Spires of Oxford with Magdalen Tower and South Park in the distance
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Application Guide

Statement of purpose and research proposal

What documents are required?

Many courses require you to submit a statement of purpose (sometimes called a 'personal statement') and/or a research proposal.

The How to apply section of the relevant course page will state which of these documents are required, the specifications and the criteria by which they will be assessed.

There is one slot on the ‘Supporting Documents’ tab of the application form for documents of this category. If your course requires both a statement of purpose (or personal statement) and a research proposal, you should submit them within the same document with a clear subheading for each, unless specifically stated otherwise in the How to apply section of the course page.

For courses that require a piece of written work, please note that your research proposal or personal statement does not fulfil this requirement.

If your statement of purpose or research proposal significantly exceeds the permitted length stated on the relevant course page, it will be removed from your application and your application will be considered incomplete and is unlikely to be assessed by the academic department.

Who to contact if you have questions

If you have questions about the permitted content and length of your statement of purpose (personal statement) or research proposal, contact the relevant academic department using the contact details on the relevant course page.

What should the document contain?

Your statement of purpose or research proposal must be entirely your own original work. Departments may screen your statement of purpose or research proposal using plagiarism-detection software. For more information, consult our guidance on plagiarism as well as the guidance on the use of artificial intelligence tools within this Application Guide.

Visit our How-to guides for advice on writing a personal statement and writing a research proposal.

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