Access and participation at postgraduate level: research findings and their implications for policy and practice | University of Oxford

Access and participation at postgraduate level: research findings and their implications for policy and practice

Chair (TBA), Paul Wakeling (speaker), Paul Martin (response), Mike Bonsall (response)
Event date
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Linacre College
St Cross Road
Venue details

Tanner Room

Event type
Student Gateway
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

This seminar is number three in a five-part public seminar series on ‘Student Access to University’, led by the Department of Education and convened by Jo-Anne Baird (Director, Department of Education) and Simon Marginson (Professor of Higher Education, Department of Education). The series forms part of the department’s 100th Anniversary celebrations, marking 100 years of leading research in education. The series will be held at venues across the University and aims to encourage public discussion and move access forward by bringing a research-based treatment to it.

About the series

Access to higher education is a major social issue in the UK as in most countries. Overall participation in the UK is moving towards 50 per cent of the school leaver age group but non-white students, state school students and students from disadvantaged regions of the UK are under-represented in academically elite universities. This pattern affects entry, completion and outcomes in graduate labour markets. Access to the University of Oxford is a persistent debate. Must universities choose between high standards and socially equitable admissions, or can we have both? What is the scope for change?


Participation in postgraduate study has increased considerably over the last quarter century. Despite this expansion, access to postgraduate study has received relatively little attention from researchers and policymakers. There are concerns that gains in undergraduate participation may be nullified by inequalities in postgraduate access. Postgraduates also comprise the future pool of academic workers. Recent policy attention has focused on loan funding for postgraduate courses – but has this had an impact? This seminar will review the evidence on access to postgraduate study, identify what this might mean for funders, universities and their communities, and outline outstanding gaps in our knowledge.


The speakers will include, Paul Wakeling (Professor and Head of Department, Department of Education, University of York) and a response will be given by Paul Martin (Associate Head of Division (Education), Social Science Division) and Mike Bonsall (Associate Head of Division (Education), Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences Division). The Chair is TBA.