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.
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 subject 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.
The selection criteria for all Oxford’s courses relate to your academic achievement and potential. Extra-curricular activities are only relevant if they help to demonstrate how you meet the selection criteria.
In many subjects, students are required to take an admissions test as part of their application. 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 ox.ac.uk/tests.
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 the A-levels taken, we expect candidates to have taken it and passed.
Providing that any specific subject requirements have been met, all A-levels are approved for admissions purposes, with the exception of General Studies.
AS-levels and unit grades
Conditional offers are made on the basis of final grades alone and not UMS scores. Oxford University does not require its candidates to disclose information on unit grades. However, where applicants, schools or colleges provide AS module results (grades or marks) within the UCAS application materials, this information will be considered by tutors as part of the overall record of the candidate’s academic attainment to date.
These recorded results may be used by admissions tutors as evidence of a candidate’s suitability to study at Oxford, although they will not be used in a mechanistic way to shortlist candidates for interview, or determine which candidates receive an offer. It is therefore in the interests of candidates for schools and colleges to declare AS module marks or grades if they demonstrate a candidate is performing strongly. Where it is the policy of a school or college not to certificate AS module results (or where the school no longer enters candidates for modules in year 12) this should be stated in the UCAS reference. If there is no statement then it will be assumed that it is the school or college policy to certificate AS qualifications in Year 12.
Where candidates no longer take AS-levels the University's admissions process will continue to allow effective assessment of applications, including those from candidates taking linear A-levels. Read our FAQs on A-level reforms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BTEC Nationals include qualifications equivalent to A-levels, so students studying these qualifications would be welcome to apply. A D grade (distinction) in a BTEC National 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.
Conditional offers would usually be:
- Extended Diploma with D*D*D to DDD, depending on the course.
- Diploma with DD plus an A grade at A-level, possibly with one or two * grades, depending on the course.
- Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A grades at A-level, possibly with one or two * grades, depending on the course.
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.
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. Further information on applying for a second undergraduate degree: ox.ac.uk/sud
The Advanced Diploma in Engineering (Level 3) will be suitable for entry for Engineering Science courses at Oxford, provided candidates also obtain both an A-level in Physics and the Level 3 Certificate in Mathematics for Engineering. Diplomas in other subjects will only be suitable preparation for admission where candidates have opted for Additional Specialist Learning in two relevant A-levels.
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.
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: ox.ac.uk/courses. Other international qualifications that would meet our entry requirements are listed on our international qualifications page: ox.ac.uk/intquals
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 email@example.com 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 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 (7,8 and 9). 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.
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.
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.
New GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths have been taught in schools in England from September 2015, with the first results issued in August 2017. Further subjects will also see new GCSEs introduced. The new GCSEs will have a new grading scale of 9 to 1, with 9 being the top grade.
We will consider the follow grades to be equivalent:
|Current grading||New grading|
In Northern Ireland and Wales
Northern Ireland and Wales will retain a letter grading system. In Northern Ireland, the introduction of a C* grade will be considered equivalent to a 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).
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 38–40 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.
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 level 1 (equivalent to the first year of a degree at a conventional university), 120 at level 2 and 120 at level 3.
To apply to Oxford, students would need to have completed, or be studying for, at least 120 points at level 1, 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, 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 A-levels (or other equivalent qualifications), offers will usually be made on the basis of those A-levels (or other equivalent qualifications) alone.
Further details about different international qualifications can be found on the International qualifications page.
Oxford University will accept the Pre-U Diploma as a valid qualification for admissions purposes. Conditional offers are likely 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.
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.
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. For further information please read our response to Scottish qualifications reform.
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.
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. You may also like to see this summary of our A-level offers.
Candidates with vocational qualifications equivalent to A-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.