1 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
2 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
3 Foreword by the editor. Legal Disclaimers
College Guides Volume 1
4 Gonville and Caius, Christ’s
5 Churchill, Clare Hall
7 Corpus Christi, Darwin
8 Downing, Emmanuel
9 Fitzwillam, Girton
10 Homerton, Hughes Hall
11 Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic, Archaeology and
12 Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classics, Economics,
13 English, Geography, History, History of Art
14 Land Economy, Law, Linguistics, Management Studies,
Modern and Medieval Languages
15 Music, Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences, Theology
and Religious Studies.
16 Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Engineering,
17 Medicine, Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine
SPECIAL BONUS SECTION: Guide to Cambridge Nightlife
College Guides Volume 2
18 Jesus, Pembroke
19 King’s College Chapel College, Peterhouse
20 New Hall, Lucy Cavendish
21 Newnham, St John’s
22 Magdalene, Robinson
23 Queens’, St Edmund’s
24 St Catharine’s, Selwyn
25 Sidney Sussex, Trinity Hall,
26 Trinity, Official University Map
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 3
Foreword From the Editor
Welcome to the most reliable guide to the
University of Cambridge in this publication
So you’re thinking of applying to Cambridge then?
Ha! You make me laugh!
No, wait, you’re serious? Honestly? I’ve always
supported encouraging aspirations in the
unfortunate, but this is really pushing it. You’re
Well, the first thing you need to sort out is your face,
I mean, do you really think they let people as butt-
wrenchingly hideous as you in? Got the cosmetic
surgery booked? Great, we’ll continue.
The second thing you need to think about is which college you want to apply
to. What’s a college, I hear you ask? Well, imagine a lively and friendly
community of roughly 300 people who all wish to keep your repugnant
features locked away. Seriously dude, wear a paper bag over your head or
Cambridge University has approximately 31 colleges, the exact number
depending on where one draws the line between centre for higher education
and bottomless pit of ever looming despair (see Pembroke).
Thing number three to think about, your subject. Think carefully, you’ll spend
three, possibly four years studying this before realising that it has no possible
relevance to anything you could possibly end up doing after graduation.
In the ensuing tome you shall find, in not-quite alphabetical order,
Clareification’s uniquely styled textual portraits of these hallowed halls of
learning and that which is taught in them, derived from our infinite vault of
stereotypes and lies. Beware other guides and prospecti for they may contain
those most dangerous of things: facts.
Legal Disclaimer #1
All statements within this booklet are lies, Including this one
Legal Disclaimer #2
There once was a young man named Drew
Who though thought it was funny to sue.
Had the inclination
To cut the poor plaintiff in two.
4 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
(Gonville and) Caius
Caius is named after the renowned medieval
ventriloquist John Caius, who throughout the
fourteenth century regularly wowed the
monarchs of Northern Europe with his green
A fine tradition of ventriloquism continues at the
college to this day. The current `Professor of
Ventriloquism` is Stephen Hawking, who has
occupied the chair since 1985.
Though originally meant as a school only for ventriloquists, the college today
admits men for all subjects, and recently admitted the existence of women.
The college is known for maintaining high standards of rowing. If one pauses
for a moment in Senate House Passage, one hears students yelling
"Scoundrel!", "Ragamuffin!" and "Nincompoop!" to name just three of the
stylish epithets in circulation.
Notable alumni include internationally renowned twat Alistair Campbell and
locally renowned twat Jimmy Carr. In 2005, the two jointly founded Jimmy &
Alistair's International Centre for Twat Studies, in order to preserve the high
quality of twat heritage for which Caius is famed.
Pronunciation Guide: “Caius” is pronounced “Keys” by most students, as
speaking the true name of the college summons a demon of untold evil.
A college where academic rigour is paramount, Christ’s
has the University’s most polarised reward/punishment
system for academic results.
Those who obtain firsts are elevated to near god like
status; these privileged few living in a central court of
unimaginable luxury, separated by a wall of steel from
the unworthy 2:1 and 2:2 proletariat below. Inside they
are tended to by an armada of midgets, specially trained
to meet every possible need or desire. The Christ’s shield
Under pressure from CUSU, in 1998 the college depicts two
abandoned its traditional practice of chopping students historical methods
who fail to obtain a 2:2 into small chunks and spreading of executing under-
them over a field (hence the name Christ’s Pieces). par students: being
mauled by lions and
Students who get a third are now simply shot, whilst
stabbed with funny-
those who fail to reach even this standard have a worse looking swords
fate, transfer to Pembroke.
Did you know? At matriculation each Christ’s first-year is implanted with a
small self-destruct device. This is triggered by any period more than eight
hours without visiting a library.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 5
This most scientific of colleges was
founded in 1958 by St Churchill of
Westminster, patron saint of multi-storey
car parks, to provide some architectural
balance amongst the colleges of
Cambridge. The college has one of the
most skewed gender biases amongst
colleges, with about 70% of all
undergraduates being male. Luckily, being
a college filled with natscis, mathmos and
compscis, the gender balance for those
For fear that their ugliness may who leave their rooms on a regular basis is
cause permanent harm Churchill’s almost 50:50.
buildings are not to be viewed with Churchill is also positioned on the only hill
the naked eye. in Cambridge, due to the foresight of its
founders, who saw that global warming
would flood most of Cambridge, leaving only higher ground. There is no
“Chapel of Churchill College”, due to the secular nature of the college, instead
there is a “Chapel quite near to Churchill College, but not really anything to
do with it, it was just here when we got here, honest.” Francis Crick
apparently wanted to found a brothel as well, but the male female ratio meant
that they couldn't find enough hookers from the female undergraduates for
the prospect to be viable. It was instead replaced by a computer lab.
Originally a poor, overlooked outpost of Clare College,
those who lacked the necessary social skills to get a real
job once they had graduated were dispatched to Clare
Hall. There they where they were sent to do menial
postgraduate research in inhumane conditions. This
sweatshop-like environment directly funded the Union of
Clare Students president’s life of booze, wine and
women, a cost that is now obtained by beating up Selwyn
students and stealing their dinner money. Too stupid to make
After a sudden and bloody uprising in 1966, which left two dead, dozens
injured and many rather cross, Clare Hall separated from the main College.
Relations have been perilous ever since, with the small isolated community
of postgraduates living in constant fear that their parent college will violently
regain control. As such Clare Hall has the highest military expenditure per
capita of any Cambridge College.
Did you know? It is technically legal to shoot a Clare Hall student from with
a crossbow on the 17th day of Full Michaelmas term
[Legal note: Clareification does not condone the murder of students from any
college. Except Caius]
6 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Clare is one of Cambridge's oldest colleges. Its
coat-of-arms resembles that of the medieval de
Clare family. The cross denotes a Christian
heritage, while the pointed chevrons represent
the family's motto, “Movin' on up”.
One of Clare's most famous alumni is 16 century
Protestant bishop Hugh Latimer. A truly
remarkable individual, he was awarded a
fellowship while he was still an undergraduate.
According to a copy of Clareification which has
survived from the time of his burning as a heretic
in 1555, the angry crowd present shouted
'Nobodie lykes a smart arse'.
Clare holds high its reputation as a liberal college, and fights fiercely with
other outwardly sleepy colleges like Trinity Hall for the title of “friendly
college,” in an ongoing bloody conflict. Clare was also among the first colleges
to admit women, way back in 1972. Apart from the women-only colleges,
obviously. This reputation for progressive thinking is compounded by the
complete lack of censorship under which the weekly college newspaper
In reality, though, Clare is a bitter, bitter place. Sandwiched on the river
between the grandeur of King's and Trinity, the inhabitants are full of a
strangely serene melancholy which is only broken with the publication of
Clareification on Friday lunchtime which, however briefly, dispels the creeping
sense of ennui which seems carved into the very stone of Clare. All else is
merely the pale, mundane shadow of reality.
Anyway, the gardens of Clare are
noted for being among the most
beautiful in Cambridge. Sometimes
you can go in them. Sometimes not.
Clare's bridge is the oldest surviving
college bridge in Cambridge, ideal for
standing on and eavesdropping on the
conversations of punters, whose
guides will probably give you a much
more complete history of the place
than can be found here. Remarkably,
the punters have managed to fit more fabrications, lies and unbelievable
distortions of reality per minute than almost any other source of information.
Luckily, tourists are extremely credible. A fun game to play: only give
directions to tourists using fictitious colleges as landmarks. If you have a
conscience, you don’t even have to lie! Telling someone that King’s College
Chapel is just east of Balliol is technically the truth. Just don’t take money for
your advice, because the police get involved, and hiding out in Pembroke for
two hours is more than anyone could take.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 7
Corpus Christi is a peaceful, academic college
located in the centre of town, with happy and
friendly students and faculty. At least that’s what
they want you to think.
Like an iceberg, 90% of Corpus is underground,
where the evil master of the college, a dark
shadowy figure known only as Dr Z cackles
maniacally about his numerous infallible plans to
Academic aptitude is a secondary concern when
accepting new undergraduates. Applicants are
required to go through a rigourous minion skills
exam, which involves tests on failing to hit any
form of target and preparing unusual, but easily MWAHAHAHAHA!!! The
escapable, death scenarios. Unusually, Corpus world shall soon be mine!
Christi college has a complex system of air ducts
running through the college, which are just big enough for a man to crawl
through. Corpus is the only college to include a large red button triggering a
3-minute countdown to self-destruct.
Unfortunately, the tuxedo-clad gentleman who thwarts said evil schemes on
a termly basis presents a huge STD risk due to his insistence on bedding half
the college on every occasion.
We’re not sure what the current diabolical plans are, but do you really think
it’s a library extension they were building for the last two years?
Darwin is a graduate college, and thus is a
shadowy institution at the edges of human
comprehension. Little is known about it,
beyond its founding by Trinity, Caius and
John’s in 1964, and the many rumours that
have sprung up since. This college is believed
to be a giant biological experiment, fulfilling
the conditions of Charles Darwin's will, and
delayed because it was only able to be
realised in the 1960s after the advances in
genetic science. The college was also the first
to be mixed, and thus provides for further
You can just make out the hint evidence for this sinister agenda.
of a half-shell Sightings have also been reported of giant
amphibious creatures in the Mill Pond late at
night, and local pizza delivery companies also reported a large increase in
anchovy-topped orders from Darwin recently. All these factors and more
seem to indicate that the ultimate aim of the founding colleges has been
attained: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been recreated.
8 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Downing is the first of the ‘new’ colleges, and so despite not having the charm
and history of the old colleges, it lacks the endearing new car smell of
Robinson, Fitz and other modern colleges that makes up for it.
It does however have a position ideal for medics and natscis with Downing
being under five minutes from lectures. The location is also reasonable for
arts students, as being the second nearest college to the station, Downing is
only around an hour from London, making day trips easily feasible.
Downing apparently has a strong medical and legal tradition, though this is
likely due to necessity rather than any ideological alignment. A common sight
on Regent’s Street late at night are the crowds of students swarming onto
Parker’s Piece for the inevitable weekly mêlée. Injured combatants are
patched up by aspiring medics, and unfortunate passersby injured have their
treatment delegated to first years, and are then recycled for buttery lunch.
As the police crackdown on these brutal events intensifies, the student
lawyers are less and less able to defend the college against legal attacks, and
hence, these prowling packs of students descend on the streets, often ending
up in the carnage that is Cindies.
Also known as Emma, Emmanuel is another college
with aspirations to femininity, but the nickname still
leaves “Emma” looking more than a tad like a rugby
player in an empire line ballgown; very disturbing,
yet still not unseen in Cambridge. Founded in the
16th century by a rich puritan, as was then the
fashion, this trend is demonstrated by the
University Money-Extracting Department's adverts
at the time:
“Rich? Protestant? You can't have fun with your
money, so set up a college, and guarantee your
money will stop others having fun too. In
One of Emmanuel’s damed perpetuity. Amen.”
One of Emmanuel's
fucks Unfortunately, Emmanuel college is now only
notable for three things.
Firstly, it has some ducks. These are solely there to allow poor quality
comedians to craft shoddy limericks and spoonerisms, and so we will not
mention them further.
Secondly, it has a very cheap bar. This is cheaper than Clare bar, but is also
not underground, and so not really worth going to, unless you like the
possibility of daylight seeping into your drinking dens.
Finally, it has come top in the Tompkins table for 4 of the last 5 years. The
correlation with the pricing of beer is undeniable, and as every statistician
knows, correlation implies causation, and if we want to rise from our lowly
position of 17th, we clearly need cheaper alcohol. Union of Clare Students,
that section was directed at you.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 9
Fitzwilliam, founded in the early space-age, is a medium sized college, on an
isolated island far out of town, but Clareification has yet against scooped the
world, unearthing detailed plans for its expansion. These documents, never
seen before by human eyes, were found after careful detective work and a
copious amounts of meth, dredging through the centre pages of TCS.
Expansion plans: TOP SECRET
PHASE ONE: Build new court on main site
PHASE TWO: Paint pentagram in great hall
PHASE THREE: Sacrifice 12 Compscis
PHASE FOUR: ARRRRGHHHH
The rest of the documents were unfortunately unreadable, as it was set out
like TCS, and thus sent our intrepid investigator spiraling into madness.
Nevertheless this is further conclusive evidence that yet another college has
been possessed by beings more horrible than mortal conception. It is
believed by some that this is the work of the mysterious new donor, a certain
Cat Fooloo, who was also recently an active donor in Pembroke. Other
suspicious happenings have included untraceable screaming in the library
after hours, 500ft pyramid pulsating with mind destroying swirling colours
which emerged smoking from the chapel floor and deformed dripping
creatures with only rudimentary communication, with the unplaceable aroma
of fish. Some have posited these events are related to the approaching
apocalypse, but college officials have stated these are simply the fallout of
the last boatie dinner.
Those conspiracy theorists who believe that
man has never landed on the moon have never
been to Cambridge's only extraterrestrial
college, Girton. Founded by HG Wells in
Tranquility bay, some time in the Victorian era,
the distance between the male-only colleges
and Girton ensured that there would be no
impropriety, such as ankle glimpsing or
The commute is a nightmare,
approach within 5 feet 7 inches (the distance as but on the plus side, they have
determined by leading scientists of the age that a swimming pool
would ensure that if any lady should be
overcome by a faint, they would not be in any danger of physical contact
with a man).
The distance is now the only legacy of this highly restrictive age, and now
Girton is completely mixed, with men, women, and clangers living in
harmony. Any lady who still has the due respect for the proper protocol
would be advised to attend New Hall, Newnham or Lucy Cavendish, where
one can be at peace from the dangers of those awful, awful men.
Did you know? More Cambridge Students have annexed parts of India
for the British Empire than have been to Girton
10 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Homerton College, Home of the Brave, College of the
Free, founded in Hackney in the mid 17th century as
a bulwark against the religious oppression suffered at
Oxford and Cambridge. Throughout the 18th and
19th centuries Homerton grew in size, having a
relatively small population, but still producing some
influential thinkers. Its gradual rise led to prominence
in the 20th century as a leader in world education.
The college was entirely segregated, from its move to
Cambridge until the 1970s, when finally equality was
achieved. Homerton was notable throughout the
middle of the century for its stand-off with the great powers within the
university, known as the tepid wait. It is thought this will eventually be
resolved after the agreement to converge Homerton with the rest of the
University in 2001. It is famed for the rotundity of its students, the
international appeal of its sitcoms, and its recent invasion of Iraq.
Having suffered from lawsuits intended to prove that it was in fact the worst
college in Cambridge, Hughes Hall has engaged on a massive publicity
campaign to restore its sullied reputation. To ensure fairness and balance, we
have decided to publish a short rebuttal of myths around Hughes Hall.
Myth 1: Hughes Hall doesn't have a bar, instead it is has a small room
filled with rabid dogs, which can only be opened on the outside
Hughes Hall, in common with all colleges has a bar, and it is in fact a rather
nice one. It obviously doesn't have a rabid-dog filled room, as that would
require a licence. There is in fact a box filled with pointed objects though, for
anyone who wants to simulate that dog-biting satisfaction.
Myth 2: There are no supervisors at Hughes Hall, just trained
monkeys who smear shit over your essays.
Due to pressure from animal rights activists, the famed “Hughes Hall
Monkeys” have been given proper lavatories. Hughes Hall has always
assessed all work fairly and assigned appropriate supervisors.
Myth 3: Accommodation is generally of a poorer quality than at other
This is equally false. Every student has at least one square metre of floor
space, and some even have personal chairs.
Myth 4: Hughes Hall is in fact a mere hallucination, a mass psychosis
induced by the government to subdue dangerous grad students.
GUARDS! TAKE HIM AWAY!
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 11
The Alternative Alternative
Since the 2005 abolition of the Cambridge sorting hat on copyright
infringement grounds students have been free to choose their own subjects.
Choose wisely, as picking the wrong subject will result in three, maybe four
years of misery and despair (actually, that happens if you pick the right one
Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNAC)
ASNACs are a rare breed, mainly due to the
dwindling number of Vikings and associated
Norse raiders for them to study. It is projected
that due to loss of habitat due to global warming
and the rise in lethality of axes because of
advances in modern technology, the last wild
Viking will have died in glorious battle by 2012.
Don't let that put you off applying, as there will
still be some in captivity for study, and there will
still be field trips, including the annual looting and
pillaging of Lindisfarne monastery .
Archaeology and Anthropology
The noble faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology provides a rare
opportunity to combine casual desecration of the graves of the dead with
passive reproduction of the colonial mentality. The typical arch and anth
student, a sordid communion of corrupt undertaker and failed travel writer,
provides a great service to our wondrous nation, sacrificing the creature
comforts of the West to bring civilization to the untamed savages of northern
England and beyond. I have heard anthropology described as philosophy with
people, which rather suggests that philosophy is anthropology without
people. Which leaves philosophy a touch high and dry really. How
Architecture students arrive at Cambridge with their
creative juices flowing, eager young people fresh
from art courses and drug binges around the
country. Seven years later they emerge from this
god-forsaken abyss as soulless wretches, the last of
their individuality worn smooth and uninteresting.
In this manner, they are prepared for the realities of
architecture – buildings are big and rectangular
because they are cheap and provide maximal office
space. Learn this simple fact and you will go far.
12 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
As China is soon going to rule the world, would be collaborators are turning
in droves from their traditional German towards other subjects, and Asian
and Middle Eastern Studies is the perfect subject to betray your fellow
citizens to the Communist government. Instead of doing Mandarin or other
East Asian languages, AMES also gives you the choice of Arabic, allowing you
fast track recruitment to M15 or M16. Fun Fact: If you're a double agent, you
get paid twice as much!
Classics is the study of the Roman and Ancient Greek civilizations, home to
some of the randiest, most bloodthirsty and highly cultured bastards ever.
If you don't like the idea of cross dressing aristocrats ruling the streets with
a mob and then possibly having sex with their sister, you should probably be
doing a different subject. You also get to do Epic poetry. It's like poetry, but
taken to the max, with thousands of lines, a sweet story and more epithets
than your can shake a wine-dark stick at.
If you are worried about the present crises in world
financial markets, and are looking for someone to
blame, you could do worse than economists.
Supposedly able to predict and control the mysterious
dragon of cash that is the global economy, they
singularly failed to predict the carnage on Britain's
streets. I'm sure you've all seen wheelbarrows of cash
being pushed forlornly round the streets by despondent
hedge fund managers, searching for a football club
cash-starved enough that it can be bought out with
their meager millions. However a better target for your
blame would be the hundreds of miscellaneous third
years who migrate to the city every year in search of a bonus and the disdain
of a nation.
Children, don't you just love them? They're like tiny
people who don't know anything on speed! Education
is the chance to “make a difference”, that is “fill their
brains with facts to stop them turning into crazed
drug monkeys” (if you're interested in what a drug
monkey is, just google it. I'd keep safe search on if I
were you though). It's also one of the key attractions
of Homerton (on the Cambridge Riviera), as the
Education Faculty is right next door. Fun fact: I went to Homerton once. It
was shut, so I went home.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 13
English plays a key part in all of our lives. Fun
Fact: This article is actually written in a form of
English. Naturally there is a degree in its study
here at Cambridge. English has been officially
certified as a “work free” degree, with a
staggering 0 essays per week on average. Be
warned, as there is a mandatory 6 hours a week
of wandering around gardens reciting
Shakespeare to plants. This seemingly easy task
is fraught with danger as some roses are quite
judgmental, and poor enunciation can lead to
serious thorn injuries.
Do you know where you are at the moment? Could you point it out on a map
of Britain? Are you able to draw the local river from source to mouth? If you
answered yes to any of these questions, you may well be a geographer.
Don't worry though, there are counselors and people able to help your
addiction. In severe cases you can be supplied with methadone as a part of
hill replacement therapy. Geography – we can beat it, together.
Are you bored with the present? Does the
future have too many robots and spaceships
for your liking? Well, you're in luck, for there's
a subject all about the past, and it's called
History. “Historians” as they're known, have
the freedom to explore all the past.
Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to
organise field trips, and so History is a purely
theoretical exercise. It is hoped that some
practical history (or “screwing about with the
past”) will be possible in the near future, but it
has not yet been possible to accelerate a DeLorean to 88mph.
History of Art
Aesthetic sense so refined that they can detect a colour clash at fifty yards,
dressed so sharp that they can cut through diamond, art historians are an
elite club of style gurus who drift through Cambridge on a miasma of culture.
Unfortunately, this leaves them poorly prepared for the real world, where a
badly designed magazine, unthinking fashion statements, or particularly ugly
cloud formation can precipitate a massive breakdown, or “art attack”. If you
see one of these unfortunate souls looking lost, be kind, and direct them to
the nearest gallery, where experts will be able to help them.
14 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Land Economy is one of the most mysterious of subjects. Only available at
Cambridge, what exactly is covered by the tripos is subject to widespread
speculation. The most popular belief is that Land Economy is in fact a study
of alien interventions, and is an attempt to train an elite cadre of people able
to cope with the inevitable Martian invasion. For those of you who doubt,
remember: crop circles...
If you want to earn a bathtubs of cash in a city law firm
by suing everything, shouting down phones and
wearing ridiculous wigs, this is the degree for you.
There are other options that you can take, as it is now
the only remaining Cambridge route to be a mafia
Consiglieri, after the recent abolition of the Gangster
Tripos (which incorporated Concrete Footwear Design,
Semantics of Nicknames and Applied Governmental
Corruption (CUSU Approved)). For those of you who
don't fancy the morals of the previous career choices,
you could always switch to medicine, or something.
If you like languages, but you don't like foreigners, don't worry! There's
always linguistics. You also get to read a lot about Noam Chomsky. Isn't he
dreamy? I love the way he talks about generative linguistics and pacifism.
Let's just all think about Noam Chomsky for a while in contemplative silence.
Have you ever got urge to control the world? If so, you might consider taking
up management, as megalomania is considered a prerequisite to admission.
In the management tripos you will learn such important skills such as how to
delegate all your work, the art of rolling out pointless initiatives on your
underlings, and that all important job, spinning around on a leather executive
chair (white cats and cackling are now considered to be indicative of bad
Modern and Medieval Languages (MML)
MML is a subject that can prove invaluable to a graduate throughout their life.
For instance, if you are stuck in a bar, and unable to work out how to order
a beer, MML would be useful. Or if you were cornered by foreign crime lords
and needed to come up with an excuse fast for why you were found asleep in
the Don's son's bed wearing only clown nose. And when you are learning to
parachute, and your instructor doesn't speak English. So much fuss and
bother could have been avoided had you done MML. It's not too late to switch.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 15
Cambridge is filled with music of all kinds, and so “musos”
do not have a monopoly on the production of sound.
Indeed, the music faculty is planning to modernise
dramatically, introducing courses on drum and bass and
“cheese” and abandoning all that boring classical music. In
the words of a prominent figure in the department “For
heaven's sake, Bach doesn't even have a proper bassline,
let alone a beat. And atonal? More like atunal. You can't
rave to any of that shit.”
Philosophy, oldest of professions. Before the first
prostitute sold her body, there were moral philosophers
debating whether it was justified. During the domestication
of the dog, philosophers were discussing whether animals
can truly think. And after the first ever game of trivial
pursuits, philosophers were the first to questions “Is the
concept of truth real and valid? And thus, can we get
another roll of the dice?”
Social and Political Sciences (SPS)
Bucking the trend of the “hard” sciences, social and political sciences has
eschewed the 'sci' suffix, and gone straight for the acronym. This difference
typifies the contrast between the disciplines, and should be enough for the
informed reader to understand this complex issue completely. For those of
you who are seeking information from Clareification, further explanation is
due. SPS has abandoned the natural science approach of carrying out
experiments and writing lots of numbers down, for writing very long essays.
Fun Fact: SPS is a palindrome.
Theology and Religious Studies
Other subjects allow you to study God's
creation, but theology is the only subject
that allows you to get into its head., and
from thence its pants.
Theologians deal with such crucial issues
as what Moses' favourite breakfast cereal
was, whether Muhammad would have
drunk Pepsi or Coke, and whether Jesus
Christ was indeed, as a certain molten-
faced shit-producing moron once wrote,
16 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
If you happened to want to go on a bombing spree, produce a large quantity
of illegal drugs or just refine a whole lot of crude oil, and were searching for
a tripos that would be useful, you might immediately think of natsci.
However, those with more ambition would go for chemical engineering, the
subject that allows you not just to make some chemicals, but to make literal
fucktons of them. In conclusion: chemical engineering, like chemistry, but
Computer Science (Compsci)
Famed for not leaving their rooms, compscis are
assumed by many to be anti-social. However, the
truth is far more nuanced. These poor souls are in fact
trapped in their room by their evil robots, bent on
violence, who absolutely will not stop until fun is dead.
There is always initial resistance before the gradual
assimilation, but eventually the AI overcomes. This is
the tragedy WHERE IS SARAH CONNOR??! which every
Engineers are a breed of lesser builder, ridiculed in construction circles and
denied the privilege of hard-hat protection and eternal tea breaks afforded to
their superior brethren. In their role of taming the rowdy brain-children of
architects into viable structures, they serve a valuable function in society as
those we blame when something falls down. Or, in the case of such fiendish
temples to academia as libraries and colleges, fail to do so.
Fierce competitor for the most
abstract tripos at Cambridge,
Mathematics is also one of the most
ancient, and the originator of the
term “tripos”, which means “three
legged stool”, in reference to
renowned ability to balance. There
are, in fact, around 250 mathmos in
each year, and there are going to be
some at your college. You may not
have seen them, but they do exist and can occasionally be observed late at
night. If you stumble across a mathmo, try to not startle them and back away
carefully, trying not to look into their eyes. CUSU can provide problem sheets
and attack alarms if you are worried about personal safety.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 17
So you want to learn how to save people's
lives? Don't worry, it'll be a mere 3 years until
you're allowed to cut up a living patient, giving
you plenty of time to settle in. For the first
three years of your degree you'll be a form of
lower status bio-natsci., with one of your key
assignments learning to name of every single
bone, muscle and eventually cell in your body
in Latin. I call my left kidney Brutus, and you'll
soon learn to too. It is of course, a
“worthwhile” degree, meaning that you can use the knowledge you've worked
so hard to gain for more than simply party tricks. Don't worry, diagnosing
people's relatives with terminal diseases is still a firm pre-dinner drinks
favourite, so you won't be left out.
Natural Sciences (Natsci)
9am. Cambridge. A horde of bikes so dense that they
block out the sun cycles down Tennis Court road. They
are the Natscis. They number so many that mathmos
black out even thinking about it. There are also an almost
infinite varieties of natsci, with over 200 possible
combinations of first year subjects alone. Effectively, they
are like an endemic kind of beetle.
Vets have much in common with
medics, except that instead of saving
things with souls, medics can instead
use their talents to save those in the
Varsity 100. Vets have to have an
almost encyclopedic knowledge of
the ailments of animals. They will
welcome your testing of them, and it
is a sure fire way to gain favour with
your favourite vet. Just think of a
human disease and an animal, and
ask them how to treat it. For example “How would you treat hedgehog
headaches/cow colic/giraffe gastroenteritis?”. Keep it up for a few hours, and
you're guaranteed to win their eternal friendship.
Cambridge Nightlife guide
18 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Originally a nunnery, Jesus was converted
into a college in anticipation of the creation
of New Hall and Newnham, but due to
contracting out of the building work to the
Grand Duchy of Poland and Lithuania, which
was suffering under the rise of Russia at the
turn of the 16th century; and the “scientific
methods” (making shit up) that indicated
strongly women couldn't possibly Supervisions at Jesus are
understand anything but cooking, children invariably delivered in parables.
and clothes, the foundation of women's
college was delayed for a few hundred
years. The college was initially named after a nearby pub, and after being
briefly briefly known as the “College formerly known as Prince”, Jesus College
chose its present name, unwisely as this leads to an abundance of prats
making jokes about its name.
“Where is Jesus?” “He's in all our hearts”
“Is Jesus any good at Rugby?” “Of course, he's the son of god”
“If you you don't stop making puns, I'm going to hit you in the face with this
baseball bat” “Oh, ok.”
Jesus is set in a walled enclosure, awash with sports fields, and thus is one
of the most successful colleges, winning this year’s Ultimate cuppers, and
doing quite well in a few sports of lesser importance such as association
football and rugby football, whatever they are.
When the world was hewn from the dusts of the cosmos by the great architect
of the universe, there were decreed to be three spheres in which creation
could dwell. The highest contains those beings of glory (see St Catharine’s)
who once every hundred years descend to the mortal plane giving birth to our
myths and legends. The second is the world that we inhabit, a halfway house
where good and evil co-exist. The third is that cursed place which was known
to the Romans as Hades, the Chinese as “The Chamber of Blood” and in
Cambridge as Pembroke college.
There is no light in Pembroke save the fiery glow from pits of molten sulphur.
Nor is there goodness, love or happiness. From matriculation to graduation
all students know is pain and misery; the tortured cries of the damned ringing
out “Why, why did I apply to this literal embodiment of hell?”
As a consequence Pembroke students perform well in both the Tripos exams
and Lent bumps, as such mental and physical anguish is miniscule in
If you place any value on your mortal soul you will never venture near this
forsaken chasm, except for the bar which, although staffed by demons and
littered with human skulls, is rather cheap.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 19
King’s College Chapel College
King’s is unique within the university as being
the only College to consist wholly of a single
building, the other halls and accommodation
blocks being stage sets designed to fool
tourists into believing that they are visiting a
Indeed, to offset the spiraling cost of hosting
the 1512 Choral Games, the student body was
permanently replaced with a small, dedicated
troupe of actors, who are not only cheaper and
Taking a photo of King’s from
any angle other than this one more attractive than regular students, but also
is punishable by torture don’t throw a hissy fit if their May Ball gets
cancelled (see below). If anyone today tells you
they go to King’s then they most likely go to Homerton and are just too
ashamed to admit it.
Opinion is divided as to whether King’s’ overall impact on the wider
university is positive or negative. Whilst King’s does unfortunately attract a
plague of “tourists” (pronounced “Stop taking photographs and get out of my
fucking way”) the college provides a useful shortcut between Clare Old Court
and the centre of town. Although this is considerably quicker than walking
round Senate House it would be even speedier still if the Chapel were to
accidentally, mysteriously burn down… not that we’re suggesting anything…
Peterhouse is the oldest of the remaining
Cambridge colleges, after Clare. This means
if someone “accidentally” covered it in
gasoline and set it on fire, Clare would gain
the prestigious honour of being the oldest
Cambridge college. I'm just saying, y'know.
Peterhouse also has a reputation as being one
of the more right wing of colleges, though
despite this it also has a prominent “Sex
Club”, though whether this is just another
example of Tory minister style moments of
madness on Hampstead Heath is unknown. With all that wood, it’d be a shame
Peterhouse is also famous for its if someone accidentally threw a
Postponement of the May Ball, an annual petrol bomb, wouldn’t it?
event, which was instituted by Fellows
ignorant of the well known correlation between exam results and fun. Other
colleges don’t have May balls, but Peterhouse doesn’t have them in style.
This page of the Alternative Alternative Prospectus is sponsored by the
Cambridge University Arson Society.
20 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
The Women’s Colleges
Tired of all those heterogametic types? Want to
live in an environment free from the obsessive
competitiveness of male students? Or do you long
for equality in society? If so, try an all female
college, where liberty and equality abound, but
fraternity does not...
This college is so new that it is still under
construction. The college is to be
founded in expectation of mass
dissatisfaction by the female members
of Caius, who would like to become a
majority rather than marginal minority.
The futuristic dome will house the great
temple of feminism, where SPS
priestesses will burn bras and students
will convene to feel smug that they have
two X chromosomes. Anthropology
Futuristic domes, not phallic but still not students look forward to a case study in
out of Freudian territory
a solely female society and currently
happily predict a tribal cavewoman like
stage, an age of empires and violence where groups of students will build
forts and claim territories. They expect finally the virtual students to coalesce
into roaming packs (termed “Drinking Societies”) which will wander amongst
the bars and Ents of more balanced, modern colleges seeking whatever it is
they feel that their perfect social order lacks.
Lucy Cavendish is a mysterious college that is
believed to hide the Hogwart’s higher education
centre in Cambridge. Powerful incantations have
enabled the true appearance, a 14th century gothic
castle,to be hidden from non magical folk. The
college relies, unsurprisingly, not on magic to
prevent potential graduate students from applying
who do not have the necessary abilities, but the
mere fact that this is an all female graduate college.
The single case of a real application resulted in the
young woman involved being found some months
later wandering through the Fitzwilliam museum,
mumbling incoherently about having been, “to hell
and back,” although it may be that she was recalling the repressed memories
of her undergraduate days at Pembroke.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 21
Although originally intended to promote the
academic excellence of women in a time when
some of the undergraduate population of
Cambridge recognised females only as something
silly, expensive and dreadfully inconvenient but
necessary to produce heirs when one wanted to be
playing with cards/semantics/each other (and the
rest simply didn’t recognise women at all), this
college now serves a dual purpose. Mathmos,
Natscis and Compscis who just don’t have any luck
with the ladies of their college find it easy to
impress the bored members of this institution,
A desperate attempt to
although are advised to develop good cat burglar
avoid the boredom
and porter/jailer avoidance techniques. The
college also acts as an admissions sponge, with
approximately 99.9% of the students originally having applied to Clare.
The ennui of being a student here matched only by reading ancient TCS
comment columns whilst being played muzak, the students have a number
of comparatively exciting extracurricular activities, with the Great Paint
Drying on a Wall Ent held last year being the talk of the college ever since.
A centrally located college with good
facilities and proud history, St John’s
college nevertheless suffers from a deep
and widespread dissatisfaction among the
students and faculty. They all, without
exception, would rather be at Oxford.
In every pair of eyes one can malaise that
could come only from longing after that
other city. Weekly groups take trips on the
X5, and spend a blissful Sunday afternoon
...if only... if only... outside Oriel College gates, just… longing…
Indeed, the JCR have recently passed a
motion to have the college moved,
brick-by-brick, down the A14 and
Is putting John’s on the
A45 and into “the promised land”. women’s pages:
This operation will be financed by a) Lazy page setting by the
Trinity College, who would like to use editor
the land that John’s is currently for or
storing their money. b) An indication that the
male population of John’s
are not real men?
We’ll let you decide.
22 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
“Magdalene College is a jolly good laugh, full of first-rate chaps up for some
banter, wot wot. None of those immigrant types, bah, or poor people, God
forbid. And no women. Smaller brains, you know, and simply awful at
croquet. Bah. Good traditional college. Now you must excuse me, old bean,
I have an engagement with Colonel Spatlage-Mushgrove to have a chat about
a fine pair of rifles. I'll just put my trousers back on.” As told by a student.
There are some who say Magdalene is full of elitist snobs. How the College
got this reputation is a mystery, though it proudly holds the title of last of the
Oxbridge colleges to admit women, in 1988.
It also the first to admit animals, in 1987, and as of 2003, an intelligent
looking chair. The motto of the College, 'Garde ta Foy', is unusual, translating
from the old French into “Guard your Foy”. 'Foy' may refer to a small village
in Belgium, but is most likely a misspelling of the word 'fois', meaning 'liver'.
Such advice is especially important while duelling, which would be a favourite
pastime of the College if anyone extinguished their pipes and dropped their
croquet mallets for long enough.
The pronunciation of Magdalene has been the subject of continuous debate.
It may surprise some that the issues faced by many members of the College
when faced with words with more than 2 syllables are not to blame. In fact,
the pronunciation, 'Moor-delin' was chosen to show the College's multi-
cultural feeling, a heady mix of support for the Moors and for Saladin, who it
is agreed was a 'jolly good chap and not a half bad wicket-keeper, either.'
Built with money won in a drunken poker game,
and containing more bricks than a five year old's
Lego fantasy, Robinson was originally designed as
a post-modern masterpiece. Unfortunately, as
nobody really knew what post-modern meant, it
ended up looking like the bastard love-child of
Belmarsh prison and the Grafton centre car park.
Some of the more famous alumni include that
Hope you like the colour red famed carrier of the Olympic torch, and ex-Blue
Peter presenter Konnie Huq, and Nick “bigger than
Cameron” Clegg. He's the leader of the Lib Dems, party of the strawberry
smoothie, by the way.
As evidenced by the castle-like lookout tower by the gatehouse, the
retractable 2 ton front gate, the copious coating of lead paint on the walls,
the college has an alternative purpose, acting as the university's nuclear
bomb shelter and subsequent defence outpost against the inevitable hoards
of radioactive zombies. Although this scenario hasn't occurred quite yet, the
porters are ever vigilant, and have been known to occasionally take pot shots
at confused philosophy students, who reportedly exhibit similar behaviours.
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 23
Queens' and King's Colleges were founded at similar
times by a husband and wife, and this is the
explanation for the matching his'n'hers purple and
green colours (the oppressive societal imposed male
and female colours were different in the 15th Century
(And the repression still continues to this day, fuck
the chauvinist hierarchy (though obviously not
literally, as that would probably undermine the entire
issue (I've forgotten how many brackets I had (I
think I'll just guess)))))))))))))). Along with the
pronunciation of Magdalene, Caius and Jesus, one of
the key indicators of knowledge of Cambridge college names is the position
of the apostrophe in Queens'. However debate on the issue has been rather
stifled by hundreds of years of infantile giggling by bored students, and so it
was eventually relegated to the end of the word out of sheer frustration.
Queens' also has a mathematical bridge, so called because it consists entirely
of topology and so at any stage is liable to turn into a teacup or doughnut
without warning. One of the stories surrounding the bridge, literally in this
case, as punt guides make this shit up, is that it was designed by Isaac
Newton. This is clearly false, as the bridge was designed 27 years after his
death, and everyone knows that Zombie Newton's outstretched arms were
quite poor for complicated architectural and engineering drawings, and he
was more preoccupied for his undeath with consuming the brains of
undergraduates unfortunate enough to be lured into his lair underneath
Trinity Great Court.
St Edmund's College is all that remains of a radical group of religious
terrorists who through violent means brought about the end of the corrupt
Anglican hegemony that ruled over Cambridge in the 19th Century. Sponsored
by the mysterious head of the Catholic Church, the “the Pope”, these religious
extremists set up their base in the current location of the college, and began
a systematic campaign of religious war culminating in the infamous Market
On the 17th of April 1892, due to an unfortunate administrative error, all
policemen were given a day's leave. As a result these screwed up sons of a
church were allowed free range across Cambridge. Innocent students were
harassed and forced to confess their sins like a tawdry gossip column, clouds
of incense choked all who ventured outside, and worst of all, a reconstituted
Christ was assembled from transubstantiated communion wafers and wine.
This god-powered monster was only overcome after theology students began
cast doubt on the existence of a historical Jesus, leading to a crisis in faith
and a resultant collapse into simply a mushy alcoholic mess. The events of
this day led directly to the creation of St Edmund's 4 years later to pacify
and assimilate the perpetrators.
24 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
A small college in the centre of town, with little
influence on the world outside its walls, St
Catharine’s would be hardly worth a mention in
this guide if it were not for one man…
Nay, to call him man is an injustice, for he is so
far beyond such paltry labels. If he is “man”,
then the rest of us are mere boys, mewling
infants in comparison. No name devised by
human kind can encapsulate the wonder of this
No portrait can capture his glory
heaven-sent creature but we shall here use the
title he has taken while he blesses us here on earth with his presence: St
Catharine’s College Professor of Chemistry: Dr Peter Wothers.
The corridors of St Catharine’s have been observed to literally shine with his
reflected glory. Formals are quiet affairs as students sit in silence, just
basking in the wonder that flows from the fellows’ table, occasionally
breaking into spontaneous, but fully justified, applause. Floors in the college
are made of rubber, as ladies are highly prone to swooning in his presence.
With an estimated IQ of 305 and a physique so perfect that it has won awards
which weren’t even intended for such a purpose, Catz’s students are aware
that they are not remotely worthy to talk to the author of international
bestseller “Why Chemical Reactions Happen” (a book which several major
world faiths have adopted as their primary religious text).
That the college has not been renamed “St Wothers’” remains a mystery, but
most commentators agree that it is because only mortal men can become
Selwyn was founded in 1882 and has been winner of the most average college
award every year since. As writ in its motto “Mediocrus in extremus”, Selywn
college consistently raises the bar when it comes to being extra ordinary
rather than extraordinary.
The college is located on Grange road, making it not entirely central, but not
that far out either. Its boats do reasonably well in bumps, but never really
challenge for the top spots. The college’s colours are grey and beige.
Throughout the whole of the 90s every single Selwyn student achieved at
least a 2:1 in Tripos exams, however none ever got higher than this either.
In 2001, a first year Natsci who achieved a 1st in her Biology of Cells paper
was quickly sent down.
In response to this abomination of the average the Selwyn matriculation
process now involves a series of neural and genetic alterations to preserve
the middling ethos of the college.
(OK, like, some of the above was made up, but consider this, Wikipedia has
to list among Selwyn’s famous Alumni “Ivan Lloyd-Phillips: Civil Servant” and
“Adrian Smith: Statistician”)
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 25
Sidney Sussex college is the college opposite
Sainsbury's. This is as much as most
Cambridge students (including us) know about
it, and in an effort to overcome such
ignorance, Sidney Sussex Student Services
have asked us to forward a few of their fun
facts about the college:
1) Both Sidney Street and Sussex Street are named after
the college. At the same time!
Sidney’s student magazine is
2) Sidney Sussex is named after Sidney. Who was from sold just outside the college.
Sussex! Isn't that crazy?!?
3) Sidney Sussex is not near Tescos. In fact, it is actually quite far from it!
4) Sidney Sussex has a really cheap bar. Really cheap. But we don't grind up people into fine
powders to add flavour to the drinks. That's now illegal!
5) Sidney Sussex is minty lemon flavoured. Lick the walls and you can find out for yourself!
7) Sidney Sussex eschews the number six for moral reasons. So should you!
On behalf of Sidney Sussex Student Services, we thank you for reading this informative leaflet,
and hope that your understanding of our culture will promote further friendship and stop
Though Clare and Emmanuel are engaged in
increasingly bitter and bloody conflict over who is
“the friendly college” it is the small hidden locale
of Trinity Hall is the only place which can boast
that everyone in college knows each other. This is
largely due to “Tit Hall’s” permanent student
population being precisely five, a number which
makes fielding a rugby team impossible and a
university challenge team socially awkward.
The tight knit community is also one of
Cambridge’s most diverse with precisely 20% of
its students coming from ethnic minorities and
80% from state schools. Trinity Hall has recently achieved a perfect 50/50
male/female ratio after 2nd year medic Steve decided he wanted to be called
Jennifer on Thursdays, weekends and alternate Wednesdays.
“Tit Hall” (*snigger*) is actually older than Trinity College and recently
considered suing the latter for copyright infringement. This was however
quickly quashed when the divine Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit cited
the earlier claim. The Triumvirate nature of the Almighty will be pressing
charges against both as soon as a lawyer can be found in heaven.
26 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Trinity is the largest and wealthiest of all Cambridge
colleges, covering an area of about 17 square miles, and
owning a large proportion of central Cambridge and
Africa (they don't call it the Trinitarian Congo for
nothing. They don't? Oh).This enormous wealth was
procured during the miserable centuries before
calculators, when the enormous numbers of Trinity
mathmos would be dragged forcibly from their rooms to
carry out whatever calculations their temporary masters
required of them (It's like prostitution, but for mathmos,
so sex doesn't figure). Unfortunately, this intensive system is still in force,
because although the advent of computers has stopped the hiring out being
a viable prospect, Trinity needs a constant supply of able mathematicians to
count its enormous piles of cash.
The massive cash surplus has been invested in a variety of projects, most
obviously the policy of sponsoring other institutions. Over the course of the
centuries a number of name changes have been made including the change
of “That College Near Clare, But Not The Lame Commie One” to “Trinity Hall”;
“Carrie Ann Moss”, and at one point even God himself underwent sponsorship.
Trinity does suffer from a number of disadvantages however, including the
profound sense of isolation and fear caused to a Cambridge student by being
in a community of more than a few hundred, and being right next to Johns.
You win some, and then someone shoots you.
Official University Map
Godzilla waiting to
Exact edge of the
Cambridge’s only black
200 yard restraining order
around girl I stalked in first year
The Alternative Alternative Prospectus 27
Once, long ago, my father sat me down on his
knee and said “Son, let me tell you about
Wolfson College, and the story of its
founding”. I looked eagerly up at his
bewhiskered face and retorted “Please, not the
tale of the Thai prostitutes again, papa”. He
hushed me gently, and whispered kindly
“Never speak of that again, dear son,
especially not whilst mama is in the room, or
I shall sell you to that unusual curate”. Raising
his voice, he began:
“Long ago, in the 1960s the ancient and
venerable University of Cambridge decided that it was necessary to found
another college, to provide space and accommodation for fellows and
graduates students, and to keep up with South Midlands Polytechnic. Thus, a
select group of scholars set out on their quest to find an appropriate site for
this new college, to be named, University College, as they were unoriginal
bastards. They trekked west, crossing roads and a river and surmounting
“Eventually, after a few hours of arduous ambling, they arrived at site that
was perfect, saying 'This is probably ok. We don't want to be any further,
otherwise we'll end up like Girton, in the middle of bloody nowhere'. There
they built some temporary shacks, and began hunting for food, trapping wild
animals who had been flattened on the Queen's Road, and fishing for tourists
in the Cam.”
On the 17th of January, 1972, a fellow of the college stumbled across an
injured member of a charity foundation, who was cradling his hand. She
approached carefully, and saw he had a thorn in his hand. Carefully, she
approached, not wanting to be sued for negligence by the obviously important
man, and then, slowly and gently removed the thorn. Suddenly, the charity
foundation member spoke: 'Thank you, madam, for your kind service. A lesser
person would have ignored my plight. As
a reward, I shall give your college a large
endowment, and provide enough money
for some proper buildings.' With tears in
her eyes, she replied 'I shall be ever in
your debt good sir, but what is your
name, so I can name our college after
you?' 'Wolfson' he answered, as he
hopped off into the distance.”
“Papa”, I replied, “you do talk a lot of shit”.
28 The Alternative Alternative Prospectus
Clareification has provided high quality
misleading facts and outright lies for over a
decade, consistently beating Varsity and TCS
to the title of “Most Inaccurate Thing in Print”
(sponsored by Cambridge Evening News).
This “Alternative Alternative Prospectus”
aims to continue this long and proud tradition
by providing a comprehensive listing of lies
about all Cambridge’s colleges and subjects.
*Now with 20% more Magdalene*
“A riveting read ... I particularly enjoyed the final
“Nice to read a book without any dirty immigrants”
The Daily Mail
“An accurate and concise study of the current
The Wall Street Journal
“Not enough tits”
& Your Eternal Soul