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. Many students who apply to Oxford are taking A-levels but we also accept a whole range of other equivalent qualifications.

General entrance requirements for most UK qualifications are listed below; see our international qualifications page for details of other qualifications.

Many successful candidates exceed the academic qualification requirements for their course. However, exam results are only a part of the information we use to build a picture of your academic ability and potential, so even the best possible grades won't guarantee you a place. Extra-curricular activities are only relevant if they help to demonstrate how you meet the selection criteria. Read more about our selection criteria and applying to Oxford.

For most courses, all applicants are also required to take an admissions test. Such tests allow us to compare students using a single benchmark, irrespective of the students' educational background. For information on these admissions tests please the individual course pages or test pages.

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 would 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. See further information on how we use contextual data.


Offers for students studying A-levels will 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. 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

All courses at Oxford are academically rigorous. Tutors need to be convinced of your ability to manage an intense workload, so that you will be able to cope with the demands of studying here. If any student feels that studying three A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) at the same time would be too much work for them, we would encourage them to consider whether an Oxford degree is really the best choice. 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.

Courses other than Medicine

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.

Students applying for an undergraduate course in Mathematics, Computer Science or Joint Honours courses (Maths and Statistics, Maths and Computer Science, Maths and Philosophy, Computer Science and Philosophy) can take the full Mathematics A-level in year 12 and continue with only two A-levels in their final year, providing one of them is Further Mathematics. Please see the FAQ section on the Mathematics Department's website.


Conditional offers for students applying to study Medicine are usually A*AA in three A-levels which must be completed in the same academic year. Neither Critical Thinking or General Studies are accepted towards meeting this requirement.

Applicants for Medicine are very welcome to take one or more of their A-levels early, and their grades will be taken into account along with all other aspects of their application. They will still need to study a further three A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) in their final year at school or college in order to meet Oxford’s entrance requirements, and must be at least 18 years old at the start of the course in Oxford. Any conditional offer will be based upon these final three grades. An early Mathematics A-level will not be considered as part of meeting the entry requirements. This policy is designed to ensure that admissions tutors can assess applicants' ability to manage the workload of the course. Candidates for Medicine must also be must be at least 18 years old at the start of the course in Oxford

Access Courses

Access courses are usually one year of full-time study or two years' part-time study, and they are the equivalent of an A-level course. They aim to provide students with the qualifications needed to progress to Higher Education.

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 the suitability of 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.) It would be helpful if you could provide a link to the syllabus for your particular Access course, on your university or college’s website.

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.

Applied General qualifications (including BTECs)

The Department for Education is currently reforming vocational qualifications, and they are now classified as either Applied General or Technical qualifications. Applied General qualifications include BTECs, Cambridge Technical Diplomas, and UAL Diplomas.

Because of the academic nature of the undergraduate courses at Oxford, most of these qualifications would not 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 courses that do accept some 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.


Please see the Medical Sciences website for details. 

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 Mathematics.

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 Mathematics still stand.


Students applying for a second undergraduate degree would usually be expected to have a degree classification of 2:1 (or equivalent) or higher. The university should have a good academic reputation and selective entrance requirements. See further information on applying for a second undergraduate degree.

Extended Projects

Where applicants have undertaken the Extended Project Qualification (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.

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. Examples of qualifications which Oxford commonly accepts are:

  • A-levels: A*A*A to AAA, depending on the course you are applying for.
  • International Baccalaureate: 38-40 points, including core points, and between 776 and 666 in the Higher Level subjects, depending on the course.
  • US qualifications: SAT with a total score of 1,470 (out of 1,600) or ACT with a score of at least 32 out of 36. You would also need Grade 5 in three or more Advanced Placement tests, or at least 700 in three or more SAT subject tests.

A-level courses are commonly available at Further Education Colleges in the UK. For information about institutions offering these qualifications internationally, you may wish to contact your local British Council or the International Baccalaureate Organisation, or the SAT College Board. If you would like further advice regarding your particular circumstances, please contact the relevant department. Contact details can be found on the course pages. Other international qualifications that would meet our entry requirements are listed on our international qualifications page.

University of Oxford Foundation Courses

The University of Oxford offers Foundation Certificates in English Language and 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 ppcert@conted.ox.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 1865 270369.

Art Foundation Courses

An Art Foundation course is not a prerequisite for applying to study Fine Art at Oxford, but is certainly 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.


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 A and A* grades or 7,8 and 9 grades. However, we do look at GCSE grades in context. Where possible, tutors will be made aware of the overall GCSE performance of the school or college where you studied. They will also have information on how you have performed compared with other Oxford applicants at similar schools. (See further information on how we use contextual data.) Tutors will also consider your achieved or predicted grades at A-level (or other equivalent qualifications), your personal statement, academic reference, and any written work or written tests required for your course. If your application is shortlisted, your performance at interview will also be taken in to account.

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 mitigating 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. If you are applying for Medicine, please follow the Medical School’s mitigating circumstances guidance.

For those who were due to take GCSEs in 2020, 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.

Candidates do not need to take the English Baccalaureate to be able to apply to Oxford. We recommend that candidates take those GCSE subjects that they enjoy the most and are confident in achieving good grades in.

GCSE reforms

Oxford University is working to ensure that, where changes are being implemented to GCSEs, our admissions processes continue to ensure the fair and transparent assessment of students applying from a wide range of backgrounds. We will continue to review our policies as the qualifications become more established, in consultation with regulatory bodies, awarding bodies and schools.

We will consider the following grades to be equivalent:

GCSE grades – England (historic) and Wales
Reformed GCSE grades – England (and some smaller
cohort subjects in Wales and Northern Ireland)
GCSE grades – Northern Ireland
 A* 9 A*
 A 7 A
 B 6 B
 C 5 C*
 4 C
 D 3 D
 E E
 E 2 E
 F F
 F 1 F
 G G
 U U U

This means that:

  • A*, 9 and 8 are all considered equivalent (with no higher weighting given to 9 over 8)
  • A and 7 are considered equivalent
  • C, C*, 5 and 4 are all considered equivalent (with no higher weighting given to C* or 5)

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).

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 Reforms

The Maths component of the IB is being revised. From 2019, with the first exams in 2021, IB students will be able to choose from:

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

All Oxford courses that state that they require Mathematics will accept both courses at HL, apart from Chemistry, who will require 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 Mathematics, either course will be acceptable.

For a full list of the subjects required or recommended by our courses, please look here.

IB Career-related Programme:

The University does not accept the IB Career-related Programme as it does not provide sufficient opportunity to develop the academic skills and knowledge necessary to make a competitive application.

International qualifications

Further details about different international qualifications can be found on the international qualifications page.

Open University / YASS

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.


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.

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 our webpage 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.


Oxford University will continue to accept the Pre-U Diploma 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.

Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications would be taken in to account as part of an application, particularly where these provide evidence of recent academic study. Examples include areas such as law, personnel, and accountancy.

Scottish qualifications

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. 

Oxford University welcomes Young Applicants in Schools Scheme (YASS) modules as extra qualifications that Scottish applicants may study to develop their knowledge of a particular subject, or to try something new. See Open University above for further information.


Oxford University does not accept transfer students, so if you wish to follow an undergraduate course here, then you would need to apply to start the course from the beginning.

Welsh qualifications

The University recognises that 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. Each course page gives details of the specific requirements.

Vocational and Technical qualifications

Candidates with vocational qualifications equivalent to A-levels (including the new T-Levels) are welcome to apply, although candidates may need to take additional academic qualifications to make a competitive application.

Competition for places at Oxford University is extremely strong, and all courses are academic in nature. Even those courses with titles which might suggest a more vocational style of learning (eg Engineering Science, Law, Medicine, and Economics and Management) are strongly academic in their focus.

When reviewing applications, tutors look for evidence of each candidate's academic strengths and their ability to thrive throughout an Oxford course. Academic qualifications such as A-levels, the International Baccalaureate or any other academic equivalent are therefore strongly recommended as the best preparation for any course of study at Oxford.

We also recognise the achievements of students who hold vocational, professional or other qualifications, and these will be taken into account during the admissions procedure. One of the advantages of the admissions process at Oxford is that each application is considered individually, on its own merits. Tutors will review qualifications, the personal statement, the academic reference and predicted grades for any future examinations, as well as any written work that may be required.

Given the academic focus of all Oxford courses, candidates are unlikely to be able to make a competitive application if they have not studied academic courses to A-Level standard within the last two years, whatever other qualifications they may already have completed.

If your qualification is not listed here, please contact us with further details, and we will be happy to advise you. It would be helpful if you could provide details about the nature of your qualifications, including the name of the awarding institution, and your intended course of study at Oxford.

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