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Foundation Year


If you want to study courses in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences and circumstances have prevented you from realising your academic potential, this is an opportunity not to miss.​ This innovative route is designed for a new field of candidates to help them realise their academic potential through a full-time, residential programme fully embedded in the Collegiate University. The course is open to those ordinarily resident in the UK and applicants must meet eligibility criteria. There are no tuition fees and all students receive a non-repayable scholarship to cover living costs on the programme.

On the Foundation Year, you can expect a challenging academic curriculum in the arts, humanities and social sciences. This offers the best possible preparation for the rigours of a Cambridge degree course by broadening and deepening your knowledge and understanding as well as introducing you to the ways students learn at Cambridge. Foundation Year students will also benefit from being part of the University, including being part of a College community and having full access to all the University’s societies and facilities to pursue their interests.

Finally, you will gain a nationally recognised Certificate of Higher Education and upon finishing the course you will have the option to continue to a number of suitable undergraduate degree courses at Cambridge.


Applicants must apply via UCAS by the January deadline. For 2024 entry, this is 6PM on 31 January 2024

After applying, students must also complete the Foundation Year Supplementary Application Questionnaire (FYSAQ). This is your opportunity to express a preference College, provide evidence of your eligibility and provide us with further information about your suitability for the course. The deadline for this is personal to you but is usually around 2 weeks after your application (less if you apply close to the UCAS deadline).

Shortlisted applicants will be notified in early March 2024, and will be invited to complete a pre-interview admissions assessment. This does not require advance registration and can be completed from home or school. 

Shortlisted applicants will also be invited to interview. 

Offers will be issued via UCAS. 2024 entry offers will be issued in early May 2024. 

For support in your application, you can join our applicant newsletter for information and webinars, or access mentoring and application support through Apply: Cambridge.

Academic entry requirements

In order to be eligible to apply to the Foundation Year, applicants must have or be projected to receive 120 UCAS academic tariff points. We accept a variety of qualifications within this academic requirement including A Levels, BTECs and Access to HE Diplomas. The full list of qualifications we accept is listed here

Eligibility criteria

Alongside the academic entry requirement, meet eligibility requirements relating to educational or social disadvantage and disruption and be ordinarily resident in the UK (international students see here). 

Our eligibility criteria reflect experiences that have been shown to negatively impact educational attainment. These criteria are a gateway to consideration for this programme and places are awarded on academic suitability. 

The full criteria are available here. However, in brief, there are three categories: individual characteristics, family characteristics and school/college characteristics. Applicants must meet one or more criteria from at least two of the categories to be eligible. Care-experienced applicants and applicants from a foreced migrant background, however, are automatically eligible. Evidence of eligibility is required during the application process and is gathered through the FYSAQ

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please first carefully consult the details here. Enquiries about eligibility can be directed to

Additional guidance is available for mature applicants (aged 21 or over when the course starts) and for applicants with Refugee/ Seeking Asylum status.

UCAS application and Personal Statement

You need to choose the University of Cambridge as an institution on your UCAS application. You should select the course 'Foundation Year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences' as the course and 'Open' for your College (you can express a preference later).

Your UCAS application will include a Personal Statement. If you are applying to the Foundation Year as well as other courses at other universities, your Personal Statement can focus on the subject you are interested in and it does not have to mention your motivations for studying the Foundation Year specifically. You will get the chance to expand on this in the FYSAQ.

We have some guidance on how to write a great Personal Statement available here.

Information for students not resident in the UK

Please note that the Cambridge Foundation Year is only open to those who have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the United Kingdom for the three years prior to the start date of the course, and that residence should not have been wholly or mainly for the purposes of receiving education. However, applications are welcomed from those in the UK with refugee status, humanitarian protection status or asylum seekers.

Applicants must normally be nationals of the UK or have indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK, i.e. they must not be subject under immigration laws to any restriction on the period for which they may stay in the UK (unless they are a refugee, asylum seeker or have pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme). Applicants may also be eligible if they are not a UK national but are either under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years, or are 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of their life).

Information about applying for undergraduate study at the University of Cambridge as an international student is available here

Guidance on entrance requirements for students studying Foundation Years at other universities who wish to apply for undergraduate study at the University of Cambridge is available here