Who goes on UNIQ?

UNIQ is a free programme for state-educated students from all over the UK who are in their first year of further education. Every year more students from diverse backgrounds apply to the University of Oxford and get offered places because they have been on UNIQ.

Selection Criteria

UNIQ is an access programme, which means that we prioritise state school students with good grades from backgrounds that are under-represented at Oxford and other highly selective universities.

We welcome applications from students from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England

  • Year 12 students from England and Wales, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • Year 13 students from Northern Ireland, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • S5 students from Scotland, studying Highers or equivalent

The main criteria we use to select students relate to academic potential and information on students educational and socio economic background.

Academic attainment and potential

We are aware that this year most students will apply to us with qualifications based on Centre Assessed Grades. We also understand that some of you may feel that these grades do not accurately reflect your abilities, given all the time you have had away from school. Please do not worry about this. We don’t want to miss out on students with the potential to do really well at Oxford, so this year we will be more flexible regarding the grades we require for UNIQ.

In previous years we have looked for students with the following grades, but this year we expect to recruit students with a wider range of grades. Academic attainment is considered in the context of applicants’ schools.

For students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, strong preference for 8 x GCSE grades, including some at 7/ 8/ 9/ A/ A* grades (or equivalent)

For Scottish students, strong preference for 7x National 5 with some at grade A.

Educational and socio economic background

Places on UNIQ are prioritised for students who live in areas where relatively few people progress to higher education (using POLAR postcode classification) and who come from low socio-economic backgrounds (using ACORN postcode classification).

All postcodes are divided into five groups called POLAR quintiles, with Q1 areas having the lowest rate of progression and Q5 the highest. UNIQ applicants who live in POLAR Q1 areas are selected before students with similar academic potential who live in POLAR Q2 postcodes. You can check the quintile of your postcode here.

ACORN is a classification of residential neighbourhoods which measures the socio-economic wealth of the area you live in, with 1 being the most economically advantaged and 5 being the least. UNIQ applicants who live in ACORN 5 areas are selected before students with similar academic potential who live in ACORN 4 postcodes.You can check which ACORN category your postcode comes under here. Please note that you do need to register before accessing this information.

We also consider whether students have ever been in care or received free school meals.

UNIQ welcomes applications from disabled students and makes reasonable adjustments to facilitate access to their course. Admission is based solely on the individual merits of each candidate.

We recognise that some students face additional difficulties in accessing their education, and as a result their academic results may not provide an accurate reflection of their academic potential. If there are any special circumstances that you would like us to consider in your application, please record these in your application. Please note that all information in applications will be checked.

You must be a UK resident settled in the UK at the time of applying to UNIQ with no restrictions on the period for which you may stay in the UK. The UK is defined as four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories are not part of the United Kingdom and are not eligible to apply to UNIQ.

You must have been resident in the UK from 10 October 2019, and this residence should not have been wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education during any part of it.