Introducing our courses | University of Oxford (2024)

Introducing our courses | University of Oxford (1)

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HomeAdmissionsGraduateCoursesIntroducing our courses

Oxford offers a wide range of graduate courses from postgraduate certificates to doctorates. Our courses are challenging and intensive and our approach to graduate study emphasises your ability to work independently, while supported by a world-class academic community.

Taught courses

As a taught graduate, you'll study your chosen subject area at an advanced level usually leading to one of the master’s or master’s-level qualifications listed below.Your course will consist of a range of core and optional courses and you will be assigned anacademic supervisor who will be on hand to offer advice and support, and to help guide your programme of study.

View taught courses

Expand each section below to find out more about the different types of taught courses on offer.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

This course is of a higher standing than the Master of Studies (MSt) and full-time study normally lasts for two years (six terms). In the first year, some of the course elements may be common with the MSt and at its end candidates may be required to pass a qualifying test before continuing. Some MPhils are organised so that the first year is taught and the second is predominantly research based. In the second year students are expected to complete a substantial dissertation (usually up to 30,000 words) and to sit written examinations. Although the majority of MPhils are recognised as taught courses, the MPhil in Law and the MPhil in Socio-Legal Research are formally classed a research courses and are both one year in duration.

Master of Studies (MSt)

Students studying full-time are normally required to undertake one year (three terms) of study followed by an examination. The exact composition will vary according to the course, but will usually involve a range of core and optional course elements often including research methods and the submission of a dissertation (usually of around10,000–15,000 words). Study is supported by seminars and lectures. Assessment may be by coursework as well as by written examination papers and dissertation. Some course elements may be common with Master of Philosophy (MPhil) course and it is possible in some cases to form the foundation of an application to either the related MPhil or DPhil.

Master of Science (MSc) by coursework

These degrees are generally offered in Science or Social Science subjects and typically require students to undertake one year of full-time study. The exact composition of the degree will vary according to the course, but will often comprise a range of core and optional modules, supported by teaching in the form of lectures and seminars. Assessment is by a combination of course assignments (in many cases including a dissertation of around 10,000–15,000 words) and written examinations.

Other master’s-level degrees (BCL, BPhil, EMBA, MBA, MFA, MJur, MPP, and MTh)

The University offers a range of other master’s-level degrees:

  • Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil)
  • Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Fine Art (MFA)
  • Magister Juris (MJur)
  • Master of Public Policy (MPP)
  • Master of Theology (MTh)

Please see the relevant course page for further details about each course.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert and PGCE)

A number of one-year (three-term) diplomas and certificates are available to graduate students. These include the Postgraduate Certificate in Education, which is a teacher training course for graduates that is more commonly referred to as thePGCE.

Research courses

Our research degrees offer the opportunity for sustained research in the area of your choice.

Alongside expert supervision and a supportive academic community in which to work, you'll receive specialist training in research skills and have access to a fantastic range of resources and opportunities to help you make the most of your time at Oxford and boost your employability.

View research courses

Expand each section below to find out more about the different types of research courses on offer.

Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)

Oxford’s main doctoral research degree is called a DPhil, which is our name for a PhD. DPhil comes from the English phrase Doctor of Philosophy and PhD comes from the Latin phrase philosophiae doctor.

A DPhil usually takes between three and four years to complete, but you should check the relevantcourse pagefor the expected length.Working closely with an academic supervisor who will oversee your studies, you will focus on a specific research project to produce a thesis that represents a significant and substantial piece of work. You will be assessed on the basis of this thesis and an oral examination called aviva voce. After completing their DPhil, research students frequently pursue academic careers or careers requiring advanced research skills.

During the course of the DPhil degree at Oxford you will need successfully to meet two different milestones:

Transfer of Status:Most DPhil students are initially admitted to the status ofProbationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of six terms as a PRS student (and normally by the fourth term) you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status. In some subjects, you might be required to successfully complete one or more master’s papers during your first year before you can apply to transfer to DPhil status.

Confirmation of Status:Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for and gain confirmation of DPhil status, normally within nine terms of admission, to show that your work continues to be on track. Both milestones normally involve an interview with two assessors (other than your supervisor) and therefore provide important experience for the final oral examination.

If you're studying on a full-time basis, you will be expected to submit your thesis after three or, at most, four years from the date of admission.

Doctoral training programmes (CDTs and DTPs)

Doctoral training programmes are four-year courses providing structured training and research experience in the first year, and a research project leading to a DPhil in subsequent years. These programmes are referred to as Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). They are usually supported through links with industry and/or other partners, including other universities.

Master of Science (MSc) by Research

This degree is awarded on the basis of a submitted thesis and is available in some subject areas that also offer a DPhil. Please see the individual course pages in this section for specific information. The examiners must be satisfied that the thesis shows competence in investigating the chosen topic and that the results have been presented in a lucid and scholarly manner. A satisfactory oral examination is also required.

Students will normally initially hold the status ofProbationer Research Studentand will be expected to apply to transfer to MSc status during the first year of their research.

Combined Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)

Combined Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) programmes are four year courses that comprise a one-year taught MSc by coursework followed by a three-year research project leading to a DPhil. These course arrangements are often referred to as 1+3 programmes. By applying for a 1+3 programme, your application will automatically be considered for both the one-year taught MSc and the DPhil. Progression to the DPhil requires successful completion of the MSc. These programmes are special course arrangements and the constituent MSc and DPhil elements may not be offered separately as stand-alone courses.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Two of Oxford's MPhil courses are formally classed as research courses: MPhil in Law andMPhil in Socio-Legal Research. All other MPhils are classed as taught courses at Oxford.

See also

  • Ways to study at Oxford
  • Part-time and online study
  • Dates of term
  • Residence requirements

Non-standard application processes

The instructions in our Application Guide are relevant to applications for all graduate courses at Oxford, except for:

  • Biochemistry (Skaggs-Oxford Prog.), DPhil
  • Biomedical Sciences (NIH OxCam), DPhil
  • Clinical Psychology, DClinPsych
  • EcoWild, NERC CDT
  • Medicine (Graduate Entry)eg BMBCh
  • PGCE
  • Saïd Business School courses

Important notice

Please note that websites external to the University of Oxford may hold information on our courses. Those websites may contain incomplete and inaccurate information. Please refer to this website which provides the definitive and up-to-date source of information on any graduate courses offered by the University.

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Introducing our courses | University of Oxford (2024)


What is the hardest course to get into at Oxford? ›

Some of the most competitive courses at Oxford and their acceptance rates are as follows:
  • Mathematics and Statistics: 4.6%
  • Economics and Management: 5.2%
  • Computer Science: 4.6%
  • Medicine: 7.6%
  • Mathematics and Computer Science: 10%

What percentage of Oxford applicants get an interview? ›

Who Gets Invited? Each year, Oxford receives around 22,000 applications for 3,300 places. Oxford then shortlists around 10,000 candidates for Interviews, which is generally 40-45% of applicants every year. Cambridge, on the other hand, Interview a higher percentage of applicants, around 70%.

Is a 2 1 enough at Oxford? ›

Undergraduate qualifications

If your graduate course at Oxford requires a 'strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours' in the UK system, you will usually need a bachelor's degree (honours) with an overall grade of 2:1 (upper second-class) or a GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0.

What is the easiest course to get into at Oxford? ›

  • Best chance of getting an interview (%) Chemistry 96.2. Classics 95.9. Human Sciences 92.8. Modern Languages & Linguistics 92.5. ...
  • Highest Success Rate (%) Classics 40.1. Chemistry 33.6. Theology & Oriental Studies 33.3. ...
  • Highest Success Rate (%) Classics 50.3. Music 48.3. Archaeology & Anthropology 45.1.

Is Oxford tougher than Harvard? ›

As of 2023, Harvard's acceptance rate is 4%. Half of the applicants accepted at Harvard have an SAT score between 1480 and 1580. On the other hand, Oxford's acceptance rate of about 17.5% is appealing. However, the Oxford acceptance rate and Harvard acceptance rate for international students happens to be 9%.

What is the least competitive college at Oxford? ›

Each college has its own unique character and history and offers accommodation, social and cultural activities, and academic support to its students. In 2020, Nuffield College had the lowest acceptance rate at 5.9%, with only 346 applicants competing for 20 places.

Is a 70 good at Oxford? ›

A 'First' is the highest grade achievable for a UK undergraduate degree. This typically represents a score of 70% or more. An 'Upper second' (2:1) is the next highest band, typically representing a score of 60%-69%. A 'strong upper second' would typically be taken to mean 65% or more.

Does Oxford care about GPA? ›

For a PhD, Oxford wants a strong Masters and a strong undergrad. With a strong MA you might be able to squeeze the GPA a little- but not from a 3.75CGPA/3.85MGPA to a 2.6. Getting a 2nd Masters is not a typical thing to do, and your reason for doing it would have to be strong.

What is the average GPA in Oxford? ›

Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.8. GPA Range: 3.5 - 4.0. Average MCAT Score: 513.

What is the most competitive Oxford course? ›

2022. Economics & Management is one of the most competitive courses at Oxford due to its very small cohort size of under 100 students. This is unusual for a major course like this, but it goes to show that you're application is going to have to really stand out to be apart of the those 5% of successful applicants.

Is it harder to get into Oxford or Cambridge? ›

Both Oxford and Cambridge are highly competitive, and unfortunately, you can only apply to one per year. Based on acceptance rates and numbers, however, it is easier to get into Cambridge than Oxford. Both Harvard and Oxford are esteemed, top-ranked universities where students strive to get their degrees.

Do you need straight A's to get into Oxford? ›

However Oxford usually only has around 3,300 places each year so even excellent grades will not guarantee you an offer. Offers for Oxford places are between A*A*A and AAA at A-level, depending on the course. (See course pages.) See a list of Oxford courses with conditional offers including at least one A*.

What is the most sought after course in Oxford? ›

Best subjects to study at Oxford
  • African & Middle Eastern Studies.
  • Anthropology.
  • Art & Design.
  • Asian Studies.
  • Biomedical Sciences.
  • Business & Management Studies.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • English.

What is the hardest exam at Oxford? ›

The entrance exam for fellowship at All Soul's College at the University of Oxford has been dubbed the world's trickiest. This is because it is impossible to revise for, and features very abstract questions. Another feature of the test which makes it so difficult is there are no right or wrong answers.

What course is Oxford most known for? ›

There are four academic divisions within Oxford University: Humanities, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; Medical Sciences; and Social Sciences. The university's particular strength is the sciences, and it is ranked number one in the world for medicine.

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