Oxford skyline
Oxford skyline
Credit: OUI/Greg Smolonski

General course structure

The majority of our undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (known as BA) degrees last three years. This is not always the case, for example if you are doing a language degree which involves a year abroad, your course may be four years.

Exceptionally, a language degree may be five years long (for example, Classics and Modern Languages).

Other undergraduate degrees may also last four years. These include some science degrees and may result in a Masters in your subject - for example, Computer Science (MCompSci), Engineering Science (MEng) and Physics (MPhys).

Medicine is divided between a three year pre-clinical stage that includes studying towards a BA in Medical Science followed by a three year clinical stage.

Visit our course pages for details.

Early years

Typically the early years of your course will involve more compulsory and core modules. As you progress, you are likely to be able increasingly to choose from a wide variety of options. This may include options which are assessed by coursework or dissertation (an extended essay or thesis) rather than by timed examination.

Studying abroad

Unless doing a language degree, it is unusual to be out of Oxford during term time as we want all our students to benefit from the University's teaching expertise and resources. However, you will still have lots of time to travel or do internships in the summer holidays.

Research projects

Some courses, particularly those lasting four years, offer the chance to produce your own research and to work alongside other researchers at the University. These projects can lead to exciting careers or further study opportunities.

Find out more about research opportunities at Oxford and further study.


Most of our degrees are assessed primarily by written examination and dissertation. These exams are typically divided between First (known as 'Prelims' or 'Mods') and Final University exams. At Oxford, your results in your Finals determine your class of degree. An increasing number of degrees do include the option of some coursework.

Colleges may also set their own examinations, known as ‘collections’, at the start of each term. These exams are to check that you are progressing satisfactorily through the course. They do not count towards your final degree.

Visit the course page for details specific to the courses you are interested in.

The academic year

You can find out more about the structure of our academic year.

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