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University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2016 entry

Section 1: Introducing Oxford

This version was produced by the Oxford University Accessible Resources Acquisition and Creation Unit in 2015.

[Copyright notice]

This copy has been made for the use of visually impaired people and may not be further copied (including any electronic copying or transmission), without permission of the copyright holder, save as may be permitted by law.

[Transcriber's Note]

To ease navigation, heading levels 1, 2 and 3 are used throughout the document.

Print page numbers are recorded at the point where they occur and are given on a separate line enclosed in square brackets.

Contents lis

[Copyright notice] 1

[Transcriber's Note] 1

Ali, Brigitte, Cameron, Charith, Charles, Chern Yuen, Chesca, Chris, Claire, Emily, Farzeha, Matthew, Ida, Iona, Izzy, Jack, John, Louise, Marco, Matthew, Mili, Olivia, Rachael, Rowena, Sam, Sophie-Charlotte, Stephanie and Yedam, say: 3

Contents [Transcriber's Note: Table of contents from printed edition. End of note] 3


Do you need this prospectus in another format? 4

Why Oxford? 4

How Oxford works 5

Course 5

College 5

Find out more 5

Is Oxford for me? 6

Global Oxford 6

International study & research 6

Alumni 7

Oxford people 7

Find out more 7

How to apply 7

October 2015 7

November 2015 8

December 2015 8

January 2016 8

Spring 2016 8

October 2016 8

Contents [Transcriber's Note: Table of contents from printed edition. End of note] 2


Do you need this prospectus in another format? 3

Why Oxford? 3

How Oxford works 4

Course 4

College 4

Find out more 4

Is Oxford for me? 5

Global Oxford 5

International study & research 5

Alumni 6

Oxford people 6

Find out more 6

How to apply 6

October 2015 6

November 2015 7

December 2015 7

January 2016 7

Spring 2016 7

October 2016 7

Ali, Brigitte, Cameron, Charith, Charles, Chern Yuen, Chesca, Chris, Claire, Emily, Farzeha, Matthew, Ida, Iona, Izzy, Jack, John, Louise, Marco, Matthew, Mili, Olivia, Rachael, Rowena, Sam, Sophie-Charlotte, Stephanie and Yedam, say:

“It doesn’t matter about your background – I didn’t think I’d make it either!” Rachael, 2nd year

“When I tell my tutors that their argument is ridiculous, they are delighted ...as long as I can defend my reasons!” Rowena, 4th year

“Oxford has exceeded my expectations.” Matthew, 1st year

“Come with an open mind.” Farzeha, 3rd year

“If you’re thinking about it, just do it.” Chris, 3rd year

“Everyone’s much more normal than I thought!” Olivia, 1st year

“I’m looking forward to my 4th year … it will be exciting to do science that nobody has ever done before.” Izzy, 3rd year

“Oxford is a truly enriching experience… I’m looking forward to what the future holds!” Charles, 1st year

“Oxford is for everyone, as long as you have the grades.” Louise, 1st year

“Oxford is hard work but great fun.” Charles, 1st year

“We go to a Viking village with the historical re-enactment society and cook over an open fire.” Sophie-Charlotte, 3rd year

“Being here has opened my eyes to the possibilities in this world.” Chern Yuen, 3rd year

“Love your subject and you’ll be fine!” Ali, 1st year

“There is no blueprint for a successful Oxford applicant.” Emily, 1st year

“Last summer I toured California, India and Edinburgh for free – and made a studio album.” Marco, 3rd year

“Anything can happen, so give it a go.” Matthew, 1st year

“Be engaged, be inquisitive, be yourself.” Sam, 3rd year

“Oxford has taught me how to squeeze every last second out of a moment.” Chesca, 1st year

“My face was painted by one of the children I volunteer with.” John, 3rd year

“Oxford has helped me realise what I believe in, and has got me involved in causes I deeply care about.” Mili, 2nd year


Contents [Transcriber's Note: Table of contents from printed edition. End of note]

2-9 Introducing Oxford

2 Why Oxford

4 How Oxford works

6 Is Oxford for me?

8 Global Oxford

10 How to apply

12 – 117 Courses

12 Introducing the courses

14 Subject requirements

16 – 117 The courses (alphabetically)

118 – 127 Oxford life

118 A day in the life

120 Sport

121 Music

122 Drama

123 OUSU & other societies

124 In & around Oxford

126 The best… in Oxford

128 – 167 Colleges

128 Introducing the colleges

130 Which colleges offer my course?

132 Choosing a college

133 – 167 The colleges (alphabetically)

168 Careers

170 Fees and funding

172 – 181 Studying at Oxford

172 Libraries

174 Museums

176 IT Services

176 Language Centre

177 Your support network

178 Disabled students

179 Equality for all

180 International students

181 Mature students

182 – 189 Finding out more

182 Open days

184 Events in Oxford

186 Events near you

188 Visiting Oxford

190 – 192 Index & maps

190 Index

191 Dull but important

192 Maps


Details are correct at the time of going to press in January 2015. Any updates or changes to information can be found on our webpages ox.ac.uk/study.

©The University of Oxford 2015

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission.

Do you need this prospectus in another format?

Download a high-contrast version from ox.ac.uk/moreinfo

Braille, large print and audio formats are also available on request from:

Admissions Information Centre

+44 (0) 1865 288000; study@ox.ac.uk; ox.ac.uk/study


Why Oxford?

“I got a lecture on deserts from a lecturer who had arrived fresh off the plane from Chad - he still had the dust on his shoes!” Ryan, 2nd year

“My favourite Oxford memory is being told by my tutor about her latest research breakthrough during a first year tutorial. This information is only now starting to filter through to students at other universities two years later, and I heard about it directly from the researcher!” Catherine, 3rd year

No.1 Top University in the UK & Europe: Times Higher Education World Rankings 2014-15

Largest volume of high-quality research: Research Excellence Framework, 2014

More world-leading academics than any other UK university: Complete University Guide, 2014


Over £23,000 financial support – An English student from a low-income background who begins a course in 2015 will receive up to £23,660 in non-repayable grants and bursaries over three years.

1 in 4 students get a bursary – A quarter of Oxford undergraduates get a bursary on top of any government support (UK/EU only).

11,000 UNDERGRADUATES divided by 35 Colleges: All the benefits of a small local community with all the resources of a big international University. It’s like having a campus in the middle of a city.

“My college is home to a weird and wonderful bunch of brainy eccentrics from all over the world.” Emily, 1styear

YOUNGEST city: Oxford is the youngest city in England and Wales. 35% of people who live here are aged 15-29, and 24% (30,000) are university students.

Oldest UNIVERSITY: Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world – over 900 years old


How Oxford works

As an Oxford undergraduate you’ll be part of an academic department or departments, depending on the course you’re studying. You’ll also be a member of a college - a community of students and academics from many different subject areas.

The course you study is the same, whatever your college.

“The choice of course is the most important part, because it is what you will spend most of your time on for the next 3 or more years.” Catherine, 3rd year

  • Over 250 courses

  • From over 30 faculties and departments

  • 1-to-1 and small group teaching through the tutorial system


Each Oxford course has a compulsory core, plus various options you can choose from to tailor it to your personal interests. These aspects of the course are organised by departments of the central University:


All students in a particular subject will come together for lectures. These provide core information that you may find useful in tutorials, essays or exams.


All students in science-based subjects come together for labwork and/or fieldwork – typically, at least two half-days a week.


Oxford courses have two stages. There are exams at the end of the first stage (usually the end of the first year) that you must pass to continue the course, but don’t count for your final grade.

After this, assessment depends on the course you are studying. You might sit your Finals (written exams on which your final grade is based) at the end of your last year, or at the end of each year. Some exams may be replaced by a project, extended essay or dissertation, or there might be an oral exam.

Colleges are not just where you live – in most cases they are a base for tutorial teaching.



35 undergraduate colleges and halls

Whatever course you are studying, you will also become a member of a small academic community called a college Colleges provide you with a home-from-home in Oxford – you’ll live there for at least your first year - and in most cases arrange your tutorial teaching

Tutorials take place at least once a week and it’s up to you to research and prepare for them. Then you meet your tutor, perhaps with one or two other students, to discuss an essay or solutions to set problems. The aim is to review your answers or theories and explore ideas that arise in discussion.

A tutorial relies on the exchange of ideas between you, your tutor and other students. You don’t need to be experienced in debating – just ready to present and defend your opinions, accept constructive criticism and listen to others

Tutorials develop your ability to think for yourself – not only an essential ability for academic success but also a skill that the best employers look for in Oxford graduates.

“Regular meetings with approachable tutors ensure that you never fall behind and are given individual help if needed.” Niloy, 3rd year

Find out more

Colleges: page 128 [Transcriber's Note: printed edition page number. End of note]


Is Oxford for me?

  • 91% score for SATISFACTION in the 2014 National Student Survey

  • 98.8% complete their degree – only 1.2% of students drop out, compared to 6.7% nationally

  • 23% of our students identify as black or minority ethnic

  • 7% of our students are registered for disability support

Selection at Oxford is entirely based on academic criteria.

To make a competitive application, you need to have, or expect to achieve, three A-levels or any other equivalent qualifications. The exact requirements vary depending on which course you want to apply for, but as a guide you will need to achieve:

A-levels: AAA - A*A*A

International Baccalaureate: 38 - 40 (including core points)

Many more qualifications are acceptable see the full list at ox.ac.uk/enreqs

Apart from any specific requirements, we accept all subjects (except Genera Studies) – particularly those which can demonstrate that you have the necessary skills for your chosen degree.

We don’t care about your background, your extra-curricular activities (unless your extra-curricular activities show your commitment to or aptitude for your chosen course) or what kind of school you went to – we’re just looking for academic potential.

“Three years ago I thought it extremely unlikely that I would be here today. If you’re reading this and thinking the same, then we have something in common.” Nikita, 3rd year


Oxford interviews over 10,000 applicants each December

“There’s no need to be scared of or intimidated by Oxford – if you want to apply and are capable of achieving the grades you need, then go for it.” Claire, 1styear

“It really doesn’t matter if you don’t have any major extra­curricular hobbies. Not only is interest in your chosen course far more important, but when you get to university there are far more extra-curricular opportunities than you could have foreseen whilst at school!” Nikita, 3rd year

I’ve never felt this free before: from discussing the most esoteric ideas and subjects, to just enjoying myself at Queerfest.” Jordan, 1styear

“I receive a Moritz-Heyman scholarship, which is for students from low-income backgrounds. As well as funding and tuition fee reductions, it provides support for doing an internship during the vacation.” Izzy, 3rd year


Global Oxford

“If you are interested in your subject, then you must apply to Oxford! There are almost no places globally which can provide the same student experience.” Niloy, 3rd year

International study & research

While at Oxford, there are lots of opportunities for you to gain international experience to further your academic, career and personal development. These include studying, working or undertaking research abroad. Organised and funded by the University and its colleges, examples include:

  • Over 650 college travel grants;

  • More than 500 summer internships;

  • Funded summer schools at universities abroad

  • Student exchanges with the US, Asia and Europe

  • A year abroad for students of: Modern Languages, Oriental Studies and Law with Law Studies in Europe


Erasmus study exchanges let you spend up to 12 months at one of our partner universities. Modern Languages students also have the option of an Erasmus traineeship during their year abroad. Erasmus s supported by the European Commission, and includes a monthly allowance to help with studying or working abroad ox.ac.uk/erasmus


“Oxford has introduced me to people from around the world I never could have met otherwise.” Jack, 1st year


When you complete a degree at Oxford, you join a global community of over 200,000 graduates. You can tap-in to this network online (through the Oxford Alumni Community) or in-person at regular group events – from Bermuda to Berlin, Shropshire to Shenzhen, you’ find Oxford alumni all over the world.

All Oxford alumni benefit from lifelong access to the latest research through regular news digests, continued online library access, events and more. See a that Oxford offers after graduation at www.alumni.ox.ac.uk

“Oxford: a great group of interesting people who come from all across the world and yet can relate to each other so easily.” Mathew, 1styear

Oxford people

  • 26 Nobel Prize winners

  • 26 UK Prime Ministers

  • International leaders including Bill Clinton and Benazir Bhutto

  • Scientists like Edwin Hubble, Dorothy Hodgkin and Stephen Hawking

  • Poets and writers including John Donne, Oscar Wilde and Iris Murdoch

  • Actors and film-makers including Kate Beckinsale, Hugh Grant and Ken Loach

Find out more

Careers: page 168 [Transcriber's Note: printed edition page number. End of note]

International students: page 180 [Transcriber's Note: printed edition page number. End of note]


How to apply

If you want to study at Oxford in 2016, you need to apply by 15 October 2015. Choose a course and check that you meet its entrance requirements, then follow these steps to apply:

October 2015

UCAS application

You will need to provide information about yourself, including a personal statement where you talk about your interest in the course you’re applying for. A teacher or advisor needs to give you a reference. This is all submitted through an online form – no additional references, transcripts or certificates are required unless you have already completed your first degree.

Make sure you start your UCAS application in good time.

Most people apply to Oxford before they have finished their final year of school or college. If this is the case for you, then your referee will need to provide you with predicted grades –where they say what they expect you to achieve in your A-levels (or equivalent qualifications).

Submit by 6pm UK time on 15 October at www.ucas.com


For most courses, you are required to take a test as an essential part of your application: check your course page.

Oxford admissions tests are organised by the Admissions Testing Service. If you are currently at school or college, you must ask your exams officer to register you to take the test there. Otherwise, see the website for advice on finding an open centre. ox.ac.uk/tests

You must register by 15 October 2015 and sit the test on 4 November 2015

If you’re applying to study Law, you must take the LNAT (the National Admissions Test for Law) between 1 September and 20 October 2015.

To guarantee a test slot you will need to register by 5 October 2015 www.lnat.ac.uk


“Seriously, relax during the interview. Rushing off the first thought that comes to mind will very likely end in a wrong answer. Although, getting an answer wrong doesn’t mean that you will fail – if you have fun learning from the interview, chances are that you’ll do just fine.” Yedam, 1st year

November 2015

Written work

For some courses, you need to send in written work as part of your application: check the page for your course. For exact requirements for each subject, and to download a cover sheet, please visit ox.ac.uk/writwork

December 2015


Tutors review each UCAS application, along with any test or written work, and decide on a shortlist of candidates to interview. You will find out whether or not you have been shortlisted in late November or early December.

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to come to a particular college in December. The college will provide free accommodation and food while you are here. You will be interviewed by tutors at that college, and possibly by tutors at other colleges as well. If you live outside the EU, and are unable to travel to Oxford for interview, then you may be offered an interview by Skype. (Medicine is an exception – all shortlisted candidates must come to Oxford.) There are lots of myths about interviews at Oxford, but really they’re just conversations about your chosen subject.

Download Oxford interviews: your guide at ox.ac.uk/interview

January 2016


You will hear by mid-January 2016 whether or not your application has been successful.

If you have not yet completed the necessary qualifications, then any offer made will be a “conditional offer”. You will have until August 2016 to achieve the required grades.

Spring 2016


Student finance applications open from early 2016. For fees, funding, grants and bursaries information see page 170 [Transcriber's Note: printed edition page number. End of note] or visit ox.ac.uk/funding

October 2016

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