Cambridge University students won’t be allowed to graduate if they leave their halls during lockdown, according to reports.

Undergraduates must stay within three miles of Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge, while graduates are given a 10-mile leeway.

University leaders have warned that following these rules is necessary in order for students to receive their degrees.

“Full-time students are required to keep terms of residence in Cambridge in order to be awarded their degrees,” says a letter from a senior tutor at Jesus College, seen by The Telegraph .

It continues: “In order to keep residence, you need to live within the University’s precincts during term time.

“If you do not have the College’s permission to study remotely, you will not be allowed to progress to the next year of your course or to receive your degree if you are a finalist.”

In outlining the rules, colleges have invoked an ancient statute which states students must live within the university’s “precincts” for at least three-quarters of each term.

Another senior tutor at Robson College warned that students who leave the university during term time will be breaching the rules, which will “impact” their ability to graduate.

An email sent yesterday by the university’s vice-chancellor Stephen Toope confirmed that students must remain in residence for the remainder of the term.

He added that students “will only be given permission to pursue your studies remotely on health grounds”.

Cambridge University said the institution is following government guidance for the pandemic (Image: Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Cambridge University has almost 20,000 students, half of whom are undergraduates who would have normally been studying in face-to-face lectures this year. The university has instead moved most of its classes to online tuition.

A Cambridge University spokesman told The Telegraph the institution is following government guidance given by asking students in residence to remain in the city.

“Longstanding University of Cambridge rules on residence remain consistent with that guidance. Our main priority is to protect the health of our staff and students,” they said.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan has urged students across the UK not to return home despite the looming national lockdown.

She said: “I know and appreciate that a number of you may want to be back with your family during this difficult time, but I urge you to stay where you are in order to save lives.”

In a separate letter to vice-chancellors, the minister said she wants all students to have “some form of face-to-face learning” where possible, as they had not seen evidence of increased transmission within teaching environments on university campuses.