Equivalent or lower qualifications | University of Oxford
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Equivalent or lower qualifications

If you are a Home or EU student who has already completed a previous undergraduate programme of study you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) student.

Your tuition and college fees may be affected by your previous study if you fall into either of the following categories:

  • You are classified as either Home or EU for fee purposes and currently undertaking an undergraduate programme of study which is of an equivalent or lower level than a qualification you already hold (entry between 2009/10 and August 2012).
  • You are classified as either Home, EU or Islands* for fee purposes and undertaking a graduate taught programme of study which is of an equivalent or lower level than a qualification you already hold (entry in 2009/10 or 2010/11 only).

The information on this page does not apply to you, regardless of your year of entry, if you are:

  • classified as Overseas for fee purposes
  • in receipt of Disabled Student's Allowance (DSA)
  • wishing to undertake a graduate research programme of study
  • started a graduate taught course in October 2011 or later, or an undergraduate starting after August 2012
  • undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Am I an ELQ student?

You are an ELQ student if you currently study for a qualification of an equivalent or lower level to one you already hold. To calculate if you are liable for fees at the ELQ rate follow the steps below to compare the highest qualification you hold against the qualification you are currently studying towards.

If you have studied for, but did not complete or were not awarded a qualification you should use your next highest qualification to do your calculations. If you hold an honorary degree (including the Oxbridge MA), this does not count as a relevant qualification when determining whether you are an ELQ student, you should use your other qualifications for your calculations. If you hold an MA from a Scottish institution where for historical reasons an MA is awarded instead of a BA and this is the highest qualification you hold, please use the Bachelor's degree group (Group 1) for your calculations. If you have completed an integrated undergraduate Master's degree (typically four or five years in length), this is considered a Master's qualification (Group 4) for University tuition fees purposes, but please note that for government funding purposes it is considered equivalent to a Bachelor's degree.

Step 1: Identify the group(s) of your current qualification(s).

Step 2: Identify the group of the qualification you are now studying.

Step 3: Compare the group numbers.

Result: If the group number of the qualification you are now studying is higher than the group number of the qualification(s) you already hold then you are not classified as an ELQ student.

If the group number of the qualification you are studying is the same as or lower than the group number of the qualification you already hold then you are classified as an ELQ student.

Please note the examples of qualifications given in each group are not exhaustive lists of all affected qualifications nor are all the qualifications offered at Oxford. The lists are provided for illustrative purposes only.

Group 1Bachelor's DegreesBA, BEd, BEng, BMBS/BMBCH, BMus, BNurs, BSc, BTh, BVetMed, LLB
Group 2Graduate CertificatesPGCert
Group 3Graduate DiplomasPGDip
Group 4Master's DegreesBPhil, MA, MBA, MBiochem**, MChem**, MEarthSci**, MEng**, MLitt, MMath**, MMus**, MPhil, MPhys**, MSt, MSc, MSci, MTh
Group 5Research DegreePhD, DPhil, MRes, MSc by Research

** note that for government funding purposes these integrated masters courses are considered to be equivalent to Bachelor's degrees.

Your tuition and college fees may be affected by your previous study if you fall into either of the following categories:

  • You are classified as either Home or EU for fee purposes and currently undertaking an undergraduate programme of study which is of an equivalent or lower level than a qualification you already hold (entry between 2009/10 and August 2012).
  • You are classified as either Home, EU or Islands* for fee purposes and undertaking a graduate taught programme of study which is of an equivalent or lower level than a qualification you already hold (entry in 2009/10 or 2010/11 only).

The information on this page does not apply to you, regardless of your year of entry, if you are:

  • classified as Overseas for fee purposes
  • in receipt of Disabled Student's Allowance (DSA)
  • wishing to undertake a graduate research programme of study
  • started a graduate taught course in October 2011 or later, or an undergraduate starting after August 2012
  • undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Am I an ELQ student?

You are an ELQ student if you currently study for a qualification of an equivalent or lower level to one you already hold. To calculate if you are liable for fees at the ELQ rate follow the steps below to compare the highest qualification you hold against the qualification you are currently studying towards.

If you have studied for, but did not complete or were not awarded a qualification you should use your next highest qualification to do your calculations. If you hold an honorary degree (including the Oxbridge MA), this does not count as a relevant qualification when determining whether you are an ELQ student, you should use your other qualifications for your calculations. If you hold an MA from a Scottish institution where for historical reasons an MA is awarded instead of a BA and this is the highest qualification you hold, please use the Bachelor's degree group (Group 1) for your calculations. If you have completed an integrated undergraduate Master's degree (typically four or five years in length), this is considered a Master's qualification (Group 4) for University tuition fees purposes, but please note that for government funding purposes it is considered equivalent to a Bachelor's degree.

Step 1: Identify the group(s) of your current qualification(s).

Step 2: Identify the group of the qualification you are now studying.

Step 3: Compare the group numbers.

Result: If the group number of the qualification you are now studying is higher than the group number of the qualification(s) you already hold then you are not classified as an ELQ student.

If the group number of the qualification you are studying is the same as or lower than the group number of the qualification you already hold then you are classified as an ELQ student.

Please note the examples of qualifications given in each group are not exhaustive lists of all affected qualifications nor are all the qualifications offered at Oxford. The lists are provided for illustrative purposes only.

Group 1Bachelor's DegreesBA, BEd, BEng, BMBS/BMBCH, BMus, BNurs, BSc, BTh, BVetMed, LLB
Group 2Graduate CertificatesPGCert
Group 3Graduate DiplomasPGDip
Group 4Master's DegreesBPhil, MA, MBA, MBiochem**, MChem**, MEarthSci**, MEng**, MLitt, MMath**, MMus**, MPhil, MPhys**, MSt, MSc, MSci, MTh
Group 5Research DegreePhD, DPhil, MRes, MSc by Research

** note that for government funding purposes these integrated masters courses are considered to be equivalent to Bachelor's degrees.

Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.