FAQs for graduate offer-holders | University of Oxford

FAQs for graduate offer-holders

These FAQs are for graduate offer holders due to start their studies at Oxford in the 2020/21 academic year. Before reviewing them, you should first read the information about University’s response to coronavirus on the student coronavirus information pages. A number of general FAQs are included on those pages.

If you are interested in applying for study at Oxford from the 2021-22 academic year onwards, please go to the information for graduate applicants.

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.

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.

Visas and immigration

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

This document available as a PDF provides information about preparing for your Tier 4 visa application (for non-EEA/Swiss students). Please contact student.immigration@admin.ox.ac.uk with any other queries, 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 Monday. We 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. 

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.

Fees and funding

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

Oxford scholarships for 2020-21 entry have now been awarded. Therefore, if you do not yet have funding plans in place for your studies, you should explore the options outlined on our Fees and Funding webpages such as external funding including external scholarships or loans which may be available to you.

As funding options for on-course students are extremely limited, you should be confident that you can fund your whole course, including living costs, before you come to Oxford.

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.

What funding is available if I get into financial difficulties?

A range of financial information, including details of schemes that can provide help in cases of financial difficulty during your study, is available on the University's Fees and Funding webpages. Hardship support is available but this is for unforseen circumstances which arise once a student is on course; it is therefore important to ensure that you have funding in place for your course before you begin.

I can't meet my financial conditions because I have lost my source of funding. What options are available to me? 

Visit our Fees and Funding pages for information about the funding Oxford offers and the resources we can provide to support access to external funding. For instance, we subscribe to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding to enable our offer-holders to use the resource free of charge. At this stage in the year, we recommend you research external funding and loans for which you may be eligible as Oxford scholarships for 2020-21 entry have now been awarded.

We strongly recommend that you do not wait until you get here to sort out funding for future years. The vast majority of Oxford scholarships are open to new graduate students only. Funding options for on-course students are extremely limited. You should therefore be confident that you will be able to fund your whole course, including living costs.

If I need to start online, will it affect eligibility for funding, for example, US loans?

The exact terms and conditions of funding will vary by funder, and the University is working hard to address any issues arising from changes of format in teaching for specific funding. We can, for instance, provide supporting material to request that funding is continued despite any changes in format.

For US Loans, there is temporary provision in the CARES Act which permits US Loans to be used for courses which are delivered online due to coronavirus; the University continues to work closely with Washington on extending this provision.

Oxford scholarships are unaffected by any online teaching and will be paid as normal.

How do I pay for my course fees (in instalments)?

Your course fees are normally collected by your college, or, in a few instances, by your department. Your college (or department) will invoice you, and can provide detailed information about their fee collection arrangements and opportunities to arrange phased payment schedules. Fees should normally be paid at the beginning of the academic year. 

How do I open a bank account as a new European or International student?

See the Oxford bank guide for European and International Students with information about how to open a bank account this year. Most banks will now open accounts online and allow you to upload documents online as proof of your identify and your student status. If they require further identity checks, they may ask to do this on a telephone call or arrange an appointment at the bank for you.


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.

If I cannot travel/my country has restrictions that mean I cannot travel (for example, Australia) and take up my place, can I defer/start my course in January?

We recognise that arriving for the start of Michaelmas (autumn) term may not be possible for some students (for example if you are unable to travel). If you believe this might not be possible, you should speak to your department in the first instance who can discuss the different options with you. If you wish to be exempt from residency requirements, you will need to complete an application form, which must be endorsed by your department and signed by your college.

I consider myself to be vulnerable (for example, I have an underlying health condition). Can I defer my place?

The University will be implementing a range of measures that students can be safely taught in person, where government guidance and local health and safety circumstances allow. 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 come to the University. If you have any concerns, you should speak to your department in the first instance, and they will discuss different options with you. Deferral may be possible depending on your individual circumstances - please note that you may be asked for medical evidence.

What happens with funding if I defer?

If your request for a deferral is approved, you will not be considered again for Oxford funding and scholarship opportunities. If you have already been offered an Oxford scholarship, you should consult the office which awarded it (e.g. Student Fees and Funding, the college or department) to find out whether or not your scholarship can also be deferred.

Joining the University

When will I receive a University card / gain access to key systems?

Once your department has confirmed to you that you have met all the conditions of your offer, you should return your completed University card form in line with the guidance provided by your department. We will then be able to create your University card (student ID) and your Single Sign-On (SSO) account and provide you with a username and password to access many services at Oxford, including your email account, the student self-service portal and virtual learning environments. This may take some time, but you will receive this information in time for the start of your course. 

For more information and step-by-step guidance for setting up your essential IT accounts, visit our Getting Started web pages. The next step will be to complete your online registration in September. 

Do I need to receive a physical card to gain access?

No. Access isn’t dependent on a University card being physically received.

What library resources are available online and when will I be able to access these?

You will be able to access online resources once you have activated your Single Sign On. 

The Bodleian Libraries is working with tutors to ensure that reading lists are available in multiple formats including e-books. It has over 1.4 million e-books for students to access. The Bodleian is part of the HahtiTrust which gives you access to 1.5 million items including copyright books and items in the public domain. It also offers a Scan & Deliver service, which gives you the chance to request items from our collection that are not available online, including its special collections.

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.

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