John Crook Scholarships

The scholarship

The John Crook Scholarship presents a unique opportunity for first-generation university students with exceptional academic records to spend two years studying at St John’s College at the University of Cambridge. The purpose of the Scholarship is to enable exceptional students who did not consider Cambridge when applying to university, whether for financial or other reasons, to study at Cambridge after the completion of their first degree. 

Scholars are admitted as affiliated students and take the more advanced parts of a Cambridge degree course to qualify for a Cambridge BA (Hons) in two years instead of the usual three. Following the completion of their first year of study, some Scholars may have the opportunity to opt into a one year MPhil programme, if suitable, graduating after two years with an MPhil. The intention of the scholarship is to offer the Scholars the full Cambridge experience over a period of two years.

If you meet the criteria below, you could be eligible. The scholarship would cover up to the full costs of your studies, including tuition fees and living costs, depending on your financial circumstances.

One John Crook Scholarship is awarded every year; if the competition is very strong, the Committee may decide to award two scholarships in the same round. 


Candidates need to be:
  • the first generation in their family to go to university
  • a current student, or recent graduate, with an exceptional academic record, from one of the eligible universities
  • a UK citizen, or resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain in the UK*

*Note: If you meet the other eligibility requirements but you are not a UK citizen, or resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, then you may be eligible for the Davies-Jackson Scholarship

The John Crook Scholar will be admitted to St John’s College to study for a two-year Bachelor’s degree as an affiliated student, with the possibility of moving to a one-year MPhil in the second year, if suitable. The award will be for two years.

  • The scholarship is open to all subjects apart from the ones which are closely related to Law, Theology or Business.
  • There is not an affiliated version for BA degree in Architecture, Medicine or Veterinary Medicine offered at St John's College.
  • Please note that, as per the residential regulations that apply to all students of Cambridge University, John Crook Scholars must live in Cambridge in order to be able to obtain a degree.

Benefits of BA Affiliated degree

What are the benefits of taking a second 2-year BA degree as an affiliated student in Cambridge?

Cambridge University is respected world-wide for the excellence of teaching. Teaching in Cambridge involves lectures delivered by academics who are experts in their fields, but not only that; Cambridge undergraduate students also receive personal tuition in the form of supervisions on a regular basis. The supervision system is one of Cambridge's greatest strengths; it allows students to explore their subject more profoundly and develop their own independent thinking, an invaluable skill for their personal, academic and career development.

Spending two years studying at Cambridge will allow you the time to adjust to the Cambridge educational system and at the same time reap the benefits of the full Cambridge experience. It is not only about learning; it is also about broadening your intellectual horizons and being part of a stimulating and diverse academic community.


Sarah Parnell, a John Crook Scholar, talks about her experiences of applying for the Scholarship and living and working at Cambridge in the video below.


For the full list of past John Crook Scholars and more testimonials, please click here.

Professor John Crook

Professor John Crook

Prof John Crook

Professor John Anthony Crook (1921 – 2007) was a Fellow of St John’s for more than fifty years. His door was ever-open to generations of undergraduate and graduate students for whom he seemed to have so much time  to spare and to whom he offered so much valued support and advice.

Professor Crook came up to St John’s from South London on a Scholarship in 1939, being the only child of parents of modest means. After exemplary war service, Professor Crook reached the top of his chosen academic profession as Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge University. He was a world expert on Roman Law and Legal Practices and taught Greek and Latin language to classics scholars.

A donor has offered full funding for a scholarship to be awarded in John Crook’s name and memory, which reflects the spirit of his achievements and which sets out to offer opportunities at St John’s to gifted students from similar backgrounds. The first John Crook Scholarship award was made in 2010 to Elizabeth Monaghan, an honours graduate in English from the Open University, and eight scholarships have been awarded since then.

The Benefactor Writes

'Fifty years ago I sent three letters, blind, addressed to the Senior Tutors at Balliol, Trinity and St John's, enclosing an essay I had written and asking for a place. I knew neither the Tutors names nor their proper addresses.

J A Crook replied for John's, offering a place and an apology: I am sorry that this answer has been long in coming, and I hope it is not too late. That offer opened a casement on a world I could not conceive and transformed my life.

But that is not why I pay him homage, nor is it for his help after he learned I was married, when he could, with reason, have withdrawn his offer, nor for the College funds he supplied when I ran short. What I and others loved was his unflagging kindness to once and present charges, his humility, and affection for the College.

I will not forget his offering letter’s apology, which etiquette did not require, to a brash aspirant he did not know. I recall how, old and frail, he spent an afternoon showing my teenage daughter and her friend around Cambridge, spending time and breath, at his urging, not mine, when he had not much of either left. Many can testify to how he greeted proposals to honour him with horror, and squelched them all.

Now he is gone, we are free to praise him.'


In order to be considered for the John Crook Scholarship, you have to apply for admission to St John's College, Cambridge via the UCAS website. Make sure you put year of entry as Year 2 rather than Year 1 and you select St John's College. Further information about the UCAS application process can be found here. Applications should be submitted by 6 pm UK Time on the 15 October 2024 for entry in October 2025.

For more information, please contact us by email at or by phone at 01223 338789.