A student working alone in a library.
A student working alone in a library.

Returning students and offer holders (2021/22 academic year)

(Page last updated on Wednesday 4 August)

We are looking forward to welcoming all new and returning students at the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

We realise that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on all students, and we are doing everything we can to help provide the support you need.

We have learnt a huge amount from the last year and continue to respond to the pandemic. This means we are confident we will continue providing an exceptional educational and student experience for everyone who studies here.

We will keep you updated with the latest information, so please continue to check this page regularly.

If you are a current student, you may also want to refer to information about the 2020/21 academic year.

FAQs are also available for different groups of students – including information for undergraduate offer holders about confirmation of places and information for graduate offer holders about meeting your offer conditions.

If you are looking to apply for study at Oxford, please refer to the pages for prospective undergraduate or prospective graduate students.


Teaching and learning

We are committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of education, building on our experience over the course of the last year.

In-person teaching and research (updated 26 July)

We will continue to focus on personalised teaching and supervision from leading academics, including tutorials and other types of small group learning, such as masters’ seminar groups.

In line with the latest UK Government guidance, we are planning to provide most teaching in-person next academic year, as normal. This will be enhanced by high-quality online resources and, in some instances, online teaching. We will also have contingency plans if additional restrictions are in place or if local circumstances make this necessary (go to the ‘supporting your education in all scenarios’ section below for more information).

Online support (updated 26 July)

Building on the increased levels of online teaching in recent months, we have a range of new tools and technologies to support your learning. The University’s virtual learning environment, Canvas@Oxford provides an accessible and high-quality digital learning experience, and feedback from students has been very positive.

We are also investing in technology in the classroom, so that students can access high-quality teaching, whether that be in-person or online.

We will ensure that online teaching activities are engaging and draw on the rich resources available through our colleges, libraries and collections.

Exams and assessment (updated 26 July)

During the pandemic, the University developed and enhanced remote forms of assessment, and now has a dedicated e-assessment platform, Inspera, which has been used by thousands of students across the University.

We are currently developing plans to build on this experience in the next academic year – continuing to offer a variety of different assessment types, from online open book exams to in-person examinations.

Departments will confirm the way you will be assessed at the start of your studies this year. This applies to all forms of assessment – exams and submissions. This communication will include any back-up plans if it is not possible for in-person exams to go ahead.

Helping you make the most of Oxford (updated 26 July)

Starting at Oxford is an exciting time, but it is normal to feel some anxiety about making this move - particularly this year when your school, college or university education is likely to have been disrupted.

We want everyone to enjoy their time at Oxford, and succeed in their studies, regardless of their background, and how COVID-19 has impacted you, and we are working together across the University and colleges to help you make the most of your time here.

Go to the Oxford Transition Support page of the Oxford student website to find out more about how we can support you as you adapt to Oxford.

Fieldwork and years abroad

We expect that students will be able to take part in fieldwork so long as specific risk assessments are conducted, and COVID-19 is taken into account. This includes fieldwork overseas where Government restrictions allow travel to take place. We also expect field trips to go ahead whenever it is safe to do so.

If you have a year abroad planned as part of your academic course, we will support you in seeking to take up this opportunity in a safe way. Please visit our FAQs for Year Abroad students page for more information and general updates. There will continue to be an enhanced risk assessment process, and some flexibility may be needed depending on the restrictions in place in your destination country. Alternative learning arrangements may be arranged in a small number of cases if in-country placements are not viable.

Supporting your education in all scenarios (updated 26 July)

We are planning for a range of scenarios, and are committed to maintaining the highest standards of education regardless of the impact of the pandemic.

While the core content of your course and the educational opportunities open to you will not change, we will have contingency plans in place to introduce additional health measures such as social distancing; and move more teaching and assessment online, if Government restrictions are re-introduced. 

Decisions will be made based on the level of local cases in the Oxford area and the prevailing health advice in the run-up to the start of term.

We are also working to make education accessible to all students – whether you are learning in-person or online.


Health and vaccinations

Health and safety measures (updated 26 July)

The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be a high priority.

During the 2020/21 academic year, we worked together to keep our community safe. This included a University COVID-19 testing service, providing a free testing service for all students and staff; as well as protective measures in our facilities including enhanced cleaning regimes, adapted spaces to ensure social distancing and appropriate ventilation; the adoption of a ‘households’ system in college accommodation; and the use of face coverings. This meant that transmission rates at the University remained low, reducing disruption for students and staff.

Our clinical academics are carefully reviewing the Government guidance and responding to the situation as it unfolds. We continue to focus on the health and wellbeing of the entire community and will confirm the health measures that will be in place in the next academic year once these have been confirmed.

Our focus will continue to be the health and safety of our entire community. We will be led by Government guidance, as well as the University’s Health Measures Advisory Group, who will continue to monitor the local situation and will advise the University on suitable steps needed to safeguard the health of the Oxford community.

Vaccinations (updated 4 August)

We encourage everyone to take up the offer of a COVID-19 vaccination when eligible, ideally before arriving in Oxford at the start of the autumn (Michaelmas) term.

All adults in the UK currently have access to a vaccine though the National Health Service – and international students are eligible to access it for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.

The UK Government has indicated that from the end of September, it plans to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.

We are currently liaising with local health authorities about providing opportunities for students to get their vaccine in Oxford if they have not yet been vaccinated at the start of the academic year – particularly those who live outside the UK. Further information about this will follow as soon as possible.

More information about vaccinations is available in our FAQs, as well as from the UKCISA website


Student life

Student experience

Throughout the pandemic, we have worked with student representative groups to maintain the supportive and enriching environment that contributes to the Oxford experience.

We will ensure all students are introduced or welcomed back to Oxford life in as full a way as possible at the start of the year.

For example, Oxford’s students’ union, Oxford SU, is planning a Welcome Week, including (pending Government guidance) an in-person Freshers’ Fair, giving new and returning students the chance to engage in their wider student community, and find out about the clubs, societies and local organisations that support students.

We also expect Oxford’s wide range of clubs and societies to continue running, using their experiences of the last year to provide both in-person and online opportunities, so that all students can enjoy the benefits of getting involved.

Student services

All University services such as Welfare, Careers, Fees and Funding, Visa & Immigration and the Language Centre will continue to operate. Given the popularity of online services provided during the past year, we hope to be in a position to offer a good mix of online and in-person appointments and activities, depending on students’ preferences, and the restrictions in place at the time. 

University and college sporting activities have now restarted in-person and are being supplemented with an online offering. We expect all levels of sporting activity (from club to casual) to continue to be available in line with government guidance.


Colleges are at the heart of student life at Oxford and have adapted effectively to the challenges of the pandemic. They will continue to work hard to make facilities, such as dining halls and social and leisure facilities, available to students – in line with government guidance and local health and safety advice.


Welfare and support

Welfare services

We understand the pandemic has been challenging or difficult for many reasons. We empathise with the disruption you have faced and will work to support your wellbeing throughout the next academic year.

We will maintain Oxford’s exceptional system of welfare and personal support for students. This includes college support as well as University welfare services, including the Counselling Service, the Disability Advisory Service and the Sexual Harassment and Violence Support Service.

This will be supplemented by online resources, such as Togetherall, a free service for all Oxford students giving you access to a global welfare community 24/7.

We will also provide welfare support for students who need to self-isolate.

Self-isolation support (updated 26 July)

The rules on who needs to self-isolate are under review by the government and may change. In the event that students need to self-isolate in the next academic year, the University and colleges will provide academic, pastoral and welfare support as appropriate.

The levels of support that we are currently planning are outlined below, and additional guidance will be provided ahead of the start of term.

Students living in college accommodation
Your college will be able to assist you with access to essential services such as food and cleaning products. Your college will also provide pastoral support.

Students living in University graduate accommodation
You should expect to be as self-sufficient as you can and you will be provided with information on food delivery and other services. Supermarket and prepared food delivery services are readily available in Oxford.  You should contact your college for advice and pastoral support.

Students living in private accommodation
You should expect to be as self-sufficient as you can. You should contact your college for advice and pastoral support. Supermarket and prepared food delivery services are readily available in Oxford. We advise you to keep 10 days’ worth of food in the house in case you have to self- isolate, including easy to prepare items. 

Regardless of your accommodation type, if you need urgent medical assistance, you should dial 111.

While you are self-isolating, your tutor, course convenor or supervisor will be able to facilitate the continuation of your teaching or research remotely, where practicable. 

Go to the Travel and Visas section below for information about self-isolation on arrival from another country.

Financial support

The University has set up two financial support schemes for students in response to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Assistance Fund provides grants for some students who have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic; while the COVID-19 Scholarship Extensions Fund supports postgraduate research students whose completion has been unavoidably delayed by the pandemic.

These will continue to be available in the 2021/22 academic year and will be launched nearer the start of term with full detail and criteria available at that point. This is in addition to the usual assistance programmes which are available to students facing hardship. 


Travel and visas

Arriving and residing in Oxford (updated 26 July)

We hope all students will be able to come to live and study in Oxford from the start of the next academic year.

Students are expected to reside in Oxford during term time (excluding part-time and some DPhil students), and residency requirements will be in place for full-time students in the autumn (Michaelmas) term.

We recognise that arriving for the start of the year may not be possible for some students – particularly some international students (see 'arrival for international students' section below) or students with relevant health conditions or disabilities.

If you have concerns about your ability to travel to Oxford, it may be possible to apply for an exemption from residency requirements. You should first discuss your concerns with your college or department and then complete an online residency exemption application form

Arrival for international students (updated 26 July)

The UK Government is currently operating a ‘traffic light’ system for those arriving from overseas, with differing levels of restrictions for countries on the ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ list countries. 

There is a wide range of rules about testing and vaccination requirements, depending on the country or territory that you are arriving from. These rules are subject to regular change, so it is vital you carefully review both local travel advice in your own country, and the UK Government website. University and colleges will not routinely meet the costs of COVID-19 PCR tests taken or booked before travelling to the UK. 

For students in red list countries (updated 26 July)

If you live in a country which is on the red list and are unable to travel to Oxford for the start of the academic year, you will be automatically exempt from residency requirements. 

To qualify for this exemption, the country you live in must be on the red list as of 1 July 2021 (or subsequently be added to the list between 1 July and the start of the academic year). You will still be exempt even if the country is removed from the red list before the start of the academic year.

You should be aware that the University and colleges will not routinely meet the quarantine costs for students returning from red list countries (currently £1,750).

If you have concerns about your ability to travel to Oxford, you should first discuss this with your college or department and then complete an online residency exemption application form

For students in amber list countries (added 26 July)

Under current rules, those arriving from a country that is on the UK Government’s ‘amber list’ must quarantine for 10 days.

If you live in an amber-list country and wish to take part in in-person teaching at the start of your course, you will need to arrive in the UK 10 days before your course start date to complete your period of quarantine.

If this is not possible, you will need to complete quarantine and participate in your course online for that initial period.

If you will be living in college or University-managed accommodation and want to arrive before your accommodation contract starts to complete your quarantine, you should contact your college or the University Graduate Accommodation Office to find out if they can accommodate you early.  

If you will be renting privately, you should plan to arrive in your rented accommodation 10 days before the start of your course. If this is not possible (for example, because of the lease dates), you should contact your college or the University Graduate Accommodation Office to find out if they are able to provide you with temporary accommodation before the start of your course. 

Currently, you will only be able to avoid quarantine on arrival from amber list countries if you have been fully vaccinated while previously in the UK within the past twelve months. Please be aware that this is also subject to exceptions and change. For the latest information, go to the UK Government website.

Visa information

If you need to apply for a student visa, the Student Immigration team is available to help with any queries. Most visa centres around the world are now open although local government restrictions may occasionally continue to affect some regions or countries opening some, or all, of the visa centres in that country.

A comprehensive guide to completing the online visa application is available on the student visa webpages. It contains links to check if the visa centre is open in your country or local area, if there are government restrictions in place.

Please note that you must attend your biometrics appointment and obtain your student visa before coming to the UK. You cannot arrive as a visitor and switch status once you arrive here. We cannot enrol you on a visitor visa, which means you would not be able to start your course.

If you have a question that isn't answered on this page, please go to the FAQs pages of this site. 

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