MSc in Taxation | University of Oxford
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MSc in Taxation

About the course

The MSc in Taxation is offered by the Law Faculty and is taught in association with the Centre for Business Taxation based at the Saïd Business School. It is aimed at both lawyers and non-lawyers, and combines intensive engagement with the detail of relevant case law and statute with broader theoretical and inter-disciplinary perspectives.

Structure, content and assessment

The MSc in Taxation offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of taxation which encompasses perspectives drawn from the fields of law, economics and accounting and aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of policy issues relating to taxation as well as the technical aspects of the subject, and of an understanding of the relationship between the two.

The course is part-time only and undertaken over a period of 24 months. It comprises three compulsory courses - Tax Principles and Policy, Principles of International Taxation, and the Tax Research Round Table – and six electives, typically three per year. Electives will be selected from a list of options which will include courses such as UK Corporate Tax, EU Tax Law, Value Added Tax, Tax and Human Rights, Taxation of Corporate Finance, Transfer Pricing, Tax Treaties, US International Tax and Tax and Public Policy.

The compulsory courses are taught in three one-week residential periods held in Oxford. The first, Tax Principles and Policy, takes place at the start of the programme, typically in September of the first year. The second, Principles of International Taxation, takes place in January of the first year. The third, the Tax Research Round Table, takes place at the start of the second year of the course.

The electives are taught in intensive weekend sessions or in four-day blocks of time spread throughout both years. All teaching takes place in Oxford and attendance is compulsory. The degree features a combination of forms of assessment. Tax Principles and Policy is assessed by way of an exam in Oxford. Principles of International Taxation is assessed by way of two 3,000-word assignments. The Tax Research Round Table course is assessed by way of an extended essay. Elective courses typically are assessed by way of two 3,000 word assignments. A 12,000- word dissertation in lieu of two elective courses is also available, with the permission of a programme director.

Pattern of teaching, learning and supervision

All courses are taught by a combination of lectures and interactive classes. Lectures introduce students to topics and provide a high-level overview of key questions and insights to be considered. Classes serve as a forum for the discussion of key issues and consolidate students’ understanding through discussion with the course leaders and their fellow students. Preparation for lectures and classes is directed by detailed reading lists and students are expected to undertake substantial independent reading.

There are opportunities for one-to-one meetings with supervisors but students are also encouraged to form study groups and to participate in discussion groups both face-to-face, during the residential courses, and remotely, through a virtual learning environment and social media, between the residential sessions.

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Law Faculty and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. A supervisor may be found outside the Law Faculty, eg from the Centre for Business Taxation.

Graduate destinations

Students will generally pursue careers in taxation law and regulation, accountancy, and economics. The Careers Service provides advice and support for students seeking to pursue careers in a wide range of professions. The Law Faculty has an extensive network of relationships within the legal profession and each year offers a number of talks and events run by law firms and barristers’ chambers. Some firms and organisations have approached the MSc in Taxation group directly to offer internships and other opportunities in the past and we hope this will continue.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

All graduate courses offered by the Saïd Business School

Executive MBA EMBA (2020-21 entry)
Executive MBA EMBA (2019-20 entry)
Finance DPhil
Financial Strategy PGDip (Jan. 2021 entry)
Financial Strategy PGDip (Jan. 2020 entry)
Global Business PGDip (Jan. 2021 entry)
Global Business PGDip (Jan. 2020 entry)
Master of Business Administration Oxford 1+1 MBA programme
Organisational Leadership PGDip (Feb. 2021 entry)
Organisational Leadership PGDip (Feb. 2020 entry)
Strategy and Innovation PGDip (Feb. 2021 entry)
Strategy and Innovation PGDip (Feb. 2020 entry)

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in law, economics or accounting; or, if in another subject, applicants should have a suitable professional qualification and/or experience, or other evidence of an interest in taxation. 

Applicants who cannot satisfy the strong upper second-class degree requirement may be considered in exceptional circumstances where there is alternative evidence of real academic strength and aptitude for the degree, such as professional qualifications from the Law Society, ICAEW, CIOT or overseas equivalent professional body plus at least two years professional tax experience; or at least five years experience working in tax and other evidence of academic capacity (eg having written articles or a book).

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • Work experience in a relevant field may be an advantage but is not a requirement.
  • Publications are not expected. They may, in certain circumstances, advantage an application but it is appreciated that the opportunity to publish may vary considerably depending on factors such as the stage the student has reached in their graduate career and the structure of the course(s) they have studied. Consequently, a lack of publications will not be assessed negatively, but may be of particular assistance where an applicant is relying on experience as part of their qualification.

English language requirement

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

Supporting documents 

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

Resources

The Law Faculty is fortunate to have outstanding library facilities provided by the Bodleian Law Library. As part of the Bodleian, the Law Library shares in all the advantages of being part of the largest university library in the country, including the receipt, under legal deposit legislation, of legal material published in the UK and Ireland. 

The Law Library offers the vast majority of its holdings - some 550,000 items - on open shelves across four floors. Selected low-use material is housed in a book storage facility and is retrievable within half a day. The library serves a large community of graduate readers and academics in their research requirements. The strength of the collection lies in the depth of its UK holdings, combined with extensive holdings for European and Commonwealth jurisdictions. The international law collection is exceptional, as are the collections for Roman law, jurisprudence and official papers. Other significant fields include the US and comparative law. To complement the paper collection, the Law Library provides a remarkable range of online legal resources; including an extensive range of general and specialist tax eBooks and online databases, including Westlaw, LexisNexis, IBFD, OECD and Tax Analysts.

The library has 40 reader workstations, which provide access to the internet, legal databases, Microsoft Office applications and Endnote. There is a Graduate Reading Room, a large seminar room, two IT rooms and three small ‘discussion rooms’ for private study or group work. The wireless network extends throughout the library. The law librarians offer a range of classes and one-to-one sessions to support the specific research needs of graduate students.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£14,020
Overseas£14,020

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

In the first year, you will attend two five-day residentials in Oxford. In the second year, you will attend one five-day residential in Oxford. Students will be required to pay for accommodation and evening meals during the residential, the likely cost of which is expected to be in the range £280 to £480 per residential.

Living costs

In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

How to apply

You do not need to make contact with academic staff before you apply. All course information is available via the Law Faculty website.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Personal statement:
Around 300 words

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas of tax that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in. Please also include details of your future career plans.

This will be assessed for evidence of your motivation for studying tax at Oxford, your interest in tax and evidence of relevant academic, research or practical experience.

Written work:
One essay of 2,000 words

An essay or other writing sample, written in English, is required. An extract of the requisite length from longer work is also permissible, but in such cases the work should be prefaced by a note which puts the work in context.

If possible, written work should be on a topic relating to tax. If not, written work on other topics may be submitted. It may be academic work or material written in a professional context.

This will be assessed for a comprehensive understanding of the subject area; understanding of problems in the area; ability to construct and defend an argument; powers of analysis; powers of expression.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic preferred in most cases

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Academic references are preferred but up to two professional references are acceptable and one is required from those offering experience as part of their qualification. Exceptionally, three professional references may be accepted if you can make a compelling case to the effect that academic references are not available.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement and motivation.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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