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


We offer a mentoring programme to support students with their preparation for the PAT (Physics Aptitude Test), running in parallel to our online Preparing for the PAT course. Work with an Oxford Physics student for the summer to boost your problem-solving skills!

The programme is open to students in Y12 at UK state schools who are interested in applying to study Physics or Physics & Philosophy 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 will open in Spring 2024.

* 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?

From June to October, you'll be matched up with an Oxford physics student who will be your mentor. You'll be in groups of 10, and will have up ten sessions with your mentor over the course of the programme. These will mostly focus on physics and maths problem-solving, but they'll also be there to answer your questions about applying to and studying at Oxford.

How much does it cost?

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

Is it just for prospective physics students?

The Physics and Engineering departments are working together on the programme, so you can apply if you're interested in studying physics or engineering. We'll group you with other students who want to study the same thing, and find you a group mentor from the right subject too.

Feedback from 2022 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.