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The Pathways Programme is an initiative coordinated by the Colleges of the University of Oxford, with support from the Sutton Trust.

The programme aims to provide information, advice and guidance on higher education and Oxford to academically able students, and staff members, in non-selective state schools with little history of student progression to Oxford.

All of our events are run in Oxford, and are free to attend.

Year 10

Taster Days

Taster Days give academically able year 10 students a chance to visit Oxford for a taste of what it would be like to study here.

The programme includes an introduction to higher education and student finance, interactive sessions with current students, lunch served in a college dining hall, and participation in an academic activity.

Year 10

Taster Days


Year 10 students at state schools across the UK, usually without sixth forms, or with little, if any, history of sending students to Oxford.

Applications are made by schools, rather than individuals, with each school welcome to bring up to 10 students.

100% of teachers agreed that the visit overall gave their students a positive impression of Oxford University.

91% said they had experienced or heard something that would help in advising students about Oxford University.


Spring 2017: 7th February, 9th February, 21st February, 23rd February, 28th February, 2nd March, 7th March, 9th March, 25th April, 27th April, 2nd May or 4th May.

Applications are now open!

Application form

The deadline for applications is noon on Friday 18th November.

Sample Programme


If you have any questions about Taster Days please contact Brendan or Emma on:

Year 11

Investigating Options

These events aim to explain the importance of GCSE results and post-16 choices to students and their teachers. They are designed for students who have already had some other introduction to Oxford, such as a Taster Day.

We also run three specific subject-area days. Investigating Medicine explores the different subjects connected with Medicine and offers students a chance to participate in subject tasters, alongside more practical sessions to inform students about the course options which are available to them. Investigating Humanities offers an introduction to a range of Humanities subjects through lectures, seminars and tutorials, with supporting information sessions for parents, and general talk on university applications and finances. Investigating Social Sciences provides students with the chance to explore a number of subjects within the Social Sciences through a series of lectures.

Year 11

Investigating Options


Year 11 students at state schools across the UK, usually without sixth forms, or with little, if any, history of sending applicants to Oxford.

Applications for Investigating Options are made by schools, with each school welcome to bring up to 10 pupils.

Applications for the Investigating Medicine, Humanities, and Social Sciences Days are made by individuals, but we ask students to nominate a teacher at their school to support their application.


If you have any questions please email Alice on:


8, 9, 10 November 2016

Investigating Options
Applications are now closed.

Sample Programme


July 2017

Investigating Medicine - 1 July
Sample Programme

Investigating Humanities - 8 July
Sample Programme

Investigating Social Sciences - 15 July
Sample Programme

Year 12

Study Days

Year 12 Study Days offer students the chance to experience their chosen subject through a day of academic sessions run by Oxford tutors.

These events bring 500 state school students to Oxford during three days in March. The aim of the day is to give these students a taste of university-level study in a subject that they are interested in, as well as to give them an insight into life as a student, studying and living in the Oxford college setting.

Year 12

Study Days

Each Year 12 visitor will have two academic taster sessions in small groups, two talks from admissions tutors about studying at Oxford and how to apply, free lunch in an Oxford College, and a college tour.

Throughout the day, the Year 12s are accompanied by a current Oxford undergraduate student, studying a subject aligned with their own interest.

The two academic sessions are the key section of the day, and are run by Oxford tutors or researchers.

These sessions are interactive in nature, and are aimed to inspire and excite Year 12s, and provide an insight into some of the research and teaching activities of the University of Oxford.

The two sessions will contrast, showing the variety of topics and issues that can be studied within a single academic discipline.

They are designed to be not only interesting, but intellectually challenging, and Year 12 visitors are likely to get much more out of their visit if they come ready to think, engage and discuss.

Outside of the academic sessions, Year 12s will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions to the undergraduate helpers, and find out more about what it is like to study and live in Oxford.

The tour will stop at all the key features of a typical College, including the dining hall, student common room, bar, library and other facilities.

For those that live far away, we provide accommodation in a college room overnight (free of charge), and lay on evening activities with current undergraduate students on hand to help. We may also be able to to help with travel costs.

The following subjects are
available for the Study Days:


Students must be taking Chemistry and Maths or another science at A-level.


Students must be taking Chemistry and Maths at A-level.

Earth Sciences/Geology

Students must be taking Maths plus Physics or Chemistry (preferably both) at A-level.


Students must be taking English Literature or the combined English Language and Literature course at A-level.


Students must be taking German at A-level.


Students must be taking Chemistry and at least one other from Biology, Physics and Maths. Medicine is particularly competitive and we expect that most successful students will have at least 7A* at GCSE.


Students must be taking Physics and Maths at A-level.

Biology (zoology and plant sciences)

Students must be taking Biology at A-level.


The study of the languages, culture, history and thought in the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. No specific A-level requirements.

Economics and Management

Students must be taking Maths at A-level.


Students must be taking French at A-level.


Students must be taking History at A-level.


Students must be taking Students must be taking Music at A-level.

Politics and Economics

Oxford teaches PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) - this Study Day will give a taste of two of these subjects. No specific A-level requirements.

Biomedical Sciences

Students must be taking Chemistry and Maths or another science at A-level.

Computer Science

Students must be taking Maths - Further Maths or another science also preferable.


Students must be taking Students must be taking Physics and Maths at A-level.


Students must be taking Geography at A-level.


Students must be taking Maths and (usually) Further Maths at A-level.

Philosophy and Theology

No specific A-level requirements.

(Experimental) Psychology

Students must be taking one or more sciences at A-level.

Year 12

Study Days


Year 12 students at non-selective state schools or colleges in the UK.

Places will generally be limited to students with at least 5A* grades at GCSE (7A* for medicine), and who are predicted to achieve at least AAA at A Level (or equivalent).

Booking is by individuals, but we ask students to nominate a teacher at their school to support their application.


March 2017

Applications open early December 2016

Sample Programme

Guidance Notes


If you have any questions about the Study Days please email Claire on:

Year 13

Application Information Day

This event is aimed at students who are about to submit an application to the University of Oxford, and provides information and advice on personal statements, tests and interviews.

Participants follow a tailored programme in one of the following areas: Literature; History; Social Sciences, Law; Life Sciences; Mathematical Sciences; Physical Sciences and Medical Sciences. The event includes questions and answer sessions with tutors in the relevant subject disciplines, and observation of a demonstration interview.

Year 13

Application Information Day

Participants then get to put the advice into practice, working through some sample interview and admissions test questions in small groups with current undergraduates.

This event is timed to come just before UCAS applications are submitted, and is usually held the day after the university September Open Day.

We can provide free overnight accommodation in some of the Oxford colleges for participants travelling from distance. Parents or teachers are not required to accompany the participants Oxford, but for those who do, we run a separate session giving an overview of the admissions process as part of the programme.

Year 13

Application Information Day


Year 13 students at non-selective state schools or colleges in the UK.

In selecting participants, we take into account academic achievement (GCSE and AS grades, or equivalent), and contextual information about home and school background. As a guide, applicants for this event should usually be predicted to achieve the standard conditional offer for their chosen course at Oxford.

Booking is by individuals, but we ask students to nominate a teacher at their school to support their application.


Saturday 17th September


Download these application guidance notes to learn more about the Application Information Day!
Guidance notes

Click the link to find out about the day!

Sample Programme


Applications are now closed.



If you have any questions about the Application Information Day please email us on:

Who we are

The Pathways Programme is run by the colleges of Oxford University, and is coordinated by a small group of college-based Outreach professionals, who are responsible for each particular stage of the programme.

Who we are


Ms Emma Bausch
Oriel College

Emma grew up in Carbondale, Illinois, United States. She studied History and Politics as an undergraduate before coming to Oxford for postgraduate study. After completing her master's degree, she worked in Oxford’s Undergraduate Admissions office on the UNIQ Summer Schools. Currently, she’s the Outreach Officer at Oriel College, Oxford and works primarily with schools in the West Midlands and West London.

Above all, Emma loves encouraging intellectual curiosity. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, reading The New Yorker, listening to Radio 3, and planning her next holiday.


Mr Andrew Miller
Oriel College

Andrew is originally from the North East of England and attended his local comprehensive on the banks of the Tyne. He studied History at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and worked first in publishing and then in secondary schools advising students on higher education in both the UK and abroad. He then read for his MA at University College London in US History and Politics.

Year 13 Coordinator

Ms Shona Quinn
St Anne's College

Shona grew up in a small town in Devon, before moving to the ‘big city’ of Bristol to study Geography at university. Following her love of maps, she worked for Britain’s national mapping agency after graduating, before joining St Anne’s College as the Schools Liaison Officer in April 2014. Shona now works with schools in London and the North East of England, so can spend time in central London one week, and in the rural villages of Northumberland the next. In her free time, Shona enjoys reading, singing in a community choir, and getting trains to new places.

Year 12 Coordinator

Ms Claire Hogben
Lincoln College

Claire grew up on the Wirral, and never even considered going to a top university until after her GCSE exams when she surprised herself with her results. She studied Biochemistry at Brasenose College, but spent more time showing school groups around Oxford than in the library studying. She controversially switched college allegiances and moved first to St Edmund Hall in August 2013 and then to Lincoln College in December 2015 to become Schools Liaison Officer. In her free time, Claire enjoys cycling, swimming, baking and playing her guitar.

Year 11

Ms Alice McCallum
Exeter College

Alice looks after the Investigating Medicine and Investigating Humanities components of the Pathways programme. She is originally from the Midlands, and attended a state school in Stratford-Upon-Avon. She studied French at New College, Oxford, before doing a master’s degree in Medieval French at Worcester College Since then, she has been working in Oxford as an Admissions and Outreach Officer, moving from St Hugh’s College to Exeter College in August 2015. In her role at Exeter, she spends much time working with schools in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, and enjoys talking to students about a university she loves so much. In her spare time, Alice likes climbing, playing squash badly but enthusiastically, and visiting new places (occasionally by accident).

Year 10 Joint Coordinator

Mr Brendan Shepherd
Corpus Christi College

Brendan grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, attending a local comprehensive school. He studied History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he enjoyed reading, welcoming visiting school groups, and the social side of student life - particularly low quality sports participation. In 2012 he became the Schools Liaison Officer at Jesus College, Cambridge, working with schools in London and his native north east, before moving to Oxford in 2014 to become Corpus Christi’s Outreach and Admissions Officer. Besides visiting schools in Manchester and Derbyshire, Brendan enjoys (to a point) following Newcastle United around the country, swimming, cooking whilst listening to BBC Radio 6 Music, and seeking out quiet pubs.

Year 10 Joint Coordinator

Ms Emma Coulson
St John's College

Emma spent most of her childhood in Uganda, East Africa, before moving back to the UK to attend a state secondary school in South London. She studied English Literature at the University of Leeds. After graduating, Emma worked in Nottingham for the educational charity IntoUniversity, before moving to Oxford to become the Access and Outreach Officer at St John’s College where she works primarily with schools in areas of London and Sussex. In her free time Emma enjoys playing the piano, as well as playing squash and Australian rules football.

for Teachers

Information for Teachers

Which schools do
we work with?

All Pathways events are designed for non-selective state schools in the UK. We prioritise schools without sixth forms, or with little, if any, history of sending students to Oxford. Individual events have their own selection criteria.

Is there any charge?

All activities and lunch are free, but you will need to organise your own transport to Oxford.

How many students
can I send?

For the Year 10 and 11 days, the maximum number of students per school is 10 in order for as many schools as possible to benefit from the events; there is no minimum. For the Year 12 and Year 13 events, there is no limit on the number of applications per school or college, but overall places are limited.

Which students
are the events for?

We work with academically able students who should be capable of applying to the most selective universities. We recognise not all will go on to apply to Oxford. The Year 10 and Year 11 events are aimed at students who are capable of attaining mostly A* and A grades at GCSE.

The Year 12 and 13 events are aimed at students who are predicted at least AAA at A2 and should be considering making (or are making) an application to the University of Oxford or other similar institutions. When selecting participants for the Year 12 and 13 events, we also take into account socio-economic data, such as parental HE participation and eligibility for benefits or free schools meals.

What other events
does Oxford offer?

Oxford offers a huge number of events for schools and prospective students. There are open days, student conferences, the UNIQ Summer Schools, and events run by your regional link college.

Teachers who want to join the Pathways mailing list should email with the name of their school, their role, and contact details.

© Oxford Pathways 2016