Oxford University is introducing a new course this year, designed to prepare students considering undertaking a degree.

The Certificate of Higher Education has been described as a ‘stepping stone’ to university and acts as a preparatory course that brings students closer to university standard.

It is aimed at those who are unsure about ‘which students they wish to specialise in, or may lack formal academic qualifications, or may simply need to be able to study part-time and flexibly.’

This is the latest in a series of steps the university has taken to make Oxford education more accessible to students from all backgrounds. Courses will be modular with no written exams; lasting between two to four years. Students would take one predominant subject to combine with a series of modules from other subjects.

The certificate will act as an equivalent to one year of university study, although it does not guarantee a place on a university course.

Nine ‘main’ subjects are to be made available, including History, Literature and Philosophy. Students will also be able to choose modules from a wider variety of subject areas, combining both specific and general interests.

Natalie Tate, who left Oxford midway through a Computer Science degree at St Anne’s college last term commented, ‘I think it sounds like a really good idea, it’ll help people with their confidence and showing that they’re able to get back into education even if they don’t think they possess the skills.’

Ruth Eve, a first year languages student agreed, commenting, ‘I would definitely advocate such courses. The transition between school and university is a challenging leap of independence, and gaining skills such as time management and note-taking can ease the potential pressure and stress in an environment where it is all too easy to feel out of your depth.’

However some students have expressed concerns. One said that the introduction of an Oxford ‘foundation course’ was ‘just another way for the University to gather money to compensate for their loss of government funding.’

A University spokesperson commented that those applying via the CertHE were ‘not necessarily at an advantage’ when applying for a standard degree course. The course will charge a basic registration fee of at least £750 and then will charge per module.