Competition for places at Oxford University is extremely strong, and all courses are academic in nature. Even those courses with titles which might suggest a more vocational style of learning (e.g. Engineering Science, Law, Medicine and Economics & Management) are strongly academic in their focus.
When reviewing applications, tutors look for evidence of each candidate's academic strengths and their ability to thrive throughout an Oxford course. Academic qualifications such as A-levels, the International Baccalaureate or any other academic equivalent are therefore strongly recommended as the best preparation for any course of study at Oxford.
We also recognise the achievements of students who hold vocational, professional or other qualifications, and these will be taken in to account during the admissions procedure. One of the advantages of the admissions process at Oxford is that each application is considered individually, on its own merits. Tutors will review qualifications, the personal statement, the academic reference and predicted grades for any future examinations, as well as any written work that may be required.
In many subjects, students are required to take an admissions tests as part of their application. Such tests allow us to compare students using a single benchmark, irrespective of the students' educational background.
Given the academic focus of all Oxford courses, candidates are unlikely to be able to make a competitive application if they have not studied academic courses to A-Level standard within the last two years, whatever other qualifications they may already have completed.