Your offer and contract | University of Oxford
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Your offer and contract

The information provided below is for applicants whose course will start in the 2016-17 academic year.

If you have been successful, you will receive an offer letter from your department outlining any conditions you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. This letter will usually be sent to you by email.

Your department offer letter

Your departmental offer letter constitutes your formal offer of a place at the University of Oxford. The letter will set out any conditions you need to make to have your place confirmed and will ask whether you wish to accept the offer of a place made to you.

If you accept the offer you will enter into a contract with the University. You will need to read the offer together with the following three documents, which can be downloaded from the Your contract with the University page:

  1. the University’s Terms & Conditions. This explains how your contract with the University works and what it contains, including key terms and your responsibilities.
  2. the Course Information Sheet. This includes key information about the content of and fees for your course, and living costs in Oxford.
  3. the University Student Handbook 2015/16 for entry in 2016/17This contains essential information including matters relating to Welfare, Safety and Security, the Oxford University Student Union, Sports, Clubs and Recreation, Academic Support, Residence, Intellectual Property, Examinations, Conduct, Disciplinary Procedures and the University’s Complaints Process.

You should read the Terms and Conditions, Course Information Sheet and University Student Handbook carefully before you accept your offer as they set out the content of the contract you will be entering into with the University of Oxford. If you have queries about your offer, you should contact the department directly.

Your offer letter will also indicate that you are entitled to cancel your acceptance of a place at the University within a period of 14 calendar days starting from the day after we receive notification of your acceptance of your departmental offer. You do not have to give any reason for this. If you have paid a deposit to the department and cancel within this statutory period of 14 calendar days, the University will reimburse your deposit without undue delay. You can simply email your cancellation of your acceptance of an offer to your department, or if you wish, you can use the cancellation form below. 

Your college offer letter

If you receive an offer from a department, you will then also receive an offer from a college, unless you have received an offer for a non-matriculated course which does not require a college place. College placement usually takes eight to ten weeks after the departmental offer is made, though in rare cases it can take longer. The college offer letter will usually be sent to you by email.

The college offer will include a Financial Declaration outlining any financial conditions that you will need to meet and the deadline by which you must provide the information required.

When you complete your Financial Declaration, you will be asked to:

  • show that you have sufficient funding to cover the University and college fees for Year 1 of your course, by providing financial evidence such as a letter from your scholarship sponsor or your bank;
  • give your assurance that you are able and willing to meet all University and college fees beyond Year 1, if the duration of your course is longer than a year (no financial evidence is required); and
  • give your assurance that you are able and willing to meet your living costs for the duration of your course (no financial evidence is required).

The college offer letter will also explain how your contract with your college will be formed and may attach a form of college contract.

Your Completion of Conditions letter

If you satisfy all the conditions set by both the department and the college in their offer letters, you will be sent a final letter by your department confirming your place. This letter will include a form you will need to complete for your University Card and which will ask you to confirm your intention to enroll at the University. You will be asked to complete and return this form as soon as possible as a condition of your enrolment.

Once you have a confirmed place, consult the University's information on arriving as a new student available from the Oxford Students website to assist you in answering any questions you might have before you arrive and in your first few weeks in Oxford. Your department and college will also send you all the information you need regarding their services and timetable ready for your arrival in Oxford.

Please note that if you do not meet the conditions of your offer by the deadlines set by the department and the college, you will not be able to enroll at the University.

Deferring an offer

The University does not normally accept requests for deferral of entry to a later term/year. You will normally be expected to start your course on the date and term indicated in your departmental offer letter. However, you may apply for a deferral of entry, under exceptional circumstances, if the following two criteria are both met:

  1. Unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances that are outside your control will prevent you from taking up your offer on the start date indicated in your offer letter. This might include, for example, ill health or bereavement. In some instances, deferrals can also be requested because of visa application issues (see below).
  2. You have met all the departmental and college conditions of your offer, including your Financial Declaration.

If you have received an offer for a research course (eg DPhil), and you meet the criteria given above, you can apply to defer for a maximum of either one, two or three terms (ie a full academic year). If you have received an offer for a taught course (eg MSc, MSt or MPhil), and you meet the criteria given above, you may only apply to defer for a full academic year.

Requests for deferral are considered at the discretion of departments, and must be approved by the department that has made you an offer, as well as the college that has accepted you. Deferrals are not granted for more than a maximum of one year.

If you have been granted a deferral, please note that the University cannot guarantee the following for your deferred term/year of entry:

  • that there will be availability of supervision
  • that the programme will remain open
  • that the programme will not be amended

If supervision were to become unavailable or the course were to close following the granting of a deferral to you, the department would inform you that it has become necessary for them to withdraw its offer of a place.

If your request for a deferral is approved, you will not be considered again for Oxford funding and scholarship opportunities.

If you have already been offered an Oxford scholarship, you should consult the office which awarded it (e.g. Graduate Admissions and Funding, the college or the department) to find out whether or not your scholarship can also be deferred.

How to request a deferral

If you wish to request a deferral of your date of entry to a later term/year, you must submit your request in writing to your department before you register with the University. The deadline for registration which applies to you will be set out in your offer letter. In your request, please outline your grounds for deferral and how you meet the criteria outlined above. You will get a written response from your department letting you know if your deferral has been granted.

If your request is approved and it is to start at the University within the same academic year as that you originally applied for, your contract with the University will be based on the contractual documents available through the link provided in this offer letter.

If your request is approved and it is to start at the University in a subsequent academic year, you will be sent a letter in that academic year containing a link to a new set of contractual documents (including the Terms and Conditions, Course Information Sheet and Student Handbook) and your contract with the University will be amended to be based on those documents. The contractual documents accompanying that letter may differ from those available through the link provided with this letter. You will be entitled to withdraw from the course if the new contractual documents contain a material change which you consider will have an adverse impact on you.

Your college may also require you to complete a new Financial Declaration form.

Any deposit you have paid will be held until you take up your place.

If you are not eligible to apply for a deferral, or if you want to defer more than a year, you can always submit a completely new application (and you will need to pay the application fee) for the year in which you wish to start.

Requesting a deferral because of visa application issues 

If you have received an offer for a research course (eg DPhil) and have had your visa application delayed or rejected you may be granted a deferral for one term at a time, up to a maximum of three terms.

If you have received an offer for a taught course (eg MSc, MSt or MPhil) you cannot request to defer on these grounds, and will need to re-apply for the year in which you wish to start.

Complaints

The University will consider complaints about any aspect of the graduate admissions process that relates to an irregularity in the procedure under which the application has been considered. For detailed information, please consult our complaints procedure.

The information provided below is for applicants whose course will start in the 2015-16 academic year.

If you have been successful, you will receive an initial offer letter from your department outlining any conditions you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. This letter will usually be sent to you by email.

Your initial departmental offer letter

This initial offer letter will draw your attention to the provision of the University student contract for matriculated students. Please see the sample contract:

If you receive an offer for a non-matriculated course, which does not require a college place, the offer letter will instead make reference to the University student contract for non-matriculated students. Please see the sample contract, which was last revised in March 2015:

Your offer letter will ask whether you wish to accept the offer of a place made to you. You should read the offer letter, including any conditions set by your department, and the relevant student contract carefully before accepting the offer. If you have queries about your offer, you should contact the department directly.

Your offer letter will also indicate that you are entitled to cancel your acceptance of a place at the University within a period of 14 calendar days starting from the day after we receive notification of your acceptance of your departmental offer. You do not have to give any reason for this. If you have paid a deposit to the department and cancel within this statutory period of 14 calendar days, the University will reimburse your deposit without undue delay. You can simply email your cancellation of your acceptance of an offer to your department, or if you wish, you can use the cancellation form below.

Your initial college offer letter

If you receive an offer from a department, you will then also receive an offer from a college, unless you have received an offer for a non-matriculated course which does not require a college place. College placement usually takes eight to ten weeks after the departmental offer is made, though in rare cases it can take longer. The college offer letter will usually be sent to you by email.

The college offer will include a Financial Declaration outlining any financial conditions that you will need to meet and the deadline by which you must provide the information required.

When you complete your Financial Declaration, you will be asked to:

  • show that you have sufficient funding to cover the University and college fees for Year 1 of your course, by providing financial evidence such as a letter from your scholarship sponsor or your bank;
  • give your assurance that you are able and willing to meet all University and college fees beyond Year 1, if the duration of your course is longer than a year (no financial evidence is required); and
  • give your assurance that you are able and willing to meet your living costs for the duration of your course (no financial evidence is required).

In the college offer letter, you may be supplied with a form of college contract, and, if this is the case, you should give this careful attention.

Your confirmed offer letter

If you satisfy all the conditions set by both the department and the college in their initial offer letters, you will be sent a final letter by your department confirming your offer. This letter will include a copy of the relevant University student contract, and you will be asked to sign and return it as soon as possible as a condition of your enrolment.

Once you have a confirmed place, consult the University's information on arriving as a new student to assist you in answering any questions you might have before you arrive and in your first few weeks in Oxford. Your department and college will also send you all the information you need regarding their services and timetable ready for your arrival in Oxford.

Please note that if you do not meet the conditions of your offer by the deadlines set by the department and the college, your offer of a place will be withdrawn.

Deferring an offer

The University does not normally accept requests for deferral of entry to a later term/year. You will normally be expected to start your course on the date and term indicated in your departmental offer letter. However, you may apply for a deferral of entry, under exceptional circumstances, if the following two criteria are both met:

  1. Unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances that are outside your control will prevent you from taking up your offer on the start date indicated in your offer letter. This might include, for example, ill health or bereavement. In some instances, deferrals can also be requested because of visa application issues (see below).
  2. You have met all the departmental and college conditions of your offer, including your Financial Declaration.

If you have received an offer for a research course (eg DPhil), and you meet the criteria given above, you can apply to defer for a maximum of either one, two or three terms (ie a full academic year). If you have received an offer for a taught course (eg MSc, MSt or MPhil), and you meet the criteria given above, you may only apply to defer for a full academic year.

Requests for deferral must be approved by the department that has made you an offer, as well as the college that has accepted you. Deferrals are not granted for more than a maximum of one year.

If you have been granted a deferral, please note that the University cannot guarantee the following for your deferred term/year of entry:

  • that there will be availability of supervision
  • that the programme will remain open
  • that the programme will not be amended

If supervision were to become unavailable or the course were to close following the granting of a deferral to you, the department would inform you that it has become necessary for them to withdraw its offer of a place.

How to request a deferral

If you wish to request a deferral of your date of entry to a later term/year, you must write to the department that has made you an offer before the start of your course. In your request, please outline your grounds for deferral and how you meet the criteria outlined above. You will get a written response from your department letting you know if your deferral has been granted.

If you are not eligible to apply for a deferral, or if you want to defer for more than a year, you can always submit a completely new application (and you will need to pay the application fee) for the year in which you wish to start.

Requesting a deferral because of visa application issues

If you have received an offer for a research course (eg DPhil) and have had your visa application delayed or rejected you may be granted a deferral for one term at a time, up to a maximum of three terms.

If you have received an offer for a taught course (eg MSc, MSt or MPhil) you cannot request to defer on these grounds, and will need to re-apply for the year in which you wish to start.