First steps | University of Oxford
First steps
Students working in the Upper Reading Room of the Radcliffe Camera.
(Credit: Oxford University Images / Rob Judges Photography)

First steps

Oxford regularly welcomes academic visitors to our many departments and research centres each year. The flow chart below will help you work out the most appropriate type of visit for your purpose.

Undergraduate or masters’ student

Would you like to visit Oxford for a term or longer?No →Find out more about visiting the University, including Oxford’s libraries and museums here: Visiting Oxford
Yes
  
Would you like to come to Oxford as a Visiting Student?  
Yes
  
If so, start by contacting the Study Abroad Office at your current institution for advice on how to apply.  

 

Doctoral student

Are you currently a doctoral student at another institution who would like to visit Oxford for a term or longer?No →If your intended visit is short, would you like to visit as an independent researcher?
Yes
 Yes
Does Recognised Student status best fit the purpose of your visit?No →If you have external funding for your visit,  ‘academic visitor’ status with a Tier 5 visa may be right for you?
Yes
 Next step

1. Contact the department and professor you would like to visit.
2. Once your visit has been agreed in principle, apply online here: Graduate Admissions

 

Contact your intended host department in Oxford for advice.

 

Faculty member

  Are you currently employed as a researcher or faculty member at another university, or are you a senior medical practitioner who would like to visit Oxford for a month or longer?No →Is your intended visit for less than a month? Or, alternatively, are you coming to Oxford primarily to attend a lecture or conference?
  Yes
 Yes

Contact your preferred department to discuss your intended visit. The department may have specific requirements and application procedures.


Oxford’s divisions and departments are listed here.

No ← 

Have  you contacted the department and professor you would like to visit, and obtained an agreement to host you in  principle? Visiting as an independent researcher may be the best fit. Find out more about visiting the University, including Oxford’s libraries and museums here: Visiting Oxford.
  Yes
 Next step
  Once you have both informally agreed a visit and developed a research plan for your visit,  make a formal application to the department you would like to visit. Each department will have their own requirements, so plan to apply at least three months before your visit. Information on this site will also help you with arranging a visa and securing accommodation for your visit.
  Next step
  
  1. If necessary, apply for funding for your visit to Oxford. Information on potential funders is here: External funding schemes.

2. If you are a non-EU national, guidance on the type of visa you will need is here: Arranging a visa.

3. Information on securing accommodation for your visit is here: Accommodation in Oxford.

4. We also have information on how to open a bank account, arrange healthcare and make connections with other researchers.
  

Making an application

Your first steps to arranging a visit to Oxford as a visiting researcher include finding an academic host who is willing to support your application to visit, and working out which visa you will need.

Links to Oxford’s many departments and research centres can be found here. Before making a formal application to your intended host department, you will need to:

  1. Identify an academic who is willing to act as your academic host and mentor during your visit to Oxford. If your chosen mentor is unable to support your visit, contact the departmental administrator for advice.
  2. Send a clear research proposal to your intended academic host, outlining your plan for your time in Oxford (and note, if you intend to work on a collaborative project you will need to start this process 4-6 months before you arrive).    
  3. Check whether the host department has a specific application process for academic visitors, and if so, whether applications are accepted on a rolling basis or whether any deadlines apply.
  4. Obtain a letter of support for your visit to Oxford from your home institution – you will need this as part of your application.
  5. Check whether your host department charges Visitor Fees or Bench Fees.

In order to apply, most departments will expect you to include:

  • A visitor programme application form
  • A current CV
  • A Letter of Support from the academic who is supporting your visit
  • A letter from your home institution, confirming approval of your proposed visit to Oxford
  • Evidence of how you intend to fund your visit.

Other factors to consider:

Visas and timing - Your host department will work with the Staff Immigration team to help you identify and apply for the most relevant visa. Allow at least three extra months if you are a citizen from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland.  Work with your department and check our Timing your Visit page to ascertain the best time of year to come to Oxford for your specific project.

College affiliation – In some cases affiliation with a college may be available for your visit. If you would like to apply for this, please arrange for a letter from your host department confirming the dates and nature of your visit, and then apply to the college of your choice directly. Oxford colleges all charge a (variable) visitor fee for hosting academic visitors.

Timing your visit

Whether you intend to come to Oxford as an independent researcher or to visit a department, you will need to time your visit around the University’s terms and closure days.

Visitors to a department will need to agree the dates of their visit with the department, as this will depend on lab and desk space and faculty availability. Independent researchers will need to pay attention to library and museum closure dates. Some departments may have application deadlines while others do not, but we advise beginning the application process at least a term before you intend to come to Oxford.

Visitors are advised to come to Oxford during term time, as the majority of research seminars are held during the eight weeks of term, and all libraries and research facilities will be open throughout term. The dates of term can be found here: Full term

Details of opening times and closure days for Oxford’s main libraries and museums can be found here:

Bodleian Libraries – Opening Hours
Ashmolean – Plan your Visit
Museum of Natural History – Visiting us
Pitt Rivers Museum – Visiting the Museum

The University and all associated buildings are usually closed over Christmas and the New Year, and occasionally at other times. Please check closure dates directly with the department or library concerned before finalising the dates of your visit.

Travel directions

Visiting academics will need to make their own arrangements for travel to the UK. Once you have arrived,  information on how to get to Oxford by train, coach and car can be found here.

If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you are likely to need a visa to visit the UK. Your host department or college, with support from our Staff Immigration Team, will be able to advise you on the most appropriate visa for your specific visit.

If a visa is required, you may need to apply in advance of travelling to the UK. It can take some time to gather the necessary supporting documents and for visa applications to be processed. You should, therefore, discuss your visit and any visa application with your host department/ college as early as possible, and where possible at least three months before you plan to visit.

Whether you have to apply for a visa in advance or at your UK port of entry you will need an invitation letter issued by your host department/ college in Oxford.

There are three different Visitor visa types which may be appropriate depending on the purpose of your visit to the University of Oxford:

  • Standard Visitor – Academic: for academics, currently employed by overseas Universities, who are on sabbatical and are coming to carry out their own research, attend a conference, and/ or share knowledge and experience
  • Standard Visitor – Business: for those coming to attend a conference, meeting, or interview
  • Permitted Paid Engagement: for those being paid by the University to come to deliver a series of lectures or to act as an external examiner or assessor

Further information on Visitor visas and the application process can be found in the Staff Immigration Team’s guidance booklet (top right of page)

Please note: Collaborative research is not permitted under a Visitor visa. If you are coming to carry out research in collaboration with members of the University you will require a different type of visa and will need to apply before travelling to the UK. If you are intending to come to carry out collaborative research this should be discussed with your host department/ college as early as possible, and at least four months before you plan to visit.

Academic visitors to Oxford will usually need to pay a fee, whether tuition fees for recognised students or administrative fees for academics. Most visitors will apply for research funding to cover the costs of their visit to Oxford, either from their home university or from an external funding scheme. Funding is not usually available from Oxford host departments.

Visitor fees and access to facilities

Most Oxford departments and research centres charge a visitor fee to all visitors to cover the administrative and practical costs of hosting visitors (e.g. visa assistance, IT support, desk space). You will need to contact your intended host department to discuss the charge for your specific visit.

In addition to affiliation with an Oxford department, academic visitors will usually be provided with a University card, access to library services, printing facilities, and often with a workspace and University email address. Academic visitors are able to attend research seminars and guest lectures across Oxford University. Fees usually range from £200-500 per month.     

External funding schemes for visitors

The following organisations have funding schemes for academic visitors: