Our admissions process | University of Oxford
Student in lab
UNIQ student in the lab
Credit: John Cairns

Our admissions process

In addition to the work we do to encourage potential applicants and support them in their applications, we also monitor our admissions processes closely to ensure that they are fair, transparent, and focused solely on the academic potential of students to succeed at Oxford.

Fairness in selecting students

Our admissions process is designed to ensure consistency and fairness for all candidates:

  • All colleges and courses operate according to an agreed Common Framework to ensure consistency of treatment of all candidates University-wide.
  • Admissions to each course is coordinated at subject level across all colleges to ensure that the best candidates are admitted to the University regardless of which college they happened to choose.
  • We use contextual information to weight candidates’ prior academic achievements, mainly GCSEs, to take account of the possible impact of educational disadvantage.
  • Contextual information is also used to highlight candidates who come from areas with low progression rates to higher education, areas of socio-economic disadvantage, and from under-performing schools, to ensure they are considered very carefully at every stage of the process. We also pay particular attention to applicants who are, or have been, looked after children.
  • One of the main purposes of interviews is to seek out potential in applicants who don’t have flawless track records. Interviews are an opportunity for candidates who have been less well supported prior to application to demonstrate that their academic potential may be greater than their grades suggest.
  • We know that attending interview can be expensive and so as of 2018 we are meeting the travel expenses of the most disadvantaged candidates.
  • Academics involved in admissions interviews receive training through our Learning Institute programmes for admissions tutors.
  • We don’t give lower conditional offers to candidates from underrepresented groups; we ask for the grades we believe are needed in order for students to be able to succeed with the course. Our offers are broadly in line with those at other very selective universities.

For more detail on how to apply see ox.ac.uk/apply

We keep all our access and admissions activities under review. The expansion of UNIQ and the introduction of paid travel for interview candidates from low-income backgrounds are amongst the actions we have introduced in the wake of our most recent review.