A student walking by the side of a pond
A student in Worcester College
(Image credit: Ahmad El Naggar / Graduate Photography Competition)

Choosing a college

When you make your graduate application, you can express a preference for one of our colleges, or ask us to find a college for you. To learn more about a particular college, visit our college listing page. 

Do I have to choose a college?

Many of our graduate applicants express a college preference on their application form, but around 40% of applicants don’t give a college preference, and instead ask us to find them a college place.

Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a college place as well. 

If you do choose a college, you may receive an offer from a college that is different to the one you stated as your preference. This may be because the college has filled its places or already has sufficient numbers of applicants from your subject area. 

Learn more about stating a college preference on your application form in our Application Guide. For more information about the college allocation process and getting a college place, visit our decision timeline.

Do colleges accept applications for all graduate courses?

Oxford's colleges are multidisciplinary, but not all courses may be offered at each college. Each course page lists the colleges that will accept applications for that course on the ‘College preference’ tab.

Alternatively, each college page lists the courses that are offered.

Do colleges offer scholarships?

The vast majority of college scholarships don't require you to select that college as your preference. For these scholarships, each college will consider all eligible applicants who apply by the deadline, regardless of any college preference. If you're selected for one of these scholarships, we'll move your application to the relevant college.

Oxford scholarships worth over £1,000, including college scholarships, are included in our Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search. You can use this search to identify the small number of college scholarships where an additional application is required.

Does it matter which college I go to?

As a graduate student, your course structure, content, teaching and supervision will be arranged by your University department, and will be the same regardless of which college you belong to.

Oxford’s colleges have a lot in common. However, each college is unique, and this rich variety is part of what makes the Oxford experience so special. Most graduate students quickly settle in and enjoy their college, even if they chose another college as their preference.

How do I choose?

If you think that you might like to indicate a college preference, the individual college pages on this website will give you key information about each one. Every college also has a dedicated website where you can find out more about the college’s community, features and facilities.

If you’re applying for a research course, please note that it isn’t necessary to be at the same college as your proposed supervisor.

When you're selecting your preferred college from the options available for your course, you might want to consider some of these factors:

  • Community: some colleges accept graduate students only, while others also accept undergraduate students.
  • Size: colleges can vary greatly both in their physical size and the numbers of staff and students - you can find student numbers on each college page.
  • Funding: you may wish to consider the college’s grants and other funding, in addition to any funding provided by the University.
  • Facilities: all colleges have a dining hall, lending library, laundry facilities, tutors’ teaching rooms, music rooms and a common room for graduate students. Some colleges may offer other facilities, such as sports grounds or an on-site nursery. All graduate students can use University facilities.
  • Accommodation: you may wish to consider the range and amount of accommodation available (most colleges are unable to guarantee accommodation for incoming graduate students).
  • Access: most colleges have facilities and accommodation for disabled students. However, given the age of the buildings, some areas of some colleges aren't accessible for students with mobility issues. Please contact our Disability Advisory Service for advice.
  • Location: Oxford is a small city and all of the colleges are located within walking distance of the city centre and main University buildings such as the Bodleian Library. Many colleges have a main site and other annexe sites across the city (a map is provided below). 
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