Eligibility and Selection Criteria
The aim of the Nuffield Undergraduate Scholars Institute is to expand access to advanced education to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to consider graduate study in the social sciences, due to their socioeconomic or other life circumstances. We are also looking to enhance diversity within social sciences in UK academia, by encouraging applications from students underrepresented by ethnicity.
To be eligible for a place at NUSI, applicants should:
NUSI is designed for students who will be entering their final year of an undergraduate degree programme in the autumn of 2020. Applications will be considered from undergraduate students at any stage of their course, but preference may be given to those who are in their second year (or third year of a four-year course) at the time of application.
You do not have to be an Oxford undergraduate to apply. We strongly encourage applications from students studying outside of Oxford.
A prior background in the social sciences is not mandatory, and the programme is appropriate for students with little prior background and training in statistics and research design.
However, a confirmed interest in the social sciences is advantageous, as is an interest in training in quantitative methods. As part of their application, candidates should demonstrate an interest in and potential for conducting research in the social sciences.
Applicants should be UK residents who will be settled in the UK on 1 July 2020, with no restrictions on the period for which they may stay in the UK. They must have been ordinarily resident since 1 July 2017, and their residence should not have been wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education during any part of it. Verification may be requested for shortlisted candidates.
- come from a household with a combined income at or below £42,875 per annum. We will usually take household income to mean the combined earnings of your parents/guardians, or your own annual income if you are living independently. If this is not appropriate to your circumstances, you will have the opportunity to explain this in the application form. £42,875 is the level that the University of Oxford has set as a cut off point for undergraduate bursaries (see here for information); we take this threshold as an indicator of socioeconomic background.
- have lived in a neighbourhood which is classed as ACORN 4 or 5 and/or POLAR4 Quintile 1 or 2 in the final calendar year of their secondary education (this would normally be at age 18). ACORN and POLAR are ways of assessing the levels of socio-economic wealth or participation in higher education in different areas of the UK. You can check the ACORN category of a postcode on the ACORN website https://acorn.caci.co.uk/. You will need to register with ACORN, which is free. You can check the POLAR4 quintile of a postcode on the POLAR website https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/postcode-search/. You do not need to register for POLAR.
There is more information about how to check ACORN and POLAR data in our FAQs.
- have been in the care of the local authority for at least three months at some point in their lives.
Verification of eligibility may be requested for shortlisted candidates.
NUSI is open to applicants of all ethnicities, but, all else being equal, preference may be given to Black and Minority Ethnic applicants, who are typically underrepresented in graduate study in the social sciences in Oxford and the UK more broadly.
We will assess applicants firstly based on the eligibility criteria above, including any contextual socioeconomic data provided in their application, and then from within the pool of eligible applicants we will select participants based on the following criteria:
You should be predicted to achieve a 2.1 degree or above. Academic merit will be assessed through your course transcript and academic references.
EXPRESSED INTEREST IN AND POTENTIAL FOR GRADUATE STUDY IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
This will be assessed through your personal statement and academic references.
Preference may be given to applicants who identify as Black and Minority Ethnic. This means that, in the event that there are more shortlisted applicants than places, then, all other things being equal, an applicant’s ethnicity may be taken into account as a factor determining final selection.
The selection panel will consist of the NUSI Director, David Kirk, and two members of Nuffield’s Equality Committee or Governing Body.