Who can apply? | Graduate Access Programmes | University of Oxford
Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs
Image Credit: Victoria Maguire-Rajpaul / Graduate Photography Competition

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from all talented individuals who would find continuing into postgraduate study a challenge for reasons other than academic ability. You don’t have to be studying at the University of Oxford to be eligible. We’re looking to offer places to individuals who are likely to gain the most benefit from taking part in a research placement.

Applications for our 2020 programmes have now closed. Register your interest to keep up-to-date with news about the future of Graduate Access Programmes at the University of Oxford. The information on this page is correct for our 2020 programmes.

Information for applicants to our 2020 programmes

By applying, your application will be considered for the UNIQ+ Graduate Access Research Internship Programme and/or a Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarship (BVS) at Oxford. You only need to submit one application. If you're only eligible for one of the two programmes, eg due to your subject area, you'll only be considered for that programme. If you are eligible for both programmes and are successful, we will match you to UNIQ+ or Wellcome BVS on the basis of your interests, project/supervisor availability, and closest match with the eligibility criteria, in order to maximise the number of places we can offer.

To apply, you'll need to meet our standard eligibility criteria for UNIQ+ and Wellcome BVS at Oxford, as well as the additional criteria specific to either or both programmes.

The information below is correct for our 2020 programmes.

You don’t have to be studying at the University of Oxford to be eligible

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, you must:

  1. be settled in the UK on 1 July 2020, with no restrictions on how long you can stay;
  2. have been ordinarily resident in the UK since 1 July 2017 and this residence should not have been wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education during any part of it;
  3. not have yet undertaken a substantial period of research;
  4. meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • be in the first generation of your family to go to university;
    • have been in care for at least three months;
    • have been a young carer;
    • come from a neighbourhood which is classed as ACORN 4 or 5 or POLAR (4) Quintile 1 or 2 (find out how to check) in the final calendar year of your secondary school education (this would normally be at age 18).
  5. meet the additional criteria for UNIQ+ and/or Wellcome BVS (shown below).

All other things being equal, ethnicity may be taken into account, and preference given to applicants who identify as Black and Minority Ethnic. Details of the Selection Criteria can be found on the How do I apply? page.

Additional criteria for UNIQ+

In addition to the standard eligibility criteria above, you must:

  • be currently undertaking or have completed an undergraduate degree at a UK or Irish university;
  • be in at least the second year of your course or have already graduated; and
  • be on track to achieve or have achieved a final degree grade of a high 2:1 or First, in a subject area related to one of our research projects (see the academic background section below).

Additional criteria for Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships at Oxford

In addition to the standard eligibility criteria above, you must:

  • be currently undertaking an undergraduate degree at a UK or Irish university;
  • be in the middle year of your course (not the first or final year);
  • have not undertaken or not be currently undertaking an intercalated year;
  • have not completed or be currently undertaking a one-year placement in research as part of your degree (eg a sandwich year); and
  • be on track to achieve a final degree grade of a high 2:1 or First, in a subject area related to one of our biomedical research projects (see the academic background section below).
You only need to submit one application

Your academic background

UNIQ+ research projects in 2020 are offered in some departments in Humanities, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS), Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences. To apply, your undergraduate study should give you the right subject background to apply to a DPhil/PhD in one of these subject areas. Examples of relevant subject areas can be found on our Projects page.

Wellcome Biomedical Vacation Scholarships will be within Wellcome’s science remit. You may apply for any area that matches your existing academic experience, even if you’re undertaking a degree that is not a traditional biological science course. Examples of relevant subject areas include:

  • science (including biomedical, natural, computing or physical sciences);
  • medicine (except graduate-entry medicine);
  • dentistry;
  • veterinary medicine;
  • engineering; and
  • mathematics.

Please note that if you’re successful, your allocated project and the eligibility criteria you meet may determine the type of award (UNIQ+ or Wellcome BVS).

Sunset over Oxford
Sunset over Oxford
Photograph credit: Joseph Caruana

Using ACORN and POLAR to assess eligibility

ACORN and POLAR (Participation of Local Areas) are ways of assessing the levels of socio-economic wealth or participation in higher education in different areas of the UK.

Those eligible may have lived in an area of low socio-economic status which is classed as either:

  • ACORN Category 4 or 5
  • POLAR4 Quintile 1 or 2

Please use the postcode of your home address in the final year of your secondary education (usually in the final year of your Sixth Form/FE college at age 18).

ACORN

You can check which ACORN category your home postcode comes under on the ACORN website. You will need to register with ACORN, which is free.

Once you have registered you can search for your home postcode, which will return a summary page with the ACORN Category in the top left corner. Your postcode will need to fall into Category 4 or 5 to be eligible.

Registration with ACORN is free

POLAR4

You can check which POLAR4 quintile your home postcode comes under on the POLAR website. You do not need to register for POLAR.

Your postcode search will return a summary page with the POLAR quintiles (and other measures). Please check against the POLAR4 quintile which is the second column. Your postcode will need to fall into quintile 1 or 2 to be eligible.

You do not need to register for POLAR