Entrance requirements
Students working in the Upper Reading Room of the Radcliffe Camera.
(Credit: Oxford University Images / Rob Judges Photography)

UK qualifications

In order to take up the offer of a place to study here, all applicants must meet the qualification requirements of their course. Most students who apply to Oxford are taking A-levels but we also accept other equivalent UK qualifications, and international qualifications.

The admissions process for 2022 is expected to run to the usual timeline with any changes due to COVID-19 highlighted in our applicant guide. For information about studying, researching, working and living in Oxford in the 2020-21 academic year, please see the University’s COVID-19 RESPONSE website.

Specific subject requirements

In some subjects, particularly sciences, candidates are required to have studied certain subjects to at least A-level standard. If a candidate has studied an alternative course, tutors will require evidence that the course covers the same content as A-level to the appropriate standard. Please see the specific subject requirements on the individual course pages or in this summary table of admission requirements. Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved

England and Northern Ireland qualifications

A-levels

Offers for students studying A-levels range between A*A*A and AAA depending on the course. If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

Each course page gives details of specific subject and grade requirements.

Providing that any specific subject requirements have been met, all A-levels are approved for admissions purposes, with the exception of:

  • General Studies - not accepted by any course
  • Critical Thinking and Thinking Skills - not accepted by Biomedical Sciences or Medicine

For the avoidance of doubt, Maths and Further Maths are viewed as separate A-Levels.

AS-levels and unit grades

We are aware that A-levels in England are no longer modular and that the majority of applicants with A-levels will therefore not have UMS marks or unit grades. If you have taken A-levels in Wales or Northern Ireland, or international A-levels, you can choose to disclose any unit grades you have achieved by the time you are making your application; however, these will not be taken into account during the admissions process. If you have completed (and cashed in) any standalone AS-levels by the time you are making your application, these can be listed as separate qualifications. However, conditional offers will be made on the basis of final A-level grades.

A-levels taken in or before Year 13

Where there are specific requirements for any course – including any requirement for A-levels to be taken together or at particular times – these will be clearly stated in the entrance requirements listed on the relevant course page.
The usual expectation is that candidates will complete the A-levels specified in their applications within a two year period. Where a candidate completes a relevant A-level before they apply, this will be taken into account; however, it is likely that offers will be made on the basis of three A-levels completed in year 13.

The Maths department has published advice for students wishing to take Maths A-Level early. There are also specific requirements which relate to students applying for Medicine and applicants are recommended to consult the Medical Sciences website for the latest information.

Age and Stage

The University supports the general principles of Age and Stage, whereby students are allowed to progress through their educational development and qualifications at an appropriate rate according to their ability. However, if students are entered early for examinations, the University would still expect students to achieve at the highest level. Poor performance could potentially have a negative effect on a future application.

GCSEs

GCSEs will be taken in to account when we consider your application but they are just one aspect that we look at. GCSE results will be considered alongside your personal statement, academic reference, predicted grades and performance in any written work or written test required for your course. If you are shortlisted, your performance in interviews will also be taken into account.
Higher grades at GCSE can help to make your application more competitive, and successful applicants typically have a high proportion of 7,8 and 9 grades. However, we do look at GCSE grades in context.

If you feel that you did less well in your GCSEs than you might otherwise have done because of extenuating circumstances, you may still be able to make a competitive application. Examples would include disruption caused by change of school or system, severe discontinuity of teachers, bereavement, and debilitating illness. We take care to treat each application individually and would always take such extenuating circumstances into account, if they are brought to our attention. You may like to mention any such circumstances in your personal statement, and your referee should make sure to mention them clearly in their reference. If for any reason this is not possible, then we would advise you to contact the college you applied to (or are assigned to if making an open application) once they are likely to have received your application. This is likely to be around the end of October.

For those who were due to take GCSEs in 2020 and 2021, we will take into account the difficult circumstances in which these grades were issued when we assess your application. Please follow our advice about personal statements and academic references which we update for each year of entry.

Tutors will want to see how you improve your academic performance after your GCSEs and that you do well in your A-levels or other equivalent qualifications.

We recommend that candidates take those GCSE subjects that they enjoy the most and are confident in achieving good grades in.

Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ)

Where applicants have undertaken the EPQ, this will not be a condition of any offer but the University recognises that the EPQ will provide an applicant with the opportunity to develop research and academic skills relevant for study at Oxford. Candidates are encouraged to draw upon relevant EPQ experience when writing their personal statement.

Pre-U

Oxford University will continue to accept the Pre-U as a valid qualification for admissions purposes up to and beyond its withdrawal by Cambridge Assessment International Examinations*. Conditional offers are likely, as now, to vary between D2, D2, D3 and D3, D3, D3 depending on the subject. Each course page will detail the requirements necessary. For admission purposes D2 is considered to be equivalent to an A* grade at A-level and D3 to an A grade. Students may also take Pre-U principal subjects in place of A-levels.

*June 2022 will be the final examination for Latin, Classical Greek, Psychology, Russian and Italian. All other Cambridge Pre-U subjects will have a final examination in June 2023.

Scottish qualifications

Highers and Advanced Highers

We welcome the valuable skills developed by students studying within the Curriculum for Excellence and would usually expect AAAAB or AAAAA in Scottish Highers, supplemented by two or more Advanced Highers. Conditional offers will usually be for AAB if a student is able to take three Advanced Highers; where this is not possible then a student would be expected to achieve AA in two Advanced Highers, as well as an A grade in an additional Higher course taken in Year 6.

YASS

Oxford University welcomes Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) modules as extra qualifications that applicants may study to develop their knowledge of a particular subject, or to try something new. These YASS modules are offered by the Open University in Scotland, and students may find them useful in preparing for university study. Students who take these modules may wish to refer to them in their personal statements, to discuss what they have gained from this extra study.

However, as most students who are taking YASS modules are also studying for Advanced Highers or Scottish Highers (or other equivalent qualifications), offers will usually be made on the basis of those qualifications alone.

Welsh qualifications

The University recognises that the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate will provide an applicant with the opportunity to develop research and academic skills relevant for study at Oxford, particularly through the independent research project. Candidates are encouraged to draw upon relevant Welsh Baccalaureate experience when writing the personal statement. However, the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced level Core Certificate will not form the basis of any offers. Conditional offers are likely to range between A*A*A and AAA at A-level, depending on the course.

International Baccalaureate

Students with the International Baccalaureate Diploma are our second largest group of applicants and students, after those with A-levels, and we welcome applicants with this qualification. We would expect students to achieve a total score of 38, 39 or 40 points, depending on the course, including core points, with 6s and 7s in the higher-level subjects. Each course page gives details of the specific requirements.

IB Maths

IB students are able to choose from:

  • Analysis and Approaches (SL or HL)
  • Applications and Interpretation (SL or HL)

All Oxford courses that state that they require Maths accept both courses at HL, apart from Chemistry, which requires applicants to have taken either of the courses at HL, or the Analysis and Approaches course at SL, depending on what other subjects they are taking; please see the Chemistry course page for further information.

If courses state that they recommend Maths, either course will be acceptable.

The University does not accept the IB Career-related Programme.

Vocational, technical and applied general qualifications

Vocational and Technical qualifications

Candidates with vocational or technical qualifications equivalent to A-levels (including T-Levels) are welcome to apply, although candidates may need to take additional academic qualifications to make a competitive application. If you would like to discuss whether your qualification is suitable for entry to Oxford University, please contact the subject department that you'd like to apply to for further information. 

Applied General qualifications

Because of the academic nature of the undergraduate courses at Oxford, most Applied General qualifications (such as BTECs, Cambridge Technical Diplomas or UAL Diplomas) are unlikely to be suitable for making a competitive application by themselves, though they could be considered if taken alongside A-Levels, depending on the course applied for (see below for examples of the requirements of some courses that accept Applied General qualifications).

When considering applications, tutors would want to see evidence of learning and assessment that would provide the skills and knowledge the candidate would need for the course they are applying for. Candidates are therefore advised to include in their UCAS personal statement information on how their qualification has prepared them for the course they are applying to.

A D grade (distinction) in an Applied General qualification would be considered equivalent to an A at A-level, and a D* in a BTEC National would be considered equivalent to an A* at A-level.

Fine Art

Applicants interested in applying for Fine Art who are studying for a BTEC National Extended Diploma (BTEC) will be required to achieve DDD grades. As the Fine Art degree also includes a substantial history and theory component, BTEC applicants will be expected to have successfully completed a range of modules that include art history.

Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Please see the Medical Sciences website for details.

Engineering Science

BTEC National Extended Diploma with grades D*D*D or BTEC National Foundation Diploma with Grade D* and A-level grades A*A in Maths and Physics

Computer Science and Joint Schools

For students taking the BTEC National Extended Diploma in IT, a conditional offer will normally be: DDD in the Extended Diploma and A* in A-level Maths.

Students taking BTEC National Extended Diplomas in science or engineering, or the new Tech-level/Technical Level qualifications will also be considered, but the above requirements for A-level Maths still stand.

Foundation and access courses and Foundation degrees

Foundation courses

Competition is very strong for places at Oxford. Although a foundation year course may be accepted in certain circumstances, we recommend taking different qualifications in order to make the strongest application. This is especially true if your chosen course has specific subject requirements. You can check these requirements on the course page. For a foundation year course to be accepted, you would need to make sure that the course covers the same content as any required A-levels to the appropriate standard. If it does not, you will need to take alternative qualifications. If you would like further advice regarding your particular circumstances, please contact the relevant department. Contact details can be found on the course pages.

University of Oxford Foundation Certificates

The University of Oxford offers Foundation Certificates in English Literature, and History, through its Department for Continuing Education. Students on these courses can apply to study a complete degree at any university, including here at Oxford University. If students do apply here to Oxford, they may apply for direct entry to year two of the relevant undergraduate course.

For further details please see the Continuing Education Department website, email undergraduate@conted.ox.ac.uk

Art Foundation courses

An Art Foundation course is not a prerequisite for applying to study Fine Art at Oxford, but is highly recommended as a good preparation for taking Fine Art at degree level as it enables candidates to prepare a comprehensive portfolio of work which is a requirement for the admissions process. Most successful applicants to Oxford have completed an Art Foundation course.

Foundation degrees

Foundation degrees are usually two years of full-time study and would be acceptable in lieu of A-levels, provided that the degree covered the same content as any A-levels which are specifically required.

Access courses

Some Access courses allow students to take one or two A-levels as part of the course. This option is strongly recommended for students who wish to apply to Oxford, especially for those courses which have specific subject requirements. You can check the requirements on our course pages and in this summary table. Conditional offers are likely to be for completion of the Access to HE diploma with all the level 3 credits at Distinction, and A or A* grades in any A-levels taken.

If you would like to discuss whether to use your Access course for entry to Oxford University, please contact the subject department that you’d like to apply to for further information. Contact details are on the course pages.

Open University

Open University courses are usually studied by distance learning, with course work and examination elements. Students are awarded points according to the content of each course, and the points may count towards different qualifications from diplomas to complete degrees. A full degree would usually require 360 points: 120 at stage 1 (equivalent to the first year of a degree at a conventional university), 120 at stage 2 and 120 at stage 3.

To apply to Oxford, students would need to have completed, or be studying for, at least 120 points at stage 1 or above, in appropriate subjects. We would expect students to be performing at the highest level, with at least pass grade 2.

Mature students' qualifications and second degrees

Mature students’ qualifications

We are aware that students, particularly mature students, may hold qualifications which are no longer available or where grading systems have changed. These qualifications will be assessed on a case by case basis by the college considering your application.

Applying as a graduate for a second undergraduate degree

Please refer to our Second Undergraduate Degree webpage. You may be able to apply for Senior Status which would mean you can start directly in the second year of the degree. You should also note that your eligibility for government support or loans will be affected by any study you have already undertaken.

Transfers and applying while at another UK university

Applying to transfer whilst on an undergraduate course at another university

Oxford University does not accept transfer students. If you wish to follow an undergraduate course here, then you would need to start the course from the beginning. However, this option is not available if you are currently enrolled on a Medicine course elsewhere and wish to apply to study Medicine at Oxford. 

Applying to start the first year of an Oxford undergraduate course whilst at another university

If you are currently studying at a UK university and are thinking of applying to Oxford to start the first year of an undergraduate course, please note that normally we will only consider such applications in exceptional circumstances and you should make very clear in your application why you do not wish to continue on your current course. Please note we are not able to give examples of these exceptional circumstances as applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you do decide to apply whilst at another university and you do not have A-level or equivalent qualifications at the grades required for the standard offer for the course you are interested in applying for, you will need to demonstrate how your subsequent study has prepared you for studying at Oxford, including any evidence of your performance on your current course, as well as a reference from your current tutor or equivalent.

Please note that you must declare on your UCAS form whether you are currently studying at another university, and that failure to do so could result in Oxford withdrawing any offer made to you. Please also remember that not only will you incur a year of additional costs but your eligibility for government support or loans may be affected by any study you have already undertaken, whether or not you have completed your course.

Professional qualifications and Higher National Diploma or Certificate (HND or HNC)

Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications will be taken in to account as part of an application, particularly where these provide evidence of recent academic study.   

Higher National Diploma or Certificate (HND or HNC)

Applicants who are applying with HND or HNC qualifications will only be considered for entry to the first year of an Oxford degree. Candidates should ensure that their reference is given by a tutor from the HND or HNC course, and that they provide details of all their modules and grades in the UCAS application. The University will expect a candidate to be achieving at the Distinction level (grade A in Scotland).

Bespoke school qualifications

We recognise that some schools feel their students’ needs are best fulfilled by alternatives to GCSEs, and the school is best placed to assess what is in the interest of their students. At Oxford we are accustomed to considering applications with a range of qualifications, alongside other additional evidence to assess academic potential including admissions tests and interviews. None of our courses have a specific GCSE requirement; however, there are some parts of our admissions process that use GCSE grades to contextualise applicants’ performance (see https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/decisions/contextual-data for more information about our use of contextual data), and we are not able to use other Level 2 qualifications (or equivalent) to replicate those measures for students not taking GCSEs.

If your qualification is not listed here, please contact us

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