Cambridge University at Cambridge, England, one of the oldest English-language universities in the world. Originating in the early 12th cent. (legend places its origin even earlier than that of Oxford Univ.), Cambridge was organized into residential colleges, like those of Oxford, by the end of the 13th century.
Cambridge was a center of the new learning of the Renaissance and of the theology of the Reformation; in modern times it has excelled in science. It has faculties of classics, divinity, English, architecture and history of art, modern and medieval languages, Oriental studies, music, economics and politics, history, law, philosophy, education, engineering, earth sciences and geography, mathematics, biology, archaeology and anthropology, physics and chemistry, and medicine. There are also departments of veterinary medicine, chemical engineering, land economy, and the history and philosophy of science as well as a computer laboratory.
Cambridge’s famous Cavendish Laboratory of experimental physics was opened in 1873; the Cavendish professors have been outstanding names in physics. The chapel of King’s College (1446), the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the botanic gardens are notable features of the university. There are also centers for African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and South Asian studies; international law; archaeological research; medical genetics; and superconductivity research. Instruction at Cambridge is similar to the system at Oxford, except that tutors are called supervisors and the degree examination is known as the tripos. Until 1948, Cambridge Univ. sent two representatives to Parliament. The Cambridge Univ. Press dates from the 16th century.