Admissions Process


The most up to date information about applying to Oxford can be found on the central University admissions pages including a timeline for admissions deadlines, information regarding funding and fees, and, advice for parents and teachers. If you don't find the information you are looking for there or in the summaries below, please email the Undergraduate Administrator   



You will be required to submit two recent marked essays, each written (in English) as part of a school or college course within a two-week period or less, preferably in different subjects. You also have the option of submitting an additional piece of work composed over a longer period of time. 

You are also required to submit a short essay (written in English) of no more than 500 words in response to the following question: what can we learn about people, EITHER past OR present, from their material culture?

Note: if you have any difficulty about identifying suitable essay topics, or you would like to discuss submitting additional work please consult the relevant tutor at your chosen College well in advance of the submission deadline. If you have made an open application, then you should send your written work to the College to which you have been allocated. 

For further details about submitting written work please click here

We are looking for how you think your way through problems, not for any specific knowledge and therefore no special preparation is required and there is no written test at interview.

Interviews will include the following components:

1. Discussion of a topic of your own choice connected with the degree (e.g. a book that you have read, an archaeological excavation in which you have participated).

2. You may be asked to read a short passage before the interview and if so will be asked questions on it during the interview.

3. Discussion of artefacts, maps or written material which you will be asked to interpret.

Interviews are typically wide-ranging, giving us the opportunity to find out about you as a person, your interests and your potential and allowing you to ask us questions about the degree or Oxford life in general. Some of the qualities for which we are looking in selecting students are:

  • An ability to think independently
  • Potential
  • Motivation
  • Enthusiasm and interest
  • Commitment

If you are invited for interview you will normally be required to stay for around three days in early December. You will have at least one interview in your college of preference and at least one interview at another college.

Tutors employ the following criteria:

1) A-level grades or equivalent (unless convincing extenuating circumstances can be demonstrated, AAA or 38-40 core points (with 6 in each Higher Level subject) at IB is a minimum prediction/secured set of grades and candidates without this will not be summoned for interview)

2) submitted written work showing evidence of logical argument and analysis, as well as sufficient grasp of English to deal with the demands of an Oxford degree, the work being graded by Tutors from best to worst on a 5-1 scale

3) a positive academic reference from someone acquainted with the candidate's academic background (this may be modified in the case of mature applicants)

4) a strong record of achievement, where relevant, in previous academic examinations, such as GCSE

5) a personal statement that shows a convincing degree of enthusiasm and motivation for studying the subject.


Candidates who meet these criteria are interviewed.

The following colleges offer this course:

Harris Manchester College (over 21s)

Hertford College

Keble College

Magdalen College

St Hugh's College

St John's College

St Peter's College.

You can express a preference by entering a college compass code on your UCAS application but you might still be shortlisted and offerred a place by another college. Campus codes are listed on each college page. Even if you do specify a college, other colleges may also interview you, and any of them may offer you a place. Or, you can make an open application by choosing campus code 9 on your UCAS application. Your application will be assigned to a college or hall that has relatively fewer applications for your course in the year you apply. Find out more here about choosing a college.

We welcome applications from international students and equivalent requirements can be found here. Please note all non native English-speaking applicants (other than those who have educated in the medium of the English language during their two most recent years of study) must demonstrate that they are proficient in written and spoken English - click here for more information.