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Continuing your studies
Whether you want to join the next generation of academic researchers and teachers or build a successful career in other fields, a graduate course at Oxford will serve as a strong foundation. This page offers advice on continuing your studies, either as an undergraduate moving to postgraduate study, through readmission from a postgraduate taught to a research degree or with the Department for Continuing Education.
- From undergraduate to postgraduate study
- From postgraduate taught to research
- Department for Continuing Education
From undergraduate to postgraduate study
Initially it might simply seem appealing to extend your life as a student, especially if you aren't sure what you want to do next. However, postgraduate study is likely to involve a considerable amount of time, effort and money and therefore it is important to carefully consider if it's the right decision at this moment in time for you. From a career perspective it is worthwhile researching the occupation you are interested in to see what value a graduate qualification will add. The Careers Service website provides further information on:
When considering applying it is also important to think about the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate study. If undertaking a research degree, you are likely to experience a greater amount of freedom for independent study, as opposed to the more structured timetable of lectures and tutorials and/or classes for undergraduate or postgraduate taught courses. This will require you to self manage your time effectively. You are also likely to notice a difference socially; although you are now familiar with Oxford, moving into postgraduate study may involve making new friends and even moving to a new college.
Fees and funding
It is important to think about course fees and how you plan to fund these early on in the process. All students are required to complete a College Financial Guarantee which outlines how they plan to fund their studies. Unlike with undergraduate study there is no UK government student loan for graduate students, although a number of other options exist including funding from Research Councils, scholarships, charitable grants, sponsorships and self-funding with savings/loans. Many students have to mix several funding sources to fund their degree. For more information visit the Fees and Funding website.
Making an application
The University has three main application deadlines in November, January and March, but not all courses use all of them and so it is important to check for the one you are interested in. You must apply by the January application deadline if you wish to be considered for central University funding and AHRC studentships. International students requiring a visa are also encouraged to apply as early as is feasible. More details on the application process are available from the Graduate Admissions website.
Choosing a college
On your application you may only put one college that you would like to apply to. This can be your current college, an alternative choice or you can make an open application and be assigned a college if you have no particular preference. It is worth noting that:
- If you wish to stay at your current college, you must indicate this college on the application form. You should first check that they accept applications for the programme that you are applying for and that there are no specific college conditions attached to any funding that you apply for. If you put your current college down when applying and are offered funding that requires you to be part of a different college it is possible to change at this stage.
- If you specify an alternative college to the college you are currently at, and you are unsuccessful, your application will be treated in the same way as all other applications. The University cannot guarantee that you will be allocated your current college.
In most cases a college will not be able to guarantee accommodation, although many attempt to provide accommodation for students during their first year of study, particularly in the case of international students. If your college is unable to provide any accommodation or the type of accommodation you need, you should contact the University Accommodation Office.
Working while studying
Due to the demands of a course at Oxford it is advised that students don't work while studying. However it is possible to undertake up to 6 hours teaching and your supervisor is also likely to know of any part-time university positions that you may be able to apply for. The CareerConnect website also contains information on a range of opportunities. If you are an international student it is important to check any visa restrictions with regards to working while studying.
Role of Divisions and Departments
Oxford’s approach to graduate study reflects an emphasis on the individual student’s ability to work independently, to take the initiative in exploring a line of research or acquire a new skill, or identify and remedy a perceived area of weakness. Although work often takes place individually, it generally forms part of a larger research community within divisions and departments as a whole. Departments will generally provide an induction in your first few weeks and your academic division may run additional events and lectures.
Academic responsibility for the progress and support of all graduate students at Oxford, including appointment of an appropriate supervisor and arrangement of lectures and classes, rests with the University faculty or department. Your supervisor is responsible for overseeing your academic performance and will provide termly reports on your progress, for which you will also be invited to contribute. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for your course will also ensure you are progressing satisfactorily and receiving appropriate supervision.
Role of a College
Each graduate student also has a college adviser, who is a member of the college’s academic staff, and will be able to offer support and general advice on work or personal matters. In addition each college will have a Tutor for Graduates and/or Senior Tutor whose role includes general oversight of all graduate members of the college, although your academic studies will be directed by your department or faculty. Graduate students also benefit from the Middle or Graduate Common Room (MCR or GCR) in their college – which provides social events, advice, and a link to the graduate community.
Access to University Services
Your University Card will expire at the date detailed on your Card (usually your course end date). You will be issued with a new University Card following receipt of your University contract and on commencement of your postgraduate study, by your college.
The entitlement to University IT Services will continue during the period between your studies. Your Oxford undergraduate college email address will be extended until November, whilst your postgraduate study application is processed. On receipt of your University contract, your new University Card, and two postgraduate study email addresses will be created for you; one listing your department and one listing your college.
You keep the same Single Sign-On Oxford username (Webauth/Nexus) so it will reflect the college or department you first joined, rather than change to your new one. Access to your academic record via Student Self Service will continue to be available to you using the same Oxford username, when you continue your studies at Oxford. Your Oxford username will continue to give you access to the Bodleian Library e-resources.
Should you require physical access to the Bodleian Libraries, a Reader's Card may be applied for at the Admissions Office of the Bodleian to cover any interim period. All graduates of the University of Oxford are entitled to apply for free admission to Oxford library services. Further information is available from the Bodleian Libraries' website.
From postgraduate taught to research
If you are currently studying for a taught Master's course at Oxford and wish to apply to carry on to a research programme with no break in your study, you can apply for readmission using the Embark system. There is no application fee and you will find a link to this system and the code you require in order to submit your application for readmission in the Academic and Assessment Information section of Student Self-Service. Please note that there are some course exceptions to using this readmissions form. More information and guidance on the readmission application process, including eligible courses, is available from:
- Graduate Admissions: Guidance for continuing Oxford graduates
- Supporting material for readmission candidates
- Staying on in the Humanities
Department for Continuing Education
Our Department for Continuing Education offers courses across a wide range of subjects, many of which lead to university qualifications. Courses are offered on a part-time basis, online or as short courses (one day to several weeks and residential summer schools) and are open to individuals, organisations and professional groups.
Visit the Department for Continuing Education website for more details.