13 of the University’s 31 colleges are participating in the new scheme over the next few yearsLouis Ashworth/Varsity

Over 50 UK students have received offers for the University’s new foundation course.

The University has said the course is designed to engage students “who have been prevented from reaching their full potential by their circumstances”. This could be due to obstacles including experience of the care system, estrangement from parents, low household income or attending poorly performing schools.

The one-year course is free and fully funded, financed by a £5 million donation from Cambridge alumni.

Students who have received offers are required to achieve 120 UCAS points, equivalent to BBB at A-level, a reduction of Cambridge’s standard undergraduate offer of A*AA.

Once here, they will study an interdisciplinary course designed to prepare them for a Cambridge degree in the arts, humanities and social sciences, which they can begin without reapplying if they perform well on the foundation year. The course does not currently cover STEM subjects.

This year, 11 colleges have made offers to foundation year students, with over 10% coming from Wolfson College. Queens’ College and St John’s College will launch the scheme in 2023 and 2024 respectively.


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A total of 267 students applied for the programme. With 52 offers made, the acceptance rate was at around 20%. This is slightly less competitive than applications for undergraduate study, where approximately 1 in 6 students are accepted.

Dr Alex Pryce, director of the course, said: “This is the first time in its history that Cambridge has run a foundation year programme, aimed at talented applicants who might not otherwise consider applying to study here, and the number of applications we received shows that it is competitive and that there is a clear appetite for it.”

Professor Stephen Toope, the vice-chancellor, commented: “The launch of the Cambridge Foundation Year will open up Cambridge to a new field of candidates and transform lives.”