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Philosophy Plus Science Taster Day (digital event)

Friday 15 January 2021 (main event) & Monday 18 January (afternoon follow-up session) Catch up available.

Friday 15 January 2021 (main event)

09:45am – 5:00pm.

Monday 18 January 2021 (live, online event)

4:30pm – 6:00pm.

Bookings for this event have now closed. Registered participants were sent joining instructions at around 5pm on Thursday 14 January 2021. If you have registered but cannot find these, please check your spam folder, and if you cannot find them please get in touch via .

Philosophy and Computer Science

What is chaos? What is infinity? Can machines think? The links between Science and Philosophy are broad and deep, extending well beyond the obvious overlaps in logic, artificial intelligence, and ethics. Some of the greatest philosophers of the past - from Aristotle to Newton - are now known as scientists. Sir Isaac Newton's book, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (Mathematical principles of Natural Philosophy), outlines this everlasting relationship between science and philosophy which can still be seen today. This taster day provides an opportunity to find out more about how science and philosophy intertwine. More specifically, how Computer Science, Physics, and Mathematics all have one thing in common, Philosophy. This event is an opportunity for students who are considering applying for a joint degree in these subjects, and want to find out more.

This year the event will operate in two parts, on Friday 15 January we will have the virtual events where you can:

For those unable to attend the main event on the Friday, the materials for the session will remain online over the weekend (16 and 17 January). We recommend for those that cannot attend on the Friday, that you follow the timetable independently during the weekend.

The second part of the event will take place on Monday 18 January 2021 will involve a live panel of students and academics to answer any questions you have about Oxford, our courses, or the application process. Joining instructions for both parts will be emailed to all those successful in receiving a place.


This event is open to high-achieving students from the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. Students should be in the following year groups:

  • Year 11 or 12 if at school in England or Wales,
  • S5 or S6 if at school in Scotland, or
  • Year 12 or 13 if at school in Northern Ireland.
  • Students who are currently in their final year of school and who are planning taking a gap year, who will be applying for 2022 university admission, are also welcome. Students should be taking, or planning on taking, Maths A-level or equivalent, and expect to receive at least an A grade in it. Students taking Further Maths A-level are particularly welcome, as are those taking Physics A-level. Attendees should be considering applying to university. If you have previously attended a Philosophy Plus event, this is not for you, as much of the material will be similar to previous years.

    When and where

    Students will be given a URL for the main and live online event in an email a few days before the event. Questions for the online, live session will need to be submitted via a text based platform, details will be provided along with the joining instructions.

    How will I know if I have been allocated a place for this programme?

    We will be in touch via email to confirm if you have been allocated a place at this event.

    If you have applied prior to 10 December 2020, please expect a response on or around 17 December 2020. If you have not received a response by midday on 17 December, please email Please remember to check your spam filters.

    For all applications received after Thursday 10 December please expect a response between 7-13 January 2021. If you have not received a response by Wednesday 13 January 2021 please email Please remember to check your spam filters.


    Do participants need to have studied either philosophy or Computer Science/IT or Physics to attend the event?

    No, you don't need to be studying all of these subjects at school. We're looking for students with a high ability in Maths and an interest in finding out more about the subjects mentioned. So you need to be taking (or planning on taking) Maths A-level, or equivalent. If you're not doing Physics or Computer Science that's fine. If you're not doing Physics A-level (or equivalent) you wouldn't be eligible to apply for our Philosophy and Physics degree, but you're still welcome to attend the day.

    How will the event work?

    A few days before the event we will send a link to the event portal. It will contain a suggested programme for the day for you to follow, with links to various videos and resources for each stage of the day. You can follow along from home (or school) and use the text-based facilities to ask questions about the sessions that are suggested for that time slot. However, if you aren’t able to follow the programme with us on Friday, or there are sessions you’d like to re-watch, or you want to watch several of the videos suggested for a time slot rather than choosing just one, you can catch up over the weekend. On Monday afternoon, we’ll hold a live, online session and answer more of your questions that have come in over the weekend

    How nuch does the taster day cost?

    This event is free, and will be virtual for 2021.

    How do I book?

    The booking form can be found here. Bookings close on Wednesday 13 January at midday.

    I can’t make the sessions on Friday 15 January/Monday 18 January, can I still take part?

    Yes! We are aware that it will be difficult for some students to take part in a ‘school trip’ on the Friday. Sign up to the event, and we will email you all the links. You can follow the programme in your own time over the weekend. The entirely optional follow-up session on the Monday is designed so students can join it after school; we’ll pick up on questions you’ve sent in over the weekend.

    My students aren't doing A-levels and we're a college not a school — can our students still take part?

    Yes! We don't mind what kind of school or college attendees come from, just as long as it's in the UK and the students are thinking about university applications. We tend to talk about 'schools' when we should say 'schools or colleges' because the word 'college' means something different to us: at Oxford colleges form part of the University. Students who are taking Baccalaureates, Scottish Highers, etc are also more than welcome — there are just too many alternative qualifications to list them all. Please don't be offended, or think that we're trying to exclude you.

    We are a UK independent/fee-paying school or home schooling — can our students still take part?

    Yes! Please fill out the booking form. If you are home schooling please just write 'home educated' in the school name box.

    Can I pick which virtual college tour I go on?

    There will be a few college available to tour online, you can choose to tour as many or as few of these as you like!

    I have not yet received my URL link to join the event?

    The URL link will be emailed to participants a few days before the event. Please check your spam and the email you provided in your registration. If you have not received a joining email by 5pm on Wednesday 13 January, and you have been accepted onto this programme, please do get in touch:

    Is there anything I need?

    You will need access to a computer/laptop and the internet/WIFI, this can be at home or at school. If you are taking time out from your studies, please be sure to have the necessary permissions from your school in order to do so. Our live, online event will be streamed live with the option to ask questions to our panellists via a text based platform. The link to this platform will be provided on the day.

    I don’t have a reliable internet connection is this a problem?

    For those unable to attend the event at the designated times due to technical constraints we will have the materials available for a set period after the event for those invited to ‘catch up’ on the materials at a suitable time.

    I have accessibility requirements, do you provide support?

    We know that everyone is different, if you do have some accessibility requirements that you feel would prevent you from taking part in the day, please get in touch with us at to discuss what arrangements may be possible.

    I've got a question — who do I talk to?

    Please contact:

    Please note the organisers reserve the right to change programme without notification or to make alterations to the advertised details for the day at short notice.