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Durham University

Durham Centre for Academic Development


Foundation Programme: Student Eligibility for study

The Foundation Programme is designed to support UK and EU students from under-represented groups in Higher Education to access and succeed in studying an undergraduate degree at Durham University.

Only applicants from under-represented groups in Higher Education are eligible to study with the Foundation Programme.

In order to help us identify eligible applicants we use the Office for Students (OfS) definition of under-represented groups:

“Groups of students who share… particular characteristics where data shows gaps in equality of opportunity in relation to access, success or progression” [1]

Priority is given to applicants from areas of low participation in higher education (LPN), low household income or low socioeconomic status (based on Polar data) and applicants from the North East of England. Applications from other under-represented groups within higher education and from mature students (over 21 years of age at the start of the course) are also welcomed.


We will consider applicants from Polar category 1 or 2 postcodes as a priority. This classification is based on the home postcode provided in your application. Please see the following webpage to see the Polar category of a postcode

Eligible under-represented groups in HE include:

To meet this criteria students will need to be either:

  1. Quintile 1 (POLAR4)
  2. Quintile 2 (POLAR4)

For further information see

  • applicants with low household income or low socioeconomic status

To meet this criteria applicants will need to be in receipt of, or entitled to, Free School Meals, Pupil Premium funding and/or discretionary school/college payments, which are directly linked to financial hardship.

As black and minority ethnic (BAME) applicants are underrepresented at Durham, we particularly welcome applications from BAME students.

To meet this criteria you will need to be aged over 21 years of age at the start of your course (1st October).

To meet this criteria you need to meet the 2010 Equality Act definition of disability.

To meet this criteria you will have been in local authority care, or under a Care Order for at least three months prior to starting Year 12 (i.e. you are a care leaver).

To meet this criteria you will need to be have limited/sporadic or no contact with either of your biological/legally adopted parents. This includes living away from parents and receiving no emotional or financial support.

To meet this criteria you will need to be in receipt of Carer's Allowance, or Carer's Credit

  • people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

If you come from one or more of these groups please tell us in your UCAS personal statement.

We will be happy to consider your application. Please be aware that Foundation Programme places are in high demand and all eligible applications will be considered in open competition to identify those judged to have the greatest potential to give and receive benefit from a Durham University degree course. Applicants may be required to provide evidence in support of their applications and to participate in mandatory pre-offer assessment activities as part of the application process; these usually take place in January and March.

For further details, please see The Foundation Programme's admissions policy, below.


Get in touch

Foundation Programme
Pelaw House, Leazes Road

0191 3340172

Email Foundation