Advice for applicants and offer holders | University of Oxford

Advice for applicants and offer holders

We recognise that the coronavirus is causing uncertainty. Understandably, many of you will want to know if the disruption will affect your offer to study at Oxford. Click on the tabs above to find information for:

  • Undergraduate offer holders
  • Undergraduate applicants
  • Graduate offer holders
  • Graduate applicants

Oxford University and its Colleges plan to open to students at all levels for the 2020/21 academic year and we look forward to welcoming all new and continuing students from the start of the autumn (Michaelmas) term. 

The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We will have a range of measures in place including a dedicated testing service, support for students needing to self-isolate, and clear guidance informed by scientific advice. 

Our education will be built around Oxford’s distinctive focus on in-person, small-group teaching, laboratory practical work and supervision, with access to world-class facilities and resources, supplemented by high quality digital materials. We will work flexibly to maintain suitable levels of contact time for students, all in line with government guidance. 

Colleges are at the heart of the Oxford experience. We are pleased to be able to confirm that all our colleges will be open, with accommodation available for students. 

We are committed to supporting our students’ wellbeing, and will take active steps to ensure all students can access Oxford’s enriching opportunities regardless of their personal backgrounds or circumstances. 

Your college (for undergraduates) or departments (for graduate students) will be in contact with offer holders over the coming months, giving more details of the arrangements for your Oxford course next year as they become available. As usual they are also the best first point of contact for any queries you may have in the meantime.

The guidance on this webpage will be updated on a regular basis and offer holders will also receive regular Preparing for Oxford emails from the University.

For any of you who wish to find out more about wellbeing guidance, you may find some of the welfare resources available to current students useful.

If you are a current student, please go to the student coronavirus advice page for specific guidance about Trinity term arrangements.

Meeting the conditions of your offer

Will Oxford accept the grades students are issued this year?

We are aware that the majority of our offer holders will have had their education disrupted since the start of the COVID-19 emergency, with many also unable to take examinations that would have contributed to their final grades. We will therefore be accepting the grades issued this summer by the relevant recognised authority. Providing you meet all of the conditions of your offer with us by the deadline stipulated by UCAS (currently 31 August), your offer will be confirmed and you will be accepted by the University. This applies wherever you are studying in the world.

Will students who miss their grades still be considered for a place at Oxford?

If you do not get the grades needed to meet the conditions of your offer, and you feel there are extenuating circumstances which may indicate that you should have your placed confirmed despite missing your offer grades, you should follow normal procedures and contact the college that made you an offer or an open-offer.

*NEW* Do I have to pass the science practical component of any science A-levels I am taking in order to meet the conditions of my offer?

In normal circumstances, if you have taken any science A-levels, we would expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement. However, we are aware that students may not have had the chance to complete their practical tasks before the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. If this is the case, or you have other extenuating circumstances that mean you have been unable to gain a pass grade for the endorsement, this requirement may be waived. As in other years, we will seek evidence of extenuating circumstances from your school.

Will Oxford offer places to any students holding offers who achieve grades through the proposed autumn exam series?

We are waiting for more information about any additional autumn series of examinations that might take place, who will be eligible to take part and whether they will be offered in all subjects, by all examination boards and schools. We understand you might be concerned but we really want to make the right decision and one that is fair for all our students holding offers. Once the autumn exam arrangements have been clarified we will be in touch with schools and students to confirm our position.

*NEWLY EXPANDED* Will Oxford let offer holders defer their place to 2021 if they don’t wish to start in October 2020?

Subject to any public health conditions still being in force, we are expecting to welcome a full cohort of new undergraduates in October 2020, so we will not routinely support requests for deferral. Any offer holders with particular, verifiable reasons to wish to defer their place should contact the college which made their offer or open-offer to discuss this.

Please note, on 23rd June 2020 the UK government announced changes to fees and funding eligibility for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who start their study in 2021/22 academic year. Students holding an offer for 2020/21 who defer to 2021/22 would be subject to the new eligibility rules.  
The latest information on all areas relating to the UK’s departure from the EU is available on our dedicated webpage here. 

*NEW* I am a private candidate* holding an offer for undergraduate study starting in October. What are my options?

We realise that due to the situation with COVID-19, private candidates might be particularly concerned about the awarding of qualifications this year. There is specific advice for private candidates from Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) which we would ask you to refer to at this time and encourage you to get in contact with your Exam board(s) if you need further clarification. We are monitoring closely Ofqual's advice for private candidates and will publish any updates for offer holders or prospective applicants on this page as soon as we can.

*Private candidates include those who may have been planning to sit exams at a school or college or other exam centre but who were being educated at home, by distance learning or studying independently.

For international students

I am holding an offer for undergraduate study beginning in October 2020 which includes meeting an English language requirement. How do I fulfil this condition when test centres are currently closed?

If you already hold an English language certificate that meets our English language requirements, please contact the college offering your place.

For undergraduate offer holders who have not yet taken their English language test, and depending on individual circumstances, we have made the following changes to our English language requirements. These changes are in response to test centres being currently closed in certain regions, so you should follow the advice given below, depending on where you live:

You can also view the information above as a chart (Undegraduate English language requirements PDF).

*NEW* Arrangements for your first term in autumn 2020

*NEW* What can you tell me about arrangements for my first term?

We can confirm that the University and its colleges intend to be open for all students from the start of the next academic year and we expect the following arrangements to be in place for you.

Teaching and learning

As you know, our education is built around Oxford’s distinctive focus on personalised, face-to-face, small-group teaching with access to world-class libraries, laboratories and other facilities and resources. These will be available to you when you start your degree with us this autumn. Where necessary, we will supplement these with access to high quality digital materials and the University’s virtual learning environment. Laboratories and research facilities will be available to students in line with government guidance, although they will operate at reduced capacity, both for your own safety, and for the safety of our staff. Please note that we will offer larger group teaching, lectures and exams online at least for the first term. University staff will work flexibly to maintain suitable levels of contact time and there will be an increased emphasis on personalised support. It is possible that in order to optimise the use of space, start and finish times for teaching may be staggered and term dates may be slightly extended in some cases. You will be informed in advance if this is the case for you.

Colleges

At the heart of the Oxford experience are our colleges and we are delighted to confirm that all our colleges will be open, with accommodation available for students. Despite the pandemic, we are working hard to maintain college life, and to preserve your access to the enriching environment that is part of Oxford student life. Services will be reopened in line with government guidance and health advice.

Keeping our students and staff safe and well

The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. We are now working on detailed plans for measures we will put in place to reduce the risks to staff and students. These will include:

  • A University testing service that will be open to all staff and students
  • Support for students who need to self-isolate
  • Effective and consistent use of face coverings and other hygiene measures
  • Arrangements to enable social distancing in teaching and research spaces

We will also put measures in place to support vulnerable students and staff, with online teaching and learning available for those who feel they are unable to take part in face-to-face teaching.

We will follow government advice, and respond to the evolving situation as it develops.

Travel

We hope you will be able to live and study in Oxford from the start of next academic year while recognising that this may not be possible for some students, for example if you are unable to travel, or need to self-isolate. In those cases you will have access to online resources and support. However, we expect all students will be in residence by the start of Hilary term (January 2021). If you are an international student and you are required to self-isolate on returning to the UK, we will support you doing so.

Support for students

We recognise that these are unsettling times, and are committed to supporting you and all students, regardless of any disruption or disadvantage you may have faced as a result of COVID-19. We will maintain Oxford’s exceptional system of personal support, whether face to face or online – and will take active steps to ensure all students can access Oxford’s enriching opportunities, regardless of your personal background or circumstances. For example, Oxford’s students’ union, Oxford SU, is planning a virtual version of its Freshers’ Fair, giving new and returning students the chance to engage in their wider student community, and find out about the wide range of clubs and societies and local organisations that support students.

Further detail on specific areas is provided in the additional FAQs below.

Teaching and learning

*NEW* How will exams be managed in the next academic year?

For at least the first term of the next academic year, the majority of exams will be held online as open-book exams. A small number of exams may be held in a traditional in-person format, particularly if the subject matter or accreditation body of the exam requires an invigilated setting. In-person exams will be arranged in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Your department will confirm to you at the start of the academic year which format each of your exams will take.

*NEW* How will the University support remote learning?

There may be times next year when staff or students need to teach or learn remotely, such as during periods of self-isolation or if government guidance or local health and safety requirements change. Our flexible approach to teaching next year means that we will be prepared to switch back to remote teaching if necessary. Our specialist study tutors are working over the summer to prepare resources to help you get the most from online lectures, tutorials and assessments. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks.

*NEW* Will teaching take place within usual term dates?

Teaching at Oxford usually takes place in Weeks 1-8. It is possible that some teaching may take place during weeks 9-10 to allow us to maintain levels of contact time. The exact teaching dates for each course will be confirmed as soon as possible by your department. You should assume that teaching will take place in Weeks 1-8 until informed otherwise, and you will be informed in advance if there is any change.

Colleges and accommodation

*NEW* Will all student accommodation be available to students, and when will I find out if I have a room?

We aim to offer as much student accommodation as possible, in line with government health advice. All first year students are normally guaranteed college accommodation, and your college will be in touch about this once your place has been confirmed.

*NEW* When will I know if different college services are open?

Colleges are now working through the details of how best to reopen services in a safe way for students and staff. All colleges will work together to ensure that services are opened in accordance with public health advice, and will share more information as soon as possible.

Health and safety

*NEW* Can you tell me more about the health and safety arrangements in University buildings?

The University is gradually re-opening University buildings over the Long Vacation, in line with government guidelines. We are setting up our teaching spaces and facilities in a way that reduces the spread of COVID-19, supports social distancing in line with current government requirements, and bringing in ways of working, physical measures and protective equipment needed as appropriate. This includes in our teaching spaces, laboratories and communal areas. As we welcome our new and returning students back, you will be briefed fully on these safe working procedures and given information about what you need to do to minimise risks to health.

*NEW* Will I be required to wear a face covering?

We expect that all students and staff will wear face coverings when in teaching environments. A more detailed approach to face coverings is now being developed, and guidance will be shared as soon as possible.

*NEW* I consider myself to be vulnerable (for example, I have an underlying health condition). What support will be available to me?

The University will be implementing a range of measures to ensure that students can be safely taught in person, where government guidance and local health and safety circumstances allows. We will ensure that all learning can be conducted remotely if necessary – at least for the first term – for the health and safety of individual students. This includes students in high risk categories who are not able to return to the University.

*NEW* Will Oxford adopt a 'social bubbles' approach?

We are considering a number of options for ensuring the safety of students and staff, including a 'household' approach within Colleges. However, the arrangements have not yet been confirmed. Further details will follow over the Long Vacation.

Student life

*NEW* Will student clubs and societies continue to operate?

Student clubs and societies have been active throughout Trinity term despite the lockdown in the UK. From Michaelmas term, they will be encouraged to remain active and consider ways in which they can operate in line with government safety guidelines.

*NEW* What will happen to events such as the Freshers’ Fair?

Oxford SU is preparing to run virtual versions of their usual events, including the student welcome, in line with social distancing guidelines. The virtual Freshers’ Fair will ensure student groups have the ability to get their ever-important new sign-ups for the year, new students have the chance to engage in their wider student community, and returning and new students still have access to deals and discounts. More details to follow from Oxford SU in the coming weeks on the Oxford SU website.

*NEW* Will University services such as Careers and Welfare be available to me?

Yes. We expect that these services will be fully available for students – whether that be face-to-face or in remote form. Face-to-face services will be made available in line with government health advice at the time.

*NEW* What will the University do if there is an increase in cases of coronavirus in the next academic year?

Should restrictions or alert levels increase, the University and colleges will put in place contingency plans in order to adapt rapidly as necessary – ensuring we are able to operate safely while maintaining excellent standards of education for students.

Travel and visas

*NEW* I need to apply for a visa but the visa application centres are closed. What should I do?

There is still plenty of time to apply for a visa for a course starting in October 2020 as you cannot apply for a visa more than three months before the course start date ie from early July onwards. Some visa centres reopened from 1 June and we expect other countries will follow. We will monitor the situation and keep you updated over the summer. You can read the information on the visa and immigration webpages to prepare in advance for your visa application for when the visa centres reopen in your country.

Note that the ATAS Scheme (only required for Physics or Materials courses) was closed in April and May but reopened to new applications at noon on Monday 1 June. Applications for ATAS will take around 30 working days. Your college will be in touch with further information about the next steps.

*NEW* I live outside the UK. Will I have to self-isolate when arriving in the UK? And do I need to arrive before the start of term?

The UK Government currently requires anyone arriving from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days. However, we do not yet know whether these arrangements will be in place at the start of the new term. If you would like to book your travel and arrive 14 days before the start of your course, you will need to ensure that your accommodation is available to you. 

If you have a college room confirmed, or are living in University accommodation, please contact your college or the University Graduate Accommodation Office, and they will accommodate you from the date of your arrival, at the usual rates. You will be supported by your College or the University through the period of isolation. If you are living in private accommodation, please make arrangements direct with your accommodation provider.

*NEW* What will happen with residency requirements?

Residency requirements were suspended from March 2020 until the end of the academic year. The University is currently consulting on the arrangements for the next academic year. Regardless of the outcome, students who are unable to travel to Oxford for the start of Michaelmas term will be able to start their studies.

*NEW* If it is not practical for me to return home during the Christmas vacation, will I be able to remain in my accommodation?

We understand that many of our international students and offer holders will want to book flights to and from Oxford. We will confirm whether any course dates will change soon as possible. We intend to provide accommodation for students who reside in College or University accommodation when they need it, and further information will follow in the near future.

Fees and funding

Is the University still awarding bursaries to Home/EU undergraduates who will be starting new courses in the 2020-21 academic year?

Crankstart Scholarships, Oxford Bursaries and associated targeted support are awarded based on the assessment of students’ household incomes by the UK government funding agencies for England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Assessments for Oxford funding will take place as usual ahead of the start of the new academic year in the autumn of 2020. Please click here for further details.  

Will there be any changes to fees or funding arrangements?

No. We will ensure that students are able to take advantage of our world class academic teaching and meet the educational objectives of each programme. As such, all course fees and funding arrangements will be unchanged.

Will there be any change to your UCAS deadline?

No, the deadline for UCAS applications will be 6pm on 15 October as usual.

Will admissions tests still be going ahead and will there be any extension to the 15 October deadline for admissions test registration?

At the moment, we fully expect admissions tests to go ahead on schedule in schools and test centres. We appreciate that schools will be focused on catching up after so much disruption to normal delivery of teaching and learning so we are working to understand what support or flexibility we, and our partners at Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing, could offer.

The deadline for registering for Oxford admissions tests will be 6pm on 15 October as usual. Please note there is an earlier deadline for BMAT and LNAT. Candidates are advised to make arrangements to register and prepare for tests in good time. Full details of how to register are available here. Any new test centres need to register with CAAT by 30 September. See further information and the latest updates from Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing here. 

Will shortlisted candidates be invited for interview in person in Oxford in December?

No, we are currently planning for interviews to be carried out online in December. Once we have more detail we will make further announcements and share information on our website and in our prospective applicant newsletter and teachers’ newsletter.

If you are considering an application now, all our advice for interview preparation is still valid and further information is available on our interview webpages.

The course I want to apply for asks for written work but I don’t think I’ll have any suitable marked written work because my school has been in lockdown. What should I do?

As in other years, if the course requires you to submit written work as part of your application and you are worried that you don’t have a suitable piece of work to submit, please contact the college you are applying to (or the college you are allocated to after you apply) to discuss what your options are. 

I am thinking of applying to Oxford and wanted to attend an outreach event. Are these events still running?

As a result of developments with coronavirus (COVID-19), and in line with government guidance on social distancing, outreach events are not taking place as planned. This includes our University-wide Open Days on 1 and 2 July and 18 September which will now run as virtual open days. If you are interested in attending, we recommend that you register for our virtual open days. We remain strongly committed to providing opportunities for you to discover what it is like to study at Oxford and we would like to encourage you to sign up for our newsletter. In the meantime, please do everything you can to stay well and we hope to welcome you and your family on a visit to Oxford before too long.

My work experience or subject-related summer plans have been cancelled. Will this affect my application?

Tutors at Oxford are only interested in your academic ability and potential so in general there is no requirement for work experience or particular extra-curricular activities. Please read our guide for applicants for more information about what makes a strong application. Extra reading or delving into your subject using the resources on our digital resource hub are great ways to demonstrate engagement with your subject which will support your application.

Candidates considering an application to study medicine, may be interested in advice from the Medical Schools Council on relevant experience to study medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information for offer holders looking to begin graduate courses in the 2020/21 academic year

We recognise that the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing uncertainty and difficulties, but please rest assured that we are committed to limiting any impact this will have on your ability to take up your place. We will support you in the best possible way through the admissions process, and are committed to excellent standards of education, despite the ongoing pandemic. Scholarship award processes are also continuing, and it is expected that the vast majority of scholarships will be awarded by the end of June.

Please find below answers to some of the frequently asked questions. As soon as we have further information, updates will be posted to this page, and we would encourage you to check this page regularly.

*NEW* Arrangements for the 2020/21 academic year

*NEW* What are the plans for the 2020/21 academic year?

Oxford University and its Colleges plan to open to students at all levels for the 2020/21 academic year and we look forward to welcoming all new and continuing students from the start of the Michaelmas (autumn) term.

Teaching and learning

Our education will be built around Oxford’s distinctive focus on in-person, small-group teaching and supervision (in line with government guidance), with access to world-class facilities, laboratories and resources, supplemented by high quality digital materials. We will work flexibly to maintain contact time. The details are as follows:

Focus on in-person, small-group teaching

We are committed to maintaining our focus on personalised teaching and supervision, with a strong focus on tutorials and other types of small-group learning such as masters’ seminar groups. We plan to increase our emphasis on personalised support. Larger group teaching, lectures and most exams will be offered online at least for the first term.

Research students

As far as possible, in-person 1:1 meetings with your supervisor will help you to devise a programme of study and develop your research project. Your supervisor will meet with you regularly to discuss your ideas, and provide guidance on how to approach your research and make the most of the training opportunities, support, facilities and resources available.

Digital support

Face-to-face activities will be supplemented by engaging online activities that draw on the rich resources available through our colleges, libraries and collections. The University’s virtual learning environment Canvas@Oxford will be universally available – acting as a single-entry point for most students.

Facilities and resources

Laboratories and research facilities will be available to students in line with government guidance - although they will operate at reduced capacity, both for your own safety, and for the safety of our staff. We expect libraries and collections to be open, supplemented by digital resources.

Flexibility

We will work flexibly to try to ensure students get suitable levels of in-person contact time, where government guidance allows. For example, start and finish times may be staggered to optimise the use of space, and term dates may be slightly extended in some cases. Should government or local health and safety requirements change, the University and colleges will adapt be prepared to switch to remote teaching if necessary.

Colleges and accommodation

Colleges are at the heart of the Oxford experience. We are pleased to be able to confirm that all our colleges will be open. We are working hard to seek to maintain different aspects of college life, such as bars, dining halls and common rooms, and to ensure a rich social experience for our student. Services will be reopened in line with government guidance and health advice and where local health and safety advice permits.

Your college will be able to explain their process for applying for accommodation. If they are not able to provide accommodation, the University's Graduate Accommodation Office may be able to help, or you may need to seek accommodation in the private sector. More information is available in the Oxford SU living out guide.

Keeping our students safe and well

We are now working on detailed plans for measures we will put in place to minimise risks to staff and students. This will include:

  • A University testing service that will be open to all staff and students
  • Support for students who need to self-isolate
  • Effective and consistent use of face coverings and other hygiene measures
  • Arrangements to maintain social distancing in teaching and research spaces

We are committed to setting out clear guidance about what is expected of you to protect yourselves and others – and what you can expect from the University.

We will also put measures in place to support vulnerable students and staff, with online teaching and learning available for those who feel they are unable to take part in face-to-face teaching.

Our approach will be informed by an expert advisory group made of Oxford clinical academics, as well as government guidance. We will follow UK government advice and local health and safety advice, and make detailed contingency plans in case additional measures are required.

Travel

We understand that many of our international offer holders will have questions especially as you start to think about applying for a visa, date of arrival and booking your flights.

We hope you will be able to come to Oxford from the start of next academic year. We recognise that arriving for the start of your programme of study may not be possible for some students - for example if you are unable to travel, or are in self-isolation at the start of term. In these cases you will have access to online resources and support. If international students are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, we will support them doing so. We expect that all students will be in residence by January 2021.

Support for all students

We recognise that these are unsettling times, and are committed to supporting all students regardless of your background, or any disadvantage or disruption you may have faced as a result of COVID-19. We will maintain Oxford’s exceptional system of personal support for students, whether face to face or online. We will take active steps to ensure all students can access Oxford’s enriching opportunities regardless of their home life or personal backgrounds.

We are also striving to preserve Oxford’s student life despite the pandemic and will be working with student representative groups to maintain the supportive and enriching environment that contributes to the Oxford experience. For example, Oxford’s students’ union, Oxford SU, is planning a virtual version of its Freshers’ Fair, giving new and returning students the chance to engage in their wider student community, and find out about the wide range of clubs and societies and local organisations that support students.

Further details

Due to the nature of the ongoing pandemic, it is not possible to provide all the details of the arrangements for the new academic year at this stage. However, we are committed to providing more detailed information as soon as it is possible to do so.

We will provide regular updates in the weeks ahead, in line with UK government guidance and health advice, and your academic department will be in touch to provide further details on your specific course arrangements once they are available.

When will I find out the details of how my course will be delivered?

Departments and faculties are now carrying out detailed planning in preparation for the start of term. They will provide more information direct to you in the coming weeks – in line with the latest government advice.

How will the University support remote learning?

There may be times next year when staff or students need to teach or learn remotely, such as during periods of self-isolation or if government guidance or local health and safety circumstances change. Our flexible approach to teaching next year means that we will be prepared to switch back to remote teaching if necessary. Our specialist study tutors are working over the summer to prepare resources to help you get the most from online lectures, tutorials and assessments. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks.

Meeting conditions

I cannot complete my undergraduate course because my education has been disrupted or my university has closed. What do I do?

Most institutions have put plans in place to enable students to complete their qualification as expected, so we would expect most students to be able to finish their qualification. If you are offered a place on a course at Oxford, you will normally be set a condition of achieving your current qualification with a minimum score and providing a final transcript by a specified date (if you have not already completed your current degree). The deadline may vary by department, but, for entry in October 2020, the latest date you can provide this information is 31 August 2020 (although this may need to be earlier if you need to apply for a student visa).

If the completion of your current course will be delayed because of personal circumstances or other reasons, and therefore you will be unable to take up your place at Oxford by your course start date, please contact your academic department who will provide further guidance.

I have received an offer from Oxford with an academic condition to achieve a certain score in my current qualification, but my institution has made changes to my examinations, and is going to issue me with an unclassified degree as a result of the pandemic. Will it be accepted as sufficient evidence to meet academic conditions?

We recognise that some institutions’ assessment and examination processes may have changed since you have been made an offer. Where offer holders are no longer able to obtain their classified qualification as originally expected, and their institutions are issuing them with an unclassified degree in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, these will be accepted for completion of academic conditions for admission to graduate programmes at Oxford due to start in 2020-21.

If this applies to you, please email your academic department with a copy of your final degree results including any marks/scores once they are available, together with any further information your institution is making available to you to accompany your unclassified degree, for example, revised assessment/examination/marking schemes.

I’m a current Oxford student, and have received an offer with an academic condition to achieve a certain score in my Oxford qualification, but I am unable to undertake my assessments and will be issued with a Declared Award. Will this be accepted to complete my academic condition?

We recognise that assessment and examination processes have changed since you have been made an offer. Where offer holders are no longer able to obtain their qualification as originally expected as a result of the pandemic, and you are being issued with an Oxford Declared Award in 2020, this will be accepted for completion of academic conditions for admission to graduate programmes at Oxford due to start in 2020-21.

Please email your academic department with a copy of your final degree results including any marks/scores once they are available, together with any further available information about your Declared Award, for example, an enhanced reference.

Will I be able to apply for graduate study at Oxford with an Oxford Declared Award or an unclassified degree from another institution in the future?

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. Further information will be available on the Graduate Admissions website when it goes live for entry in 2021-22 at the beginning of September.

I cannot book an English language test because test centres are currently closed. What do I do?

We have made the following changes to our English language requirements because test centres are closed in certain regions:

  • We will accept older English language tests, taken up to five years prior to the official start date of the course applied for, which meets the published standards for the course.
  • Where the department is satisfied with your standard of English, we will waive the language requirement where you have completed a full-time degree, of a minimum of nine months, taught and assessed in English at a recognised institution, in the last five years.
  • If you have already taken an English language test, and you have missed the scores that we require by a small margin, please contact the academic department as they may consider accepting your scores and ask you to attend one of our English language courses when you start at Oxford (at no cost). This will be a decision for the department.
  • We will now accept the TOEFL IBT (Special Home Edition), alongside the other accepted tests. You will need to achieve the same scores as for the standard IBT, as detailed on our website.
  • We will also accept our Language Centre’s online pre-sessional course as appropriate to meet our English language requirements, provided you pass the end-of-course assessment at the required level.

If you have been set a condition of meeting the English language test requirement and meet one of the criteria above, please contact the academic department, providing relevant evidence as necessary.

If I undertake the online pre-sessional course offered by the University Language Centre, will it be accepted for visa application purposes?

Yes, satisfactory completion, at the required level, of our online pre-sessional course is accepted for visa purposes. Assessment will be completed in time for visa applications, in cases where the pre-sessional is necessary for completion of English language conditions.

I’m an offer holder and I need to post a document/have already posted a document to meet the conditions of my offer. Have you received it?

If you need to send documents to your department or college as evidence to meet conditions, please scan them and email them to the email addresses provided in your offer letters – do not post them due to disruption to postal services. If you have already posted a document, please email this document as an electronic copy to your department or college (as relevant).

One of my offer conditions is to provide a hard-copy original of my final transcript. Do I still have to provide this?

Please do not post any documents to your department or college due to disruption to postal services.

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, register the email address provided by your academic department in your offer letter so that they receive a secure copy. If that is not possible, please email a scanned copy of your final transcript to your department.

My institution has made changes to examinations, and is going to issue unclassified degrees. Will these be accepted as sufficient evidence to meet academic conditions?

If you have been set an academic condition of achieving a certain class in your current degree (eg a First, or a Distinction), and your institution has moved to unclassified degrees due to coronavirus, please email your academic department with a copy of your unclassified transcript, and any marks/scores once they are available. The academic department will assess this evidence, and will let you know whether they are happy to proceed with admissions.

Do I need to inform you of mitigating circumstances caused by disruption that I have faced due to coronavirus?

If you have faced any disruption to your current studies because of coronavirus, please check with your institution on any mitigating circumstances they have put in place. We would expect students to report this to their awarding institution so that this could be taken into account according to their policies.

Accommodation 

*NEW* Will all student accommodation be available to students, and when will I find out if I have a room?

We aim to offer as much student accommodation as possible, in line with government health advice and local health and safety requirements.

Offer holders may be eligible for college accommodation, and your college will provide further information, and if relevant, explain the process for applying for its accommodation. If your college is not able to provide accommodation, the University's Graduate Accommodation Office may be able to help, or you may need to seek accommodation in the private sector.

Fees and funding

Is the University still awarding scholarships for postgraduate students who will be starting new courses in the 2020-21 academic year?

Yes, scholarship award processes are continuing, although most centrally-managed scholarships have now been awarded. Therefore, if you do not yet have funding plans in place for your studies, you should explore the other options such as external funding including external scholarships or loans which may be available to you.

*New* Will there be any changes to course fees or funding arrangements? 

No. Course fees and funding arrangements for 2020/21 will not be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will ensure that students are able to take advantage of our world class academic teaching and meet the educational objectives of each programme. For these reasons it is not appropriate for course fees to be waived.

The current circumstances are exceptional and well beyond our control, yet University staff are working strenuously to ensure our high-quality teaching, assessments and examinations, go ahead while minimising impacts for students. Other University services (e.g. student welfare, careers support) will continue to be provided even though staff are working remotely.

*New* Will there be any changes to course fees and funding for EU students? 

If you are an EU fee status student starting in the academic year 2020/21, you are eligible for Home fees, and may be eligible for postgraduate master’s loans and doctoral loans. You will retain this fee status and funding eligibility for the duration of your course.  

The government has recently announced changes to fee status eligibility for EU students starting in the academic year 2021/22. Please note that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for Home fees or postgraduate financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. This change will not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK or Ireland.

While course fee levels will change, the University is committed to welcoming and supporting EU students in the long term.  For more information, please visit our dedicated Oxford and the EU webpage.

Immigration and visa applications

I live outside the UK. Will I have to self-isolate when arriving in the UK? Do I need to arrive before the start of term?

The UK Government currently requires anyone arriving from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days, though a number of travel corridors with the UK are due to be announced shortlyHowever, we do not yet know whether these arrangements will be in place at the start of the new term. If you would like to book your travel and arrive 14 days before the start of your course, you will need to ensure that your accommodation is available to you.

If you have a college room confirmed, or are living in University accommodation, please contact your college or the University Graduate Accommodation Office, and they may be able to accommodate you from the date of your arrival, at the usual rates. You will be supported by your college or the University through the period of isolation. If you are living in private accommodation, please make arrangements direct with your accommodation provider.

*NEW* What will happen with residency requirements?

Residency requirements were suspended from March 2020 until the end of the academic year. The University is currently consulting on the arrangements for the next academic year. Regardless of the outcome, students who are unable to travel to Oxford for the start of Michaelmas (Autumn) term will be able to start their studies.

I'm preparing for my Tier 4 visa application, where can I find support and information?

The document available as a PDF provides information about preparing for your Tier 4 visa application (for non-EEA/Swiss students). We will be in contact with offer holders in July with further detailed support. Please contact student.immigration@admin.ox.ac.uk with any queries in the meantime, including requesting information in alternative formats.

I need to apply for a visa but some visa application centres are closed. What should I do?

Visa centres have started to re-open with more opening every MondayWe recommend checking with your local visa application centre for the latest information on the services they are offering. There is still plenty of time to apply for a visa as you cannot apply more than three months before the course start date, i.e. from early July onwards for a course starting in October 2020. We will monitor the situation and keep you updated over the summer. You can read the information on the visa and immigration webpages to prepare in advance for your visa application for when the visa centres reopen in your country. If you need to begin your studies online, you will not need a Tier 4 visa until you travel to the UK. International students who start their courses online due to the COVID-19 pandemic but arrive in the UK before 6 April 2021 will still be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route. 

Is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme now open?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was closed in April and May but reopened to new applications on Monday 1 June. Your department will be in touch with further information about the next steps. Courses that require an ATAS certificate are listed on the Graduate Admissions webpage. Applications for ATAS will take around 30 working days.

I’m an EU/EEA student. Will I need a visa because of Brexit?

The UK Government has said that the rights of EU students will not change until 31 December 2020 and that all citizens of the EU, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who are living in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). If you are currently living in the UK, or have left the UK temporarily but plan to return (before 31 December 2020), you have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EUSS. If you are not eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme and you come to the UK after 31 December 2020, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 visa and pay the immigration health surcharge. This may change if the Government extends the Brexit transition period.

I will need a student visa to start my course at Oxford. Will there be an impact on visa applications for students if I start later than October 2020?

Students who need a visa may need to pay more for the immigration health surcharge which is expected to increase from £300 a year to £470 a year for visa applications made on or after 1 October 2020 (likely to affect those starting in January 2021 and later). The Government have not indicated whether this planned increase may be delayed.

What will happen if I am unable to obtain a visa or travel to the UK? 

We hope you will be able to come to Oxford from the start of next academic year. We recognise that arriving for the start of your programme of study may not be possible for some students, for exampleif you are unable to travel or there are delays in getting your visa ready. In these cases, your department will work with you to ensure that you can start your course remotely, and have access to online resources and support. If you begin your studies online, you will not need a Tier 4 visa until you travel to the UK. 

Deferrals

Can I defer my place?

Oxford will support you through the admissions process and we hope that you will be able to take up your place as expected. If you have difficulties with any aspects of the admissions process, please contact your academic department in the first instance to see whether these could be resolved. At this stage, there is still time for offer-holders to meet conditions.

If you need to defer your place, please refer to our standard policy on deferrals. You can request a deferral if you have met all your conditions (academic and financial), and have experienced individual, exceptional, unforeseen or unforeseeable circumstances, such as ill-health/bereavement. Please contact your academic department with your reasons and evidence. Note that generic reference to the coronavirus pandemic will not be considered an acceptable ground for deferral.

If you are an international student (including EU nationals) who may need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa, please consider the implications on immigration and visa (see above) before requesting a deferral.

EU fee status students who are eligible to pay fees at the Home rate in the 2020/21 academic year, but defer entry to the 2021/22 academic year, will therefore lose their eligibility to pay fees at the Home rate and will instead have to pay the higher fees applicable to all international students. Read the government announcement.

This policy will be kept under close review in light of the conditions and restrictions prevailing in the weeks leading up to the new academic year.

The latest information on all areas relating to the UK’s departure from the EU is available on our dedicated webpage here.

University Card Form process for Michaelmas (Autumn) term 2020

I’m an offer holder, and I have completed all my academic and financial conditions, and am ready to enrol. Will the University accept scanned copies of University Card Forms for next academic year?

Offer holders who have fulfilled all their academic and financial conditions will be sent a University Card Form by their academic department which they will have to complete and return to confirm their intention to enrol at Oxford. For Michaelmas (Autumn) term 2020, you should email a scanned copy of your University Card Form instead of posting it. Full instructions will be emailed to you by your academic department.

Further information

Who should I contact if I have a question?

  • If you are an offer holder and you have a question about meeting your academic conditions, please contact your academic department via the contact details in your Certificate of Offer.
  • If you are an offer holder and you have a question about meeting your financial conditions, please contact your college via the contact details in your college offer letter.
  • If you are currently applying for a course or have a general enquiry, please use this online form to contact the Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office.

Information for applicants looking to begin graduate courses in the 2020/21 academic year

The graduate admissions cycle is progressing as planned and prospective applicants can continue to apply for courses that are open for applications including a number of courses that have reopened. 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.

Please find below answers to some of the frequently asked questions. As soon as we have further information, updates will be posted to this page, and we would encourage you to check this page regularly.

**NEW** What are the plans for the 2020/21 academic year?

Oxford University and its Colleges plan to open to students at all levels for the 2020/21 academic year and we look forward to welcoming all new and continuing students from the start of the Michaelmas (autumn) term.

Teaching and learning

Our education will be built around Oxford’s distinctive focus on in-person, small-group teaching and supervision, with access to world-class facilities, laboratories and resources, supplemented by high quality digital materials. We will work flexibly to maintain contact time. The details are as follows:

Focus on in-person, small-group teaching

We are committed to maintaining our focus on personalised teaching and supervision in line with government guidance, with a strong focus on tutorials and other types of small-group learning such as masters’ seminar groups. We plan to increase our emphasis on personalised support. Larger group teaching, lectures and most exams will be offered online at least for the first term.

Research students

As far as possible, in-person 1:1 meetings with your supervisor will help you to devise a programme of study and develop your research project, in line with government guidance. Your supervisor will meet with you regularly to discuss your ideas, and provide guidance on how to approach your research and make the most of the training opportunities, support, facilities and resources available.

Digital support

Face-to-face activities will be supplemented by engaging online activities that draw on the rich resources available through our colleges, libraries and collections. The University’s virtual learning environment Canvas@Oxford will be universally available – acting as a single-entry point for most students.

Facilities and resources

Laboratories and research facilities will be available to students in line with government guidance - although they will operate at reduced capacity, both for your own safety, and for the safety of our staff. We currently expect libraries and collections to be open, supplemented by digital resources. However, provision may change if government restrictions or local health and safety circumstances change. 

Flexibility

We will work flexibly to try to ensure students get suitable levels of face-to-face contact time, in line with government guidance. For example, start and finish times may be staggered to optimise the use of space, and term dates may be slightly extended in some cases. Should government restrictions or local health and safety requirements change, the University and colleges will adapt be prepared to switch to remote teaching if necessary.

Colleges and accommodation

Colleges are at the heart of the Oxford experience. We are pleased to be able to confirm that all our colleges will be open. We are working hard to try to maintain different aspects of college life, such as bars, dining halls and common rooms, and to ensure a rich social experience for our students. Services will be reopened in line with government guidance and health advice and where local health and safety advice permits.

Colleges will be able to explain their process for applying for accommodation. If they are not able to provide accommodation, the University's Graduate Accommodation Office may be able to help, or you may need to seek accommodation in the private sector. More information is available in the Oxford SU living out guide.

Keeping our students safe and well

We are now working on detailed plans for measures we will put in place to minimise risks to staff and students. This will include:

  • A University testing service that will be open to all staff and students
  • Support for students who need to self-isolate
  • Effective and consistent use of face coverings and other hygiene measures
  • Arrangements to maintain social distancing in teaching and research spaces

We are committed to setting out clear guidance about what is expected of you to protect yourselves and others – and what you can expect from the University.

We will also put measures in place to support vulnerable students and staff, with online teaching and learning available for those who feel they are unable to take part in face-to-face teaching.

Our approach will be informed by an expert advisory group made of Oxford clinical academics, as well as government guidance and local health and safety advice, and make detailed contingency plans in case additional measures are required.

Travel

We hope you will be able to come to Oxford from the start of next academic year. We recognise that arriving for the start of your programme of study may not be possible for some students - for example if you are unable to travel, or are in self-isolation at the start of term. In these cases you will have access to online resources and support. If international students are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, we will support them in doing so. We expect that all students will be in residence by January 2021.

Support for all students

We recognise that these are unsettling times, and are committed to supporting all students regardless of your background, or any disadvantage or disruption you may have faced as a result of COVID-19. We will maintain Oxford’s exceptional system of personal support for students, whether face to face or online. We will take active steps to ensure all students can access Oxford’s enriching opportunities regardless of their home life or personal backgrounds.

We are also striving to preserve Oxford’s student life despite the pandemic and will be working with student representative groups to maintain the supportive and enriching environment that contributes to the Oxford experience. For example, Oxford’s students’ union, Oxford SU, is planning a virtual version of its Freshers’ Fair, giving new and returning students the chance to engage in their wider student community, and find out about the wide range of clubs and societies and local organisations that support students.

Further details

Due to the nature of the ongoing pandemic, it is not possible to provide all the details of the arrangements for the new academic year at this stage. However, we are committed to providing more detailed information as soon as it is possible to do so.

Can I still submit an application for postgraduate study?

Yes, if the course is still open, applications can be submitted as normal – you can check the status on the course page. View our application guide to find out how to get started.

Some courses have re-opened. You can check which ones have re-opened on our website, and view the full list of open courses.

Can I reapply for a course that has reopened for applications?

If you applied for a taught course and your application was unsuccessful, you may not make a further application for the same course within the same admissions year.

It is only possible to apply for the same course twice in the same application cycle where it is a research degree (DPhil) and you are applying to the same course with a significantly different research proposal.

If you are considering doing this, please first contact the relevant academic department to confirm whether your original application was assessed only for a specific project or for the course as a whole.

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 in lieu of an official transcript either a download from your institution's student self-service portal (if available) or correspondence from the institution confirming that they cannot provide a transcript, for example, an email. You should also upload a copy of your final degree certificate if available, and any other documentation you may have regarding your results.

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.

It has been more than ten weeks, and I have not heard whether I have been successful with my application. What should I do?

All graduate applications are being processed, and departments are working hard to provide decisions as soon as possible. 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 are experiencing 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’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 them 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.

Was this page useful?*