William begins university course

Salisbury Journal: The Duke of Cambridge arrives at St John's College, Cambridge The Duke of Cambridge arrives at St John's College, Cambridge

The Duke of Cambridge commuted by train today as he began his studies at the University of Cambridge.

William travelled on the 9.44am service from London King's Cross to begin his studies on an agricultural management course organised by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership at the famous university.

He is expected to make the 46-minute journey for the course several days a week but will also have access to overnight accommodation in Cambridge.

It is understood he travelled to Cambridge in a public carriage, although it was not clear which class of ticket he bought for the journey.

Wearing a navy blue suit, William looked relaxed as he toured the college's grounds on a grey and rainy day.

The Duke was greeted at St John's College, where some of his tutorials will take place, by vice chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, along with Master of St John's, Professor Christopher Dobson, and Polly Courtice, director of the Programme for Sustainability Leadership.

William stopped to view a plaque commemorating the Queen's visit to the college in April 2011.

The course, which will end in March, has been designed to help him prepare for when he inherits the Duchy of Cornwall estate.

The course has been designed specifically for him but will see him study alongside ordinary PhD students in some classes.

He will have 20 hours of teaching time each week, including work in small groups as well as one-to-one tuition and his own additional reading. He will also go on a series of field trips.

He will be taught by academics specialising in geography, land economy and plant sciences.

Modules he is expected to study include rural and planning policy, farming and supply chains, site management, agricultural policy and conservation governance.

Following the end of his service as an RAF rescue helicopter pilot in Anglesey, William is considering a number of options for public service, Kensington Palace said.

Details will be announced when he completes the course.

One of the university's student newspapers, The Tab, has been among those to question whether William, who achieved a 2:1 honours in his geography MA degree from St Andrews University in 2005, had the qualifications to study at Cambridge.

In a recent article, it wrote: " The Tab must point out that normally students need A*AA at A-level to gain entry to Cambridge University, whilst the Prince only achieved a mediocre ABC."

But officials at the university have pointed out that it commonly offers bespoke courses to those who are willing to fund their studies privately.

Professor Ross Anderson, of the university's Computer Laboratory, told the Cambridge News he and his colleagues should be free to design courses for those prepared to pay for it and they should not "be discriminated against on account of the circumstances of their birth".

He added: "Whether they have any A-levels at all is no more relevant than the price of tea in China."

During his studies, William will have a university card allowing him access to shared facilities such as libraries, bars and refectories .

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