The student, from Homerton College, who was not named, was photographed in a black lacy thong and stockings straddling one of the city's historic bridges.
She agreed to pose for the latest edition of Vivid Magazine, which is published by a group of students once a term and has a circulation of 5,000.
It also has a website featuring a video of women sitting in a changing room and then playing football.
The page three photo shoot was done on Clare College bridge, which goes over the River Cam and is visited by thousands of tourists each year.
It is the first time a student has appeared topless in a University publication and it has caused an outcry.
One student from King's College said: "I can't believe she agreed to pose for the magazine. Everyone has been talking about it. I'm sure she must really regret it now."
Another student, from Clare College, who did not want to be named, added: "Lots of students and professors have seen this. It's a very risky thing to do when you are studying at one of the top universities in the country."
The magazine is distributed to all the university colleges. It has featured "page three" girls before but none have been as explicit. The magazine is largely constituted of comment pieces of a political and satirical nature.
The model, who is pictured anonymously in the magazine, has declined to comment on reactions to the photo. Vivid's editors also refused to offer a statement.