Graduate study at Oxford
Oxford offers more than 330 graduate courses across the disciplines, with courses available for full-time and part-time study.
Whether you study full-time, part-time, or online, you'll belong to a department or faculty – a thriving academic community working to advance knowledge in a particular field. Your department or faculty will provide your teaching and supervision, as well as extensive, specialist resources to support your studies. Our departments often collaborate on joint courses and interdisciplinary research projects.
Every graduate student at Oxford is given an academic supervisor. Throughout your course, you'll receive personalised support and guidance from an expert in your field, helping to guide your programme of study or research.
All graduate students also belong to a college, except those taking non-matriculated courses. The collegiate system is at the heart of the University’s success. Although your college won't provide teaching or supervise your studies (as it may do for undergraduate students), it can provide support, facilities and membership of a friendly and stimulating academic community.
Full-time graduate study
Many of our taught courses are shorter than those at other institutions, making them intensive and fast-paced. A full-time taught course typically lasts 9-12 months, but some take two years to complete. Oxford’s main doctoral research degree is called a DPhil (our name for the PhD), and usually takes between three and four years to complete.
The University's residence requirements apply to all full-time students. This usually means that students are required to live both within a certain distance from the University (called limits in the regulations) and for a set period of time during their studies (called terms in the regulations).
Part-time and online graduate study
At Oxford, about one in five graduate students is studying part-time. We offer a range of part-time courses and many of our full-time courses are also offered on a part-time basis.
These courses are a flexible way to study for a graduate degree, allowing you to fit your studies around work, family or other commitments. They will often involve some online study from home as well as some short residentials in Oxford. A small number of our courses are conducted online-only. Teaching formats and patterns of study vary. If you'd like to discuss the requirements for a specific course, please contact the academic department directly.
Part-time and online students enjoy all the benefits the the University has to offer, including excellent tuition, supervision and study resources, and are valued members of our graduate community.
Part-time students are exempt from the University's residence requirements, but most part-time courses require students to attend face-to-face teaching in Oxford. If you require a visa to study in the UK, please read the information about visa eligibility for part-time courses.
Visiting Student status
If you are a student from overseas and wish to spend a period of up to three terms (one academic year) in Oxford on a course related to the degree you are studying in your own country, you can apply to a college for a place as a registered Visiting Student.
Visiting Student status is typically intended for undergraduate students taking a year abroad. Visiting Students should be enrolled in a home institution. If you are a graduate student at your home institution you will follow the curriculum of an undergraduate course while you are registered as a Visiting Student at Oxford. Please note that there are no taught graduate courses available to graduate visiting students.
As a Visiting Student you do not matriculate at the University of Oxford but your name is entered on the University’s Register as a Visiting Student and you will be affiliated with a college or society.
If you are interested in undertaking a period of research under a supervisor, please see the Recognised Students section of this page.
Undertaking your studies
As a registered Visiting Student you become a member of an Oxford college, and it is the college that will arrange for your tuition or supervision. Oxford does not award a degree or any other qualification for one year of study as a Visiting Student, but colleges are willing to provide a transcript, for example for credit purposes at the home institution. If necessary (for example, for an employer) the University would be able to confirm that you were listed on the Register as a Visiting Student.
You will have access to all college facilities and membership of the Junior Common Room (JCR) - the undergraduate student body. You also have access to a wide range of University facilities, including the Bodleian Libraries, faculty (subject) libraries, IT services, and the great wealth of lectures organised by the University throughout the academic year.
Fees and accommodation
University tuition fees are payable to cover the cost of access to the University facilities. As you are affiliated to a college you will also pay college fees and have access to college accommodation. You should also consider your living costs.
For help with finding accommodation, you may wish to visit the Studentpad website. Oxford SU (Student Union) manage Studentpad which is a platform where private landlords can advertise for tenants associated with the University.
Apply for Visiting Student status
Instructions about applying for Visiting Students status can be found on the Undergraduate Admissions website, which is accessible from the button below. If you are an applicant and have received a copy of the data entry form, please see our Form Guidance that explains how to complete the form.
Arriving at Oxford
For information about arriving in Oxford please refer to the Visting Students page on the Oxford Students website.
Recognised Student status
Recognised Student status is given to graduate research students who are registered with another university and have been admitted to undertake research for a minimum of one and maximum of three terms.
The status of Recognised Student is intended primarily for graduates of some years’ standing engaged in research elsewhere who wish to work in Oxford on a specific topic under the guidance of an academic familiar with the chosen area of study.
As a Recognised Student you are not affiliated to a college and will not receive a University of Oxford qualification or formal accreditation for your studies here.
It is not possible to be admitted as a Recognised Student if you have already been matriculated as a member of the University of Oxford. In such a case, the only possibility is to return as a matriculated non-award student, which requires a college place, and incurs course fees at the Home or Overseas rate. You can only hold your Recognised Student status for a maximum of three terms. Your status is formalised in the Examination Regulations.
If you are not a UK or Irish national (or do not have settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain) you will need immigration permission for study in the UK. Please refer to our visa and immigration information for recognised students.
Undertaking your research
You will be allocated an Academic Advisor who will provide general advice about your research topic. Your advisor will not provide systematic instruction such as reading or commenting on written work because you are expected to be sufficiently advanced in your studies to undertake research largely unsupervised. Your advisor will expect to see you two or three times each term to discuss your work as a colleague rather than as a teacher, and will report on your academic progress using the Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR).
You will be entitled to use the University libraries, to study/conduct your research in any University department (subject to the agreement of the head of department) and attend lectures. Lectures (including seminars, classes or informal instruction) are subject to the permission of the lecturer, and those given in any college building are subject to the permission of the college concerned.
Fees and accommodation
University tuition fees are payable to cover the cost of access to the University facilities and the guidance provided by your academic advisor. Tuition fees do not include college fees (as you will not be affiliated with any college), accommodation, or other course and maintenance fees. You should also consider your living costs. Our dedicated page for new Recognised Students provides further information about fees and fee payment.
You are advised to organise accommodation before you arrive in Oxford. As you will not be a member of a college you will not have access to college accommodation. For help with finding accommodation, you may wish to visit the Studentpad website. Oxford SU (Student Union) manage Studentpad which is a platform where private landlords can advertise for tenants associated with the University.
Apply for Recognised Student status
Step 1: Contact the academic department
The first step is to contact the academic department where you intend to apply and obtain provisional agreement from them. In some cases, the department will also require you to obtain provisional acceptance from a member of the academic staff who is prepared to act as your Academic Advisor or to apply by a deadline earlier than those recommended below.
To find the contact details for the department you will need to select a course from the A-Z listing that is similar to your area of intended research and refer to the 'Further information and enquires' section of the course page.
Step 2: Completing the form
If the department agrees to consider your recognised student application, you will then be asked to complete an application form. We recommend that you refer to our Form Guidance that explains how to complete the form.
If you require a version of the application form in an alternative format, please contact the Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the online enquiry form.
Do not submit the form at this stage. An application fee is required to complete the application and should be paid prior to submitting your application, as detailed below.
Step 3: Paying the application fee
Recognised Students are required to pay an application fee of £50. This should be paid via the University of Oxford Online Stores (accessed from the button below) prior to submitting your application.
In some circumstances, the application fee can be waived: If you are resident in a country on the list of eligible low-income countries and you are not able to pay the application fee, you can request a waiver of this fee within the application form.
Your application will not be considered unless you have paid the application fee or been granted a fee waiver. After you have submitted an application your application fee cannot be refunded, even if you decide to withdraw it later or if it is not accepted. The payment will not form any part of the tuition and college fees you need to pay if you are offered and accept a place at Oxford.
Step 4: Submitting the application form
Once you have completed Step 3, you will receive an application fee payment/waiver code. Please enter this into the application form and answer any remaining questions. You can now submit the form.
The recommended submission date for the form varies by the term of admission. Please also note that some departments may impose earlier deadlines for departmental reasons.
|Term of admission||Recommended deadline if no visa is required||Recommended deadline if a visa is required|
|Michaelmas 2023 (2023-24 entry)||Friday 25 August 2023||Friday 21 July 2023|
|Hilary 2024 (2023-24 entry)||Friday 24 November 2023||Friday 20 October 2023|
|Trinity 2024 (2023-24 entry)||Friday 16 February 2024||Friday 26 January 2024|
As the main application deadlines for graduate study are from early December to the third week in January, please avoid submitting your recognised student application over this period as we will not be able to process it until February at the earliest.
Please note that it is your responsibility to check how long it will take to obtain a Visa in your country and to plan the submission of your application accordingly. You should ensure that the start of your stay corresponds with the start date of an academic term (see the dates of term page for further details).
Step 5: Submitting your supporting documents
You will also need to submit the required documentation to the Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office using the upload portal. As part of the application, you are required to provide:
- evidence of degrees previously obtained;
- a statement of between 500 and 1,000 words outlining the proposed subject of your research;
- two reference letters from senior academic members at your current university;
- for applicants whose first language is not English, you must submit evidence of achievement of the Standard or Higher score as would be required for graduate level student in this department. Further information about the English language requirements and further information about English language test waivers can be found in our Application Guide.
If you have any difficulties with uploading your application documents, please contact the Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office by email or via the online enquiry form.
Assessment of your application
Please note that in accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will request information about relevant, unspent criminal convictions during the offer-stage process for Recognised Students so that appropriate steps can be taken to facilitate effective support and/or assess whether a prospective student poses an unacceptable risk to students and staff.
The University has adopted the following policy where an applicant with an offer for a Recognised Student place has a relevant, unspent criminal conviction which has either been declared by an applicant to the University or which has otherwise come to the University’s attention (such as where information is disclosed by a third party). Full details of the University’s process for prospective students declaring a criminal conviction can be found in our University Policies pages.
If you are in receipt of an offer to become a Recognised Student, you will in due course be asked to declare any relevant unspent criminal convictions.
'Relevant' convictions are:
- any kind of violence including (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, offences concerning the intention to harm or offences which resulted in actual bodily harm;
- offences listed in the Sex Offences Act 2003;
- the unlawful supply of controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking;
- offences involving firearms;
- offences involving arson; and
- offences listed in the Terrorism Act 2006.
Convictions that are 'spent' (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) or will be spent at the point of starting your time as a Recognised Student do not need to be declared. If you are uncertain as to whether your conviction is spent, please seek independent advice.
If you require a visa or you are extending your visa, then you must declare any unspent criminal convictions, including driving offences, when you apply to the UK Home Office. Please see the relevant sections of the Home Office document 'Immigration Rules part 9: grounds for refusal' for information regarding possible circumstances under which a visa application may be refused.
Arriving at Oxford
The University is committed to making reasonable adjustments to enable disabled students (with disabilities including dyslexia, dyspraxia and other specific learning difficulties, sensory or mobility impairments, Autism Spectrum Condition, long-term health conditions or mental health difficulties) to participate fully in student life. If you have a disability you are strongly advised to refer to the further information in the Disability section and contact the Disability Advisory Service (email@example.com) before you arrive in Oxford to discuss any disability-related study support requirements you might have.
For further information about arriving in Oxford please refer to the Recognised Students page on the Oxford Students website.