Next Seminar

Childbearing across Partnerships
Elizabeth Thomson
(Stockholm University)
Week 7, Monday
27 February, 12.30pm
Manor Road Building 
Seminar Room G


The Oxford Admissions Study

Project Team

Research Officer: Anna Zimdars

Steering Group: Professor Anthony Heath, Department of Sociology; Dr Elizabeth Frazer, Department of Politics; Dr Janet Howarth, Faculty of Modern History; Dr Jane Mellanby, Department of Experimental Psychology; Professor John Stein, Department of Physiology.


The primary aim of this project was to investigate the factors that influence access to Oxford and subsequent academic attainment. The research aimed to address the question, for example, whether students from certain kinds of background have greater chances of securing a place at Oxford and attaining a first-class degree (controlling for level of academic ability and other relevant characteristics) than do candidates from other backgrounds. The hope is that the research might provide information that would enable selection and examination procedures to be refined. The study was funded by the University.

The data collection took place in December 2002. Candidates at a number of colleges were asked to complete a questionnaire and two reasoning measures when they attended for interview. This data has been linked (with the candidates' permission) to their subsequent A-level results and the university they have gone on to attend. It has also been linked to their subsequent examination results at university. Candidates who failed to gain admission to Oxford were followed up in the same way as those who were accepted.


Mellanby, J. and Zimdars, A. (2011) Trait anxiety and degree performance. Higher Education. 61 (4). 357-370.

Zimdars, A (2010). Fairness and undergraduate admission: a qualitative exploration of admissions choices at the University of Oxford. Oxford Review of Education. 36 (3), 207-323.

Zimdars, A., A. Sullivan & A. Heath (2009) 'Elite Higher Education Admissions in the Arts and Sciences: Is Cultural Capital the Key?' Sociology, 43(4): 648-666.

Zimdars, A., A. Sullivan & A.F. Heath (2009) 'Cultural Capital and Access to Highly Selective Education: The Case of Admission to Oxford' in K. Robson & C. Sanders (eds.) Quantifying Theory: Pierre Bourdieu. Springer Netherlands.

Ogg, T., A. Zimdars & A. Heath (2009) 'Schooling effects on degree performance: a comparison of the predictive validity of aptitude testing and secondary school grades at Oxford University' British Educational Research Journal, 35(5): 781-807.