Introducing our courses | University of Oxford
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Flasks in the laboratory
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Introducing our courses

Oxford’s approach to graduate study reflects an emphasis on the individual student’s ability to work independently, exploring a line of research or acquiring a new skill while supported by an outstanding academic community and resources.

As a graduate student at Oxford you will belong to an academic department or faculty which will provide your teaching and supervision, and provide numerous resources to support your studies. Each has its own academic community, dedicated to advancing knowledge in particular subject areas, and departments often work together running joint courses and interdisciplinary research projects. You will also have access to a college adviser, who will be a senior member of staff at your college able to offer support and general advice on academic issues.

The graduate courses available at Oxford generally range from nine months to  three or four years in length. All students enrolled on a full-time course must spend a period in residence, which means that during term you will need to live within 25 miles of the centre of Oxford.

Graduate courses offered by the University of Oxford fall into two broad categories: research and taught. 

Taught courses usually involve a range of core and optional course elements and the submission of a dissertation. Independent study is supported by seminars and lectures. Assessment may be by coursework, as well as by written examinations and a dissertation.

Research students will focus on a specific area of research, meeting regularly with an academic supervisor who oversees the work.

Whether you are taking a taught course, diploma or studying for a research degree, you will have an academic supervisor who will provide guidance and advice throughout your course. Your supervisor will help you to construct a programme that allows you to optimise the intellectual. Each term, your supervisor will prepare a report on your progress and you will have the chance to do the same. Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course, however it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor before registration or during your course of study or for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

Changes to courses

The University will seek to deliver each course in accordance with the descriptions set out in the relevant course pages. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on Changes to courses

What should I do next?

Explore the wide range of graduate courses on offer here at Oxford and check out the individual course pages to find out more about each course. To help guide your journey, select the statement below that best describes you.

I'm interested in taught courses

I'm interested in research courses

I'm considering part-time study

I'd like to know what other options are available

I'd like to study in a particular department

If you are interested in more general guidance on choosing a taught graduate course, HEFCE’s Steps to Postgraduate Study is designed to help you identify the right questions to ask when you are deciding what and where to study.