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Undergraduate study at Oxford University

Guide for Guide for International

International Students Undergraduate study Students at Oxford University

Undergraduate study at Oxford University

Courses Tutorials Colleges Student life The city of Oxford Oxford around the globe Getting a job after Oxford Applying to Oxford 4 6 8 10 12 13 14 16


Greg Smolonski

These are multidisciplinary communities within which students are supported and intellectually challenged. many different cultures and from all around the world. Centuries before most of today’s leading universities existed. Emo of Friesland. and welcome the diversity that international students contribute to the University. Oxford students receive an intensive education. 3 . taught by academic leaders in their field. including 14% of undergraduates. including personalised tutorials.Why Oxford? Oxford University is internationally renowned for academic excellence. Today. in 1190. We encourage applications from academically strong students irrespective of their background. Oxford is consistently ranked one of the world’s top five universities. one third of its students. are from outside the UK and come from 130 countries. The University is made up of colleges. Oxford welcomed the first international student. Oxford is now one of the most international universities in the world. and have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

Subjects available Courses Archaeology and Anthropology Biochemistry Biological Sciences Biomedical Sciences Chemistry Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Classics Computer Science Earth Sciences Economics and Management Engineering Science English Language and Literature Fine Art Geography History (Ancient and Modern) History of Art Human Sciences Law Materials Science Mathematics Medicine Modern Languages and Linguistics Music Oriental and Middle Eastern Studies Politics. Philosophy and Economics Physics Psychology (Experimental) Theology 4 .

admissions. where everyone on your course takes the same papers. where this is possible. This will suit some students really well. Usually. Law and Medicine can be studied as undergraduate degrees at Oxford. You will see that our courses do not offer you should check with the regulatory institution in your own country to see if our course would qualify you to practise there. In later years there are usually still core papers.ox. Some language courses take four years. They do not have to be graduate degrees. the course is the same: the University organises the lectures and practical classes. so you can specialise in areas of your course that particularly interest you. The course pages on our website and in our prospectus give examples of options. whatever course they are studying. The tutorial system (see p7) means that students learn skills transferable to most professions. but also a wide range of options.Whichever college you go to. including up to one year in a country where that language is spoken. logically and laterally. an Oxford degree aims to make you think for yourself. 5 . Please be aware that there is a Government-imposed quota which means that we are only allowed to offer 14 places per year on the Medicine course to students from outside the EU. you need to choose one course. students may do a fourth year to gain a master’s degree. You should make sure that your chosen degree and the way it is taught at Oxford are right for you. as it means you focus on the course you’ve chosen. and sets the examinations. you cannot change courses after you start. If you are planning to study either of these courses. For example we do not offer a course in Journalism although you may be aware that many leading journalists at the BBC and other renowned institutions studied at Oxford. See the box opposite for a list of subjects available. For the full list of courses please see: www. though perhaps not everyone. You will spend all your time at Oxford studying just the subject or subjects that you chose when you apply. in contrast to degree courses in many countries. Courses may be single honours courses (one subject) or joint honours courses (two or more subjects). right from the start. In the sciences. Whichever course you choose. The first year of each course usually follows a core programme. leading up to first year exams. When you apply. the course website mentions A standard bachelor’s degree in England usually takes three years. vocational training but are based on academic study.

Tutorials 6 .

Because we’re in the tutorial system.Oxford is one of the few universities in the world that bases its teaching on the tutorial system. they share their insights and expertise in these very small groups. giving personalised attention to each student. encouraging and facilitating your learning in a way that just isn’t usually possible at other universities. delivering their knowledge to hundreds of students at a time. usually this will be two or three students plus a tutor. This is especially true in tutorials: the tutors are not just lecturers. at the Wall of 100 Faces: www. we really get that personal attention that can be really pivotal in the learning process…’ Hear more about Bill’s time at Oxford. so they can help you right away. Student view Bill from the USA ‘I was considering a lot of different options when making the decision to study abroad and Oxford offered a unique opportunity. Tutors at Oxford are often world-leading experts in their field. It also means that tutors are immediately aware if you need any extra support with any aspect of your course. This attention means that you will face rigorous academic challenges on a weekly Tutorials are essentially very small group teaching.ox. so spending time with them is extremely 7 .

Colleges St Hugh’s Wycli e Hall St Anne’s Lady Margaret Hall Somerville Keble St Benet’s Hall All colleges are within easy walking distance of the centre of Oxford St Catherine’s Mans eld Regent’s Park Blackfriars Worcester St John’s Wadham Trinity Harris Manchester Hertford New College Balliol Jesus College St Peter’s Exeter Queen’s Brasenose Oriel Corpus Christi Christ Church University Merton St Edmund Hall Magdalen St Stephen’s House St Hilda’s Lincoln Pembroke 8 .

The relatively small number of students at each college allows for close and supportive personal attention. They are academic communities. or make an open as well as the supportive community environment of your college. All colleges offer accommodation to their students for at least two years of their course and some offer it for the entire duration. with other students from across the University. common room and library. Whichever college you go to. Whether or not you choose a college. as well as students from all over the world. and most colleges offer most courses. and lots of college clubs and societies. Making an open application is just like saying. Colleges have a lot more in common than they have differences. and may offer you a place. You would usually have your lectures and any lab work in your department. watch a short video at www.Oxford University is made up of different colleges. For more information about choosing a college. Your college will be your home for much of your time at Oxford. all colleges are very strong academically.admissions.ox. This means that you will have all the resources of an internationally acclaimed. researchintensive University. Each college has its own dining hall. other colleges may also interview you. and we will assign your application to a college. as well as hundreds of University groups and societies. You will also be a member of the wider University with access to University and department facilities like laboratories and libraries. . your course syllabus will be the same and you will take the same exams as other students on your course. and probably have your tutorials there. This doesn’t mean that your application is more or less likely to be successful. ‘I don’t mind”. If you study here you will be a member of a college. rather like mini-campuses. bar. 9 When you apply through UCAS (see ‘how to apply” on p18) you can choose a college if you wish. This means that there will be students of many other subjects in your

with about 30 student productions every term. whose gardens provide wonderful settings for outdoor shows in the summer term. The Union is also a social centre and there are frequent lectures by all kinds of 10 Greg Smolonski . it aims to promote debate and discussion not just in the University. contemporary and experimental productions. your time at Oxford will never be dull. the Dalai Lama and Diego Maradona to Doris Lessing. but across the globe.oxford-union. On stage. The Oxford Union The world’s most famous debating society has long had a reputation for bringing internationally known guests and speakers to Oxford. backstage or in the audience. at the Burton Taylor Studio and the Oxford Playhouse. Established in 1823. Stephen Hawking and Kermit the Frog. from Ronald Reagan. Drama Oxford is famous for drama. or in one of the colleges. you can take in a great variety of traditional. www.Student life Clubs and societies With more than 400 groups to choose from.

You can play for The University’s top athletes gain the status of ‘Blue’ – an accolade that stems from the first boat race in 1829. The Cherwell and Oxford Student newspapers publish everything from restaurant reviews and crosswords to investigative journalism and sports www. Oxide is a studentrun radio station broadcasting 24 hours a day and combining a diverse playlist with talk shows and Sport It isn’t all rowing and rugby at Oxford. But then I realised upon coming here that actually there’s heaps of international students…’ Hear more about Lucy’s experiences at Oxford at the Wall of 100 Faces: www. campaigning and volunteering through the Environment and Ethics committee. The Oxford University Student Union also has a Vice-President for Charities and Communities who coordinates fundraising for a range of local and national charities through Raise and Give (RAG). Isis Magazine is Britain’s oldest student publication. you have the chance to join a rich tradition and some very competitive teams. or just listen.oxfordrag. and is there to help you with any questions about volunteering in Music The musical world is your oyster when studying in www. But. whether they want a distraction from work or the first step in a career. but Oxford has dozens of others.oxfordhub. through indie.ousu. 11 .ox. all the styles of music you could dream of (and then some) are represented. www. Student view Lucy from Australia ‘When I came to Oxford I expected to be the only international student amongst lots and lots of English people. try a new sport or just get fit. in the University and colleges. you will find what you are looking for here. many of which can be found through the Oxford www.cherwell. when Cambridge tied light blue ribbons to their boat and Oxford adopted Christ Church’s dark blue. Volunteering Oxford offers a wealth of opportunities for Whether you want to sing.Media Budding journalists and broadcasters have a wealth of opportunities at Oxford. if you want to represent the University. rock and electric. www. From classical to jazz. in print and on the web.

12 OxfordStansted Heathrow London Gatwick . and there are excellent connections to the airports. After all. Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis. The beautiful and historic architecture may be familiar to you from films such as Shadowlands. the University Parks and college gardens. bringing a youthful and cosmopolitan atmosphere and plenty to see and do. there are also retail stores of course. This means that for a fairly small city. Oxford has a large student population of around 40.000. Oxford also has a surprising amount of green space. and Oxford Brookes University. and a thriving bar and club scene. including beautiful riverside walks. There is no campus as such. as most colleges and departments are situated in and around the city centre.The city of Oxford Oxford is in the Thames Valley and close to the beautiful Cotswolds region. numerous coffee shops and restaurants. the oldest botanic garden in the UK. Birmingham There are two universities in the city: Oxford University itself. The Golden Compass and Harry Potter. As well as the ancient buildings. The city centre is very compact and everyone gets around by bicycle or on foot. with traditional English scenery. Oxford is the city which inspired writers such as JRR Tolkien. It’s just an hour to London by train. Oxford graduates includ e: 26 British Prime Ministers More than 30 internati onal leaders An interactive map showing Oxford’s international presence around the world can be found at: www. both within and across disciplines. and tackles issues of major global significance. Academic research spans all regions of the 13 47 Nobel Prize wi nners . Our international presence includes more than 44.Oxford around the globe Oxford University has connections with virtually every country in the world.ox.000 alumni in 188 countries outside the UK. the world’s largest university press and leading tropical medical research around_the_globe/ Visit the Wall of Global Alumni and find out what Oxford alumni have gone on to achieve.

to discuss their career options.Getting a job after Oxford Studying at Oxford is a fantastic preparation for many careers. For example. Organising college events can develop skills in organisation. addressing a particular Oxford students better or much better than strategic issue or business problem. Based in countries all ‘We can rely on the quality over the world. CVs and applications. Students can also meet 1:1 with skilled Careers Advisers. writer and critic. placements or fieldwork. presenting and defending an argument with tutors and other students. fundraising. You will also be able to extend your skills and experiences through practical or project work. Students work in small groups. For example. work projects for 8 to 10 weeks during the summer holidays. the Careers Service runs 15 recruitment fairs and over 200 employer presentations.’ Extra-curricular activities Students at Oxford also have extensive opportunities to develop transferable skills through involvement in extra-curricular teams. The tutorial system provides practice in researching. and respect of Oxford students. Working in student journalism may give useful experience as an interviewer. students work on a defined of the training. participation in sport. commitment and good time management skills. The Oxford University International Internship Programme offers full time leadership. This support continues after graduation. clubs and societies. level of project and gain valuable experience. sales and marketing. integrity. over one term. reasoning and problem solving ability. 14 . internships and other roles. writing extended essays or dissertations. Studies Undertaking an intellectually demanding course equips students for the demands of many jobs. through placements. to offer consultancy services to Surveys of our employers report that they find an organisation. as well as CV and interview skills workshops and mock interviews. Oxford graduates can continue to use the Careers Service for as long as they like. the average graduate from a UK University at key employability skills such as problem solving. the Oxford Student Consultancy links students to local businesses and community organisations. and communication. Careers Service Each year. music or drama groups can demonstrate drive. summarising. negotiation. Work experience Oxford students can also take advantage of many opportunities for work experience.

who are not only extremely well educated. 60% of Oxford leavers earn more than £30. Computer Science and Physics). Source: Oxford University Careers Service CareerConnect database. Source: HESA DLHE survey 2007/08 Oxford graduates are more in demand than ever: in 2010 the number of permanent and full-time job vacancies posted on Oxford’s careers website was up 71% from 2009 – a rise well above the reported figure of 13% in a survey of the top 100 UK graduate recruiters by HighFliers. HighFliers survey 2011.000 per year Source: HESA DLHE survey 2007/08 within six months of graduating (compared to 10% of UK leavers overall). 15 .000 per year within three years of graduating (compared to 30% of UK leavers overall).’ A higher percentage of Oxford graduates go into professional occupations than other graduates – 56% of Oxford graduates. Source: HESA longitudinal survey 2008 Humanities graduates from Oxford not only earn more than other UK humanities graduates. but more than the average UK graduate in many STEM subjects (including Maths.Jobs of Oxford leavers are employed six months after graduating Source: HESA DLHE survey 2009/10 95% 83% of leavers were in graduate level employment Source: Good University Guide: University League Table 2011 20% of Oxford undergraduate leavers earn more than £30. compared to 36% of UK graduates in general. Source: HESA DLHE survey 2007/08 ‘Oxford University consistently produces bright and very smart students. but well rounded individuals.

IGCSE or O-level: grade B your country. all non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy one of the following requirements: • IELTS: overall score of 7. with 7s and 6s in the higher level subjects.0 (with at least 7.5 • TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 110 with at least component scores of Listening – 22. This means the two most recent years before the 15 October application deadline. interviews. As a guide to the minimum our tutors would usually expect. and Writing – 24 • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A • Cambridge Certificate for Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B A-levels: Between A*A*A and AAA depending on the subject. giving a combined score of at least 2. and must be met by the July before the start of your course.0 in each of the four components) • TOEFL (paper-based): overall score of 600 with a Test of Written English score of 5. Reading – 24. or Standardised tests: SAT Reasoning Test with at least 1. we do not select students for their extra-curricular achievements or their leadership.ox. Speaking – 25. you would need either: ● English language requirements All teaching at Oxford University is carried out in English (with the exception of some language-specific teaching) and tutors must be convinced that you have sufficient fluency in written and spoken English to cope with your course from the start. including core points.400 in Critical Reading and Mathematics and preferably also 700 or more in Writing. For more information • International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): please see www. or IB: 38–40 points. we select on academic criteria alone. ● ● ● Or another equivalent qualification from • English Language GCSE. 16 . Although we take many all-round talented students.Applying to Oxford Entrance requirements Competition for places at Oxford is very strong and even excellent grades will not guarantee you a place.admissions. Selection criteria If this is not achieved at the time of application it will form part of any conditional offer. AND Grade 5 in three or more Advanced Placement Tests in appropriate subjects OR SAT Subject Tests in three appropriate subjects at 700 or An exemption from this requirement will be considered for applicants who have been educated full-time in the medium of the English language throughout In contrast to some other universities. score of 5 in English • European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.100 OR ACT with a score of at least 32 out of 36. and who remain that our academics – your future tutors in full-time education conducted in the English – are the people making the admissions language until the end of the school year in decisions and conducting admissions their home country. We are looking for academic achievement and academic potential. Therefore.

ac. there is no financial support available from the UK government or University for students who should ensure they have enough funding in place to support their costs at Oxford.500 for the academic year.Fees and funding In 2012/13. You will also need to budget for out of term costs or flights home.200 to £27. as well as an orientation programme to help you settle in. This includes how to obtain a visa to study. www. The Service also offers a meet – and – greet service to welcome you on arrival to the funding/international. fees for students from outside the EU. as well as any visa required. immigration for family members. information about your status and your legal obligations. Please note.500 per year depending on the course. www.html Visa information and other support The Student Information and Advisory Service provides visa and immigration information to new students.200 per students 17 . vary from £13. We estimate living costs in Oxford to be £9. There is also a college fee of around £6. travel during your stay and staying on to work after your studies.ox.

admissions. Please note that you may apply to one course only at Oxford. because I didn’t think I would get in but I found that once I gave it a try.admissions. many courses also require applicants to take aptitude tests and/or send in samples of written work. making it easier to apply to several institutions. Tutors will read your application and take into account your academic achievements.Making an application All candidates must apply through UCAS between 1 September and 15 October. or you can’t get a Please see for further details. your personal statement. As there is such strong competition for places at Oxford. They will then draw up a shortlist of the strongest candidates who will be invited to an academic interview in December. Please note that all shortlisted applicants for Medicine must attend interviews in Oxford. If you are not able to travel. UCAS is the University and Colleges Admissions Service. Shortlisted candidates who are able to travel to Oxford for interview are welcome to do so. such as Skype. tutors may choose to interview you by telephone or some other remote and www. almost a full year before the courses start in Oxford. You will need to provide details of past academic performance and predicted grades for any pending qualifications. The teachers’ e-guide has information for teachers who may be unfamiliar with this system. and you cannot apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same where you can list up to five university courses to apply to. anything is possible.ox. It’s used by all universities in the UK. You will also need to write a personal statement outlining your reasons for wanting to study the course you are applying for. There is also a section where your teacher or councellor provides a reference as part of the UCAS the academic reference from your teacher and any examples of written work or admissions 18 .’ Hear more about Kevin’s experiences at Oxford at the Wall of 100 Faces: www. You need to complete an online form at Student view Kevin from Bermuda ‘I was a bit nervous at

you might be given a poem to read and analyse.admissions. sample questions and other information about interviews. or send in written work www. in the By 15 October this year f you are for videos. you will receive an offer of a place by please see www.ox. 3 4  Complete your qualifications and get your results By August next year eceive a final decision about your place 9 R August next year 8  Start your course 10 October next year If your application is and give you a chance to experience Oxford Now  Choose a college. If you have not yet completed all your high school qualifications then this offer will probably be conditional on your final grades. For further details of the application process. podcasts.ox. you will be 6 Iinvited to have an interview December this year ou will be told whether or not 7 Y you have an offer of a place January next year Interviews An Oxford admissions interview is an academic interview: in the sciences. We want to understand your academic potential.admissions. If you achieve the grades required in a conditional offer then your place at Oxford is guaranteed.admissions. 2 Check as certain qualifications may be required Now  Check the application process: you may need to register to take a test. or decide to make an open application Now omplete a UCAS application 5 C at to apply your course 1 Choose Now  the entrance requirements. See www. 19 Chris Donaghue .ac. you might be asked to solve an equation.ox.ox. Produced by the University of Oxford Public Affairs Directorate.graduate.twitter. To find out if there are any events near you contact liaison@admin. University of Oxford 2012 Photographs: Rob Judges (except where indicated) For information please see www. If you still have further queries visit and If you are coming to Oxford’s Recruitment Team visits many countries every please see www. cover: James Whitaker 20 iTunes or http://itunes.ox. If you still have further queries telephone +44 (0)1865 288000 or email If you are interested in studying for a graduate degree at Oxford please see or telephone +44 (0)1865 270059 Hear more about students’ experiences at Oxford at the Wall of 100 www.Finding out more For further information about undergraduate study. www. then we really recommend you come to an open day if www.