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UNIQ is open to students studying in their first year of further education, who are based at UK state schools or colleges. The Summer School provides an opportunity for students to receive first-hand experience of life at university, meet like-minded people and gain a deeper understanding of a subject that interests them.


This July, several members of the Department helped to deliver an exciting academic programme of practical classes, presentations and tutorials for the UNIQ Summer School for Medicine, which included tutorials on cell biology offered to groups of five UNIQ students.

UNIQ Spring and Summer is an important access programme giving state schooled further education students a taste of the Oxford undergraduate student experience. Students live in an Oxford college for a week, attend lectures and seminars in a chosen subject area, and receive expert advice on the Oxford application and interview process. 

UNIQ's Medicine course offers a unique insight into the six years of Oxford Medicine, providing representative lectures of those given during the six-year undergraduate programme and delivered by current lecturers. DPAG offers a significant portion of the undergraduate Pre-Clinical Medicine teaching that is conducted during the first three years of the degree, and our academics are perfectly placed to give potential applicants a real taste of what to expect as a medical student here.

The practical classes of the programme are designed to develop basic lab skills that would prove useful in the Pre-Clinical portion of the degree. On Monday 8 July, Postdoctoral Research Scientists Dr Mark Richards and Dr Kate Curtis offered a practical class entitled "Blood pressure, heart sounds & the electrocardiogram". On Wednesday 10 July, Director of Pre-Clinical Studies and Associate Professor of Anatomy Jeremy Taylor delivered a practical class entitled "Brain and sensation". 

I enjoyed the mock tutorial a lot and I think the students felt the same. All of them were very interested, actively participated and asked very good questions. - Dr Timm

On Wednesday 10 July, Associate Professor Deborah GoberdhanProfessor Clive Wilson and Dr Kerstin Timm joined academics from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Worcester College, the Department of Oncology and the Radcliffe Department of Medicine to deliver mock tutorials in cell biology. The tutorials offered students the chance to understand what Oxford tutorials are like and how undergraduate students would typically prepare for one. Before the tutorials, students were assigned introductory reading from "Essential Cell Biology" by Alberts et al., a standard text for first year medicine, focusing on the aspects most relevant to human biology and disease. 

The tutorial sessions were framed around four questions on epithelia, stem cells and cancer that the students had been asked to think about in advance. Prof Goberdhan commented that her "students handled the breadth of material well and were eager to interrelate this material with other ideas covered during the Summer School. All the students participated actively and were keen to take advantage of this opportunity to articulate their ideas and bounce them off each other. It was particularly pleasing to see how the students worked together to discuss challenging topics."

The UNIQ students gave very positive feedback in response to their experience at the Summer School, with all participants finding the week incredibly insightful and useful. Below is a selection of quotes covering activities throughout the week:

I really enjoyed the subject specific talks and practicals because they were the type of things unavailable at school. I also appreciated being able to go beyond my A-levels and really feel like a student at university.

The tutorial was amazing because the environment and style of learning was something I enjoyed. The fact you could make mistakes was really nice.

At first I was apprehensive about the teaching style at Oxford, but having experienced both the lectures and tutorials, I have come to realise this is the style of learning I both like and enjoy.

I really enjoyed learning by thinking about a concept that I had read on, but my tutor still stretched my thinking.