Many students who apply to Oxford are taking A-levels but please note that any candidate who has already taken, or who is currently studying, any other equivalent qualifications is also most welcome to apply.
We do not have any specific requirements for GCSE grades, though higher grades can help to make your application more competitive. Successful applicants typically have a high proportion of A and A* grades.
Where possible, tutors will look at your GCSEs in the context of the overall performance of the school or college where you studied so if, for example, you didn’t get all A* and A grades, but your results were among the best in your year group, that will be taken into account. 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, for good reason, then 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.
Conditional offers are made on the basis of final grades alone and not UMS scores. These offers for students studying A-levels will range between A*A*A and AAA 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.
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
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 are no longer able to take AS-levels, from 2015, 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. Any conditional offer will be based upon these final three grades.
Where applicants have undertaken the Extended Project (EP), this will not be a condition of any offer but the University recognises that the EP 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 EP experience when writing their personal statement.
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.
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 new 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.
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.
Oxford University welcomes YASS (Young Applicants in Schools Scheme) 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.
Students who are studying Open University qualifications without additional qualifications are also welcome to apply. We would generally expect successful applicants to have at least 120 points at level 1, in appropriate subjects.
The English Baccalaureate is not expected to impact on a candidate’s ability to make a competitive application. It is more important that a potential Oxford applicant has a GCSE profile which is strong overall (ie contains a large majority of A and A* grades). Reports in the media or speculation that Oxford has indicated a preference or requirements for candidates to have the English Baccalaureate are not accurate.
Oxford will keep the development of the English Baccalaureate under review, assessing to see if it is a helpful predictor for success at Oxford, but will not, under any circumstances, require it of students who have chosen their GCSE mix before Oxford indicates any compulsory use in the admissions process.
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. For further information please refer to the vocational qualifications page.
Students of the International Baccalaureate are usually required to achieve a level of performance of 38–40 points, including core points, with 6s and 7s in the higher-level subjects.
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.
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.
Further details about different international qualifications can be found on the International qualifications page.