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School of the Humanities and Social Sciences


Eligibility criteria for the programme

Applicants must meet all the criteria in Part A. We strongly encourage applications from undergraduates currently studying at higher education institutions where research experience may not be as readily available as in more research-intensive institutions. Priority will be given to those applicants who have not studied at Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College or the LSE, the most selective Russell Group universities, according to the Sutton Trust ‘Universities and Social Mobility’ report.  

We particularly encourage applications from students who meet one or more of the widening participation criteria in Part B. 

Part A

You must meet all the criteria to apply: 

  1. Have a right to live and work full time in the UK, for the duration of the programme (successful applicants will be required to complete a right to work check);
  2. Have graduated from OR have completed the first year of your current undergraduate course at a UK or Irish university (i.e. first year students are not eligible) by the application deadline;
  3. Have achieved OR be on track to achieve, a final undergraduate degree grade of a strong 2:1 or First in a humanities or social sciences subject. If your transcript shows year on year grade progression towards the upper range of a 2:1 or above, then we would encourage you to apply.

Please note, if you have already received an offer for postgraduate study, are studying or have completed a postgraduate degree (MA or PhD), you are not eligible to apply for the programme. You will be asked to confirm this when applying and accepting your offer. 

Part B - Widening Participation

The University will be using positive action under the Equality Act 2010 to tackle the underrepresentation of, and overcome the disadvantage experienced by, certain groups. 

Primarily we are looking for evidence of academic potential within the context of your education and circumstances to date, rather than the number of widening participation criteria selected. Click on each criterion below for information. 

We will ask you to describe your circumstances in your application, and you should refer to the relevant criteria below. In some cases, we will ask for further documentation to support your application.  

Any information you share with us will be held securely and confidentially by our applications team but may be viewed by the reviewing panel which makes decisions on who should receive an offer. 

Underrepresented ethnic group

To meet this criterion, you must identify as belonging to an underrepresented ethnic group. 

Currently underrepresented ethnicities in the social sciences and humanities at Cambridge are: Black British, Mixed Black British, British Bangladeshi, British Pakistani, British Arab, and British Indian. 

Please note that SHARE is open to students of all ethnicities.

Refugee status

To meet this criterion, you must have been granted refugee status in the UK.

Care background or family estrangement

To meet this criterion, one or more of the following must apply: 

  • You entered university at undergraduate level from a Care background or as a Foyer resident. We will ask you to provide a letter from the Local Authority or Foyer as part of your application if you select this criterion. 

  • You are estranged from immediate family or designated care-givers, that is, you are studying for your undergraduate degree without the support and approval of a family network.

Free School Meal recipient

To meet this criterion, you must have been in receipt of Free School Meals at secondary school. 

We will ask you to provide a letter or other notification from your school as part of your application if you select this criterion.

First Generation applicant

To meet this criterion, you must be in the first generation of your family to go to university at undergraduate level. 

Mature student

To meet this criterion, you must have entered undergraduate degree as a mature student (were aged 21 or over at the start of your undergraduate course).

State Support

To meet this criterion, you must have received full state support for maintenance for your course of undergraduate study. If you received partial state support then you will not meet this criterion. 

We will ask you to provide a scanned copy of the Student Finance (or Student Awards Agency Scotland) Notification of Award letter for the full amount of maintenance received if you select this criterion. This should detail any loan/grant in addition to the standard government loan that all UK resident students are eligible for. Any screenshot must include: 

  • your name; 

  • the name of the issuing authority (i.e. Student Finance England); and 

  • the amount of funding received and confirmation of this.

Caring responsibilities
  • You are/were a young carer (that is, you have/had caring responsibilities for an ill or disabled family member who could not manage without this help). 

  • You are/were (or became during your course of study) a single parent, lone foster parent or lone guardian of a young person who is aged under 18 and/or is still in full-time education.

Socio-economic background

We consider your socioeconomic background using the Social Mobility Commission’s Toolkit.