Organ Award application form 2023/24 entry

Thank you for submitting your Organ Award application for 2023/24.

Please note that you will not receive an immediate automatic acknowledgement of receipt by email. We will email you within a few days of the deadline, at the latest, once we have processed all applications received on time. You should monitor your Inbox and Spam folders to ensure that you do not miss correspondence from us.

This page summarises the next steps of the Organ Award selection procedure. You may like to print this information or save the page web address for reference.

Completing your application

  • Personal statement and References

If you have not already done so, you must ensure that your personal statement and references have been sent to your first-choice college of preference. Your application will not be considered with just the application form alone.

  • Written work

Many subjects require you to submit written work as part of your application to Oxford. For Organ Award applicants, this written work is to be submitted as part of the assessment for the Organ Award, not later in November as for standard undergraduate applications. You should prepare and assemble the written work required for your proposed subject in good time, so that it is ready to be submitted in early September.

For details of written work required in your subject, see the summary of written work requirements.

Candidates applying to read Music should submit two marked essays on any areas or aspects of music (or one of your other A-level subjects or equivalent if that is more convenient), and a marked sample of harmony and/or counterpoint where possible. Candidates may also submit one or more compositions.

You do not need to send the written work until it is requested by the college - if it is required, you will be notified within a few days of the closing date for applications. 

Organ playing submissions and keyboard tests

All applicants will be contacted within a few days of the receipt of applications at the beginning of September. If your application is judged suitably strong to proceed to interviews and auditions, you will be contacted first of all to send some examples of your written work (if required for your course).

You will then be invited to come to Oxford during the period 17-19 or 20-22 September 2023 for your organ audition. Your first-choice college will accommodate you throughout the time you are in Oxford and will be in touch with you concerning these arrangements. Academic interviews will be held online.

What to prepare

1. For your video recording

A written guide to recording video at the organ, together with a demonstration film, can be found here.

Your prepared piece may be by any composer, and should be 5 to 7 minutes in length. Select music that displays your instrumental and musical capabilities to the full, without going beyond what your technique can support. Sample recordings will be posted online in due course, showing adequate and inadequate sound quality. Please note that a recording on a smartphone is perfectly acceptable.

Submit a performance of one verse of a hymn of your choice, recorded as if for congregational singing. Begin with one or two phrases as a play-over to indicate the tempo for the verse following.

Under normal circumstances, candidates are offered the opportunity to present a second pieces at an informal audition. You may, therefore, submit a recording of a second piece. Candidates who take this option should ensure that the combined duration of their two pieces (not including the hymn) is no longer than 12 minutes.

If you opt to submit a second piece, choose something that contrasts with and complements the first: for example, an 18th-century piece with no registration changes would be complemented by a 19th, 20th or 21st-century piece that changes registration and uses the swell box.

Please note that a second piece is not obligatory. Your application will be in no way prejudiced if you choose not to submit one.

2. For the online keyboard tests

This year the test will be conducted ‘live’ online. You will be given 60 seconds to peruse each test. You may be asked to repeat part or all of a test or tests.

Candidates will be contacted by email once all applications have been processed with information on how we will operate the online tests.

The tests are as follows:

  • Sight-reading: a short organ piece using pedals and set out on three staves. Change of manuals, use of the swell box and the addition or subtraction of a coupler may also be required. For those unable to access an organ at the time of the auditions, an alternative piece, without pedals, will be provided.
  • Score-reading: a four-voice vocal score (SATB) using G and F clefs to be performed without use of the pedals.
  • Transposition: performance of a harmonised hymn tune up or down a tone or semitone (as requested) with pedals. Candidates taking the tests on an instrument without pedals should play all parts with the hands only.
  • Harmonisation: performance of a hymn melody in a tonal harmonisation using pedals (if possible: see above). The melody will present possibilities for modulation to closely related keys.

A registration guide will be provided for each of the tests. The keyboard tests from the 2019 auditions may be accessed here.

Next steps

You can find full details of the Organ Award audition process on the main Organ Awards page.

Making your UCAS application

If you are successful in your Organ Award application, you should proceed immediately to complete your UCAS application for official admission to the University. On the UCAS application you must enter Oxford as one of your University choices, applying specifically to the college which has offered you an organ award. If the subject you are applying for requires you to take a written test, your offer of a place as organ scholar will normally be conditional on satisfactory performance. (You can see which courses require written tests here.) You may, therefore, wish to apply to other universities as well.

The deadline for the UCAS application is 6pm on 16 October 2023.

Further information

If you have any questions about the Organ Award application process, please contact us by email (

If you have questions about the undergraduate admissions process in general, you should contact the Communications Team, by telephone at +44 (0)1865 288000 or by email to

You may also like to browse our Online Resources page or view the Music Faculty's website.