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School of the Biological Sciences

students in Cambridge

‘Widening Participation’ refers to the national agenda aiming to increase the proportion of students entering higher education from under-represented groups.

Admissions to the University of Cambridge follow the fundamental principle to "admit students of the highest intellectual potential, irrespective of social, racial, religious and financial considerations". Widening participation initiatives in the School of Biological Sciences and across Cambridge aim at increasing the number of students from under-represented groups to apply to Cambridge, as well as more broadly, encouraging young people to consider higher education.

The School of Biological Sciences is working closely with the University's dedicated widening participation team on a range of initiatives to support this commitment, such as PhD Studentships specifically aimed at under-represented groups and an internship programme for undergraduate students.

Experience Postgrad Life Sciences - Internship Programme


Experience Postgrad Life Sciences is an 8-week, paid, residential internship programme, coordinated by the School and in partnership with Corpus Christi College, aiming to help biological and biomedical sciences undergraduates - including those studying medicine and veterinary medicine - develop research skills, get lab experience, and discover what postgraduate study involves. The programme is jointly organised with the School of Clinical Medicine and supported by other Institutions across Cambridge.

The training programme was designed to prepare them for postgraduate study, with interactive workshops ranging from communication skills, to statistics training, careers discussion and interview coaching. The support offered extends beyond the 8-week programme through ongoing mentorship from lab supervisors and a waiver of application fees.

The programme ran again in Summer 2023, from 10 July until 1 September. Applications for the 2024 Experience Postgrad Life Sciences programme will open later this year.

Sign up to register your interest

Find out more about the Experience Postgrad Life Sciences internship.

Support for UK state school sixth-form students - STEM SMART programme

STEM SMART is a widening participation programme at the University of Cambridge run in collaboration with the online learning platform Isaac Physics, offering teaching and support to UK state school sixth-form students looking to apply to study physical or biological sciences or engineering at University.

The programme provides extra resources, including weekly online subject-specific support with Cambridge academics, regular meetings to discuss university life with Cambridge student mentors and a 4-day residential stay at the University of Cambridge.

To be eligible for the programme students need to be studying, or have studied, maths and at least one further subject from physics, chemistry, further maths and biology, at A-level or equivalent.

Find out more about the programme, eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Funding Support

Alexander Crummell Scholarships 2024 (PhD and MPhil)

In collaboration with Queens’ College, Cambridge, the School of Biological Sciences is inviting applications for the Alexander Crummell MPhil and PhD Scholarships. These scholarships are aimed at Home (UK fee rate) students with Black or Black-Mixed ethnicity, applying for an MPhil or PhD degree in a science-based subject at the University of Cambridge. The terms of the award include that you will become a member of Queens’ College, Cambridge. Find out more about about MPhil Scholarships and PhD Scholarships.

School of Biological Sciences Masters Bursary

Applicants to taught MPhil courses based in the School of Biological Sciences, who have received a conditional offer of admission to start in October 2022, are eligible to apply for a School of Biological Sciences Master’s Bursary Award in support of their studies here at Cambridge, subject to eligibility criteria. The Bursary Awards, which are aimed at applicants from low-income households with experience of educational disadvantage, provide a top-up maintenance grant (c.£5,000) to support living expenses when a postgraduate Master’s loan or grant is taken with Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency Scotland, Student Finance Wales or Student Finance NI.