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Welfare & support

A College that knows and takes an interest in every student as an individual

There is a tradition of inclusion and a well-developed ethic of care at Girton.  We encourage personal development by offering excellent academic and pastoral support. This environment offers every student the opportunity to achieve their very best.

Health & Wellbeing

What Girton College is committed to provide?

A supportive environment which promotes positive wellbeing. 
A personal tutor and an out of office tutorial service. 
A key contact able to support students disclosing sexual or racial discrimination, harassment, or violence. 
A college wellbeing service with a dedicated remit to support student wellbeing.

The wellbeing team are able to:

•    Offer timely access to one-to-one support for students seeking support for their wellbeing, or where staff have raised appropriate concerns about the student. 
•    Carry out a professional assessment of the student’s needs, including a basic assessment of their functioning and presenting distress or risk in the session. 
•    Signpost the student to additional support at the University or elsewhere.
•    Engage with the student’s Director of Studies, Tutor and others as needed to support the student. 

What Girton College has not committed to provide? 

Counselling, therapy, or specialist mental health treatment or assessment. Every College contributes, through the Levy, to funding the University Counselling Service and funding the University Mental Health Advice Service (MHAS). By contributing in this way, all Colleges are meeting their responsibilities to effectively support students with their mental health. 

The Head of Welfare & Wellbeing at Girton is a trained mental health practitioner and therapist. At times student might be able to access in-house mental health advice but this is not a requirement. 

What can the University provide?

Targeted wellbeing support for postgraduate students. Postgraduates can self-refer for a quick-access one-to-one appointment with a trained wellbeing adviser. Postgraduates can also receive this type of support from their college, but the University’s postgraduate wellbeing support offers a dual point of access via their department, where many postgraduates’ times is concentrated.

Counselling. The University Counselling Service offers rapid-access (less than a 10-day wait) to a one-to-one appointment with a trained and accredited counsellor. students will not normally be seen more often than fortnightly, both to enable the service to be accessible to a large population, and to allow change to take effect between sessions. This support can continue indefinitely if this is appropriate and the student is finding it helpful, and if the student’s needs can be accommodated within the service.

Mental Health Advice. This service provides one-to-one support for students struggling with more severe or complex mental health difficulties which are having a significant impact on their life at Cambridge, or students who present with significant risk issues. Students can be seen for up to 8 sessions, depending on need. The Service also supports staff in colleges to work with students with complex mental health difficulties: each College has a named mental health adviser.

Therapeutic groups and workshops. The University provides therapeutic weekly groups to address specific topics, such as bereavement, emotional dysregulation, and interpersonal difficulties, strengthening a sense of belonging for UG and PG students and supporting survivors of sexual violence. The University also offers a wide range of workshops, addressing practical issues such as exam stress, sleep, and imposter syndrome.

An advice line for staff supporting students with mental health difficulties. The line is open 24 hours a day during term time plus a week either side of term, including weekends. Weekday provision 9am-5pm is year-around. This means that students being supported by staff in College can be confident that those staff have ready access to professional advice regarding mental health issues.

Specialist mentoring / disability advice. Where a mental health difficulty is sufficiently enduring and impactful to be categorised as a disability, the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC) can provide access to a disability adviser and the production of a Student Support Document setting out any reasonable adjustments, support, and assistance which the student may require to effectively access their studies and address any disadvantage faced. In addition, where justified by the evidence, the ADRC may be able to provide a specialist mentor who can support the student to develop strategies to assist them to remain engaged in their studies.

Harassment and Violence Support. Students can self-refer to this service for one-to-one advice and guidance about reporting options, and/or for emotional support in the aftermath of (recent or historic) sexual, religious, or racial discrimination, harassment or violence and intimate partner abuse.

Financial support towards specialist treatment. The Medical Support Fund (Crane’s) is a university trust fund, managed by an independent board of ‘distributors’, which can provide financial awards to individuals in need of specific medical treatments. The criteria for this Fund are currently under review. 

College Nurses

The College has three Nurses who can help with a wide variety of health and welfare needs, ranging from help and advice with minor illnesses and injuries to support for emotional issues. They hold surgeries each week day during term and no appointment is necessary. 

GP Surgery

All students are required to register with a local GP (doctor) when they start at the College. The majority of Girton students register with the Huntingdon Road Surgery who are very experienced in treating students and offer an excellent service.

Pastoral Support

College Tutors

All students are assigned a personal Tutor who is responsible for their non-academic welfare while they are here. Tutors have regular office hours and are your first point of call for any financial or personal issues that you may need help with. The Tutors also operate an emergency rota during Term so that there is always someone available to help, day or night.

Student Services Office

Staff in the College Student Services Office are available during office hours and are always happy to assist with any queries that students might have.

The Student Services Office liaises with departments and offices within the University on behalf of all students, for example, in matters relating to examinations, visa status, finances and graduation.

Also part of the Student Services Team is our Financial Welfare Officer, who can be reached at  

You may also request student verification or bank letters from the Office by emailing  (postgraduates) or (undergraduates).

Porters' Lodges

There is a Porters' Lodge in the main College building and one at Swirles Court, both of which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Porters are responsible for safety and security and are all trained first aiders. They are a great source of help and support whether you have locked yourself out of your room or need someone to chat to at 2am!  It's a good idea to add their phone number to your phone contacts.  


The College Chaplain is regularly available in College and can provide support to all students, irrespective of their faith. The College Chapel and the non-faith Prayer Room are always available for private prayer, worship or meditation.

JCR & MCR Welfare Officers

The JCR and MCR both have elected Welfare Officers who can provide advice and support and help students to access appropriate resources. They hold regular office hours and organise welfare-related events throughout the academic year.

Students’ Unions’ Advice Service

The Students’ Unions’ Advice Service is provided by the Cambridge Union and offers free, confidential and independent support to all students. They can help you understand University and College procedures and regulations and offer support with mental health issues and welfare concerns.

Support for Students with Disabilities

We are committed to providing appropriate support for students with disabilities. We work closely with the Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre to ensure that students have what they need to take full advantage of their time at university. 
We have six wheelchair accessible en-suite rooms and a flat specifically designed for wheelchair users, with an adapted kitchen and bathroom and an annex for an assistant if needed. All student rooms can be adapted for students with hearing impairments and there are hearing loops installed in a number of public rooms.
Further information can be found in our comprehensive Access Guides.

Support for Care Leavers

We are aware that care leavers and estranged students may have specific concerns when studying at university and we have a range of services to help support you. We guarantee accommodation for all years of your course and our tenancies last the whole academic year.

We can also provide accommodation during the summer vacation if this is needed. You may be eligible for a higher level of Cambridge Bursary.

Further information can be found on the University website, including details for The Realise Team who provide dedicated support to care leavers and estranged students.

Academic Support

For undergraduate students and some Masters students, your Director of Studies or DoS is responsible for your academic welfare in general – from organising supervisions, advising on what courses to take and helping to address any work-related issues you might have. The majority of academic support for postgraduate research students is provided via the department.

The College offers an additional academic environment where students get the opportunity to engage in academic-related activities to enhance their skills and promote interdisciplinary work, for example through the Girton Skills programme.

Girton Skills Programme

This exciting programme, which is unique to Girton and available to both undergraduates and postgraduates, consists of two strands - Study skills which helps students make the transition from school to university and to hone their academic skills; and Transferable skills which helps students to make the most of life as a student and beyond. 

Life at Girton

Find out more about living and learning in our friendly, informal and supportive community

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