Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy

Anna Duncan

Anna Duncan

  • Fourth-year undergraduate, Chemistry


My name is Anna Duncan and I am fourth-year undergraduate studying Chemistry at Lincoln. I grew up on the Wirral in the North West and attended a state-maintained grammar school for girls. When I first started to think about applying to universities, I did not imagine that there would be a place for someone like me at Oxford. However, after attending an open day, my heart was set on applying to Lincoln. I felt so welcomed to the College: there was such a friendly atmosphere and I knew right away that I would be able to fit in here.

The part that I enjoy most about my course is the focus on practical chemistry: I love getting stuck into lab work, which, in no small part, helped me to win the 2019 Shimadzu Prize in Practical Chemistry – it was an honour to receive the University prize alongside the Trappes exhibition awarded to me by Lincoln. The tutorial system has allowed me to immerse myself in my subject and, by having regular contact with subject specialists, has enabled me to discover the ground-breaking research being conducted within Oxford and beyond. The best thing about being part of the Lincoln community is the chance to get involved in the events which go on here. In 2018, Professor Peter Atkins gave a lecture, which was followed by a meal at which I got to talk to Lincoln Chemistry alumni and hear about the variety of career paths that my degree could lead to.

To prospective students who are thinking about studying Chemistry at Lincoln, I would whole-heartedly encourage you to apply – you really do have nothing to lose and so much to gain! Get involved in chemistry outside of your current studies wherever you can: go to open lectures at local universities, enter science-related competitions and, most importantly, read further into the topics that interest you in your lessons (or even have a look at the research that is currently being undertaken by industry experts who have published their work). By doing any of the above, it demonstrates that you are keen to develop your understanding in chemistry and that you will be an engaged and motivated undergraduate.

When I am not in a lab, I am heavily involved in the University Dancesport Club, of which I am the Vice-Captain. One of the highlights of my first year was receiving two full Blue awards (for competing for the University) in both Dancesport and swimming. Although a Chemistry degree is a full-time commitment, being able to keep up with my outside interests has allowed me to make the most of my Oxford experience!