Murray Edwards College will welcome Cambridge Foundation Year students as part of a landmark programme to reach a new field of candidates.
Murray Edwards is delighted to be among the first Colleges to host students for the Cambridge Foundation Year – an innovative new programme offering talented students from backgrounds of educational and social disadvantage a new route to undergraduate study.
The one-year course – aimed at an entirely new stream of applicants who have the ability to succeed at Cambridge, but have been prevented from reaching their full potential by their circumstances – will prepare students for further learning and offer them the chance to progress straight to an undergraduate degree at Cambridge. Its launch - amid the COVID-19 pandemic - comes at a time when the University’s work to forge new pathways into higher education for those groups already facing exceptional disadvantage has never been more pressing. It is free to students; a cornerstone £5 million gift from philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson will fund the launch of the programme and full one-year scholarships for all students who are accepted.
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 – students whose education has been disrupted and are therefore unlikely otherwise to be able to make a competitive application to undergraduate study at Cambridge through the University’s standard admissions process. Other possible candidates include students who have been unable to access suitable qualifications, those from low income backgrounds, and those from schools which send few students to university.
Up to 50 Foundation Year students will arrive in Cambridge in the programme’s first intake in October 2022, after applying directly through UCAS by the January 2022 deadline, and undergoing interviews and assessments to identify their aptitude. Typical offers will require 120 UCAS Tariff Points, which is equivalent to BBB at A-Level. The usual offer is at least A*AA.
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, which is intrinsic to the Cambridge experience. 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. It is anticipated that as the Foundation Year programme develops, more subjects could be added, for example STEM subjects.
On successful completion of the programme, students will receive a recognised CertHE qualification from the University of Cambridge, and with suitable attainment can progress to 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.
Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards College, said:
Murray Edwards (founded as New Hall) is a College for outstanding young women from all backgrounds and I am delighted that we are among the first Colleges to welcome Foundation Year students. The pandemic has magnified educational inequalities and we are proud to participate in such a significant programme to help address this, opening Cambridge up to those who have experienced educational disadvantage.
Dr Michele Gemelos, Senior Tutor, said:
Students participating in the Foundation Year at Murray Edwards will benefit from our strong sense of community, support, and academic excellence, and this will provide them with opportunities which their circumstances may have previously prevented them from accessing. The Foundation Year also allows us as a College to reach an entirely new field of talented students. We look forward to welcoming students on the Cambridge Foundation Year as part of our commitment to access and widening participation.
The programme builds on widening participation progress made by the University in recent years, including the use of UCAS Adjustment to reconsider candidates who exceed expectations in examinations. It is expected that the Foundation Year will further increase the proportion of Cambridge students from state schools, low progression postcodes, and from areas of socioeconomic deprivation.
For more information, please visit the University website.