ADMISSIONS STATEMENT 

Interested in who studies geography at Oxford and how this is changing?

 

The annual Oxford admissions statistics report compiles information about the profiles of successful applicants to help track the university's progress in diversifying admissions. 

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  • In 2021, 17.3% of UK students admitted to Oxford came from the 2 most socioeconomically disadvantaged groups – this is an increase of 6.7 percentage points compared to 2017. 

  • Between 2019-2021, 12.8% of students admitted to Oxford’s Geography course were from the 2 most socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. This is standard for Oxford’s 25 largest courses, although Law and History & Politics admitted the most students from deprived backgrounds between 2019-2021. 

  • Between 2019-2021, 10.3% of students admitted to Oxford’s Geography course were from areas with low progression to higher education (or areas where it is less common for students to go to university). This is one of the lowest proportions amongst the 25 largest courses. 

  • Amongst the colleges that offer Geography, Worcester College and Mansfield College accepted the highest proportions of students from the 2 most socioeconomically disadvantaged groups between 2019-2021 (at 22% and 23.2% of admissions respectively).  

  • Worcester and Mansfield also admitted the highest proportion of students from areas with low progression to higher education between 2019-2021 (21.2% and 23.9% respectively), with Brasenose following behind at 18.3%.  

  • Of the top 25 courses at Oxford, Geography placed 10th in the proportion of UK students admitted from state schools between 2019-2021, with 72.4% of students. 

  • Of the colleges offering Geography, Mansfield College had by far the highest state proportion of total UK students admitted, at 94.8% of admissions between 2019-2021.

  • Between 2019-2021, 70.1% of UK Geographers admitted to Oxford were female. 

  • Between 2019-2021, 16.5% of UK students admitted to study Geography at Oxford were from BME backgrounds. This is the 3rd lowest of the 25 largest Oxford courses.  

  • In terms of colleges which offer Geography, Christ Church, Mansfield and St. Peter’s College admitted the highest proportions of UK BME students between 2019-2021 (at 28.5%, 27.3% and 27.0% respectively). 

  • Whilst information on the number and proportion of UK students with a disability is not disaggregated by course, in 2021, 11.6% of UK students admitted to Oxford declared a disability.  

Key Findings from the Report
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Statement from the School of Geography and Environment
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Statements from Oxford Geography Society (2022-23): 
Eleanor Luxton, Access Officer

“It is great to see that the number of disadvantaged and state-educated students admitted to Oxford has risen since the publication of the last report, although we are still lagging behind many other courses. I find it unacceptable that Geography has one of the lowest proportions of students from areas where it is less common for young people to go to university. I think that this demonstrates how important it is for Oxford Geography Society to work with the School of Geography and the Environment to expand our outreach programs. We need to show that Geography is a worthwhile, useful degree – whilst we may not have a prescribed career path like Medicine or Law does, the transferrable skills gained by Geography students make us highly employable. It is, however, heartening to see my own college – Mansfield – at the top of the tables once again and I would encourage potential Geography applicants to come for a tour. In my time as Access Officer, I am hoping to improve our Alternative Prospectus and create a Teacher Handbook to guide educators through the Oxford Geography admissions process. Whilst it’s a small change, I hope this will encourage a more diverse cohort in future”. 

Emily Suter, President

“Whilst it’s encouraging to see a rise in admissions of those from disadvantaged backgrounds, what is most clear from this year’s admissions report is that the School of Geography and the Environment isn’t doing enough and is falling short of many other disciplines. Coming from a low income, state school background myself, I know how difficult it is it to progress to higher education, let alone an institution such as Oxford. Many barriers are put in place right from the start. Stereotypes of Oxford and Geography mean that many high achieving students don’t even apply. This needs to change. With this in mind, myself and the society’s Access Officer are working closely with the department to increase outreach to state schools, give more resources to teachers, and make Oxford and the interview process less daunting and more accessible. The society is always open to messages and as President I strive to do as much as I can to make the process easier than it was for myself and many others. Geography is a subject for everyone, and I hope anyone considering it applies.” 

“The School of Geography and the Environment welcomes the Annual Admissions Statistics Release of the University of Oxford. We are encouraged to see that the proportion of students we admit from state schools continues to grow significantly and indeed is now above the University average. We continue to be committed to attracting and admitting more applicants from areas of low progression to education and from BME backgrounds. Our aim is to have an undergraduate intake that represents the diversity of perspectives and experiences of society more widely. As part of our commitment to this important issue we have recently appointed an Access, Outreach, and Internships Officer who is co-ordinating our activities and initiatives in these areas. At the same time, the School is working hard to make it clearer (through, for instance, revising its website) to high achieving candidates from all backgrounds that Geography at Oxford offers a unique pathway to a range of important careers that are transformative for our students and the worlds in which they live.” 

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