Interior of the Radcliffe Camera
Interior of the Radcliffe Camera
(Image credit: Vinesh Rajpaul / Graduate Photography Competition)
Application Guide

Written work

Written work requirements

Written work is a piece of your writing, usually an essay on an academic subject, that helps the academic department assess your suitability for the course.

Not all courses require written work, and requirements for written work are specific to each course. You should read the instructions in the How to apply section of the relevant course page carefully.


Written work must be entirely your own original work except where clearly indicated. Ensure that you check the How to apply section of the relevant course page, as some courses may not permit co-authored written work. If the work involved other authors, you should include the full list of authors and clearly indicate your own contribution. Supporting quotations from any work authored by others must be properly identified and referenced.


Each piece of written work should be in English, unless stated otherwise on the relevant course page. They should ideally be pieces you have written during previous university-level study, such as an essay, project, or extract from a dissertation, thesis or published paper. They should, as far as possible, relate to your chosen course.

Plagiarism and use of artificial intelligence tools

Departments may screen your written work 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.


Your work can be marked or unmarked, and published or unpublished. Your work can be single- or double-spaced, and you may use any citation style.

Document length

You should state the word count of your work on the final page wherever possible. If your written work 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.

If you are submitting an extract from a longer piece of work, you should not include the whole document but just a note at the beginning explaining how it fits into the overall piece.

Submitting one longer piece of work instead of two shorter pieces

For permitted courses, you may choose to submit one longer piece of work (usually around 4,000-5,000 words) instead of two shorter pieces. You should only follow the instructions below if this is explicitly permitted on the How to apply section of the relevant course page. 

Instructions for submitting one long piece of work instead of two short pieces

To submit one longer piece of work in your application instead of two shorter pieces, you should upload this document in the first 'Written work' slot on the 'Supporting Documents' tab of the Application Form. In the second 'Written work' slot, you should upload a PDF document with the following statement:

'I have included one long essay in lieu of two short essays. I have checked the course page to confirm this is permitted for this course.'

If you include this statement but are applying for a course which does not permit one longer piece of written work instead of two shorter pieces, it will be removed from your application.

Who to contact if you have questions

If you have questions about the written work requirements for your chosen course, such as the permitted content and word limit, please contact the academic department. Contact details for each academic department are available via the relevant course page, under ‘Course-related enquiries’.

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