This article explores transition to postgraduate (PG) study in terms of the widening participation (WP) agenda. The research is located within a Communities of Practice framework, allowing for explanations of transition in terms of learning, identity and participation in practices. A qualitative ethnographic methodology is employed, and analysis reveals two themes: the heterogeneity of PG students, and the nature of PG teaching and learning. It is argued that the imperatives that the WP agenda generates are as compatible with PG as with undergraduate study, and that this may have been overlooked previously owing to assumptions of the homogeneity of postgraduates. However, students' experiences of academic practices do not always reflect the dogma of how teaching and learning should occur at PG level, and this may prevent full participation in PG study by those who might otherwise be included.