Applications open for new Cambridge Foundation Year’s first student intake

UK students from backgrounds of exceptional educational and social disadvantage can now apply – via UCAS - for a place on the pre-degree Cambridge Foundation Year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The application deadline is 26 January 2022 – not 15 October 2021 as for other Cambridge undergraduate courses. In addition to the information provided on the Foundation Year’s dedicated website, the University is running a free online support programme to guide applicants through each stage of the application process (information below).

The Cambridge Foundation Year – which officially launched in January – offers a new route into Cambridge to students whose education has been disrupted or disadvantaged and are therefore less likely to be able to make a competitive application to undergraduate study at Cambridge through the University’s standard admissions process. It will prepare students for further learning and offer them the chance to progress straight to an undergraduate degree at the University.

Up to 50 Foundation Year students will arrive in Cambridge in the programme’s first intake in October 2022. Those who have been in care, those estranged from their families, and those who have missed significant periods of learning because of health issues are among the groups the Foundation Year aims to reach. Other potential candidates include students who have been unable to access suitable qualifications, those from low-income backgrounds, and those from schools that send few students to university.

The Foundation Year is free to students; a cornerstone gift from philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson is funding the launch of the programme and full one-year scholarships for all students who are accepted.

The students will study at one of the 13 Cambridge colleges participating in the pilot scheme and will benefit from the community, support and academic stimulation this offers. They will study an engaging and challenging multi-disciplinary curriculum in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences that will prepare them for further study in these subjects.

On successful completion of the programme, they will receive a recognised CertHE Level 4 qualification from the University of Cambridge, and with suitable attainment can progress to one of 18 degrees in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cambridge without the need to apply to the University again. Students will also be supported during the programme in finding alternative university places if they do not wish to continue to undergraduate study at Cambridge, or do not meet the required level of attainment.

As with all courses at Cambridge, there is a rigorous admissions process designed to help us admit students who will thrive on the Foundation Year and be able to progress to a degree at Cambridge – including interviews and assessment. Students will also have to prove their eligibility to receive the generous scholarship given to all students on the course.

To help applicants understand more about the Foundation Year and its admissions process, the University has launched a new website specifically for the course at https://www.foundationyear.cam.ac.uk/ .

The University is also running a free online applicant support programme to help Foundation Year applicants make the strongest possible application. This will include webinars, Q&As and newsletter content specific to the Foundation Year. Students can sign up by selecting the Foundation Year as their first subject of interest at https://www.cam.ac.uk/student-newsletter . This programme will launch with a Foundation Year Open Evening on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 from 4.30pm. Sign up for this event here: https://www.foundationyear.cam.ac.uk/events .

Dr Alex Pryce, Foundation Year Course Director, said: “The Cambridge Foundation Year is a truly transformative opportunity and we’re very much looking forward to receiving our first applications soon. However, for those who haven’t considered applying to Cambridge before we appreciate that the admissions process might be daunting. We hope our new website and online applicant support will help all applicants to make their best possible application to the Cambridge Foundation Year.”

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