Written work | University of Oxford
written work
written work

Written work

Many of our courses require applicants to send in a sample of their written work as part of their application. The tabs on this page will give you more details of what you need to send (if anything), how to send it, and the deadlines by which the work must be received.

The deadline for submitting written work is 10 November. Please note that the deadline for submitting Fine Art portfolios is earlier. 

There is no change to this deadline in light of COVID-19. If the course requires you to submit written work as part of your application and you are worried that you don’t have a suitable piece of work to submit, please contact the college you are applying to (or the college you are allocated to after you apply) to discuss what your options are.

Please read the information on each tab on this page carefully.

Please remember that most courses require you to complete an admissions test or tests, so make sure to check our tests page as well. 

What is written work?

If the course you are applying for requires written work please send work that demonstrates your analytical, reasoning, language and writing skills, as appropriate for your chosen degree course.

The written work may well form a springboard for discussion at your interview should you be shortlisted, so make sure to keep a copy for your own reference.

Does the course you are applying for require you to send in written work?

This list will show you whether your course requires you to send in written work, but you must check the 'How to Apply' tab on each course page to see more details of what the course tutors want you to send.

Archaeology and Anthropology

Yes. See Archaeology and Anthropology for details of what you need to send.

Biochemistry

None required.

Biology

None required.

Biomedical Sciences

None required.

Chemistry

None required.

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

Yes. See Classical Archaeology and Ancient History for details of what you need to send.

Classics

Yes. See Classics for details of what you need to send.

Classics and English

Yes. See Classics and English for details of what you need to send.

Classics and Modern Languages

Yes. See Classics and Modern Languages for details of what you need to send.

Classics and Oriental Studies

Yes. See Classics and Oriental Studies for details of what you need to send.

Computer Science

None required.

Computer Science and Philosophy

None required.

Earth Sciences (Geology)

None required.

Economics and Management

None required.

Engineering Science

None required.

English and Modern Languages

Yes. See English and Modern Languages for details of what you need to send.

English Language and Literature

Yes. See English Language and Literature for details of what you need to send.

European and Middle Eastern Languages

Yes. See European and Middle Eastern Languages for details of what you need to send.

Fine Art

Yes, you must submit a portfolio. See Fine Art for details of what to send and the Ruskin School of Art website for information on how to submit your portfolio.

Geography

None required.

History

Yes. See History for details of what you need to send.

History (Ancient and Modern)

Yes. See History (Ancient and Modern) for details of what you need to send.

History and Economics

Yes. See History and Economics for details of what you need to send.

History and English

Yes. See History and English for details of what you need to send.

History and Modern Languages

Yes. See History and Modern Languages for details of what you need to send.

History and Politics

Yes. See History and Politics for details of what you need to send.

History of Art

Yes. See History of Art for details of what you need to send.

Human Sciences

None required.

Law

None required.

Materials Science

None required.

Mathematics

None required.

Mathematics and Computer Science

None required.

Mathematics and Philosophy

None required.

Mathematics and Statistics

None required.

Medicine (six year course, A100)

None required.

Medicine (accelerated four year course, A101)

None required.

Modern Languages

Yes. See Modern Languages for details of what you need to send.

Modern Languages and Linguistics

Yes. See Modern Languages and Linguistics for details of what you need to send.

Music

Yes. See Music for details .

Oriental Studies

Yes. See Oriental Studies for details of what you need to send.

Philosophy and Modern Languages

Yes. See Philosophy and Modern Languages for details of what you need to send.

Philosophy and Theology

Yes. See Philosophy and Theology for details of what you need to send.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

None required.

Physics

None required.

Physics and Philosophy

None required.

Psychology (Experimental)

None required.

Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics (PPL)

None required.

Religion and Oriental Studies

Yes. See Religion and Oriental Studies for details of what you need to send.

Theology and Religion

Yes. See Theology and Religion for details of what you need to send.

The work you send in must be original and ideally have been produced during the course of your school or college work, marked by a teacher and not re-written or corrected in any way. We understand that this may not be possible this year, so please describe the circumstances under which your work was produced on the cover sheet provided. Tell us under what conditions you wrote the essay, with what help, and in what timeframe. Tutors will take that information into account.   

If you are a mature applicant you can decide (but it is not necessary) to produce a new piece of work, as you may want to give a clearer reflection of your current abilities. Again, we understand that this means it may not be possible to have it marked. Please use the space on the form to describe the circumstances in which the work was produced. 

It may be typed or handwritten – as long as it is legible – and photocopies are acceptable. We would expect each piece of written work to be no more than 2,000 words. You will need to complete a written work cover sheet for each piece of work that you submit.

If the course requires you to submit written work as part of your application and you are worried that you don’t have a suitable piece of work to submit, please contact the college you are applying to (or the college you are allocated to after you apply) to discuss what your options are.

Extended essays

Extended essays for the International Baccalaureate, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), or other pieces of work which exceed the 2,000 word limit are not acceptable as submitted written work.

However, you may like to submit an extract from an extended essay. Also, if you mention your essay in your personal statement, tutors may like to discuss this with you at interview if your application is shortlisted.

Language

All written work must be in English (except where required for Modern Languages). If your work is in another language please submit both the original work and your own translation into English.

After you have submitted your UCAS application (and usually before the end of October), the college considering your application will get in touch to tell you how to submit your written work. These instructions will include:

  • how to send the work electronically (please do not send hard copies)
  • information about file formats
  • the details of who to send your written work to for consideration

In addition to those specific instructions, please remember that:

  • your written work must entirely your own and original
  • ideally it will have been produced as part of your school work, marked and not re-written or corrected for this application
  • all work must be in English (except where otherwise required for Modern Languages)
  • each piece of written work should be no longer than 2,000 words
  • each piece of written work must come with a completed cover sheet

If your application is shortlisted, we recommend that you re-read your written work before your interview, as tutors may ask you about it. 

When to submit

Written work must be submitted to arrive at the college no later than 10 November. 

Fine Art portfolios have an earlier deadline. See Fine Art for details of what to send and the Ruskin School of Art website for information on how to submit your portfolio.

If you are not sure what to send, or if you are concerned that you do not have suitable written work, please contact the college that is considering your application.