Graduate access programme for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds in SSD

This summer, more than 130 students from across the UK experienced what it’s like to undertake postgraduate study at Oxford as part of the largest ever UNIQ+ programme.

The University’s UNIQ+ graduate access programme offers students from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to experience postgraduate research at Oxford through paid internships. The programme is just one of the initiatives aimed at encouraging applications to graduate study and increasing the number of promising postgraduate students from these groups at Oxford. Longer term, it is hoped that this will increase the diversity of academia and professions where a PhD is valued.

UNIQ+ was first launched as a pioneering pilot initiative in 2019, with 33 interns undertaking scientific research projects across the University. In July 2022 UNIQ+ welcomed 132 interns to Oxford to work on research projects in 36 departments. The interns undertook a six-week research project under the supervision of academic members of staff, post-doctoral staff, and current DPhil (PhD) students from Oxford’s world-leading research community, on a huge range of topics, including documenting cultural heritage, conflict, antimicrobial resistance, cancer epidemiology and climate change.

This project has confirmed to me that I want to continue into postgraduate study. My supervisor as well as other members of the research group I was working in have shown me how exciting a DPhil can be, whilst also at the same time discussing some of the challenges involved with independent research.

Gavin, UNIQ+ intern in Social Sciences

Participants attended skills sessions, lectures and social events as part of their internships, including a programme of events designed and delivered by a team of 12 Oxford DPhil students working with UNIQ+ interns as mentors and event coordinators. At the end of the programme, interns presented their work at a mini conference and submitted an end-of-project report.

This internship is incredibly useful in my path to determining whether a career in academic research is right for me... It's giving me an insight into the working life of an academic researcher, as well as providing me an opportunity to connect with more academics that have a PhD, or are in the process of obtaining one, to understand whether this would be something I could see myself doing in the future. 

Cathy, UNIQ+ intern in DPIR

UNIQ+ interns were paid a stipend of £2,500 for six weeks and accommodated free-of-charge by one of ten Oxford colleges participating in the scheme. As part of the programme they also receive mentoring and advice, as well as support for applying to postgraduate study.

Find out more about graduate access programmes at Oxford - Graduate access | University of Oxford