Decision timeline | University of Oxford
Sculpture by Mark Wallinger in the grounds of Magdalen College
(Image Credit: Anders Sandberg / Flickr)

Decision timeline


Completing your application

  1. Log in to your application to access Graduate Applicant Self Service.

    You can use it to edit and replace your referees, track your application status, view your application and upload any missing documents.
  2. Look out for our automated emails notifying you when each reference is submitted, check your self service regularly and keep in touch with your referees until everything has been sent in.

    The same deadline applies for your application and for all your supporting documents, including references.
  3. Once we have everything we need for your application to be ready for assessment, we will send you a final email to let you know.

    You can also check your self service at any time to see whether your application is ready for assessment.

Academic assessment

  1. Depending on your course, you may be interviewed (either via Skype, telephone or face-to-face).

    You can check whether applicants to your course are usually interviewed in the entry requirements on your course page, under ‘Performance at interview’. 
  2. You can expect to hear the outcome of your application from your department about eight to ten weeks after the application deadline.

    If you are successful, your department’s offer will set out the steps you need to take in order for you to become a student at the University. College placement, if this applies to your course, will follow. 
  3. Some courses will require you to pay a deposit against your course fees to secure your offer.

    If this applies to your course, information will be provided in your department’s offer. For a list of courses, see our Deposits webpage.

Funding and scholarships

  1. Scholarships are usually awarded between late February and June. If you’re awarded a scholarship you may be notified at the same as your department or college acceptance offer or separately, depending on the source of the funding. 

College placement

  1. If you are accepted to a course that has college membership associated with it, you are guaranteed a college place and will automatically be considered by colleges.

    To check if you can expect a college offer, see the college information on your course page.

  2. It will usually take eight to ten weeks overall after the departmental offer to find out which college will accept you. 

    If you stated a college preference and that college did not accept you, you will usually be notified four to six weeks after the department makes you an offer.
  3. Once you have a college place, your college will ask you to complete a Financial Declaration to confirm that you have enough funding to undertake your course.

Finalising your offer

  1. Once you have satisfied all conditions of your offer you will be sent a final Completion of Conditions letter with a form to return, confirming your intention to enrol at Oxford.

  2. If you need a Tier 4 student visa for your course, the process can start after you have received your Completion of Conditions. For information, see the University’s webpages on student visas.

Arriving in Oxford

  1. For more information on the University contract and what you should do before you arrive, see the University's webpages for new students.

The academic department responsible for your chosen course will assess the academic quality and suitability of your application. After this is complete, you will receive a formal notification from the department of the outcome by email.

You will usually find out the outcome of your application around 8 to 10 weeks after the application deadline date. For the later of the two January deadlines, for example, you would typically hear by early April.

Where courses remain open beyond standard University deadlines there is no formal decision-making timetable for applications, though you can still generally expect to be notified of the outcome around six to eight weeks after completing your application during this time.

Shortlisting and interviews

After applying and before the department makes a final decision on your application you may be called for interview and/or asked to send further documents, such as a third reference if only two were supplied with your application.

Some courses do not require interviews for assessment. You can check whether successful applicants will be interviewed, and the usual length and structure of interviews, in the entry requirements on our course pages. If you are called to interview, your academic department may want to conduct this with you by Skype/video conferencing, by phone or in person and they will contact you directly to arrange this if necessary.

Potential outcomes of your application

If your application met all deadlines and requirements to be considered eligible for academic assessment, the department will notify you of the one of the following outcomes:

Successful outcome

An offer of a place from your department constitutes an overall offer of a place at Oxford. You are then guaranteed a college place, unless you have been accepted to a non-matriculated course for which a college place is not offered.

Your offer letter will comprise details of your offer and any academic conditions, such as achieving a particular final mark in your current degree course. The department will ask whether you wish to accept the offer and give you a deadline for response and a deadline by which you will need to fulfil any conditions.

Unsuccessful outcome

If your application is unsuccessful, you will also receive a letter informing you of this. Due to the volume of applications the University receives, it is a University policy that we do not normally provide feedback on unsuccessful applications.

If you are unsuccessful, you will no longer be considered for college places or funding.

Re-evaluation in a later deadline

In some cases, the department may feel that you have performed well against the entry requirements for the course but they wish to evaluate your application against those received in the next deadline. In this case, you will receive an email to inform you that your application will be re-evaluated and you can expect a final decision around 8 to 10 weeks after the deadline date in which you are being re-evaluated.

If your application is re-evaluated from the January into the March deadline, you will no longer be considered for funding opportunities where a departmental offer is required as part of the January deadline.

Waiting list

If a department feels that you have performed well against the entry requirements for the course but there are no more places available, you may be notified that you have been added to a waiting list in case any additional places do become available.  

If your application is put on a waiting list, you will no longer be considered for funding opportunities where a departmental offer is required as part of the January deadline.

Tracking your departmental decision

Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified directly by the academic department, generally via email. Departmental decisions will not be displayed in Graduate Applicant Self Service.

If you need to know the outcome earlier in order to make a decision by a deadline set by another institution, you can contact the academic department to ask whether this would be possible. However, since applications are assessed comparatively it is not usually possible to obtain your outcome earlier.

If more than ten weeks have passed since your application deadline date and you have not received a decision, or if you have any questions about the progress of the academic assessment, please contact the academic department directly via the contact details on each course page.

Please note that Graduate Admissions are not authorised to disclose departmental, college or funding decisions.

If you have a complaint regarding the admissions process, please see our page on Complaints and appeals.

Selection process

Applications are academically assessed against the entry requirements for the course and relatively in terms of the quality of previous academic excellence and future potential in comparison with the applications received from other candidates for that course.

The University seeks to admit the very best candidates who apply for the courses it offers. The entry requirements for each course and the number of applications and places available are provided on our course pages. Meeting the entry requirements is not necessarily sufficient to guarantee a place and competition for places is very strong.

Departments receive many more excellent applications than they have places available, so it is important that you take care over your application to best illustrate your academic achievement and future potential.

Equal opportunities at Oxford

The University of Oxford and its colleges seek to admit students of high academic ability and potential. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of selection criteria appropriate to the course. Admissions procedures will be kept under review to ensure compliance with this policy.

If you are applying to a course with college membership and were accepted by the academic department, you are guaranteed a college place. You can see whether there are colleges associated with your course on your course page. 

The process of college placement will begin automatically once you have been made a departmental offer. You will usually be notified of which college has accepted you around 8 to 10 weeks after receiving your departmental offer. Once you are accepted by a college, you will not be considered by any other colleges.

Tracking your college place

If you have been accepted to a course with college membership then once you have been accepted by a college, you will be notified directly by that college, usually via email. College decisions will not be displayed in Graduate Applicant Self Service.

If you gave a college preference in your application and your preferred college is not able to accept you then you will be notified as early as possible, often around 4 to 6 weeks after the departmental decision date, and you will be automatically considered by other colleges.

More detailed information on the individual progress of applications through college placement is not available before a final college offer is made and further college preferences cannot be taken into account, so please wait until you are contacted by your accepting college.

If you have queries about the college system in general, please contact Graduate Admissions

Finding out more about colleges

Once you have a college place you may want to find out more about what your college has to offer. There is a detailed summary of each college, including links to college websites and contact details, in our Colleges section.

Most Oxford scholarships are awarded between late February and June.  

The approximate date by which decisions are expected to be made for each award will normally be given in the scholarship information available via the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search

An offer of funding can be made along with your departmental or college offer, or separately at any time afterwards. Only successful applicants to an award will usually be notified.

Scholarship eligibility

The January deadlines are the latest deadlines for the vast majority of Oxford’s scholarships.

For over two thirds of Oxford scholarships only a standard course application, made in time for the January deadline for your course, is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will be automatically considered.

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