Application Guide | University of Oxford
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The Biochemistry building, part of the University Science Area
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Application Guide

Before you apply, it is essential that you read this Application Guide and the supplementary course-specific information on your individual course page, including the selection criteria (entry requirements), to ensure that you provide the correct information and supporting materials.

This guide applies to all candidates seeking admission to a graduate course at Oxford, including current Oxford students. It applies to all graduate courses with the exception of the courses listed below, for which admissions information can be found on the relevant course website:

Important note on published information

This is a guide to entry in 2015-16 and should not be used to apply for admission in subsequent years. Information on 2016-17 admissions will be available from September 2015.  

This Application Guide and the Graduate Admissions webpages are definitive. These resources contain the most current and comprehensive information regarding the admissions process and requirements and may be subject to change. Applicants should therefore consider the version currently available online as the definitive source of information at any given time.

Department and college websites may repeat some of the information regarding the admissions process for graduate courses. However, please note that in case of any discrepancies this Application Guide and the Graduate Admissions webpages are most up-to-date. If you have a query about information presented on a department or college website, please contact Graduate Admissions and Funding.

How to apply

You can access the application form at

The University requires you to apply online. Paper applications are only acceptable in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible for you to apply online. If you do have an exceptional need to use a paper form, please contact Graduate Admissions and Funding.

A range of assistive measures are in place to support applications from students with disabilities - for example, a paper application will be accepted where necessitated by an applicant's disability. Further information on this support is available for applicants with disabilities.

Current Oxford graduates applying for readmission to a research course

Continuing Oxford graduate students use a tailored version of the standard online application form. After selecting your course, you should select 'Readmission' on the Application Type screen. 

For further information on the readmission process and your eligibility to use this process, see our guidance for continuing Oxford graduates.

When to apply

The standard University-wide application deadlines for entry in October 2015 are as follows:




Friday 21 November 2014 (12 noon/midday UK time)

Only in use by selected courses


Friday 9 January 2015 (12 noon/midday UK time) or Friday 23 January 2015 (12 noon/midday UK time)

All courses use one or other of these deadlines

These are also the deadlines for most Oxford scholarships


Friday 13 March 2015 (12 noon/midday UK time)

Only in use by selected courses


Saturday 14 March 2015 to Monday 31 August 2015 

Some courses will remain open beyond 13 March where places remain available and/or later studentships may become available

Up-to-date information on whether each course is open for admission is available via our individual course pages

Courses will close at 12 noon (midday) UK time on the deadline day

Each course may use one or more of the standard University-wide application deadlines. You may apply to any deadline in use for your course, although we strongly recommend that you use the earliest deadline available - if you are intending to apply for a visa, you should aim to apply before the relevant January deadline.

The January deadlines are the deadlines for the majority of scholarships offered by the University and its departments and colleges. You must apply by the relevant January deadline both for University-wide scholarships where all eligible applicants are automatically considered, such as UK Research Council funding, and for the scholarships listed in the application form. 

Consideration for most Oxford scholarships is automatic but please note that there are some which require that you specifically apply for them. They may use different deadlines and you should check the deadlines for any funding you intend to apply for carefully. Individual departments may have other internal deadlines for specific sources of funding or other processes. You will find information about funding opportunities, including deadlines and application details, through our Fees, funding and scholarship search.

You should aim to pay the application fee and submit your complete application and all required supporting documents, including references, well before the relevant deadline. For January deadlines, you should approach your institution and organise your references in September and aim to apply before the end of December, using our application checklist.

The earlier you apply, the more time there is for us to help you if you have any queries about the process or any technical issues with the form, uploading your documents or paying the application fee. 

If you apply in the week leading up to the deadline or on the day of the deadline it is very likely that there will not be time for Graduate Admissions and Funding or the department to answer any queries or address any issues you may have in time for you to successfully submit your application by the deadline. This is especially true in the January deadlines - as the deadlines for many Oxford scholarships, these are extremely popular. If your course uses a November deadline we strongly encourage you to apply then, to allow more time for your application to be processed and assessed if you wish to be considered for funding.

In addition, if you leave your application until the last minute, there may not be time for any issues with missing or incorrect data to be communicated and/or resolved. If your application is not complete at the deadline then it may not be considered at all or it may be postponed to a later deadline if there is one available for the course, which may mean that you are no longer considered for University-wide scholarships. It is your responsibility to submit a complete application, and to ensure that your referees submit their references, by the deadline.

Application deadlines are strictly enforced. Your application and all supporting materials, including references, must be received by 12 noon UK time on the deadline date.

Information on the University's decision-making timescales and the application process after your application is submitted is available in our section on After you apply.

English language requirements

English is the language of instruction for all courses offered at Oxford and it is mandatory that all theses or examination papers are written in English, except in a small minority of cases where University regulations permit otherwise. 

The University has approved both a standard and a higher level of required ability in English. For all taught courses the higher level is mandatory. For research courses, the appropriate level is indicated on the individual course page.

If your first language is not English, or if your first language is English but you are not a national of the UK, Ireland or a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), you must supply suitable evidence that you have reached the relevant higher or standard level. 

You do not need to submit an English language test result before submitting your application. Any offer of a place will be conditional on your supplying your English language test results at the required level.

Majority English-speaking countries recognised by UKVI

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

The University only accepts certain standardised test results: IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) and the Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE). All of these tests are accepted for both admissions and visa purposes.

For IELTS you should take the IELTS Academic option and not the new IELTS UKVI or IELTS Life Skills options.

The University of Oxford is continuing to accept TOEFL iBT tests for admissions and visa purposes for students starting degree-level courses in 2015.

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course.

The score requirements in each test are as follows:


Standard level

Higher level 

IELTS Academic7.0Minimum 6.5 per component 7.5 Minimum 7.0 per component 
TOEFL iBT (Internet- based)*100

Minimum component scores:**

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:**

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English185

Minimum 176 per component

CPE taken before Jan 2015:

Grade C


Minimum 185 per component

CPE taken before Jan 2015:

Grade C

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English 185

Minimum 176 per component

CAE taken before Jan 2015:

Grade B


Minimum 185 per component

CAE taken before Jan 2015:

Grade A

* The TOEFL code for the University of Oxford is 0490
** UKVI may accept lower minimum scores for visa purposes, but please note that the University still requires you to meet these minimum scores

If your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of the UK, or another majority English-speaking country as defined by the UKVI, you do not need to supply test results or request a waiver. Current Oxford graduate students applying for readmission do not need to supply new English language results. 

If you require a student visa the University will vouch for your English language ability on your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) provided you have achieved the University's required results in one the English language tests accepted by the University (as above) or you have been granted an English language test waiver by your department. When submitting your student visa application, you will not be required to provide additional evidence of your English language ability.

Please note that the English language test does not need to be listed on the Home Office SELT (Secure English Language Tests) list as this only applies for students who want to study a course below degree level.

Language test waiver

At the discretion of the University, the requirement to provide English language test scores may be waived in cases where you have successfully completed or are currently completing a degree-level course that is:

  • full-time
  • at least nine months long
  • undertaken at a recognised institution where the medium of instruction and assessment throughout the course is entirely in English.

If you are still completing your course and you are offered a place, you will usually be asked to provide evidence that you have successfully completed your course as a condition of your offer. It is expected that you will complete your course and show evidence of this is in good time, usually by 31 August, though some departments may set an earlier deadline. If you are due to complete your application after the date set by the department you will usually be expected to submit a certificate of an English language test meeting the University's usual requirements for applicants whose first language is not English. 

To apply for a waiver of the English language test requirements, you will need to write a brief statement outlining the reasons why you should be exempted and upload it to your online application. Your waiver request will be considered by the department at the same time as your application is assessed and, if successful, you will not be required to supply English language test results as a condition of any offer made.

Please note that all applications require supporting documents to be submitted along with the completed application form by the application deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials, including references, are submitted in time. Late and/or incomplete applications will not normally be assessed. Since the process of obtaining references and official transcripts involves the time and co-operation of other individuals and organisations, you should be aware of the requirements and make arrangements to obtain the necessary documents as early as possible.

In addition to the submission of a completed application form and the application fee, the following documents are compulsory for all applications:

  • three academic references (letters of recommendation)
  • official transcript(s) of previous university-level degrees
  • CV/résumé
  • statement of purpose and/or research proposal

You may also be required to supply one or more of the following materials with your application, depending on the requirements of the course:

  • academic written work
  • portfolio (eg of artwork, performance recordings)
  • GRE results
  • mathematics admissions exercise

To check which additional supporting materials are required for a specific course, please see the individual course pages. The selection criteria (entry requirements) on course pages may include more detailed information on the department's requirements that you should also address.

All supporting materials must be:

  • in English (unless stated otherwise)

    Documents you have written yourself, such as a statement of purpose, research proposal or written work, must be written in English unless otherwise permitted by the department. An English translation by a third party from your own work is not acceptable unless explicitly permitted by the department. These documents must be entirely your own work except where clearly indicated and as part of the admissions process they may be checked using plagiarism detection software. Further information on this requirement is available in our guidance on plagiarism.

    Official transcripts which are not issued in English should be translated by either a professional translator, the relevant issuing body of the original document, or an authorised notary. The translation should be certified by the translator and submitted along with a copy of the official document in the original language. 

  • easily identifiable

    Please clearly indicate your name as well as the type of document, eg research proposal, on the document if this is not already clearly stated.

  • clear and legible

    Scanned and digital copies must be accessible and clearly legible; please ensure that scanned files are rotated correctly.

  • submitted at the same time as your application form

    Wherever possible, you should upload an electronic/scanned version of your document(s) to your online application.

    If you share an official transcript with Graduate Admissions and Funding, please use the correct email address ( and do this at the same time as you submit your application. Ensure that you select the maximum allowable time period for the document to be made available to us.

You can upload electronic or scanned copies of your documents directly to the application form. It is not usually necessary to upload a document to every page; please do not upload documents which are not required for your particular course. 

There is a size limit of 5MB for each document upload, so please ensure that documents meet this requirement and are fully legible. If you are unable to produce a legible scan of 5MB or less, please submit your document to us by the deadline date using our upload form.

If you are offered a place you will be asked to supply original transcripts and test certificates. Please do not send original documents unless specifically requested. Documents sent to Graduate Admissions and Funding will not be returned.

Please do not send or upload degree certificates or other documents which are not required to support your application.

Reusing documents in your readmission form

If you are a current Oxford graduate student using the readmission form, you must still supply all required documents. It is recommended that you upload these documents with your readmission form wherever possible, although you may also reuse certain documents from your successful application to your current course as permitted by the department to which you are applying.

You must always submit a new research proposal and a new reference from your current course supervisor or director. Course-specific information on which other documents can be reused is available via individual course pages.

Statement of purpose and research proposal

All applicants must provide a statement regarding their proposed research/study at Oxford. The statement must be entirely your own original work except where clearly indicated, with supporting quotations from any work authored by others clearly indicated and fully referenced, as per our guidance on plagiarism. Your statement may be checked using plagiarism detection software.

Please note that your statement does not count towards any written work that you may have to submit for the purposes of your application.

There are no restrictions on font size or line spacing although the document should be clearly legible.

If you are applying for a taught course (or for certain combined taught/research courses) you will usually be required to submit a statement, often around one page in length, explaining your motivation for applying for graduate study at Oxford in which you may wish to consider the following:

  • What relevant academic, research or practical experience do you have?
  • Why are you applying for this particular course?
  • Which areas of study within the subject especially interest you?

If your department chooses to provide specific guidance on the length and/or content of this statement on the course page then you should follow this in preference to the general advice above. Departments may refer to this statement in their own guidance and/or selection criteria (entry requirements) as a 'statement of purpose', 'personal statement', statement of study plans' or other similar terminology appropriate to its content.

If you are applying for a research course you will usually be required to submit a statement detailing your research plans, often referred to as a 'research proposal'. This is usually around two pages in length, unless the department states otherwise, though the length and level of detail required varies considerably between different subject areas and you should check the relevant course page for course-specific requirements.

For example, if you are applying for research in the humanities or social sciences, you will usually need to submit a well-developed proposal and bibliography giving an outline of how you intend to structure and undertake your research and, where possible, a preliminary title for the thesis. In other subjects you may only need to indicate which existing research groups you would like to join - if you are applying to a departmental studentship which does not indicate the need for an extended proposal in its advertisement, you will only need to indicate this fact in your statement and no further detail will be required.

Some courses may ask you to supply both a research proposal and a statement of purpose. In these circumstances, you should upload both statements to your application as a single document with each section clearly indicated via appropriate headings. 


Your CV should usually be one or two pages in length, comprising a summary of your recent achievements. It should provide details of your qualifications, any publications and any other experience relevant to your application.

Official transcript

You should submit a detailed record of your higher education up to the present, including courses taken and grades achieved. This should be produced for you as an official document by the institution where you studied and then visibly and indelibly certified by this issuing institution, often by signature and/or stamp. Documents which are not appropriately certified will not be accepted as a transcript.

You should upload either (i) a scan of your official paper transcript or, where available, (ii) an official, visibly certified electronic transcript to your online application. Unofficial and/or self-certified transcripts, including printouts or screenshots from student self-service websites are not acceptable.

If your institution offers an official, secure electronic transcript sharing service, such as Digitary, you will need to register Graduate Admissions and Funding at Oxford as an authorised recipient with the email address Your transcript should be shared with our office for the maximum possible timeframe permitted by your system, in a manner which allows us to retrieve and verify the full document by the deadline you are applying to.

If you have not yet completed your current degree, you should provide an official interim transcript detailing grades achieved to date.

Your institution may require several months to produce an official transcript so you should check your institution's policies and procedures well in advance of Oxford's application deadline. 

Please note that a degree certificate is not considered a transcript for the purpose of applying to Oxford as it is does not comprised detailed information on your grades.

If your official transcript is not in English, you must submit both (i) the original official document issued by your institution and (ii) a translation into English certified by a professional translator, the issuing body of the original transcript or an authorised notary.

If you are offered a place you will be asked to send the original document(s) of any scanned or electronic transcripts you have uploaded.

Current and former students are not exempted from submitting a valid official transcript - for assistance, see the guidance for current Oxford students on how to obtain an academic transcript.

Written work

Written work is a piece of academic writing, usually an academic essay, which should include referencing and/or a bibliography where appropriate. Written work must be entirely your own original work except where clearly indicated, with any supporting quotations from any work authored by others clearly indicated and properly referenced as per our guidance on plagiarism. Your work may be checked using plagiarism detection software.

Where required, the length and topic of written work is provided in the application information on individual course pages, with additional detail in the selection criteria (entry requirements). Please do not supply documents longer or considerably shorter than the stated requirement as they may not be considered. Where two pieces of written work are required, they should usually be on separate topics.

Where explicitly permitted in the instructions on the course page, you may choose to submit one longer piece of work - usually around 4,000 to 5,000 words - rather than two shorter pieces. Applicants to these courses who would prefer to submit one longer work should upload this document as the 'First piece of written work' on the supporting materials page, and for the 'Second piece of written work' should upload the following statement as a text document:

"I have included one long essay in lieu of the two short essays as permitted by the department."

Written work must enable the assessors to make a judgement about your suitability for your chosen course, and it is your responsibility to supply written work of the appropriate type and length.


Courses in fine art, creative writing and music that involve practical and creative work may require you to supply an appropriate portfolio of samples of your work with your application other than, or in addition to, academic written work. Some items, such as musical scores, can be uploaded to your application whereas items such as video recordings have a separate submission process. Instructions on the content and submission procedure for portfolios are available on individual course pages.

English language test score certificate

If applicable, you should upload a scanned copy of the original English language test certificate to your online application. The English language test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course.

If you are later offered a place, you may not need to supply an original as the University will verify all IELTS and TOEFL results directly with the test provider; if you have uploaded a CPE or CAE, you will be asked to supply the original document. Please do not post your certificate to the University unless this is specifically requested of you.

If you do not have test results at the time of applying, you should submit your application without these scores and send them to us separately via our upload form once available.

English language test waiver request

If you wish to apply for a waiver of the English test requirement, as per the guidance on English language requirements (see Application basics), you should write a brief letter outlining the reasons why you should be exempted from the requirement and upload it to the form on the supporting documents page. You must do this at the time of your application.

Admissions tests (GRE, Mathematics Admissions Exercise)

GRE results are not required to support your application unless explicitly specified on the relevant course page, though some departments may ask you to supply these results if you do have them.

Applicants to the MSc in Mathematical Finance and the MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance must submit the results of a self-administered Mathematics Admissions Exercise. There is a different exercise for each of these courses. The answers you submit must be your own original and unaided work and you must include the signed declaration. Further instructions and a copy of the exercise are available via the course pages.

You should select three referees who can provide an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for your chosen course. The University will accept professional references if these are relevant to the course. Please note that personal references, such as those from family and friends, are not acceptable.

You will need to ensure, in good time, that your referees are willing and able to write a reference (letter of recommendation) for you. It is your responsibility to provide the deadline by which references are required to your referees and to ensure that your referees submit their references by this deadline. 

In the application form you will be asked to register your referees. As soon as you have registered a referee and confirmed that you are ready for a reference request to be sent, your referee will receive the request. In this message, the date you have entered in your application as the 'Deadline by which references are required' will be communicated. You should ensure when entering this in your form that it is no later than the deadline you are applying to. 

After this initial automated request we will not contact referees on your behalf. We will not prompt referees for missing references or communicate the deadline to them after the initial automated request. Once a referee has been registered, you cannot change their details on the application form; if you subsequently need to replace one, please ask the replacement referee to submit a reference letter on headed paper and accompanying reference form to from their official email address.

If you are a current or recent master’s student, one of your referees should be your supervisor or course director from the master’s course. If you do not provide a reference of this kind with your application, the department will usually ask you to do so before completing the assessment of your application.

References must be submitted:

  • directly by the referee

    References should be uploaded to the online reference system by the referees directly. We are not able to accept references uploaded to the form or otherwise transmitted to our office by the applicant.

  • as early as possible, and always by the deadline you are applying to, via the reference system

  • in English, unless otherwise permitted by the department

  • on institutional or professional letter-headed paper

    Where this is not possible - for example, where a referee has retired - the reference letter should include the referee's contact details and current (or relevant previous) position.

  • from the referee's institutional or professional email address

    When you register your referees, you must provide their institutional or professional email address. If you register referees with a generic email address (eg Gmail, Hotmail, the University may not accept the reference. You may only register a generic email address if there is no alternative and your referee uses the address for all institutional/professional business.

You should contact your intended referees as soon as you have decided to apply in order to ensure that they are able and willing to complete their reference in the relevant timescale.

You should ask your referees to comment on your academic ability and general suitability for the proposed course, and to provide any other information they consider to be relevant to your application. You are advised to supply your referees with the selection criteria (entry requirements) for your chosen course so that they can comment on your performance against these criteria. If they have knowledge of your recent study, it would be helpful if they could indicate the standard attained.

Once they have agreed, you should register your referees in the online form immediately; as soon as you have selected a course you can register your referees at any time, even before you have completed the rest of the form. You do not need to wait until your referees have provided your references to submit your application; if your referees submit their references after you submit the application, they will automatically be attached to your application. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that your referees provide their references by the deadline.

On the Referees tab of the application form you must give contact details of your three referees and specify the date by which they need to submit their references so that they are aware of the deadline you are applying to. In order that your referees receive an automated reference request, you will need to tick the box confirming that you are ready for the reference request to be sent. This automated request will be sent to your referee as soon as you navigate away from the page. Please first check all details are correct before ticking the confirmation box, as you will not later be able to amend their details on the form. The automated reference request will not be sent unless you tick the confirmation box and navigate away from the page.

Whilst you must register three referees, some departments may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration and that some departments will always require all three references to be submitted; course-specific information is provided in our individual course pages.

You will not be able to see or access your references but you will be able to track their status via automated email notifications sent whenever a reference has been submitted via the online reference system. References sent via email are not tracked in the online reference system.

Resolving issues with references

If as the deadline approaches you receive an incomplete notification due to missing reference(s), you should contact the relevant referee(s) to ensure that they have received the notification. If they have not, please ask your referee to check their junk/spam folders.

If this does not resolve the issue, please ask your referee to submit a reference letter on headed paper and accompanying reference form to from their official email address.

References for continuing Oxford graduates

If you are applying using the readmission form and your department permits the reuse of one or more references, please tick the boxes on the supporting documents page of the form corresponding to the order in which you listed them on your previous application. If you do not have a copy of your previous application to refer to, please contact Graduate Admissions for confirmation.  

The readmission form may be submitted with only one referee registered, but please check your individual course page for details on how many may be re-used. 

Once your application is submitted we will transfer any references to be re-used to your new application record.

You must request at least one new reference, which should be from a supervisor or course director for your master's course; if s/he was used as a referee for your previous application, s/he will need to provide an updated reference. 

Information for referees

Referees are kindly requested to complete the reference form and comment on the candidate's academic ability, general suitability for the proposed course and any other information they consider to be relevant to the candidate's application.

Candidates are required to apply online and it is mandatory that they register their referees' institutional or professional email addresses so that referees can use the online reference system.

Once an applicant has registered you as a referee, you will receive a short automated email providing you with the applicant's details and a link to the online reference system. The email will also communicate the deadline by which the reference is required, as entered by the applicant in their application form.

Submitting a reference will involve the following steps:

  1. Access the reference system using the link supplied to you
  2. Answer a short series of questions regarding the applicant and supply your personal details
  3. Upload your reference as a Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file
  4. Submit your reference

You will not be able to view your reference once submitted, so you may wish to retain a copy for your records.

References should be uploaded on institutional or professional letter-headed paper. In exceptional cases where this is not possible - for example, if you have retired - please be sure to include full information regarding your contact details and your current and/or previous relevant position in your reference.

When you supply an online reference, you do not need to supply a second copy via email or post.

Please note that all references must be received by the relevant application deadline. It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that all referees are given good notice of the deadline they intend to apply for, and to arrange alternative referees if any of their referees cannot meet the deadline. 

The reference supplied will be treated as confidential, subject to the provisions of the UK Data Protection Act of 1998. If the candidate makes a formal request to see the reference, we may need to provide a copy.

Graduate Admissions and Funding would like to thank referees for their valuable assistance in our graduate admissions process.

Assistance for referees

If you are expecting to provide a reference for an applicant and do not receive a registration email or alternative instructions, please check any junk or spam filters or folders in your email account, as automated emails are sometimes diverted to these, depending on the filters in place on your email account.

If you experience any technical issues with submitting your reference, you can alternative submit a reference letter and accompanying reference form to from your official email address. Please contact us at the same address if you need any assistance.

The online application system comprises:

  • a series of tabs, where you will enter essential data covering different aspects of your application
  • a tab with the functionality for you to upload supporting materials for your application
  • a reference system requiring you to register your referees' e-mail address and other details, which then allows your referees to submit online references
  • a declaration for you to read and sign regarding the information and documentation provided in your application.

Each tab heading has a symbol alongside its title indicating whether all mandatory fields have been completed: 

  • a blue 'tick' indicates that all mandatory fields are complete
  • a red 'cross' indicates that one or more mandatory fields is incomplete
  • a blank square indicates that you have not yet visited, or are currently working on, that tab

Note that the visibility of, and possible responses to, some questions on the form are determined by previous answers. If you cannot see a particular question or response, please check that your previous responses are correct.

The following section provides additional help and detail for every part of the form, step by step.

Course selection

You start your application by completing a keyword search for the course to which you are applying.  Once selected, it is not possible to change the course, but you can start another application (in which much of the data you have already entered will be pre-populated) if you need to choose a different one.

You will also not be able to amend your course preference after you have applied, so please check this carefully before submitting your application.

If the course you wish to apply for is not listed as an available option, it may use a separate application process (see Application basics) or it may have closed to applications. The admissions status of each course is provided via individual course pages.

Multiple applications

You may submit multiple online applications to different courses in a single admissions cycle, although you may only apply to any particular course once per admissions cycle. You may only apply to the same course twice if you are applying to a different research project on the same DPhil course; before applying again, please contact the department to confirm whether your first application was assessed only for the specific project or for the course as a whole.

If you want to apply for more than one course, or apply to a second research project within the same DPhil, you will need to submit a full and separate application for each course/project along with full supporting materials and the application fee.

However, where Centre for Doctoral Training (CDTs) or Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) have associated DPhil courses, it is possible to submit up to two additional applications for related courses from a set of permitted options without paying additional fees. Please note that you cannot apply to more than one non-CDT DPhil without paying further application fees.

The permitted options will depend on the course you select in your initial application and are listed on each individual course page. Once you have submitted an application to your first course, please request a fee waiver from Graduate Admissions and Funding using the online query form, stating which further course(s) you intend to apply to. If you make multiple applications for non-CDT DPhil courses or any courses which are not included in the permitted options, you will need to pay a separate fee for each application.

Full-time or part-time study

The course search results will offer full-time or part-time variants as applicable. The majority of courses are only available for full-time study - courses with part-time arrangements are indicated on individual course pages

Start term

You may only select the mandatory start term for your course in the application.

If you wish to apply to start a research course in a term other than Michaelmas term (October) 2015, you should contact the relevant department directly to ask whether this could be supported. You may not start a taught course in any term other than the one indicated in the application form.

Application type

If you are currently enrolled in the final year of one of a subset of Oxford graduate courses, and are applying to enrol next academic year on an eligible research course, you may apply using the ‘Readmission’ form. 

Current Oxford graduate students using the readmission form to apply for a research course do not need to pay the application fee. Instead, you will need to enter a code from your Student Self-Service portal on the first page of your readmission form. You can find your unique code at the bottom of the Academic Assessment and Information section under the heading 'Readmission'. For further information, see the guidance on Continuing Oxford graduates

For all other applicants, ‘Standard’ should be selected.

About your course

This section allows you to enter any details about the course you have selected, such as the potential field of research and a possible supervisor for research degrees or, where applicable, details about the language of study.

College preference

In your application you may either (i) indicate that you have no college preference, in which case a college will be selected on your behalf, or (ii) state a college preference. For an overview of Oxford’s college system and information on each college, please see our section on Colleges.

Not all colleges accept students on every course. When you select your course, the online form will only display the colleges that consider applicants for that particular course.

Not all colleges will accept part-time applicants, so your options may be different depending on whether you are applying to a full-time or part-time mode of a course. If you are applying to a ‘non-matriculated’ course offered by the Department for Continuing Education, the only option available to you in the online form will be to indicate that you do not require a college place, as these courses do not require college membership.

You will not be able to amend your college preference after you apply, so please make sure that you are happy with what you have indicated on the form before submitting the application. Whether or not you state a college preference will not affect how your department assesses your application and, ultimately, whether or not it decides to make you an offer.

If you do indicate a college preference, you should indicate the same preference in any further applications you make in the same admissions year, unless the college does not accept applications to the other course(s) to which you are applying.

If you are offered a place on a course by a department, you will be guaranteed a place at a college. Please note, however, that this may not necessarily be your preferred college.

College preference for current Oxford students

If you wish to stay at your current college, you must indicate this college as your preferred college on the application form. You should first check that they accept applications for the course to which you are applying. If they do not normally accept applications for the course, you should contact your college office to discuss whether an exception is possible.

If your college indicates that they would be willing to consider your application in these circumstances, or if you are currently a fellow of All Souls College, please contact Graduate Admissions and Funding for further assistance with completing the admissions process.

If you wish to stay at your current college but you are applying for scholarships at other colleges then you should select your current college in the form, unless you are applying for a scholarship which requires you to indicate a different college preference.

Almost all college scholarship schemes do not require that you indicate that particular college as your preference on your application form, unless clearly stated otherwise in the scholarship requirements.

If for any reason you specify a college preference other than your current college and you are unsuccessful, your application will enter the same college allocation process as external applications and will not be routed back to your current college.

Contact details

Your name will form the basis of your applicant record, so please ensure it is full and accurate. If you hold a passport or other official document, you should state your name exactly as it is printed there; this will be critical if you need to apply for a student visa.

If you contact us separately to your application, please provide your name in the same format used in your application, so that we can match all enquiries and materials to the correct record.

You must ensure that we have current and accurate email and postal addresses for you at all times. If your contact details change at any time during the admissions process, you must notify us via the online query system, as the University will need to contact you throughout the admissions process.

Nominated third party

You may use the application form to nominate a third party, such as a relative, for the purposes of handling your application. We will handle your application in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act of 1998 and the declaration that you are required to sign before submitting your application will give you information on any third parties with whom we may need to share your data as part of the processing and assessment of your application.

We will not discuss your application with anyone else unless you nominate a representative in this section. Please note that anyone you appoint will then be able to give us instructions relating to your application.

About you

Nationality and ordinary residence

The details you enter in this section are to determine your fee status and eligibility for many University scholarships. It is therefore essential that the details you record here are complete and accurate.

If you hold dual nationality, please enter details for both – do not include details of nationalities that are no longer current. If you do not hold nationality of an EEA country (including UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man) or Switzerland, please provide details of the passport that you intend to use to enter the UK.

Ethnic background

The University is required under statute to seek and return information about the ethnic background of all its students for the UK Government’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The information provided is used to monitor rates of participation in higher education by particular groups of people and will not form part of any assessment of your application.

Disabilities/long-term health conditions

All admissions decisions are taken based on your academic performance and potential in relation to your chosen course.

The University is committed to making reasonable adjustments to enable students with disabilities or long-term health conditions - including specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Asperger Syndrome and mental health difficulties - to apply for study at Oxford and participate fully in student life.

To find out more about how the University can support students with disabilities during the application process, please see our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

If you have a disability for which you usually have special accommodation requirements, we very strongly encourage you to disclose it in the relevant section of your application. We also encourage you to apply by the relevant January deadline where possible, as early notice will help us to support you in the college admissions process if your application is successful and college accommodation tends to fill up as the year progresses. Please note, however, that no candidate is guaranteed college or University accommodation.

If you wish to discuss this section of the application form, or anything to do with University provision for specific needs, please contact the Disability Advisory Service.


Please give an indication of your plans regarding whether you intend to apply to college or University accommodation in this section.

Please note that, whilst the majority of the University’s graduate students are housed in the wide range of accommodation provided by Oxford’s colleges and the University’s accommodation office, no candidate can be guaranteed college or University accommodation.

Criminal convictions

To help the University reduce the risk of harm or injury to students and staff caused by any criminal behaviour of students, we must know about any relevant convictions that you may have.

For full information on which convictions should be declared and how the data you provide will be used, please see our page on Criminal convictions.


The University does not have any financial, co-operative or other arrangements or relationships with agents who assist candidates in the preparation and submission of graduate applications for a fee.

All applicants are required to complete and submit their own application and must provide their own personal details. All of the information necessary to complete an application to any graduate course is publicly available via the University and departmental websites.


Please ensure that you include details of all qualifications and periods of study undertaken at university level. You should not provide details or documentation of your high school education. The information you enter here may be used to determine your eligibility for certain scholarships.

If your university qualification was awarded from a non-UK institution and you would like to know how it compares with the UK higher education system, you can contact the  UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) for advice.

However, you do not need to convert your qualification into the UK system or provide an official statement of comparability from NARIC in order to apply. As long as you select a qualification from the available options with “(EU)” or “(Overseas)” in the title, as appropriate, you will be able to enter the result without reference to the UK grading system.

If you are currently studying towards a qualification, please indicate the date of completion as the date when your final results (official transcript) will become available. If you are successful and your course at Oxford starts in Michaelmas term (October) 2015, you will normally be required to submit an official transcript with your final results no later than 31 August, though some departments may set an earlier deadline. If you are applying for a research course and it will not be possible for you to meet this deadline, please contact your department to check whether your application can be considered for a later start date; unfortunately, it is not possible to start a taught course in any term other than the one indicated on the application form.


Please note that, when entering multiple words in a search, the tool will only search for them in that precise order, so searching for ‘Oxford University’ will return 0 results, as it is entered as ‘The University of Oxford’. If you cannot find your institution using a single search word, you may need to try other possible variations of the words in its name. 

If you come back to the 'Qualifications' tab after completing it, you will only be able to see the code of the institution(s) you entered, rather than the name. You will need to press the Tab key on your keyboard in the institution field to re-populate the field, in order to avoid receiving an error message when you try to navigate away.

Studying at more than one institution

Applicants for full-time study who, if successful, would be concurrently registered at another institution (UK or worldwide) are not eligible for admission to Oxford. If you are registered elsewhere and you are successful in your application, you will be required as a condition of your offer to provide a letter from the institution you are registered at confirming that your registration has been terminated or suspended while you are studying at Oxford. Exceptions may only be made where such registration is part of a formal collaborative arrangement between the University and the other institution.

If you wish to apply for a part-time course at Oxford whilst registered at another institution, you must give details of the course at the other institution, indicating whether the course is full- or part-time and outlining how and why you expect to be able to pursue both courses simultaneously.


Where required, evidence of English proficiency needs to be in the form of a certificate of an English language test taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Please enter your scores on this page and upload a scanned copy of the certificate later in the application.

Please do not enter IELTS, TOEFL, CPE or CAE information if you have not yet obtained test results. You can supply your English language test results after you have submitted your application. If you do not have test results at the time of applying, you should submit these via our upload form as soon as they are available. The test results will then be added to your application record.

The University will verify all IELTS and TOEFL results directly with the test provider; if you have uploaded a CPE or CAE, you will be asked to supply the original document if you are admitted to the course. 

Oxford graduate students applying with the readmission form do not need to provide IELTS/TOEFL results or other evidence of English language proficiency in this section.


You must complete this section either by:

  • listing the main sources of funding you are most likely to use to fund your tuition fees, college fees and living expenses in the event that you are not offered a scholarship by the University; or
  • indicating with the tick box that you have not yet made any funding arrangements. 

Please do not include here details of University scholarships and departmental studentships which you will apply for in the following sections.

You should enter the ‘amount of funding’ in this section for one year of study, or for the duration of your course if less than one year.

Information about fees and living costs is provided on individual course pages.

For a personalised estimate of the amount of funding you will need per year to cover your university fees, college fees and living costs, you should use the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search. This will also provide you with valuable information on sources of funding from the University and its colleges and departments for which you may be eligible. 

The information you provide in this section will not affect your eligibility for scholarship funding offered by the University, its colleges and departments.

Declaring your funding arrangements upon offer of a place

If you receive an offer of a place, your college will require you to complete a Financial Declaration form to meet your financial condition of admission. This aims to ensure that you are fully aware of the expected fees and living costs associated with your chosen course at Oxford.

It is your opportunity to consider very carefully the financial commitment you are entering into, and to take full responsibility for it. If you cannot pay your fees and living costs, you will not normally be able to continue your studies.

When you complete your Financial Declaration, you will be asked to:

  • show that you have sufficient funding to cover the University and college fees for year 1 of your course by providing financial evidence, such as a letter from your scholarship sponsor or your bank;
  • give your assurance that you are able and willing to meet all University and college fees beyond year 1, if the duration of your course is longer than a year (no financial evidence is required); and
  • give your assurance that you are able and willing to meet your living costs for the duration of your course (no financial evidence is required).

You can find full details of the Financial Declaration process in our Fees and Funding section.

Oxford scholarship applications

How to apply for a departmental studentship

A departmental studentship is a specific type of funding offered by an academic department, particularly in the sciences, which requires you to apply by entering a reference code in this section of the application form.

Studentships will be advertised, along with their reference codes, on departmental websites. You should also check the closing date for the studentship to ensure that you submit your application form on time.

How to apply for University-wide scholarships

The majority of University-wide scholarships do not require you to make a specific application, and you will be automatically considered if you meet the eligibility requirements. 

Full details of eligibility criteria, the application procedure and decision dates for all University-wide scholarships are available via the individual scholarship profiles.

Some University-wide scholarships require you to tick the box next to the scholarship that you wish to be considered for on the application form. If the scholarship is marked with an asterisk (*), you will also need to submit additional supporting material together with your application as per instructions in the individual scholarship profiles.

Some other University-wide scholarships require you to make a separate application to another organisation. You should consult the individual scholarship profiles for further instructions.

Scholarship applications may be rejected if you do not follow the instructions.

If you wish to be considered for any of the University-wide scholarships, you must complete your application no later than the January deadline for your course. Please follow the instructions in the application form carefully when entering your responses to the questions about countries of nationality and ordinary residence, as these details may be used to assess your eligibility for scholarships.

Due to the volume of applications received, we regret that it is not possible to contact unsuccessful scholarship applicants or to provide individual feedback. Once all awards for a scholarship have been made the relevant scholarship profile will be updated.

Paying the application fee

The fee is £50 per course application, unless you are applying under a CDT waiver or for readmission as a continuing Oxford graduate. You must pay in British Pound Sterling (£) via the Oxford University Stores website before submitting your application, and payment must be made for each individual application submitted. Payment may be made by Mastercard, Visa credit card, AMEX, Switch, Solo or Delta debit card.

Once you have successfully made your payment, you will receive a purchase order number from the Oxford University Stores in the format ‘OXF######' and you will then need to return to the online application form to complete and submit it. In the form, enter your purchase order number in the box where requested without the 'OXF' at the beginning (eg for OXF123456, type ‘123456’).

You should make your payment as soon as you are certain that you wish to apply in order to ensure you have a valid purchase order number when you are ready to submit your application. Your application will not be processed or considered unless you have paid the fee and supplied a valid purchase order number for your payment.

This fee covers the processing of your application and is non-refundable, as we will process your application upon its receipt. This fee will not form any part of the tuition and college fees you will be liable to pay if you are offered and accept a place to study at Oxford.

If you do not have access to a credit card, some banks will offer a disposable credit card voucher which can be used to make online payments. It is also acceptable for a friend or family member to make the payment on your behalf via the Oxford University Stores website. In such cases, they should supply your name, date of birth, and the course you are applying to when requested in the payment process.

Applicants from developing countries who do not have access to a bank account and are unable to pay by card may contact Graduate Admissions and Funding for guidance on how to complete their fee payment.

Submitting your application

The system will check that you have provided all mandatory data in the application form before you can submit the application and that none of the options you have selected have since become invalid.

The system will not assess the content or nature of any documents that you upload or check whether you have included all the necessary documents for an application to your course, which remains your own responsibility.

Once your application has been submitted, you cannot remove any attached documentation or change your course or college preference, so please check very carefully before you submit your application.

By submitting an application you confirm that all information provided is - to the best of your knowledge - true, accurate, current and complete, and that you will promptly notify the University if any information should change in order to keep it true, accurate, current and complete. You also confirm that the information contained in your application, including all supporting work, is entirely your own original work, except where clearly indicated, and does not contain any plagiarised elements. You will be required to sign a declaration to this effect as part of your application.

After submitting your application

You will be sent an automated confirmation of submission via e-mail by the online application system immediately after submitting your application. Please note that this is not a confirmation that your application is complete.

Your application will not be considered to be complete until all the necessary supporting materials, including references, have been received. You must ensure that any required documents sent separately from your online application are supplied by the application deadline and clearly identified with your full name and course applied to. It is also your responsibility to ensure that your referees submit their references by the application deadline.

If the form is incorrectly completed or if required materials have not been received by the Graduate Admissions and Funding office by the deadline, your application will not normally be assessed. If you apply more than a week before the deadline we will aim to contact you to advise of any omissions, but ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that you follow all instructions and fulfil all requirements by the deadline. If you apply in the week leading up to the deadline, due to the volume of applications and queries we receive we may not have time to help you with any queries you may have or to let you know whether there are any missing materials in time for the deadline.

Completed applications are made available to the appropriate department for an academic assessment. You will be notified of the outcome of your application by the relevant department. Details of whether interviews are usually held are provided via the selection criteria (entry requirements) on  individual course pages.

Information on the University’s decision-making timescales and the application process after your application is submitted is available in our section After you apply.

Further advice and contact details

For general queries about the application process or funding for graduate study

Please consult the 2015-16 prospectus online for information. If you have any further questions, use the online query form or call the Graduate Admissions and Funding office on +44 (0) 1865 270059 during our standard support hours (Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700 GMT/BST). 

For queries relating to a specific course

Please check the individual course pages and contact the relevant department if you have any further questions.

For queries relating to a specific college

Please check the individual college pages and contact the relevant college if you have any further questions.

If you have a complaint regarding the admissions process

Please see our complaints information.


Checklist for applying to graduate study


    Check the course pages for information about your course, including selection criteria (entry requirements), deadline dates and which materials you will need to submit with your application. Some research courses require you to contact the department to discuss your area of interest and identify a supervisor - check the selection criteria (entry requirements) for advice.
    Investigate scholarship opportunities by using our Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search.
    Identify three referees who are willing to submit an academic reference to support your application by the deadline and alert them to expect an online reference request.
    Decide if you would like us to find a college on your behalf or if you have a college preference. Over a third of our applicants leave it to us to find them a college. 
    Start your online application and register your three referees in the system to allow them plenty of time to submit their reference by the deadline.
    Ask your current/most recent institution for your official transcript – a degree certificate is not sufficient.
    Prepare all the materials needed for your application, including your CV and a statement of purpose or research proposal, in addition to your official transcript(s). Some courses also require samples of written work or admission test results so check carefully.
    Continue your online application and upload all your supporting materials. Ask us any questions you have about completing the form.
    Pay the application fee and submit your complete application online. You will need a debit or credit card to pay the fee.
    Check all your references have been submitted and, if not, remind your referees of the deadline.


    The main application deadlines for all graduate courses and University scholarship schemes are in January - don’t miss out by leaving it too late!

The sooner you submit your application, the sooner we can inform you of any missing documentation and the more time we have to help you resolve any issues. If you apply in the week of the deadline it is very unlikely that there will be time for us to answer any queries or address any issues you may have in time for you to successfully submit your application by the deadline.