Edward Penn

penn edward

Education (2021 cohort)


My research explores the experiences of non-traditional students entering highly selective universities and the impact their presence has on institutional norms and conceptions of academic merit. Using the concepts of habitus and stigma, my DPhil examines a case study of a Foundation Year scheme which allows students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter an elite university with lower grades than normally required. My research maps their experiences and the institutional response to their presence, exploring both adaptation and co-option. 

Prior to beginning my doctoral study I worked in widening participation and student outcomes for several years, including in collegiate outreach for the University of Cambridge and for Causeway Education, a widening access charity. I have also contributed to research projects focussed on widening participation, mostly recently a randomised control trial between several partner universities and TASO assessing the effectiveness of summer schools.

I hold a BA (1st class) in Politics, Psychology and Sociology from the University of Cambridge, and an MA (Distinction) in Sociology of Education from UCL’s Institute of Education. I am proudly state-school educated and a first-generation graduate.