughout the year, ranging from college balls to quizzes, and from day trips to craft activities.

Pastoral support is also available through your college from staff and students. “College Representatives” are elected from existing students, who will help you settle in during Welcome Week and offer peer-to-peer support throughout the academic year.

Choose your college

Each of the Lancaster colleges has a distinctive sense of identity, but no matter which college you’re part of, you’ll leave Lancaster convinced that yours was the best. As a graduate, you will find yourself asking others not which subject they studied, but which college they were in!

You choose your college once you have accepted your offer, when you complete your accommodation application. There are eight undergraduate colleges to choose from, and one college for postgraduates:

  • Bowland College
  • Cartmel College
  • County College
  • Furness College
  • Fylde College
  • Graduate College (for postgraduate students)
  • Grizedale College
  • Lonsdale College
  • Pendle College

Important things to consider when making your choice are what type of accommodation you’re looking for, what kinds of social and study spaces are important to you and your feelings about the size and location of your college.

When the time comes to choose your college, you can find out more about the different Lancaster Colleges here.

Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.