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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement



Applying to the University of Cambridge: Resources for Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and other Forced Migrants

If you are a refugee or asylum-seeker and want to attend the University of Cambridge or other institutions of higher education, please start here. This page signposts to information sources within the University and beyond that may be helpful to prospective applicants.


Cambridge Foundation Year 

The Cambridge Foundation Year offers a free pathway to Cambridge degrees in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for applicants who have experienced educational disruption or disadvantage and hence are unable to meet Cambridge's usual academic entry requirements. Refugees and asylum seekers are one of the groups of students eligible for the programme. Find out more about the Cambridge Foundation Year here and specific guidance for refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants here.


Cambridge Undergraduate Study

Home to over 23,000 students from more than 140 countries, we offer undergraduate degree courses in the arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences and engineering. At the University of Cambridge, we welcome applications from all backgrounds. Refugees, asylum seekers or anyone from a forced migration background may have specific concerns when considering or starting university, and it’s important to us that they feel supported during this time. Find out more about Cambridge undergraduate studies here and specific guidance for refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants here


Cambridge Postgraduate Study

The University of Cambridge offers over 300 postgraduate courses. Find out more about Cambridge postgraduate studies here and specific guidance for refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants here (to follow). 



Cambridge Refugee Scholarships

The Rowan Williams Cambridge Studentships are full-cost scholarships for undergraduate or graduate applicants to the University of Cambridge who face severe barriers in accessing higher education. For more information, visit the Trust website and Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign site as well as their studentship guide. See also letters from students. There are multiple scholarships available every year.

The Quantedge-Cambridge Refugee Scholarship, established in 2020, is available annually to support one student, who has been awarded ‘refugee status’ in the UK, have formerly held refugee status, or are from an area of instability/conflict to study for an MPhil (Master of Philosophy) at King’s College, Cambridge. All MPhil subjects offered by the College are eligible for the Scholarship. 

Isaac Newton Institute's Solidarity and Scholarship Programme. This programme is designed for the purpose of giving refuge to researchers in the mathematical sciences who have to leave their country of residence. The aim is not only to offer participants a safe home but also to enable them to continue their work and start new scientific collaborations. On scholars, please read
Mastercard Foundation Scholarships. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Cambridge is designed to provide talented students from economically marginalised and hard-to-reach communities in Africa with fully-funded opportunities to complete their Master’s training, grow in transformative leadership, and contribute to climate resilience and sustainability in Africa. The program covers the cost of travel and visas, accommodation, meals, allowance for a laptop, health cover, and a living stipend – as well as tuition costs. It also provides an allowance for dependant children who may accompany a Scholar.

UK Universities Refugee Scholarships

The UK University Scholarship Directory provides an overview of universities in the UK that offer funding for refugees and/or asylum seekers.

The STAR scholarship list for students:


For Displaced/ At-Risk Researchers

European Fund for Displaced Scientists - ALLEA

European Fund for Displaced Scientists

ALLEA has partnered with the Breakthrough Prize Foundation to support scholars and scientific institutions impacted by the war in Ukraine. The programme, endowed with $1.5 million, will provide funding to academic institutions in Europe to host displaced scholars. The initiative will also benefit affected Ukrainian universities, academies, and research institutes in maintaining their operations and rebuilding their scientific facilities and research collaborations.

Researchers at Risk Fellowships | The British Academy

Researchers at Risk Fellowships

The British Academy with Cara (the Council for At-Risk Academics) is establishing a Researchers at Risk Fellowships Programme with the support of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. The Fellowships will cover the natural sciences, medical sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences with applications made via UK-based institutions.


Further advice and support

UK Council for International Student Affairs for information on fee status

Refugee Education HE Advice

University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is the site for making university applications

IntoUniversity supports young persons in education and preparing for university

HE Plus has many super-curricular resources

The University of Oxford's Refugee-Led Research Hub (RLRH) is launching a Graduate Application Support Scheme (OGASS) for individuals who have been affected by forced displacement. Prospective applicants are eligible to join OGASS if they're applying for master's or doctoral degrees at any university (in the UK or beyond) and identify as having lived experience of displacement. We're hoping to support as many students as are interested and eligible, and we've got a strong team of Oxford students and alumni who are going to be offering 1:1 mentorship to prospective applicants! Thank you for your support and please don’t hesitate to reach out ( if you have any questions.   


How to apply for to Cambridge and other UK universities for undergraduate degrees?

Are you considering applying to competitive UK universities for an undergraduate degree? Esme Page (Admissions Coordinator, Newnham College) and Amber Cuttill (Head of Widening Participation, Pembroke College) talk about applying to UK universities, what students should think about when choosing a university and what top UK universities look for in a prospective student. The recording is from June 2021.