Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions the department is asked about graduate admissions; further information about graduate study at Oxford, and how to apply, can be found on the University and department websites.

How do I apply for a graduate programme?

Full details on how to apply to one of our graduate programmes can be found on the Applying to Oxford page on the University website.

There is more than one application deadline shown for the programme I want to apply for; which one should I apply by?

If you wish to be considered for funding, most University administered scholarships require applicants to apply by the January deadline, but you should check the University’s Fees and Funding webpages to see if there is an earlier or later deadline for the funding you are applying for.

If you are self-funded or have funding from an external sponsor you may be able to apply later, but please check the individual course pages regularly as deadlines and notifications of closure of application windows will be posted there.

What are the entry requirements for graduate study at Oxford?

Each programme of study will have its own entry requirements and you should check the individual course pages on the University website for the programme to which you are applying.

What scores do I need in English Language tests?

See the application guide for results required.

I am applying for the DPhil but have not yet met the English language requirements, can I still apply?

Yes.  You do not need to provide language test scores when you submit your application.

If you need to demonstrate your English language proficiency (according to the criteria in the application guide), you will have to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for your course if you are offered a place.  Further details are in the application guide.

Do you require transcripts?

A transcript is a detailed record of higher education including programmes of study taken and standards achieved. Please submit all higher education transcripts as part of your application; if you are offered a place you will normally be required to submit an official transcript showing your final results before your offer can be confirmed and you are able to be enrolled.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the application guide.

What if I haven’t finished my degree yet?

Completion of a previous degree (often to a specified standard) is a common condition of acceptance. Your educational institution should be able to provide an interim transcript which you can submit as part of your application.

What should I include in my research proposal?

As part of your application you will be asked to provide a research proposal which should be one to two pages in length. Your research proposal will be assessed for:

  • the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course (a maximum of four years)
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • preliminary knowledge of research techniques
  • capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability
  • the ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

Your research proposal should focus on your research interests and experience rather than personal achievements, interests and aspirations.

If you are applying for one of our advertised projects your proposal should outline how you would approach the project and carry out the research.

Can I apply again to the same course?

You may re-apply to a course you have applied to in a previous admissions year, but only once to any particular course in the same admissions year.

The only exception is that it may be possible to apply more than once to a research course (eg DPhil courses), if the applications involve significantly different research proposals and receive authorisation from the department.  Contact with your applicant number and second research proposal to request permission to submit a second application to the DPhil in Earth Sciences.

If the department confirms that you can apply again, you must submit a separate application with all required supporting documents and references, and pay an application fee for the second application.

The University’s online application system does not permit an applicant to apply twice for the same course.  Therefore, if the department authorises a second application, it will inform Graduate Admissions and a link will be sent to you via email which enables you to create this new application.

If your application is unsuccessful in the current admissions cycle, you are welcome to apply again to the same course in the next admissions cycle (for study in the following academic year).