Starting your application | Application Guide | University of Oxford
Studying in college
Studying in college
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Starting your application

This section of the Application Guide covers:

  • when to apply, and our deadlines
  • managing your graduate applicant account and applications; and
  • how to complete the Application type and Course tabs of the application form. 

Once you've decided to apply for graduate study at Oxford, you should aim to do so as early as possible. It can take a number of weeks to obtain all of the documents you need, and you should allow your referees plenty of time to submit your references.

To start your application, visit the course page of your chosen course and click the 'Apply' button on the How To Apply tab.

We strongly recommend that you submit your application form and all of your supporting documents at least a week before your chosen deadline. Don't wait until the day of the deadline! We may not always be able to answer your questions or help you to resolve any problems in time, particularly around our busiest application deadlines in January. 

Can I apply for graduate study if I'm currently studying?

Yes, absolutely. You can apply for graduate study at Oxford during your final year of your degree.

Most of Oxford's graduate courses commence in Michaelmas term (early October). If you receive an offer of a place, you'll usually be required to fulfil any conditions set by your department and college by the end of August. This will include sending a final official transcript to your department. For more information about providing transcripts, consult the Supporting Documents section of this guide.

If you're currently studying and won't receive your final degree results before the start of term in Oxford:

  • contact your department to discuss whether you might be able start in a later term (research courses); or
  • wait and apply to begin your study in the next academic year (taught courses).

Can I start my course in a different term?

The vast majority of our taught courses begin in Michaelmas term (October) and you won't be able to commence your study at a later point unless that is explicitly indicated on the relevant course page. For more information about Oxford's academic terms, visit our Dates of term page.

If you'd like to start a research course in a term other than Michaelmas (October), contact the academic department directly.

Course deadlines

The deadlines for each course are stated on the course page. Most course deadlines are on a Friday at 12.00 midday UK time.

You can apply to any deadline given on the course page for your chosen course, but you should try to apply to the earliest deadline available.

If your course has more than one deadline, this means that applications are considered in two or more separate batches. You'll usually receive a decision from your academic department about 8 to 10 weeks after the deadline to which you have applied.

November deadline

Some courses have a November deadline. If you apply in time for this deadline, you'll be considered for Oxford scholarships. You're also likely to receive an earlier decision than those who apply for later deadlines.

January deadlines

Most courses have a January deadline. You must apply by the January deadline for your course if:

  • you wish to be considered for Oxford scholarships, or any scholarship which uses this deadline;
  • you are requesting an application fee waiver because you are resident in a low-income country and meet the eligibility criteria. 

You're encouraged to apply by the January deadline for your course if:

  • you need a student visa, as you must have your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from the University before you can apply for your visa;
  • you are declaring a disability or long-term health condition, as early notice will help us support you in the college admissions process if your application is successful.

Many courses will close after the January deadline. 

March deadline

Some courses also have a March deadline. If you apply for this deadline, you will not be considered for Oxford scholarships.

Applying after standard deadlines


After the March deadline, some courses may stay open to applications for 2020-21 entry if places are still available. Your course page will indicate if the course is remaining open to applications. The majority of courses will have filled their places by this time, and will not remain open.

The admissions cycle ends at 12.00 midday UK time on Friday 21 August 2020. Any courses that are still open will close on this date. 

Course admissions status

Each course will have one of the following indicated on the page:

Open to applications

The course is open for admission. If the listed deadlines have passed, there are still places available for you to apply for and the course will stay open until these are filled. The final closing date will be advertised on the course page at least one week in advance.

Closing to applications

The course will close on the date indicated, usually on a Friday at 12.00 midday UK time. The specific date and time of the deadline will be given.

Closed to applications

The course isn't currently accepting applications for 2020-21 study. Occasionally a closed course may re-open later: for example, if studentships become available.

Admission via separate process

The course uses a non-standard application form, application process and deadlines, so the admissions status won't appear on the course page.

Funding deadlines

To be considered for Oxford scholarships, you must apply by the January deadline for your course.

Other scholarships may not use the standard course deadlines, and may require an additional application. You can find deadlines and other instructions via our Fees, funding and scholarship search.

Courses may remain open or re-open after the published deadline(s) if funding opportunities from the academic department, such as studentships, become available. These will be advertised on the department’s website. The course page will provide a link to further information about the studentship, including the closing date. The course page won't show studentship closing dates or notice of closure.

You can find more information about applying for Oxford scholarships and funded studentships as part of your application is in the Funding section of this Application Guide.

What happens if I miss a deadline?

If your application isn't submitted and complete by your chosen deadline, with all mandatory supporting documents and at least two references, it won't usually be considered at that deadline. If your course has a later deadline listed on the course page, your application will be moved into that deadline for assessment by the academic department.

If your application is submitted and completed after your course’s final deadline, it might not be considered at all.

If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – for example, under a January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to have your application complete and submitted at least a week in advance.

For an introduction to Oxford's graduate courses, visit our Courses section. You can browse our courses A-Z or by department.

Once you've decided on a course and are ready to start your application, read the ‘How to apply’ section of your course page and click ‘Apply’ to access the online application system. 

Make sure that you choose the correct course in your application. You won't be able to change this after you start your form or after you apply. To choose a different course, you'll need to start a new application. 

Can I use an agent to help me complete and submit my application(s)?

The University doesn't have any arrangements or relationships with agents. You must complete your application yourself, and provide your own contact details.

All of the information you need to apply for graduate study at Oxford is free and public on this website. Our course pages provide details of all of our graduate courses, including the entry requirements, the required supporting documents and how to apply to the course, and this Application Guide contains all of the information you need to prepare and submit your application. Our international applicants section has guidance on applying to Oxford as an international student.

Create an account

When you click ‘Apply’ on your course page, you'll be prompted to create a new graduate applicant account, or log into your account if you already have one.

You can use one account to create as many applications as you wish.

On the Graduate Application Form login page, click the ‘Create Account’ button and complete the registration form. You must provide an email address, which will be the primary email address for your account. Make sure that you will have access to this email address until your course start date. If you become unable to access this email address during the application process, contact Graduate Admissions.

If you later enter a different email address in the ‘Home Address’ field of the ‘Contact Details’ section of the application form, this will change the email address associated with your account. You will then need to use the new email address to log into your account.

Current Oxford graduate students

If you're a graduate student currently studying at the University, you'll need to create a new application account rather than logging into your existing one. In this case, you can use the same personal email address that you used for your previous account. Any applications you submit will be merged with your existing student record.

Login to your account

You can access your graduate applicant account using the following link: www.graduate.ox.ac.uk/applyonline.

Use your email address and password to log in. If you forget your password, you can request a new one via the ‘Forgotten Password’ link on the login page. 

If you have forgotten your login email address, or you are unable to access your account even after resetting your password, contact Graduate Admissions.

Using the application form

The application form is compatible with most web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. If you're using Internet Explorer, you'll need to use version 9 or later.

The form is also compatible with most tablet devices, although some may not display it correctly.

Each tab of the application form will display a symbol that indicates your progress in completing the tab:

  • a blue 'tick'  indicates that you have answered all of the mandatory questions on the tab;
  • a red 'cross' indicates that one or more mandatory questions has not been answered, or that there is an error in one of the fields.

Mandatory questions are marked with an asterisk (*). If you see an error message when you try to leave a tab, you can click 'Cancel' to stay on the page and edit any fields that have an error, which will be highlighted in yellow. Alternatively, you can click 'OK' to proceed to the next tab of the application form and return later to make any corrections.

Getting help

You'll see a question mark symbol question mark symbol beside some of the questions on the application form. Hover your mouse cursor over this symbol for additional information or instructions. 

Follow the sections of this Application Guide as you complete your application form. You'll also find links to relevant FAQs on each page. 

Applying on paper

If there are exceptional circumstances that mean it is very difficult for you to apply online, please contact Graduate Admissions by letter or by email with full details.

Email: ga@admin.ox.ac.uk
Address: Graduate Admissions, University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD, UK

We have a range of assistive measures in place to support applications from students with disabilities - for example, we can accept a paper application if this is necessary due to an applicant's disability. Find out more in our information for applicants with disabilities.

Multiple applications

Can I apply to more than one course?

You can apply to as many courses as you like for 2020-21 study, and many applicants apply to more than one course. If you are applying to more than one course, check that you meet the entry requirements for each one.

For each course, you will need to submit a full and separate application with all supporting documents, including references, and pay an application fee. This policy applies to all applications except:

If you are applying to more than one research course under one of the schemes above, make sure that all of the relevant courses are still open. 

You will not be able to study a full-time graduate course alongside any other graduate course at Oxford or any other institution.

How do I start another application?

You may use your graduate application account to create as many course applications as you wish. Only applications you've submitted will be visible to departments. All other applications will be deleted automatically at the end of the following admissions cycle.

To start another application, click the 'Apply' button on the relevant course page and log in to your graduate application account.

Alternatively, log in to your graduate application account and select ‘Start New Application’ on the ‘My Applications’ screen. If you are currently working on an application, you may need to click the ‘Save and Close’ button at the bottom of the screen before you can start a new application. 

You will need to search for your graduate course using the search tool:

  • enter one keyword from the course title and select your course from the list; or
  • type in the course code, which is available on the course page.

You will only be able to select courses that are still open to applications. If you don't see the course you're searching for in the list, check the course page to make sure that it is still open for the current admissions cycle. 

If you start another application, the application form will automatically fill in some of the information you have already provided.

Can I apply again to the same course?

You may apply to any particular course only once for 2020-21 study.

The only exception is that it may be possible to apply more than once to a research level course, if you are applying with significantly different research proposals and receive authorisation from the relevant academic department.

Applying more than once to the same research course

It may be possible to apply twice in a given year for a research-level course (eg DPhil, MSc by Research and MSt courses in Socio-Legal Research) if the applications involve significantly different research proposals. Contact the academic department to confirm whether a second application will be permitted.

If the department confirms that you can apply again, you must submit a separate application with all required supporting documents and references, and pay an application fee for both applications.

Our online application system does not permit an applicant to apply twice for the same course. If the academic department authorises a second application, it will inform Graduate Admissions and a link will be sent to you via email which enables you to create this new application.

If your application is unsuccessful in the current admissions cycle, you are welcome to apply again to the same course in the next admissions cycle (for study in 2021-22). The application form will be available from September 2020.

Deleting or cancelling applications

You will not be able to delete your application after you have submitted it. Your application will be automatically deleted at the end of the following admissions cycle. 

If you wish to withdraw your application after submitting it, you should contact Graduate Admissions and we will arrange this on your behalf. Once your request for a withdrawal has been processed, you will receive an automated notification email.

Your application fee is non-refundable, even if you withdraw your application before it has been assessed by the academic department.

Application type

On the 'Application Type' tab of the application form, you must select an application type before you can proceed to any other part of the form. You can return later to change this.

If you select an application type that is not ‘Standard,’ you will not be able to proceed to the next tab until you have entered a valid authorisation code.

TypeExplanation
StandardYou should select a standard application type unless your application falls into one of the other types. You will need to pay the application fee of £75 per application.
Standard - application fee pre-paidYou are making an application for which the application fee has already been paid or a further payment is not required, such as additional applications to permitted CDT/DTP courses. To use this application type you must have an access code, which will have been given to eligible applicants. 
ReadmissionYou are currently enrolled in the final year of an eligible Oxford graduate course, and are applying to enrol next academic year on an eligible research course. You will find the authorisation code you need in your student self-service account.
Rhodes Scholar - newly selectedYou are a newly-selected Rhodes Scholar making a graduate application to Oxford. 
Rhodes Scholar - enrolledYou are a Rhodes Scholar currently enrolled at Oxford and applying for a further taught or readmissions course with confirmed Rhodes funding. 

‘Course’ tab

In this section of the application form, you'll see a number of questions relevant to your course. Depending on the course to which you're applying, you may see some – but not all – of the questions below.

Proposed field and title of research project

If relevant for your course, you'll be asked to state your chosen research field and the title of your proposed research project.

You should not use this field to type out your full research proposal. You'll be able to upload your research proposal on the Supporting Documents tab.

Proposed supervisor

If relevant for your course, you'll be asked to provide the name or names of your proposed supervisor(s).

Your course page will state whether you're expected to identify a potential supervisor or supervisors before you apply, and whether you should approach them before submitting your application.

Applicants to DPhil (PhD) courses are often encouraged to contact potential supervisors before submitting an application, in order to discuss their proposed area of research and the likely availability of funding.

For most taught courses (eg MPhil, MSt and MSc courses) you won't be required to arrange supervision before applying. If you're accepted onto the course, your academic department will usually assign a project supervisor to you.

Your course pages will have a 'Research staff' or 'Academic staff' link, which you can follow to find staff profiles and contact details for that academic department.

Dates unavailable for interview or visit

Not all courses hold interviews as part of the application process. The ‘Entry Requirements’ section of your course page will indicate whether applicants are interviewed, and if so, the method of interview (in person, or via telephone or Skype) and what format the interview will take. 

If you have queries about interview arrangements for your course, contact the relevant academic department. The contact details are available on your course page.

What is a college?

‘College’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 44 of the University’s colleges, including the six Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). Our Colleges section explains what a college is, and provides a profile of each college, as well as guidance on choosing a college.

All ‘matriculated’ students belong to a college. Matriculation is the formal process of becoming a member of the University, for students who are enrolled at the University on a degree-level course. 

Not all colleges accept students for every course. The ‘Courses’ tab of each college page will show you a list of all the courses for which that college accepts students, and the ‘Colleges’ tab of your course page will show you which colleges are available for that course. 

Not all colleges accept part-time students, so your college options may differ depending on whether you're applying to a full-time or part-time version of a course.

Non-matriculated courses

Students on non-matriculated courses don't become formal members of the University and aren't members of a college. 

If a course is non-matriculated, this will be stated on the ‘Colleges’ tab of the course page. When making an application to one of these courses, you won't be able to select a college preference on your application form. 

Indicating a college preference

On the 'Course' tab of the application form, you should select either:

  • one preferred college, from the available list; or
  • ‘I have no college preference’.

The application form will only display the colleges that accept applicants for your chosen course. You may indicate one college preference.

You will not be able to change your college preference after you apply, or indicate a college preference if you previously chose not to do so. 

Graduate students are first admitted by a University department. Stating a college preference will not affect how an academic department considers your application or whether you will be offered a place.

If you receive an offer from an academic department, you're also guaranteed to receive a college place if you're studying for a matriculated course. If your preferred college isn't able to offer you a place, we'll secure a place at another college for you. Once you're accepted by a college, you won't be considered by any other colleges.

For information about the timeline for getting a college place if you receive an offer from your department, visit our After you apply section.

How do I apply for college scholarships?

A number of colleges have scholarships available for graduate students. You can use our fees, funding and scholarship search to find out if you're eligible for any of these.

For the majority of college scholarships, you're not required to choose a particular college as your preference on your application form. All eligible applicants who apply by the deadline will be considered. If you're selected for a college scholarship, we'll move your application to the relevant college.

What college preference should I give if I'm applying to more than one course?

If you're applying for more than one course in any given admissions cycle, you must indicate the same college preference in all your applications, unless the college doesn't accept applications to your course(s).

Can I stay at my current Oxford college?

If you'd like to remain at your current Oxford college, you should check whether it accepts applications for the course to which you are applying. If it does, you can indicate this preference when you apply. If not, you should contact your college office to ask whether they would be willing to make an exception. 

If your college indicates that it is willing to consider your application for a course it doesn't usually accept, or if you're a fellow of All Souls College, please contact Graduate Admissions before applying.

If you wish to stay at your current college but apply for scholarships at other colleges, you should choose your current college when you apply, unless you're applying for a scholarship that explicitly requires you to choose a specific college as part of your application.

If you choose a college other than your current college and you are not accepted by that college, your application will go through the same college allocation process as all other applications. It won't automatically be sent to your current college. 

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