This course forms part of our access programme for young people interested in studying physics at university


The Parallel Mentoring Programme aims to support students with their preparation for the PAT (Physics Admission Test) and runs in parallel to our online Preparing for the PAT course. 

The programme is open to students in Y12, or equivalent, at UK state schools who are interested in applying to study Physics, Physics & Philosophy, Engineering or Materials Science at Oxford. There are two streams to the programme:

  • Stream A: Students who identify as female or non-binary*
  • Stream B: Students who identify as being of Black heritage

In addition, to be eligible for the programme, you must attend a UK school that is both:

  • non-fee-paying (i.e. state school), and
  • comprehensive (i.e. not academically selective).

If the programme is over-subscribed, we will prioritise applications from students from under-represented backgrounds.

Applications for the 2024 programme have now closed.

* Please apply for this stream if you identify as any gender that is minoritised in physics - the list here is not exhaustive.

What does the programme offer?

This programme runs alongside the Preparing for the PAT course. 

PMP students are placed in a group of around 10 Year 12, or equivalent, students and each group is allocated a mentor who is a current Oxford Physics student. PMP students have access to an online learning platform which allows them to chat to their group members, their mentor and the other students and mentors on the programme. They also have online tutorials with their group and mentor for each of the four problem sets in the PAT course as well as additional webinar and drop in sessions for all PMP students. 

The programme mostly focuses on physics and maths problem-solving, but there are also opportunities to ask questions about applying to and studying at Oxford and to receive more general advice on university applications and interviews. 

How much does it cost?

Nothing - the programme is completely free to take part in.

Is it just for prospective physics students?

The Physics, Engineering and Materials Science departments are working together on the programme, so you can apply if you're interested in studying any of these. We'll try to group you with other students who want to study the same thing.

Feedback from previous participants

The mentoring sessions were super helpful in explaining concepts questions/concepts I didn't understand and my tutor was amazing!

My mentor was very encouraging and enthusiastic about teaching which made me want to try harder.

I really enjoyed the problems in the assignments - they were good fun, and I liked that I had multiple opportunities to try understand difficult problems (both in tutorials and in the webinars). My mentor was awesome, and I am really grateful for all the support I received. 

What do you consider to be an "under-represented background"?

As places are limited, we may prioritise applicants who meet some of the following criteria:

  • You would be within the first generation of your family to attend university (i.e. your parents and grandparents did not attend university)
  • You have been eligible for one or more of free school meals, pupil premium, Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and/or 16-19 bursary during secondary school
  • You live in an area with a low rate of progression to higher education. If your home is POLAR4 quintile 1 or 2 then you meet this criterion. You can check your postcode here.
  • You live in an area with a high level of socio-economic deprivation, as determined by the ACORN measure.
  • You are care-experienced, i.e. have been in care at some point, for more than three months in total.
  • You are a young carer
  • You attend a school with little or no history of successful applications to The University of Oxford to study Physics.