All About Mars

During the spring of 2022 Christ Church will be running a program called ‘All about Mars’ for year 12 students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Groups interested in studying a physical sciences subject (Maths, Computer Science, Engineering, Materials, Earth Sciences, Physics, or Geography) at university and Oxford.

This program will introduce participants to cutting-edge research being done at Oxford and beyond on the latest Mars missions, and give them an opportunity to undertake their own research into a space-related research topic. Participants will also be given a workshop on structuring and writing essays and scientific reports, and advice on preparing for Oxford undergraduate admissions tests.

Image of planet Mars with collage of exploration probes and rovers


What does the program involve?

Participants will be required to attend four 90-minute after-school sessions (Monday 28 February, Monday 7 March, Monday 28 March, Thursday 31 March). These sessions will consist of a mixture of talks and workshops, and will take place between 17:00 and 18:30 GMT, online.

Additionally, students will write a 1-2 page scientific report on a topic related to Mars research, guided by an academic in that field. This topic will form the basis of a tutorial-like discussion of their findings.

Session 1: Program introduction, Mars flash talks

Session 2: Guest lecture from Mars Rover scientist, essay-writing workshop

Session 3: Mini Oxford-style tutorial, essay presentation

Session 4: ‘What next?’ talk, admissions test workshop


Who is eligible to take part?

Any Year 12 student from a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic background studying at a state school in the UK is encouraged to apply.

Participants should be interested in studying one of the above-listed subjects at university, be curious to find out if Oxford might be for them, and should want to broaden their horizons beyond the topics they have already covered in school.

If the program is oversubscribed priority will be given to students who, as well as having academic ability and potential, also meet one or more of the following criteria: have been eligible for free school meals, have been in care, are young carers, would be the first in their families to go to university, are from areas with low participation to higher education (measured by POLAR postcode) or from socio-economically disadvantaged areas (measured by ACORN postcode).


What will participants get out of this?

Participants will:

• Hear from experts in Mars exploration, working on the latest European and American space missions

• Have the opportunity to undertake supported research of their own, on a challenging academic question; which might form the basis of a personal statement

• Develop their report writing and scientific communication skills

• Experience a tutorial-like environment, gain confidence, and find out if they might enjoy studying in such settings

• Find out more about Oxford’s admissions process, including about admissions tests required for applying to the relevant courses.

Applications to the 'All about Mars' have now closed, but any questions about this program may be directed to the Access Fellow at Christ Church, Dr Benjamin Fernando (