Application Guide | University of Oxford
Penrose paving
The Penrose paving outside the Mathematical Institute
(Image Credit: Rob Judges / Oxford University Images)

Application Guide 2018-19, for entry in 2019-20


Choosing a course

  1. Check if the University offers a course you’re interested in applying to - you can find courses either A-Z or by department.

    Look at your academic department's website for more details on your course and research themes.
  2. Read the entry requirements on the course page to make sure that you have the right qualifications.

    Admissions are very competitive and you should make sure you have achieved, or will achieve, at least the minimum grade before you apply.

Before you apply

  1. Use the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search to check the fees and costs for your course and search over 1,000 full scholarships for 2019-20 study.

    Check the requirements and deadlines for funding - you usually need to apply for the January deadline for Oxford scholarships. You can also start exploring other potential sources of funding outside the University.
  2. Read through all tabs of this Application Guide and your course page to make sure you send all the right documents and information when you apply.

  3. Check the deadlines on the course page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance – we recommend two or three weeks earlier, if possible.

    As soon as you decide to apply, contact your university to ask for a transcript and potential referees to check that they are happy to submit references for you – this can sometimes take longer than you expect.
  4. Unless you are a UK citizen and your first language is English, check if you need to book a language test.

Applying to your course

  1. To start an application, visit the course page of your chosen course and select the Apply button from the How To Apply section.

    Register your referees as early as you can – references can be submitted at any time up until the deadline, before or after you submit your application.

  2. Decide if you want to indicate a college preference.

    You can indicate that you have no preference or, if you do want to give a preference, see our college pages for details of how the college system works.
  3. Check that you have chosen the right course and college and uploaded all the correct documents, then pay the application fee and submit your application.

    After submitting, check that you have received an automatic confirmation email that your application has been submitted – if not, log back in to your account to submit it.
  4. For information on everything that happens after you apply, including how to use self-service to manage your application, see our Decision timeline.

Before you apply, read this Application Guide and the information on your course page to make sure that you provide the correct documents and information. 

Our Technical Help PDF gives detailed instructions on how to use the application form and solve common problems. 

The instructions in this Application Guide are relevant to applications for all graduate courses at Oxford, except for:

Important note on published information

This is a guide to entry in 2019-20 and cannot be used to apply in later years. Guidance for entry in 2020-21 will be available from September 2019. 

This Application Guide and the Graduate Admissions webpages are definitive, with the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about Oxford’s admissions process and requirements. These may change and you should consider the version currently online to be the most accurate source of information at any given time.

External websites may give information about graduate courses and admissions to Oxford which can be incomplete and/or inaccurate. Department and college websites may also repeat information about how to apply. However, if there is any conflict, this Application Guide and the Graduate Admissions webpages should be considered definitive and accurate. 

How to apply

To apply online using the graduate application form, visit the course page of your chosen course and select the Apply button from the How To Apply section.

You will need to upload supporting documents required for your course. You will also need to pay the £75 application fee to submit your application, unless you are eligible for a fee waiver (see below).

Applying on paper

If there are exceptional circumstances that make it very difficult for you to apply online, please contact Graduate Admissions and Funding with full details.

A range of assistive measures is in place to support applications from students with disabilities - for example, a paper application will be accepted if this is necessary due to an applicant's disability. Information on this support is available for applicants with disabilities.

When to apply

You can check the deadlines for each course on our course pages. 

Some courses will remain open after the published deadline(s) if places are still available and/or re-open later if funded studentships become available.

January deadlines
Friday 11 January 2019 or Friday 25 January 2019, depending on your course

All courses use one of these two deadlines.

You should apply by the relevant January deadline to be considered for most Oxford scholarships and if you are resident in a low-income country and intend to request an application fee waiver.

We also strongly recommend that you apply by the January deadline if you need a student visa.

November and March deadlines
Friday 16 November 2018 and/or Friday 1 March 2019

As well as the January deadline, some courses offer another deadline in November and/or in March.

If you apply in November you will usually get an earlier decision than January applicants, and if you apply in March you will get a later decision. November applicants are eligible to be considered for Oxford scholarships that require you to apply by a January deadline, but March applicants are not.

You can apply to any deadline listed for your course but you should try to apply to the earliest deadline available. 

Applying after standard deadlines

After the 1 March deadline, courses may remain open if places are still available. We expect that most courses will have filled their places and will not remain open.

Individual course pages will indicate if and when a course remains open to applications for 2019-20 entry. Courses will close once remaining places are filled. Courses will close on a Friday at a week’s notice, which will be communicated via the course page.

Admissions status

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

 Open to applications (at least one week’s notice of closure)

The course is open for admission. If any 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 noon UK time. The specific date and time of the deadline will be given.

 Closed to applications

The course is not currently accepting applications for 2019-20 study. Occasionally a closed course may re-open later, for example if studentships become available.

 Admission via separate process

Courses that do not use the standard graduate application form, like the PGCE, do not necessarily use standard deadlines and processes so the admissions status is not included on the course page.

Courses open for studentship applications

Some courses may remain open after the published deadline(s) or re-open if funded studentships become available. If this is the case, the admissions status for studentship applications will be published on the course page. A link will also be provided to further information about the studentship(s), including the closing date(s). Studentship closing dates or notice of closure will not be provided on the course page.

Deadlines for funding applications

The January deadlines are the latest deadlines for the vast majority of Oxford’s scholarships.

For over two thirds of Oxford scholarships only a standard course application, made in time for the January deadline for your course, is usually required. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you will be automatically considered. There are some scholarships that you must specifically apply for which may also use different deadlines. Check deadlines and other instructions through our Fees, funding and scholarship search.

Your academic department may use other deadlines for their funding opportunities, eg studentships, which will be advertised on the department’s website.

When to start and finish your application

You should submit your application and supporting documents well before the deadline. For January deadlines, ideally you would contact your referees and request your transcript by October (or as soon as you decide to apply) and then apply by early December.

It is important to apply early to make sure that you are able to pay the application fee and do not need any help to finish your application. The earlier you apply, the more time there is for us to help you.

In the week leading up to each deadline we may not always be able to answer your questions or help you resolve any problems in time for you to apply by the deadline, especially around our busiest application deadlines in January.

If your application is not submitted and complete at the deadline, it will not normally be considered at that deadline.

If you miss the course’s final deadline, your application might not be considered at all. If your course does have a later deadline available, your application will be automatically moved into that deadline. You can send missing documents for this later deadline, but if it is after the January deadline then you may not be considered for Oxford’s scholarships.

Applying to more than one course

You can apply to more than one course, but you can only apply to any particular course once for 2019-20 study.

The only exception is applying to a DPhil more than once with a different research proposal. If you would like to do this, contact the academic department you applied to and ask whether your first application was rejected in terms of your specific research proposal or for the course as a whole. If the department confirms that you can apply again, enter your new research topic and/or supervisor(s) in your new application.

FAQ: How to make a second application to the same DPhil

You will need to submit a full and separate application for each course/project along with all supporting documents, including references, and the application fee.

The only exceptions to this policy are applications to a second Physics DPhil, which do not require a separate application, and applications for which the fee is waived (for details, see Applying to related courses), which will still require a full and separate set of supporting documents.

If you plan to use the same referees, you should make sure that your referees know that you are applying to more than one course and are happy to submit a reference for each application. You should also check that you meet the entry requirements for each course that you apply to.

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

Paying the application fee

The fee is £75 per course application, unless you are eligible for a fee waiver (see below).

You must pay in GBP (£) via credit or debit card and your card will be charged as you submit your application. 

This fee cannot be refunded, even if you decide to withdraw your application later. The payment will not form any part of the course fees you need to pay if you are offered and accept a place at Oxford.

Your application will not be considered unless you have either paid the fee or been granted a waiver.

Application fee waivers

In some circumstances, the application fee can be waived:

Applying from a low-income country

If you are resident in a low-income country and you are not able to pay the application fee, you can request a waiver of this fee within your application for graduate study.

You will not be asked to pay the fee when you submit your application if you have indicated on the 'About you' tab in your application that you are currently resident in one of the World Bank list of low-income countries and that you:

  • you would not be able to apply without a fee waiver; and
  • meet the entry requirements for your course, as published on your course page.

You must submit your application by the January deadline for your course to be eligible for this type of waiver. 

Please note that, whilst the University offers a significant number of scholarships, receiving an application fee waiver is neither an advantage nor disadvantage in being considered for these awards.  

Applying for readmission

If you are a current Oxford graduate student applying for another eligible graduate course, please select ‘Readmission’ as your application type. You will find the authorisation code you need for this application type in your student self-service account.

FAQ: How to find your readmission code

You must meet all of the same deadlines and requirements as other applicants but you will not need to pay a fee to apply.

Eligible courses for readmission

If you are studying a taught master’s course (MSt, MSc, MPhil, MPP, MFA, BCL, MJur, BPhil or MTh), you can apply for readmission to any DPhil course except the DPhil in Management Studies. 

You can also apply for readmission in any of these cases:

  • BCL, MJur, MPhil in Law and MSt in Legal Research students applying to the DPhil in Law;
  • BCL and MJur students applying to the MPhil in Law
  • PGCert in Nanotechnology students applying to the MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care.

Applying for related research courses

For some closely related research areas, when you apply to one course you can then submit up to two further applications from a pre-defined list of related courses without paying again. 

You can check which additional courses you can apply to without paying a further fee using our Applying to related courses page.

After you have submitted an application to your first course, you can ask for a fee waiver code from Graduate Admissions using the query form, stating which further course(s) you intend to apply to. 

Help with the process of making a payment

If you do not have access to a credit or debit card, some banks offer a disposable credit card voucher which can be used to make online payments.

It is also acceptable for a friend or family member to make the payment on your behalf, in which case you will need to have their consent to enter their card details in your application.

FAQ: How to make a fee payment for someone else

If you do not have access to a bank account and cannot pay by card, you should contact Graduate Admissions for guidance as soon as you have decided to apply. 

You must submit evidence that you meet the University’s English language requirement for your course (or, if you are eligible, you can request a waiver of the requirement), if:

  • your first language is not English, or 
  • your first language is English but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Majority English-speaking countries recognised by UKVI

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

You do not need to submit test results, or request a waiver, if:

  • your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of the UK, Ireland or any other majority English-speaking country listed above, or,
  • you are a current Oxford graduate student applying for readmission.

Score requirements

The University requires either a standard or a higher level of ability in English depending on the course. The level you need is shown on each course page.

The University only accepts certain standardised tests, with results at or above the following scores:


Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic
Institution code: 0713

7.0Minimum 6.5 per component 7.5 Minimum 7.0 per component 

Institution code: 0490


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

All of these tests are accepted for both admissions and visa purposes. You will not need to provide more evidence of your English language ability in your visa application. Whilst UKVI may accept lower minimum scores for visa purposes, the University still requires you to meet these minimum scores.

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course.

You do not need to submit an English language test result at the same time as your application if you have not yet taken a test or received your results. Your application will still be considered by the academic department, as long as all other required documents have been submitted. Any offer of a place will require you to submit English language test results at the required level by a deadline set by the department in their offer letter. 

The University checks IELTS and TOEFL results directly with test providers. If you have uploaded a CPE or CAE, you will be asked to supply the original document if you are admitted to the course. 

Asking for a waiver of the requirement

At the discretion of the academic department, the requirement to provide English language scores may be waived if you have completed, or are currently completing, a degree-level course that is:

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

To request a waiver, write a brief statement confirming that you meet the above criteria and upload it to your application. If successful, you will not be required to supply English language test results as a condition of any offer.

If you have not yet completed your course when you are offered a place and your waiver is approved, you will usually need to provide evidence that you have successfully completed your course as a condition of your offer by a date set by your department in your offer letter (by 31 August at the latest, and generally earlier). If you are due to complete your course after this deadline, you will usually be expected to submit results of an English language test meeting the University's usual requirements instead.

All applicants will need to submit supporting documents by the deadline they apply to.

You should submit your documents as part of your application and not before. If you have paper documents, please scan them and upload them to your application. If this is not possible, please send any paper documents after you submit your application unless they would otherwise be too late for the deadline.

You are responsible for making sure that all required documents, including references, are submitted on time and meet the University’s requirements. Late and/or incomplete applications will not normally be assessed.

Check the documents you submit carefully, as you will not be able to upload revised versions once your application is ready for assessment.

You should not upload:

  • documents which are not specifically required to apply for your course, eg degree certificates or
  • references that have been sent to you personally.

You should start the process of obtaining your transcript and references as early as possible and be aware that you may need to give your institution(s) and referees plenty of notice of the deadline.

The following documents are compulsory for all applications:

One or more of the following may also be required, depending on the course:

  • academic written work
  • portfolio (eg artwork, music recordings)
  • GRE results
  • mathematics admissions exercise
  • evidence of proficiency in a language you need to know for the course, eg Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

To check which documents you need to apply for a specific course, see ‘How to apply’ on each course page. This includes a checklist with more information on each document, such as the word count and what it will be assessed for. 

All your documents must be:

  • no larger than 4MB (for upload to your application form)

    Documents larger than 4MB cannot be uploaded to the application form. Instead, create a PDF with the following statement and upload it instead of the relevant document in your application:

    "My document is over 4MB and will be sent separately."

    After you submit your application, send the document via our oversize document form by the deadline you are applying to.

  • in English (unless otherwise permitted by the department)

    Documents you have written yourself, such as a research proposal or written work, must be written in English unless otherwise permitted by the department.  An English translation by a third party is not acceptable unless explicitly permitted by the department. These documents must be entirely your own work, except where clearly indicated, and may be checked using plagiarism detection software as part of the admissions process. Further information on this requirement is available in our guidance on plagiarism.

    Official transcripts which are not issued in English should be translated by either a professional translator, the relevant issuing body of the original document, or an authorised notary. 

  • accessible, clear and legible

  • easy to identify

    Please give your name and the type of document, eg research proposal, in each document.

You should not send original and/or paper documents unless specifically requested as these documents cannot be returned to you. 

If you are offered a place, you may be asked to send the original(s) of any official documents sent as a file in your initial application.

Current Oxford students and readmission

We will not reuse or transfer documents submitted with any previous application. Current Oxford students, including applicants for readmission, must submit the same supporting documents for their course as all other applicants. 

Statement of purpose and research proposal

The length and content varies between courses and you should check your course page for instructions.

You can only submit one document in this category with your application, so if your course requires both, you should submit them in the same document with a clear sub-heading for each.

Official transcript

You should submit a detailed record of your university-level education up to the present, including courses taken and grades achieved.

Your institution may require several months to produce your transcript, so you should look into your institution's arrangements as soon as you decide to apply.

To be considered official, your transcript should be produced for you by the institution where you studied. 

An official transcript will often have a signature or stamp to certify it, or be sent through a secure electronic sharing system like Digitary. Self-service and/or provisional transcripts provided by your institution are also acceptable for assessment purposes if they clearly state your name, institution, qualification and grades. A Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) is also acceptable. 

You may need to send in a final and/or more formal transcript as a condition of any offer made to you. 

A degree certificate does not usually qualify as a transcript, as it does not include detailed grade information, though it can be used as evidence of a PhD/DPhil qualification. You can provide a MBBS certificate in your initial application instead of a transcript, but your academic department may still request a more detailed transcript of your grades before making a final decision.

Sending a transcript via a secure third-party electronic system (eg Digitary)

If you want to share an official transcript using an electronic system, such as Digitary, please register the email address and choose the longest possible time for the document to be available.

We will then add your transcript to your submitted applications, though you should let us know if you make any later applications. 

Transcripts for on-course students

If you have not yet completed your current degree and/or do not have access to a transcript of your final results, you need to submit an official interim/provisional transcript with details of your grades achieved to date. 

If you are offered a place on a course starting in Michaelmas term (October) 2019, you will normally be required to submit an official transcript with your final results by 31 August (or earlier, depending on the department’s requirements). If you are applying for a research course and it is not possible for you to meet this deadline, you should ask your department if you can be considered for a later start date for this reason.

Transcripts in languages other than English

If your official transcript is not in English, you must submit both:

  • the original official transcript, and

  • a translation of the transcript into English, visibly certified by either a professional translator, the institution that issued your transcript or an authorised notary.

Transcripts for students with a break in their higher education

You should start by contacting your most recent institution to ask for your transcript. They may be able to produce this even if it has been a long time since you attended.

If your institution is not able to give you a transcript due to the length of time since you studied there, you must ask them to give written confirmation of this. This should include any details about your study that the institution can confirm, eg when you started and finished your degree, your degree title and your final grade. You can upload the written confirmation to your application instead of your transcript or your institution can send it to us directly.

Transcripts for Oxford students

Current and former Oxford students also need to submit an official transcript. Guidance is available on how to obtain an academic transcript via the University website.

Written work

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.

Requirements for written work are specific to each course so you should read the instructions on your course page carefully.

Your work can be marked or unmarked, published or unpublished. If it involved other authors, please include the full list of authors and clearly indicate your own contribution.

Your research proposal or statement is not considered to be a piece of written work. 

Other documents uploaded as written work

Some documents, like a portfolio or admissions exercise, may need to be uploaded to your form as ‘written work’. To check which documents you should upload when applying to your course and any special instructions, please read ‘How to apply’ on the course page.

Submitting one longer piece of work instead of two shorter pieces

Some courses allow you to submit one longer piece of work, usually at least 4,000 words, instead of two shorter pieces. Check your course page to see if this is allowed for your course.


Some portfolio items can be uploaded to your application as documents, like musical scores, but you will need to send video and audio recordings separately. 

Instructions on how to send us your portfolio and what it should contain are available on course pages.

Admissions exercises

Applicants to the MSc in Mathematical Finance and MSc in Mathematical and Computational Finance must submit results of a self-administered admissions exercise. Each course-specific exercise is available to download as a PDF via the course page. 

English language test score certificate

If you do not have test results at the time of applying, you should submit your application without entering any scores. You can then upload the results at a later time via Graduate Applicant Self Service.


Before you apply, you will need to contact three referees to ask if they are happy to write a reference (ie letter of recommendation) for you.

Your references must be submitted by the same deadline date as your application and all other supporting documents.

To give your referees as long as possible to respond, you should register them in your application as soon as you have started it and before you complete the rest of the form. You don’t need to submit or complete your application before your referees are able to submit their references.

Referees will receive an automated email with a link and instructions on how to submit a reference for you.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees have the information they need to provide a reference, and submit it by the deadline you are applying to. You should stay in contact with your referees to make sure they receive the notification email and complete the reference in time. 

Choosing your referees

References should usually be academic, though some courses will accept professional references, as indicated on course pages. Personal references (ie from family and friends) are never acceptable.

If you are a current or recent master’s student, one of your referees should be your supervisor or course director from this course. 

You are advised to send your referees the entry requirements for your course so they can comment on your performance against the requirements.

References must be submitted:

  • to the online reference system

    Your referees should use the online system and references should not be sent directly via email. If your referees have any problems with the form, please contact Graduate Admissions.

  • directly by the referee

    References that you upload to your application or send to our office yourself will not be accepted.

  • by the deadline you are applying to

    References are due by the same deadline as your application and other documents.

    The automated registration email to your referees includes the date you enter in your application as the 'Deadline by which references are required’. You should make sure this date is no later than the deadline you are applying to and tell your referees directly if you change the deadline you want to use.

  • in PDF, JPG or PNG format

    References cannot be uploaded as Word documents. 

  • in English, unless explicitly permitted otherwise by the department

  • on institutional or professional letter-headed paper

    Where this is not possible, eg for a retired referee, the reference letter should include the referee's contact details and current (or relevant previous) position.

  • from the referee's institutional or professional email address

    When you register your referees, you must give their institutional or professional email address. If you register referees with a personal email address, eg Gmail or, the University will not accept the reference unless there is no alternative and the reason is explained in the reference letter.

You do not need to wait until your referees have provided your references to submit your application. After you submit the application, later references are automatically attached to your application. 

Whilst you must register three referees, the department will start assessing your application if two of the three references are submitted by the deadline and your application is otherwise complete. You may still be asked to have a third reference submitted before a final decision is made on your application. 

References are confidential and you will not be able to see their content. 

Please note that if we have reasonable cause to suspect that your referees are not genuine we will take reasonable steps, including contacting third parties, to determine their validity. 

Tracking your references

You can track whether we have received your references using Graduate Applicant Self Service and the automated emails we send to you whenever we receive one of your references via the application form. 

References sent by any other means will also be shown in your self-service (not in our updates sent by email), but only after they have been processed and added to your application in our records.

After this automated request, we will not contact your referees again. We will not remind referees to submit their references or check that they have received the registration email, so you must do this yourself. You should stay in contact with your referees until you are sure that we have received their references. 

  • If we have not confirmed to you that your references have been submitted in the last weeks before the deadline, contact your referee(s) to check that they received the notification email and are still able and willing to submit by the deadline. If not, you will need to arrange a different referee. 

  • If a referee has not received their notification email, please ask them to check their junk/spam folders.

    FAQ: Why hasn't my referee received a notification email?

    After you submit your application, you can re-send the referee emails from self-service if you need to. If this does not resolve the issue, contact Graduate Admissions as early as possible.

Adding or changing a referee

Please check details are correct before saving your referees' contact information, particularly the email address. 

If you need to replace a referee you have already registered or change an existing referee’s email address, you can do this for one referee before you submit your application, using the fourth referee slot in your form, for any other referees via self-service after you apply. 

This guidance covers key points you should consider when completing your application. 

Our Technical Help PDF also gives you step-by-step help with the online form.

Choosing your course

When you choose your course, read the course page carefully to make sure that you know the structure and content of the course and that you meet the entry requirements, as admissions to the University of Oxford are very competitive.

The course pages will also show whether your preferred course is currently accepting applications.

Make sure that you choose the correct course in your application as you will not be able to change this after you start your form or after you apply. To choose a different course, you need to start a new application - for instructions, see our Technical Help.

Full-time/part-time study

Some courses can be studied either full time or part time, though for many courses there is only one option. 

Start term

You can only start taught courses in the term indicated in the form.

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

Studying at more than one institution

You cannot study full-time at Oxford whilst you are registered on another course at Oxford or at another institution, either UK or worldwide.

If you are registered at another institution when you apply to Oxford for full-time study then as a condition of your offer you would be required to suspend or terminate your registration whilst studying at Oxford, unless the registration is part of a formal collaborative agreement between Oxford and the other institution.

If you want to study part-time at Oxford while registered at another institution (or on another course at Oxford), please give details of the other course in your application where requested. You should say whether the other course is full- or part-time and explain how you expect to be able to study both courses at once.

Choosing a college

‘College’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). For an overview of Oxford’s college system and individual colleges, please see our Colleges section and information on choosing a college.

You can check which colleges are available for your course on your course page, as not all colleges accept students for every course.

When you apply, you can either indicate that you do not have a college preference or give one college preference. If you do not have a preference, a college will be selected for you. 

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

Your college preference will not affect how an academic department considers your application or whether you will be accepted.

For all matriculated courses (see ‘Non-matriculated courses’ below), if you are offered a place by the academic department then you are guaranteed a college place, although this may not be your preferred college. If your preferred college does not accept you, you cannot give any further college preferences.

College preference for multiple applications

If you are applying for more than one course, you must indicate the same college preference in all your applications, unless the college does not accept applications to the other course(s) to which you are applying.

College preference for current Oxford students

If you want to stay at your current college, check that it accepts applications for the course you are applying to. If it does, you can indicate a preference for the college when you apply. If not, contact your college office to ask whether an exception is possible.

If your college is willing to consider your application for a course they do not normally accept, or if you are a fellow of All Souls College, please contact Graduate Admissions before applying.

If you want to stay at your current college but apply for scholarships at other colleges, you should choose your current college when you apply, unless you are applying for a scholarship that specifically requires you to choose a specific college. 

If you choose any college other than your current college and are not accepted by that college, your application will go into the same allocation process as all other applications. It will not be sent to your current college.

Non-matriculated courses

Non-matriculated courses offered by the Department for Continuing Education do not include college membership. You can check whether college membership is part of your course on the ‘Colleges’ tab of each course page.


The information you provide about your planned funding arrangements will not affect your eligibility for scholarship funding offered by the University, its colleges and departments, or the assessment of your application for a place.


For most Oxford scholarships, you will not need to send anything apart from the standard course application. If you meet the criteria to be considered for a scholarship, you will be automatically considered. Some scholarships need you to tick boxes on the application form or send more documents, either when you apply for your course or separately. 

Even though many scholarships will consider you automatically, you should check the details of the scholarships you are eligible for carefully. Be aware of the deadlines, which are in January for almost all Oxford scholarships.

Before you apply, use our Fees, funding and scholarship search to see the Oxford funding opportunities open to you and if you need to do anything apart from apply to your course. You can also check the fees, costs and likely living costs for your course. 

You should also consider alternative sources of funding: you will find information on external scholarships, loans, and other sources of funding on our Fees and Funding pages.


You can apply for departmental studentships using the 'Funding' section of the form. A departmental studentship is a type of funding usually offered for a specific research project by an academic department, for which you must enter a reference code in this section of your application. 

To see if any studentships are available and to find their reference codes and closing dates, check your academic department’s website. 

Declaring a disability or long-term health condition

All admissions decisions are taken based on your academic performance and potential, according to each course’s entry requirements.

The University is committed to making reasonable adjustments to enable students with disabilities or long-term health conditions - including social/communication impairments such as an autism spectrum condition or disorder, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, and mental health difficulties - to apply for study at Oxford and participate fully in student life.

To find out more about how the University can support students with disabilities during the application process, please see our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

If you have a disability for which you usually have special accommodation requirements, we very strongly encourage you to disclose it in the relevant section of your application form. We encourage you to apply by the January deadline for your course if possible, as early notice will help us to support you in the college admissions process if your application is successful and college accommodation tends to fill up as the year progresses. However, no candidate is guaranteed college or University accommodation.

To discuss this section of the application form, or anything to do with University provision for specific needs, please contact the Disability Advisory Service.

Completing your application

Data protection and nominated third parties

We will handle your application in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and relevant UK data protection legislation.

The declaration that you sign before submitting your application will give you information on any third parties with whom we may need to share your data as part of the processing and assessment of your application.

In your application you can nominate a third party, such as a relative, to handle your application. We will not discuss your application with anyone except you unless you nominate a representative in this section. Anyone you appoint will be able to request information and give us instructions relating to your application.

Ethnic background

The University is required under statute to seek and return information about the ethnic background of all its students for the UK Government’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The information is used to monitor rates of participation in higher education by particular groups of people and will not form part of any assessment of your application.


While many of Oxford’s graduate students are housed in the wide range of accommodation provided by Oxford’s colleges and the University’s Accommodation Office, no applicant can be guaranteed college or University accommodation.

Criminal convictions

To help the University reduce the risk of harm or injury to students and staff caused by any criminal behaviour of students, you may need to declare any relevant convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford. 

For detailed information on this process, please see our page on Criminal convictions.


If you have a non-UK university qualification and you would like to know how it compares to the UK grade requirements for your course, you can contact the academic department you are applying to at Oxford or the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).

You do not need to convert your qualification into the UK system or provide an official statement of comparability when you apply. 


The University does not have any arrangements or relationships with agents who assist with the preparation of graduate applications for a fee. All of the information you need to apply to any course is free and public on our website.

You must complete your own application and give your own contact details. 

Submitting your application

You must upload a file for each of the supporting documents you need to apply to your course - except for references, which are sent separately by your referees.

The system is not able to check that your files are correct and legible, eg that you have uploaded your transcript instead of accidentally uploading your CV twice. This is your own responsibility and you should check that your documents meet all of the requirements on your course page and in this Application Guide. 

When you submit your application, you must sign a declaration to say that all of the information you are providing is true, accurate, current and complete to the best of your knowledge, and that you will notify the University promptly if any information changes. You must also confirm that the information in your application and all supporting work is entirely your own original work, except where clearly indicated, and does not contain any plagiarised elements. 

After you apply

As soon as you submit your application you will be sent an automated confirmation via e-mail. If you do not receive this, please log in to your application to check that you have successfully submitted it and can no longer edit it.

This email only confirms that your application was submitted. Your application will not be assessed by the academic department unless all the necessary supporting documents and references have been received by the relevant deadline.

Once you have submitted your application, we will review it to check that everything we need is there. After this is done, you will be able to access self-service when you log into your application. You can update and track your references, upload missing documents and check the status of your application in self-service. 

For full information on what happens after you apply, including the timeline for offers and scholarships, please see After you apply.

Contacting Graduate Admissions

If you contact us, please give your name in exactly the same way as you did in your application and send your email from the same address so that we can find your application.

In the week leading up to each deadline we may not always be able to answer your questions or help you resolve any problems in time for you to apply by the deadline, especially around our busiest application deadlines in January.

Further advice and contact details

For general questions about how to apply

Please see the Applying to Oxford pages of this website, as well as our FAQs.

If you have any more questions, use the query form or call us on +44 (0) 1865 270059 during our office hours (Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700 UK time).

For questions about a specific course

Please check the course pages and contact the academic department if you have any more questions.

For questions about scholarships and funding

Please see the Fees and funding pages of this website. If you have any more questions, use the query form.

For question about a specific college

Please check the college pages and contact the college directly if you have any further questions.

If you have a complaint about the admissions process

Please see our page on Complaints and appeals.

Was this page useful?*