Qualifications, languages and funding | Application Guide | University of Oxford
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Qualifications, languages and funding

This section of the Application Guide covers:

  • how to complete the Qualifications, Languages and Funding tabs of the application form
  • how to declare Extenuating circumstances
  • the University's English language requirements
  • requesting an English language test waiver

Entry requirements

You can find the entry requirements for each course on the ‘Entry Requirements’ tab of the course page.

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the Extenuating Circumstances tab for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately. 

Unfortunately, we can't advise you on your likelihood of being accepted for a particular graduate course. Bear in mind that Oxford’s graduate admissions process is very competitive. This means that you're unlikely to be offered a place if your qualifications are below the minimum entry requirements for your course, and meeting the minimum entry requirements doesn't necessarily mean you will be offered a place. 

If your qualifications aren't from the UK, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the grades and qualifications that are considered equivalent to the University's minimum entry requirements. 

If your qualifications aren't listed, or you're still unsure whether your previous academic study will enable you to make a competitive application, contact the relevant academic department using the contact details on your course page.

Entering your qualifications

On the ‘Qualifications’ tab of the application form, you should provide details of all qualifications and periods of study you have undertaken at university level, including qualifications you haven't yet completed. 

If you have a non-UK qualification, you don't need to convert this to the UK degree classification, or provide an official statement of comparability from UK NARIC.

Please do not enter details of qualifications you studied before university, eg high school.

If you have more than one qualification to enter, click the ‘Add another qualification’ button in the lower right hand corner of this section. You can enter up to five qualifications in this section.

For each qualification you enter, you should complete all of the fields in this section, and upload a transcript covering that qualification. 

How to enter your institution(s)

  • Enter one keyword from the institution’s name and wait for the search tool to return relevant matches. You must select an option from the list for the question to be completed. If you have correctly selected an answer, you will see a code in the field, and details will appear to the right.
  • If there are too many results to display, enter an additional keyword to refine the results. The search tool will look for exact matches with the text you enter, so you may need to try more than one variation for it to pick up the correct institution (eg ‘The University of Oxford’ rather than ‘Oxford University’).
  • If you can’t find your institution, select ‘Not Listed’ (38948). A new field will appear, and you can manually enter the country and institution name.

How to enter your qualification(s)

Qualification (obtained or intended)

  • In this field, you should enter your qualification type using a single keyword, eg ‘Bachelor’, and wait for the search tool to return relevant matches.
  • You must select an option from the list for the question to be completed. If you have done so correctly, a code will appear in the field, and the name of the qualification type will appear to the right.
  • If you can't find your qualification type through the search function, type in ‘Other’ and then click on the most appropriate option from the list (eg ‘BACH_NONUK’, ‘BACH_UK’, ‘MAST_NONUK’, ‘MAST_UK’).  

'Main subject' and 'second subject' (if applicable)

  • When entering the main subject of your qualification, enter one keyword and let the search tool return matches. You may need to try a few different keywords.
  • If you can't find the exact subject of your qualification, choose a more generic subject or discipline from the list of matches. If you have correctly selected an answer, you will see a number in the field, and the subject name will appear to the right.

Actual or expected result

  • Choose the most accurate option for your overall degree grade from the available list. 
  • The options shown will depend on your previous answers. For example, if you have indicated that you have a UK bachelor's degree, you will see the options for the standard UK grading system (First, 2.1, 2.2, 3). The letters 'P', 'M' and 'D' refer to 'Pass', 'Merit' and 'Distinction'.
  • If your qualification uses a grade system not offered by the form, select either ‘Pass’ (if applicable) or ‘Other’.
  • If you select ‘Other’, you should enter your grade in the format used by your institution, otherwise this section will show as incomplete. 

Start date
Use the calendar tool to fill out the start date of your course. If you don't know the exact date on which the course began, you should use the first day of the relevant month. Entering the date manually will cause an error if it is incorrectly formatted.

Date of expected completion
If you're currently studying towards a qualification, enter the date when your final results (official transcript) will become available. If you don't know the exact date of completion, use the first day of the relevant month. Use the calendar tool to fill out the date, as entering the date manually will return an error if it is incorrectly formatted. More information about providing a transcript while currently studying is available in the Supporting documents section.

Don't worry if you're not able to enter your exact qualifications. This won't affect the assessment of your application, as the relevant academic department will always look at your transcript(s) for details of your qualifications and results. Consult the Supporting Documents section for more information about transcripts.

‘Other UK study’ and ‘Other degree-level study’

These sections of the application form ask you to provide details for periods of study you have not already included in the ‘Current and previous qualifications’ section.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you should provide details of any periods of study you have undertaken in the UK in the ‘Other UK study’ section. This includes study not at degree level. You can add multiple periods of study by clicking ‘Add another period of UK study’. 

In the ‘Other degree-level study' section, you are asked: 

  • details of any university-level study you have begun but not completed, excluding qualifications that you are currently studying toward; and 
  • whether you intend to begin a degree at any institution at the same time as the course for which you are applying, and if so, how you expect to be able to do this. 

Can I study at Oxford and another institution at the same time?

Applicants for full-time study who, if successful, would be registered concurrently at Oxford and another institution are not eligible for admission to Oxford. If your application is successful and you would be registered at another institution at the start date for your course, it will be a condition of your offer that you must provide a letter from your institution confirming that your registration has been terminated or suspended for the duration of your studies at Oxford.

An exception may only be made where such registration is part of a formal collaborative arrangement between the University and another institution.

If you wish to apply to study for a part-time course at Oxford while registered at another institution, you must give details of the course you will be undertaking at the same time as your graduate study at Oxford, indicating whether it is full- or part-time and outlining how and why you expect to be able to pursue both courses simultaneously. The academic department will assess whether undertaking both courses is feasible.

GRE General Test scores

The ‘How to Apply’ tab of your course page will state whether GRE test scores are required as part of your application. If you have questions about this requirement, contact the relevant academic department using the details on the course page.

You can find further details about taking the GRE General Test on the ETS website.

Providing your scores

In the ‘Other admissions tests’ section of the ‘Qualifications’ tab, you're asked whether you have GRE General Test scores to report. If you select ‘Yes’ in answer to this question, you must enter your test date and results in the relevant fields in order to complete this tab.

You can upload a PDF or screenshot of your GRE Test-taker Score Report on the ‘Supporting Documents’ tab of the application form, in the ‘GRE certificate’ slot. If you don't have a score report to upload before you submit your application, you may upload it after you have submitted your application through Graduate Applicant Self Service

GRE test-takers can also designate the University of Oxford as a test score recipient using the institution code 0713 when registering for the test.

Can I submit GRE scores even if they're not required or recommended for my course?

Your application should only include documents that are required or recommended for your course. If your course page doesn't state that GRE scores are compulsory or otherwise accepted, any GRE scores you include with your application will be disregarded when it is assessed. 

We recognise that some applicants may have been affected by extenuating circumstances that will impact the strength of their application. To ensure our academic assessors can understand the impact of these on your application, the application form includes a section for you to declare significant relevant circumstances. This section may be used to declare circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, or for other circumstances (eg bereavement or mental/physical health issues).

What can I declare?

You may declare any relevant significant extenuating circumstance that negatively affected the strength of your application. To cover the most anticipated circumstances resulting from COVID-19, the application form offers a set of statements that can be declared via a yes/no response. Where a circumstance is not covered by these statements or further explanation is required, you may use the additional free-text field to explain it.

We will not be able to take into account extenuating circumstances for which adequate mitigations have already been applied by your current/previous institution. If your extenuating circumstances relate to a previous or current qualification, you should first approach the awarding institution, including where an issue was diagnosed after you completed the course. You should, therefore, contact the relevant institution to request consideration of extenuating circumstances in advance of making an application. Where the awarding institution did not make an adjustment or is not able to take these extenuating circumstances into account for policy reasons, evidence would need to be supplied of this (such as a link to their policy or email correspondence with the institution) and of the extenuating circumstances.

When should I declare it?

You should declare the circumstances as part of your application form, uploading evidence if applicable. If you are declaring sensitive personal circumstances separate from the application form, please do so after submitting your application form, but at least a week ahead of the deadline to which you are applying to help us ensure the information is available to the academic assessors in good time. Deadlines for course are available on the course pages.

Do I need to provide evidence?

To help our academic assessors, it is recommended that you submit supporting evidence of your extenuating circumstances, although we recognise that this may not always be possible. Because this may take some time to obtain, you should start this as soon as possible. You will be given the opportunity to upload evidence in the supporting documents section of the application form should you wish to do this. Evidence is essential where you are reporting the loss of an internship or job opportunity. Where evidence is not provided but our academic assessors consider that it is required in order to consider the extenuating circumstances you have declared, we may contact you to discuss what, if any, evidence you may be able to provide. Where evidence is not in English, it must be accompanied by a certified professional translation.

How will my personal information be used?

Personal data will be collected, stored and retained in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and related UK data protection legislation, and in accordance with the University’s Data Protection Notice.

Extenuating circumstances information will only be processed for the purposes of considering extenuating circumstances with respect to considering your application and for the purposes of considering you for scholarships. Such information will be made available to relevant staff in academic departments and appropriate scholarship funding panels according to the University’s data protection policy.

Declaring sensitive personal circumstances

Any sensitive personal circumstances, should be disclosed separately by completing a Sensitive Personal Extenuating Circumstances form and uploading it via the sensitive circumstances upload portal. Access will be restricted only to those assessing your application. We only process special category data, such as your health data, with your explicit consent.

You have the right to withdraw this consent at any time by contacting Graduate Admissions.

How will it be used in assessing my application?

The assessors will consider relevant issues raised when making decisions and, where appropriate, take these into account in their assessments, including as regards applicants’ academic merit and potential. Applicants submitting extenuating circumstances forms are not guaranteed either to be interviewed or offered a place on the course.

It is important to be aware that most extenuating circumstances declarations in relation to an impact on previous exam results or qualifications are unlikely to result in any change to the assessment decision. This is because assessors will not be able to adjust marks accurately or fairly for an impact on an examination with which they are not familiar. The awarding institution is much better placed to make that judgement which is why you are asked to demonstrate that you have raised the matter with them in the first instance.

The assessors can, however, take certain actions where the evidence is very persuasive that a candidate has been severely affected and the awarding institution has not made any adjustment.

Examples of actions which assessors might take include:

  • If there is strong evidence that your performance on one particular paper was affected and it is clearly out of line with your performance in other papers, the assessors might decide to disregard that paper and/or have regard to your academic trajectory in the periods before and after the extenuating circumstances declared.
  • If you are lacking some relevant experience that would have advantaged your application but which you were unable to gain due to the circumstance you encountered, the assessors might seek other evidence in your application to compensate for the apparent gap.

Please note that these are only examples, and that extenuating circumstances declarations are considered carefully on a case-by-case basis.

Extenuating circumstances will not be taken into account by the University when considering English language test results. If you wish to raise extenuating circumstances in this respect, please contact the relevant English language test provider.

Appeals

The impact of extenuating circumstances on the assessment of an application is a matter of academic judgement which cannot be appealed under the admissions complaints procedure. An appeal can only be made where there has been a procedural irregularity, there is bias or a reasonable perception of bias in the decision-making process, or if you are subsequently diagnosed with a disability which, if known at the time of the decision, would have required reasonable adjustments which could have been material to the decision-making process.

In order to take up a place on one of our courses, you must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency at the University's standard or higher level. Each course page states the required level for that course.

Do I need to demonstrate my English language proficiency?

You do not need to provide evidence of English language proficiency if you meet one of the following criteria:

A. Your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI); or

B. You are a current Oxford student applying for readmission.

Majority English-speaking countries recognised by UKVI

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

No other countries are considered majority English-speaking countries by UKVI.

If you do not meet one of the criteria above, you will have to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for your course if you are offered a place.

However, you may request a waiver of the requirement to provide language test scores when you submit your application. (Please refer to the English language test waivers tab above)

Do I need to have test scores when I apply?

If you already have English language test scores at the required level, please include them in your application. However, you are not required to provide test scores when you submit your application.

If you apply without submitting test scores, or you submit test scores below the required level, the academic department will assess your application as normal. If you receive an offer of a place, the department may require you to submit language test scores by a specific deadline as a condition of your offer. 

It can take several months to secure a place for a language test, so we recommend arranging to sit a test as soon as you decide to apply. 

For more information about providing your scores as part of your application, see Providing your English language information and scores below.

Tests and minimum scores

For each course, the University requires either a standard or higher level of ability in English. Each course page states the required level for that course.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's standard level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.06.5

TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition' 

(Institution code: 0490)

100Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*185176
C2 Proficiency185176
Minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.57.0

TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition' 

(Institution code: 0490)

110Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*191185
C2 Proficiency191185

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Can I take a different IELTS test?

Two versions of the IELTS Academic test are available: IELTS Academic and IELTS Academic for UKVI. The two versions differ only in their administrative format and test score report layout, and we can accept either version.

We recommend that you sit the standard IELTS Academic test, as the IELTS Academic for UKVI test is more expensive and generally less accessible.

Can I meet the requirements with TOEFL MyBest Scores?

TOEFL iBT score reports include a new set of ‘superscores’ called ‘MyBest Scores’. These are the test-taker's highest scores on each section (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing) from all valid scores achieved in tests taken in the last two years, and a total score that is the sum of these highest scores.

Scores from multiple tests cannot be used to fulfil the University's English language requirements. To demonstrate that you meet the required level of English proficiency for your course, you must achieve at least the minimum component scores and the minimum overall score in a single test.

Providing your English language information and scores

The ‘Languages' tab of the application form includes a series of questions about your English language proficiency, and allows you to provide test scores if you have them.

Your test must have been taken less than two years before the start date of the course for which you are applying.

For IELTS and TOEFL, you can nominate the University of Oxford as a score recipient using the institution code 0713 (IELTS Academic) or 0490 (TOEFL iBT) when you sit the test.

‘English language skills’

In this section of the application form, you are asked:

  • whether English is your first language
  • whether you have completed, or are completing, a degree-level course taught and assessed entirely in English; and
  • whether you have completed any course under a UK Tier 4 child visa.

Your answers to these questions may indicate whether you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, and if you are eligible for a waiver of this requirement. (Please refer to the English language test waivers tab above)

If you have any queries about visas and immigration, visit the University's Student Immigration website. 

‘English language proficiency’

If you choose to provide English language test scores with your application, you can enter the relevant information in this section:

  • TOEFL iBT: registration number, date of test, scores in each component and overall score.
  • IELTS Academic: Test Report Form (TRF) number, date of your test, scores in each component and overall score.
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency: date of test and overall score.

The University checks IELTS and TOEFL results directly with test providers. You may only provide scores that have been achieved in a single test. 

Uploading your test score report or certificate

You can upload your language test score report or certificate on the ‘Supporting Documents’ tab. For more information, visit our Supporting Documents section.

After submitting your application, you can upload your test results certificate to your application via Graduate Applicant Self Service.

English language test waivers

At the discretion of the academic department, the requirement to provide English language test scores may be waived.

You may apply for a waiver if you have completed, or are currently completing, a degree-level course that is:

  • full-time
  • at least nine months in duration
  • undertaken at a recognised institution where teaching and assessment throughout the course is undertaken entirely in English; and
  • has been completed within 2 years of the start date of the course to which you are applying.

You may also apply for a waiver based on substantial professional experience if:

  • you have worked for a minimum of two years in a majority English speaking country where the main language for the role was English;
  • your role involved daily professional use of each of the four language components (reading, writing, listening and speaking);
  • you worked in an appropriately technical context to demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in an academic environment; and
  • your role has ended no more than two years before the start date of the course to which you are applying.

If you meet either the criteria based on your previous education or your professional experience, you will need to indicate this by answering yes or no to the English language waiver questions on the ‘Languages’; tab of the application form. If you choose the professional experience option, you will need to summarise your role and use of English to enable the assessors to judge whether it meets the criteria.

The academic department will consider your request if you are offered a place. If your request is accepted, you won't be required to provide English language test results as a condition of your offer. Otherwise, you will still have to provide English language test scores at the required level for your course, by a deadline stated in your offer letter.

Can I request a waiver while still studying?

You can request a waiver even if you are yet to complete the relevant degree-level course. If your waiver request is accepted, you will usually need to provide evidence that you have successfully completed your course as a condition of your offer by a deadline given in your offer letter.

If you are due to complete your course after this deadline, you will usually be expected to submit English language test results that meet the University's requirements instead.

Proposed funding arrangements

You can use the fees, funding and scholarship search to get an estimate of the amount of funding you will need per year to cover your course fees and living costs. Our Fees and Funding pages have advice on external sources of funding you might wish to consider. 

If you receive an offer of a place, your college will ask you to complete a Financial Declaration form to meet your financial condition of admission.

Can I still apply if I am unsure how I will fund my graduate studies?

Yes, certainly. We don't require applicants to finalise their funding arrangements before they apply, and your financial situation will have no bearing on the assessment of your application.

We would recommend that you research funding opportunities that might be available to you on our Fees and Funding pages.

Can I work or have a part-time job during my studies?

The University understands that some graduates may wish to undertake a limited amount of paid work during their studies. The paid work guidelines for graduate students are intended to make sure that any work you undertake doesn't adversely affect your studies or your ability to complete your course on time. There are different guidelines for full-time and part-time students.

Speak to your academic department if you have any queries about whether paid work could fit in with your course of study. 

If you are studying in the UK on a visa, or funded by a research council, you may have limitations on how many hours' paid work you can undertake. Your college may also have guidelines.

Demand for part-time paid work in Oxford usually outstrips the amount of work available, including academic work such as teaching. We don't recommend that you rely on the availability of paid work when planning how to fund your studies. More information and helpful links are available in the Employment section of our pages on other funding sources.

Scholarships

On the Funding tab of the application form, you can apply for departmental studentships and Oxford scholarships .

How to apply for a departmental studentship

A departmental studentship is a specific type of funding offered by an academic department of the University, usually to undertake a specific project.

Studentships will be advertised on departmental websites, with a scholarship reference code. To apply for a studentship, you must enter the reference code in this section of the application form.

The department's website will provide the closing date for the studentship; this information will not be shown on the course page. 

How to apply for Oxford scholarships

The 'Oxford scholarships' section of the application form will only appear if you are submitting your application in time for the January deadline for your course.

For over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, all you need to do is submit your graduate application by the January deadline for your course. There’s no separate scholarship application process or extra supporting documentation required for funding. Based on the information supplied in your graduate application, you will be automatically considered for scholarships where you meet the eligibility criteria with most scholarships using academic merit and/or potential as the basis on which award decisions are made.

To help identify those scholarships that require an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and look at individual college websites.

In this section of the form, you will see that there are a small number of scholarships which require you to tick a box in order to apply for them. Click on the scholarship name to find out more about it. 

If a scholarship is marked with an asterisk on the application form (*), you must also submit additional supporting material in order to apply for it. Read the instructions carefully: you may be required to upload a supporting document to your application, or submit it to a separate organisation.

If the document is to be included with your application, you will be able to upload it to your application form in the appropriate slot of the 'Supporting documentstab. For more information, see the Supporting documents section of this Application Guide. 

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