Work experience

The Department of Physics at the University of Oxford provides a limited number of work experience placements for students in Year 12.

Oxford Physics Year 12 Summer School (in place of work experience)

We run a week of placements in the summer, 27th - 31st July 2020. Some of these placements cover physics research, while others cover some of the other teams that make the Physics Department work, including outreach, enterprise, communications and Human Resources.

During the week students work on a project and also take part in a central programme of activities such as departmental tours, career talks and sample lectures. Students present their work to their peers at the end of the week in a poster presentation. We have projects that cover a range of different interests and topics in physics.

Please note we do not arrange or cover the cost of transport or accommodation for the Oxford Physics Year 12 Summer School. You will need to make these arrangements yourself and for this reason most students live within commuting distance of Oxford.

Making an application

We have had considerable interest in this scheme and students will be selected based on the criteria below.

Applications for the 2020 Year 12 Physics Summer School are now open. Please complete this online form.

Selection criteria

Essential criteria (shortlisting): Evidence is provided that the candidates is:

  • In Year 12 and studying Physics and Maths at A-level, or equivalent
  • Age 16 years or above
  • Enthusiastic and passionate about Physics
  • Interested in gaining experience of work and university-level study in Physics
  • Able to attend the event for the full week
  • Able to arrange, and cover the cost of, their own travel during the week*
  • Able to work in the UK (you will be required to show your passport, and visa if relevant, before you start)

Desirable criteria: Priority will be given to candidates who give evidence of one or more of the following criteria:

  • Candidates look to benefit significantly from the experience i.e. they haven't completed a similar placement at another institution
  • Candidate's skills and enthusiasm align with specific projects
  • Candidates are, or have been, eligible for free school meals, pupil premium, Education Maintenance allowance and/or 16-19 bursary during their secondary education*
  • Candidates are the first in their family to go to university
  • Candidates are living in Oxfordshire
  • Candidates do not have access to other universities or experiences closer to their home region.

*No accommodation is provided with this placement. A small bursary (up to £40 for the week) is available for children on free school meals or equivalent to cover the cost of transport.


If you have any questions about the Summer School, please email

Mailing list

If you wish to join our mailing list to be notified about the Year 12 Summer School as well as other physics-related events, news and online activities, please fill in this short form. We will send you the dates and information about how to apply when it becomes available.

Other placements

Students often contact individuals in the Department to request placements in their research field. It is likely that these requests will be directed to the central office and students will be asked to apply for the Oxford Physics Year 12 Summer School.

The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire also offers one or two week work experience placements in physics and other subject areas between April and August to over 100 students each year. More information available here.