Newnham College to welcome Cambridge Foundation Year students

150 years after we were founded to widen access to University education, Newnham College is delighted to be one of the first Colleges to welcome students for a transformative new access programme. The Cambridge Foundation Year will offer talented students from backgrounds of educational and social disadvantage a new route to undergraduate study, supported by a full scholarship.

Principal Alison Rose said, “Many of Newnham’s alumnae and current students were the first in their family to go to University. College members have long worked hard to widen access to a Cambridge University education, particularly through our schools outreach and admissions procedures. Taking part in the Foundation Year is the logical and exciting next step for us, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming the first Foundation Year students to Newnham College in 2022.”

The one-year Foundation Year is aimed at students who have the ability to succeed at Cambridge, but have been prevented from reaching their full potential by their circumstances. The course will prepare students for further learning, and offer them the chance to progress straight to an undergraduate degree at Cambridge.

This programme is particularly appropriate for Newnham College, since our founders recognised that many women had not had access to the teaching and resources they needed to study the traditional Cambridge degree. The Foundation Year recognises that this is still the case for many gifted young people today.

We hope to welcome students whose education has been disrupted, perhaps because they have been in care, are estranged from their families, or have missed significant periods of learning because of health issues. Other students on the Foundation Year may have been unable to access suitable qualifications, or have studied at schools which send few students to university.

In the first year, students will study an engaging and challenging multi-disciplinary curriculum in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, preparing them for undergraduate study in these subjects. As the Foundation Year programme develops, the University anticipates adding more subjects, including STEM subjects.

Up to 50 Foundation Year students will arrive in Cambridge in the programme’s first intake in October 2022. Students will apply through UCAS for the January 2022 deadline, and typical offers will require 120 UCAS points (equivalent to BBB at A-Level). Students will study at one of the 13 Cambridge colleges participating in the pilot scheme, and will of course take a full part in the undergraduate community.

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, said: “The launch of the Cambridge Foundation Year will open up Cambridge to a new field of candidates and transform lives. We are hugely grateful that the generosity of the Foundation Year programme’s founding benefactors, Christina and Peter Dawson, has provided the means so that students can take up this opportunity regardless of their financial situation. Students will be drawn from a range of backgrounds, the common link being that their circumstances have prevented them from realising their academic potential. They will benefit from our personal approach to teaching and grow in confidence and understanding, and we will benefit from them joining and further diversifying our community.”

Find out more about the Foundation Year scheme on the University website.