Summer schools

We provide week-long opportunities for young people, local to us, to get a flavour of work, study and life in a physics department. These summer schools are longer-term events that are designed to allow students to explore physics-related careers and the next steps for continuing to pursue their passion for physics. The summer schools are run in place of work experience for local students, and students present their work to their peers at the end of the week in a poster presentation. 

In 2023, we were able to run two parallel summer schools. We hope to do so again in 2024 with details to be confirmed in Spring 2024. 

  • Year 12 Physics Summer School: We run a week of summer placements to give 20 local A-level (or equivalent) students a taster of life in a physics department. The placements provide experience of working in research, as well as other professions and support services within the department, including technical, outreach, enterprise and communications. During the week students work on a project and also take part in a central programme of activities such as departmental tours, career talks and sample lectures. 
  • Year 12 NQCC Quantum Experience Summer School: New for 2023, we are running a parallel summer school that will give 10 local A-level (or equivalent) students a taster of life as a quantum physicist. The placements will include quantum physics tutorials, theoretical and experimental, some coding experience, and visits to local quantum technology companies. You will get first-hand lab experience with researchers in this cutting edge field and meet other likeminded students. The Year 12 Quantum Experience Summer School has been made possible by generous support from the NQCC (The National Quantum Computing Centre).

Further details

The 2023 summer schools ran from 31st July - 4th Aug 2023, Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm each day. Dates for 2024 are still being finalised. Students are expected to attend the whole of every day if they accept the offer of a placement, unless they have a particular reason that this is not possible. 

We are unable to provide or organise either transport or accommodation for those accepted on the summer schools. However, we do not want finance to be a barrier to participation for local students, so we have some small bursaries available to cover local transport, e.g. local buses. Please indicate in the appropriate place on the application form if you would need this financial assistance in order to take part in the programme.

Applying to the summer schools

The summer schools are open to students who are:

  • currently in Y12 (for academic year 22-23)
  • attending a non-fee-paying school
  • living in Oxfordshire, Berkshire of Buckinghamshire.

Priority is given to young people whose skills and enthusiasm align with specific projects and who look to benefit the most from the experience. 

Once you have applied, we will let you know whether you have been successful, and will offer you a placement on one of the summer schools. On the Physics Summer School you will also be assigned a topic (e.g. particle physics, laser physics etc.). You may either accept or reject that placement, but we will not generally be able to accommodate changes of topic. If there is a particular area of physics that you are interested in, please let us know in your personal statement on the application form, so that we can do our best to match students with placements.

If you have any questions about the programme, please email us via

Applications for the 2024 Summer School programme will open in late Spring 2024. We are not able to accept early applications to the programme. 

Year 12 Physics Summer School 2022

Our 2022 Summer School ran on 1st - 5th August 2022. You can read about it here.

UNIQ Summer School (Year 12)

UNIQ is an exciting programme for Year 12 students across the UK who are interested in applying to Oxford. Participants get to know Oxford undergraduates and work with our academics. They experience a taster of university life, attending lectures, tackling problem sheets and doing experience in the teaching labs. UNIQ is open to students attending UK state schools and selection considers students’ school grades and their socio economic and educational background. Most UNIQ students decide to apply to Oxford and also get help to prepare for admissions tests and interviews. To find out more, and apply for UNIQ visit the UNIQ webpage here (the deadline for applications to the 2024 programme is noon on the 23rd January 2024).

Work experience (Year 10)

We organise a limited number of placements for Year 10 students in our partner schools. These placements are usually organised through Oxford City Council and typically involve working with our engineers in the workshop to give young people an opportunity to explore a career in technical design and support.

You may be also interested in the work experience opportunities offered by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

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