The Clock Tower at Harris Manchester College against a blue sky
Siew-Sngiem Clock Tower, Harris Manchester College
(Image Source: David Williams / Oxford University Images)

Decision timeline


Completing your application

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

    You can use self-service 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 to let you know when each reference is submitted. Check self-service regularly and stay in contact with your referees to make sure all documents have been sent in by the deadline.

  3. Once we have everything we need for your application to be ready for assessment, we'll let you know by email and in your self-service.

Academic assessment

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

    Check whether applicants to your course are usually interviewed in the entry requirements on your course page, under ‘Performance at interview’.

  2. You will usually receive the outcome of your application from your academic department about 8 to 10 weeks after the application deadline.

    If you're successful, you will receive an email to notify you of this and the department’s certificate of offer will be available to you to download via Self-Service. It will set out the steps you need to take to become a student at the University. It will give details of any conditions on your offer and how to respond to your offer, including any deposit required to secure your place.

    For a list of courses that require a deposit, 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 time as your department (or college) offer or later on, depending on the source of the funding.

College placement

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

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

  2. After you've got an offer from your academic department, it will usually take 8 to 10 weeks to find out which college will offer you a place, though it can sometimes take longer.

    If you chose a college when you applied and that college did not offer you a place, you will usually find out 4 to 6 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 met all the conditions of your offer, you will be sent a final Completion of Conditions letter with a form to return that confirms that you intend to enrol at Oxford.

  2. If you need a student visa for your course, the process can start after you have received your Completion of Conditions.

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 that offers the course you apply to will assess the academic quality and suitability of your application. After this is complete, the department will send you formal notification of their decision by email.

The average waiting time for a decision is around 8 to 10 weeks after the deadline you apply to. For the January deadlines, for example, you would usually hear around late March to early April. Unfortunately it is not possible to give more specific dates in advance. 

If you apply after the last standard University deadline in March there is no formal timetable, but you can usually expect to be notified of the outcome around 6 to 8 weeks after completing your application.

Shortlisting and interviews

After you apply and before the department makes a final decision on your application, you may be called for interview and/or asked to send further documents. This could include a third reference if there are only two in your application.

Some courses will interview applicants during the selection process, but many do not use interviews. You can check whether shortlisted applicants will be interviewed, and the usual length and structure of interviews, in the entry requirements on our course pages

Your academic department may want to hold interviews by video call, by phone or in person. They will contact you directly to arrange this, if necessary.

Potential outcomes of your application

If your application was complete and eligible for academic assessment at the application deadline date, you will be notified by email of one of the following outcomes. The outcome will also be shown in your Self-Service:

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 certificate of offer will be available to download via Self-Service together with your Course Information Sheet, University Terms and Conditions and Student Handbook.

The certificate of offer will give full details of your offer and any academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. The department will ask you to confirm, also via Self-Service, whether you wish to accept the offer and give you both a deadline for responding to the offer and a deadline to fulfil any conditions.

Offer holders will also be asked to complete the Criminal Convictions Declaration in Self-Service.

Please note that Self-Service will not show college outcomes or any funding you have been awarded. This will be received by email to your registered email address.

Unsuccessful outcome

If your application is unsuccessful, you will also be notified of this. Due to the high volume of applications the University receives, it is a University policy that we do not 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 academic department may feel that you have performed well against the entry requirements for the course but they wish to consider your application against the applications 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 date of the deadline into which you are being re-evaluated.

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

Waiting list

If the academic 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 by email and the outcome will also be displayed in your Graduate Applicant Self-Service. If your application was incomplete at the deadline, you will only be contacted if the academic department chooses to assess your application.

It is not usually possible to know the outcome any earlier since applications are assessed comparatively, against all other applicants. However, if you need to know the outcome earlier so you can make a decision ahead of a deadline set by another institution, you can contact the academic department to ask if this is possible. 

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 is not authorised to disclose decisions from academic departments, colleges or funding bodies.

If you have a complaint about 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 may not be 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 considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot on selection procedures and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Information about processing special category data for the purposes of positive action and using your data to assess your eligibility for funding, can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

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 your academic department accepts you and you do not need to contact colleges yourself. 

You will usually find out which college will be part of your offer around 8 to 10 weeks after receiving your offer from the academic department. 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 by email. College decisions will not be displayed in Graduate Applicant Self Service.

If you chose a college in your application and the 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 information on the progress of individual 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.

Scholarships and funding

Most Oxford scholarships are awarded between late February and June – for example, Clarendon Fund offers are usually sent out by early April. You can find notification dates 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. 

The University only notifies successful scholarship applicants and offers are usually sent by email. Competition is very strong but the University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships for new students starting in 2024-25.

Was this page useful?*