Interior of the first floor and dome of the Radcliffe Camera library
Interior of the Radcliffe Camera library
(Image Credit: Lukas Meier / Graduate Photography Competition)

Close the Gap – Rare Recruitment pilot


This page provides information about the Close the Gap - Rare Recruitment pilot for graduate applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK. If you are not ordinarily resident in the UK, the information on this page does not apply to you.


The ‘Close the Gap’ project is an equal partnership between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and is one of thirteen projects partially funded by the Office for Students and Research England to improve access to doctoral study for UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic students.

Close the Gap aims to develop and test new disciplinary-specific, race-literate, fair selection processes that are designed to bring about meaningful change in doctoral candidate selection, and in particular to address the underrepresentation of Black British, British Bangladeshi and British Pakistani students in postgraduate research in the UK overall, and in all major discipline groups at doctoral level in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The information provided on this page applies to all courses taking part in the selection pilot that are listed below (unless indicated otherwise).

Courses taking part in the selection pilot

This list will continue to be updated as courses are opened to accept applications. Please check back regularly for updates.

What actions are we taking?

We will be:

  1. working with Rare Recruitment, who are leaders in diversity graduate recruitment, to use a questionnaire to collect additional information from applicants who are ordinary resident in the UK, which will be taken into consideration as part of the shortlisting and decision-making process.

The academic selection criteria used for shortlisting and selection at interview are listed on the individual course pages that can be accessed through the course links above.

What do these things mean and why are we taking these actions?

Use of a standard questionnaire

This year, we are piloting an additional step in the application process for applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK for the courses mentioned above. Working with Rare Recruitment, who are leaders in diversity graduate recruitment, this step is designed to improve understanding of the context of your application and to identify applicants with the greatest potential from disadvantaged backgrounds. It does this by contextualising academic achievement within educational, socio-economic and personal circumstances. Further details can be found in the Questionnaire section of this page.

Selection of offer holders for college places

The changes apply to the departmental selection procedure only. The college selection procedure has not been amended, and will be undertaken in the same way as for any other courses within the University.

Completing the questionnaire

If you are ordinarily resident in the UK, you are asked to complete a short additional questionnaire provided by Rare Recruitment that you can access through the link below or via the University of Oxford graduate application form. 

The Rare Recruitment questionnaire collects information about you that is very similar to information that we collect through the University of Oxford graduate application form. You will have to provide this information twice as the two systems are separate.

Please use the same email address when you create an account in the University of Oxford graduate application form and the Rare Recruitment system. This is so we can match the data you have provided in the questionnaire to your application.

Rare Recruitment Questionnaire

In order for the information that you provide via the Rare Recruitment questionnaire to be considered during the assessment of your application, you will need to submit your questionnaire by the same deadline as the application for your course. Your application will proceed as standard (without consideration of the questionnaire during the assessment process) if you submit the questionnaire later than this deadline or if you choose not to submit the questionnaire at all.

Use of your data in the assessment process

The data collected by Rare Recruitment will include your name, email address, postcode, school information, education history, examination grades, etc.

Rare Recruitment will use this data to identify potential and track performance in the context of your socio-economic background (eg so we can consider whether you overachieved in light of your wider personal circumstances).

Rare Recruitment will share this information with us, and it will be used in the assessment of your application to contextualise your achievements.