FAQs for graduate applicants

If you are interested in graduate study for a start in the 2021-22 academic year, check the Graduate Admissions website. The website includes detailed information on courses, fees, scholarships, and much more.  View our application guide to find out how to get started. 

The graduate admissions cycle is progressing and prospective applicants can apply for courses as planned – view a list of courses that are currently accepting applications. Many staff are working remotely but have access to all the usual systems, and we are processing applications and making decisions as normal. 

We will support you in the best possible way through the admissions process, and are committed to the highest standards of education, despite the ongoing pandemic.

It is your responsibility to submit everything that is required in time, and to ensure that your referees do the same. 

If you are an offer holder, please refer to the offer holder FAQs for 2021/22 entry.

What are the deadlines for applications? Have there been any changes due to the pandemic?

The deadlines for each course are stated on the course page. Most course deadlines are on a Friday at 12.00 midday UK time and there are not currently any changes to these due to the pandemic.

Many courses use more than one deadline. You can apply to any deadline given on the course page for your chosen course, but you should try to apply to the earliest deadline available.

We recommend registering your referees and submitting your application as early as possible, well ahead of the relevant application deadline, to avoid any last-minute problems or delays.
Remember if you submit close to the deadline or on the day of the deadline, it is very likely that we will not be able to help you in time if you have any issues. It is your responsibility to submit everything that is required in time, and to ensure that your referees do the same. 

What are the differences between deadlines and when should I apply?

The deadlines for each course are stated on the course page. You can apply to any of your course deadlines to be considered for a place on the course. For almost all Oxford scholarships you’ll need to apply by the January deadline for your course.
Oxford looks at the applications in each deadline comparatively, against each other, and you’ll usually get a decision about 8 to 10 weeks after your deadline. So, if you apply in November, you’ll usually get an earlier decision than January applicants. 
We recommend getting your application in as early as possible to avoid any last-minute problems (before Christmas if possible for the January deadlines).  Make sure that you register your referees and give them plenty of time to respond to the request. This is especially important in 2020/2021 due to the ongoing pandemic which could cause delays. 
Please note that if your application isn't submitted and complete by your chosen deadline, with all mandatory supporting documents and at least two references, it won't normally be considered.

How long will it take to receive a decision on my application?

After the deadline, graduate applications are processed and departments will be working hard to provide decisions as soon as possible. You will usually receive a decision 8-10 weeks after the deadline. During these difficult times, in some cases, it may take longer for us to assess your application than is usually the case, and we are very sorry if you experience any delays. If you need to receive a decision quickly to enable you to decide whether to accept an offer elsewhere, please contact the academic department directly via the contact details on the course page. 

I am applying for a course but I cannot get hold of a copy of my transcript?

Many institutions provide electronic transcripts via an approved, secure third-party provider. Please check with your institution whether they are providing such transcripts, and if yes, request a copy to be sent to graduate.admissions@admin.ox.ac.uk. If you are unable to get hold of either an electronic copy or a scan of a hard copy of your transcript, please upload with your application a download from your institution's student self-service portal (if available) showing your name, the institution and the grades you have achieved. If you cannot obtain any documentation of your grades, you should upload correspondence from the institution confirming that they cannot provide a transcript.

If your institution has made any changes to grading arrangements due to the pandemic, you should also ask your referees to provide information on your degree results and marks in their reference, if they can.

Please note that if your application is successful, and if you have not been able to provide a suitable transcript of your qualifications, the academic department will set this as an academic condition.

What will happen if I am shortlisted for an interview?

If you are shortlisted for a course that requires an interview, this will be conducted remotely. You can check if the course you have applied for usually conducts interviews on the course page. The academic department will be in contact with you beforehand to confirm the arrangements with you.

I’m an applicant, and I need to post an additional document/have already posted a document in support of my application. Have you received it?

If you have not submitted your application yet, please scan your document and upload it as part of your application form. If you have already submitted your application, and your document cannot be uploaded via Applicant Self Service, please scan them and upload them as PDF files using the document upload portal. Do not post documents due to disruption to postal services. 
If you have already posted a document, please re-send this document as an electronic copy using the document upload portal.

Can I apply for graduate study at Oxford with an Oxford Declared Award or an unclassified degree from another institution?

Oxford’s Declared Awards and other institutions’ unclassified degrees awarded in 2020 as a result of the pandemic will be considered as sufficient to apply to Oxford, and will be assessed by departments alongside all other materials submitted as part of the application process.

If you have an unclassified degree due to the pandemic, you should select ‘other’ for the result and enter ‘unclassified’ in the additional field that will then appear. You will also have the opportunity to provide further information in the Extenuating Circumstances section of the application form.

Some of my teaching/assessment/internship/research project did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Will this affect my application?

We recognise that some applicants may have been affected by changes to their academic experience or personal circumstances that may have had an impact on the strength of their application. To ensure our academic assessors can understand the impact of these on your application, the application form includes a section for you to declare significant relevant extenuating circumstances. This section may be used to declare circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, or for other circumstances (eg bereavement or mental/physical health issues). Further information is available in our application guide.

My current course completion date has been delayed. Can I still apply for a research programme due to start in October 2021/start at a later date?

We understand that in some instances it may not be possible to complete your current course by September 2021 due to changes to course timetables (for example, master’s degrees running from January to December, instead of October to September).
We advise those who have been affected and applying for research degrees to explain such circumstances in their research proposal/statement, and request a start date for a later term, ie either in January 2022 (Hilary Term) or April 2022 (Trinity Term).  Departments will consider whether or not they are able to offer you a place with a later start date. 

Are there any changes to English Language requirements due to COVID-19?

There are not currently any changes to English Language requirements due to the pandemic for those applying for courses for 2021/22 entry. You can find out more about English language requirements on the Graduate Admissions webpages.

What will the impact of COVID-19 be for courses starting in September 2021?

We are fully committed to delivering an outstanding academic experience to our students, to maintaining our focus on personalised teaching, and to the safety and wellbeing of our entire community. It is too early to say exactly what the situation will be in September 2021; if you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, we will send regular updates on our plans in line with government guidance and health advice.

You can review the coronavirus information for current students which provides an overview of measures for 2020.

Who should I contact if I have a question?

If you are applying for a course or have a general enquiry, please use this online form to contact the Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office. 

How should I contact a department or college?

As staff in departments and colleges may still be working remotely, and may therefore not have access to telephones, we would recommend that you use email.  Make sure that you email them with your questions well ahead of the application deadline as otherwise they may not be able to reply to you in time.
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