Who we are and what we do

University of the Third Age in Cambridge (U3AC), an independent Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), organises educational, social and fitness activities for people who are not or no longer in full-time employment (there are no age restrictions). Set up in 1982, we are self-financing and run by our members.

Welcome from the Chairman

It is a great privilege to be Chair of the U3AC, the oldest ‘University of the Third Age’ and one of the largest in the country.

The range of educational and social opportunities we offer to members is extraordinary, with some 140 tutors and over 300 courses, not to mention the weekly Wednesday Lecture and the Norah Boyce Science Lectures, as well as the annual Ron Gray Conference, all presented by a distinguished list of speakers. Being in Cambridge means we are able to attract many well-known names and leading specialists in their fields. Classes and lectures are given in a variety of formats, including face-to-face, zoom, and hybrid (room and zoom).

There are also many physical and outdoor activities, such as walking groups, and social events, like wine tastings, which complement our attractive social area and balcony patio on the second floor, where members can relax, meet up, and enjoy a coffee or tea. This is our very own social club in the heart of the city.

Our year follows the Cambridge academic cycle, with three terms of ten weeks each, starting in October. Although members normally join just before the start of the First Term, in August/September, new members are welcome at any time.

We very much hope that, as a member, you will feel part of our U3AC Family, meeting people with similar interests and enthusiasms, and learning from each other. You may also decide to run a course yourself or to volunteer to help at reception or with other aspects of the administration of a thriving organisation.

As a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation), we are run by an elected Board of Trustees (‘the Council’). Our day-to-day administration is managed by four extremely hard-working staff members at our first floor Offices on Bridge Street, central Cambridge.

While these staff members will generally be your first point of contact, as Chair I am always happy to hear from members, and I look forward greatly to meeting you soon.

Philip Stott



Philip Stott, U3AC Chair

Our Programme

Each year U3AC members have over 300 courses and activities to choose from. You could:

  • learn about something new – courses have included building a free website, military history, James Joyce’s Ulysses, astronomy, climate change
  • study a new language or improve your language skills
  • pursue an existing interest – listening to jazz, drawing for pleasure
  • enjoy a sociable activity – bridge, Scrabble, a book group
  • improve your fitness – yoga, dance
  • or simply enjoy the open air while walking or bird watching.

Courses may run across one, two or all three terms.

Download our Programme and course vacancy list

Social events

Trips and visits

Our Cultural and Social Activities Committee organises trips and visits for members to theatres, museums and places of interest at reasonable cost throughout the year. These are advertised in the Newsletter and/or the weekly Bulletin and on this website.

Application forms can be downloaded from this website when you are logged in, or picked up from the U3AC Reception area.

U3AC organises regular events at which members meet and mingle, including:

  • New Year’s drinks party (January)
  • Meeting for new members (September)
  • Christmas lunch (December)

These events are all announced in the weekly Bulletin and on this website.

Read our latest Bulletin


Our Lectures and Conference

U3AC organises two regular lecture series which are open to all members:

The Ron Gray Annual Conference, usually held on a Saturday in the Spring term, always has a topical theme as its subject. It is led by speakers who are experts in their fields and concludes with questions and contributions from the floor.


Our Summer School

The Summer School is held over four weeks in the summer holiday. It offers members a varied programme of short courses and one-off lectures.

We regret that the 2024 Summer School will not run this year as our meeting rooms will be unavailable. Any sporting and other outdoor activities that continue through the summer will be unaffected.


Garden parties

In the summer a number of garden parties are held in members’ gardens, often to raise money for charity. Forthcoming garden parties are all announced in the weekly Bulletin and on this website.


Wine tasting

Members who enjoy wine and want to learn a little more about it, can join the occasional wine tastings in our premises that are organised by U3AC with advice from a local wine merchant. They are advertised in the weekly Bulletin and on this website.