University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2015 entry

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Is Oxford for me?

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Oxford...

What can I study?

Oxford offers both traditional courses and more unusual ones, some of which are unique to the University. Read more about them on pp 16–117 [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

How will I be taught?

You will be taught in small groups by experts in your subject. There are also lectures and, depending on your subject, classes or practicals. See An Oxford degree (p 4) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

What is a college?

Oxford University is made up of many different colleges. All students are members of a college, which provides welfare support and academic supervision. See Oxford colleges (p 124) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Where will I live?

Your college will provide accommodation for your first year. After this, you can choose to live in college for at least one more year, or move out and rent a place with friends. See Where will I live? (p 164) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Will I be happy?

Oxford scored 91% for student satisfaction in the 2013 National Student Survey – well above average. There is lots of support available if you need it – see Support and well-being (p 177) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Will an Oxford degree help me get a job?

95% of Oxford leavers are employed six months after graduating, and those in full-time jobs have a median salary that is 20% higher than the UK average. See Your career after Oxford (p 122) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Can I afford it?

In 2012 and 2013, Oxford provided the most generous, no-strings attached financial support to UK/EU students from the lowest-income backgrounds. The exact financial support package for 2015 has not yet been confirmed, but Oxford remains committed to providing generous funding. See Student finance (p 120) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

Is it just hard work?

Oxford is famous for its student social life. It’s quite hard to have an interest which you can’t pursue here – there are over 600 clubs and societies, and you can always start your own. See Clubs and societies (p 168) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].


FAQs about applying...

Am I clever enough?

If you expect to achieve AAA or more at A-level (or similar grades in an equivalent qualification – see then you could make a competitive application to Oxford. The exact grades required will depend on the course – see pp 16–117 [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

What subjects do I need?

That depends on the course – see Subject requirements (pp 14–15) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]. Apart from any specific requirements, we accept almost all subjects – particularly those which can demonstrate that you have the necessary skills for your chosen degree.

Can someone from my school ever get in?

Absolutely yes. Oxford does not care where you have been to school as long as you can show academic potential.

Do I have to be an all-rounder?

No – selection at Oxford is purely academic. Unless your extra-curricular achievements can help demonstrate your passion for and commitment to your subject, they won’t influence whether or not you get a place.

Do I have to choose a college?

When you apply, you can specify which college you’d prefer, but it is not required; in 2013, 34% of successful applicants got an offer from a college they didn’t specify. See Oxford colleges (p 124) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Is there a test?

Many courses require you to take an admissions test, for which separate registration is required. It is your responsibility to make sure you register for any test in time. Details of tests are on the individual course pages (see pp 16–117) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note], or at

What about the interview?

If you are shortlisted, we will invite you to interview. Interviews are held in December and are designed to see if you are likely to enjoy studying here. Find out more at

What if I don’t live in the UK?

All students compete for the same places and apply in exactly the same way. If you are shortlisted for interview, this may happen by telephone or Skype. See International students (p 178) [Transcriber’s Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]


A day in the life

Here are some examples of what a typical day can be like as an Oxford student. Of course the details are different for different subjects, and will vary depending on what you like to do in your spare time. Visit our website to see some more weekly timetables at

James: 4th-year Physics student

8.30am Gym - it’s a great way to start the day, wakes me up and gets the endorphins going.

10am Lectures

12pm Lunch - I’m trying to do packed lunches at the moment to save a bit of cash, but I might buy a coffee.

1pm Library – I might do a bit of admin for Teach Green – a volunteering project where we go into primary schools and teach them about the environment – or work on a job application, until I get settled. Then I get on with my problem set: a series of questions to work through in preparation for next week’s tutorial, drawing on things I’ve learnt in lectures and studied in labs.

6pm Teach Green committee meeting

6.45pm Dinner in college – it's a nice time to get everyone together and catch up on the day.

Evening If it’s a busy week, I’ll go and work in the college library; if not, I’ll meet up with some friends.

Henna: 1st-year PPE student

7.30am Get up and ready

9am Library – all economics students are there. I tie up some loose ends on my economics essay.

11am Time for a cup of tea – I go to the JCR for tea and biscuits and spend half an hour chilling out.

11.45am Production meeting – we’re trying to put on a Molière play, so we need to sort out bids, the budget, auditions and things like that.

12.30pm Lunch, and then start some reading for an essay

2pm Logic class - this is part of the Philosophy course. It’s like learning a language, and helps you to see how good an argument is.

4pm Time for another cup of tea - During tea, I complete my University Challenge application.

4.30pm Reading for an essay. The essay title is ‘Is it irrational to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow?’

Evening Dinner with friends at a restaurant in town.


Nicole: 1st-year History & Politics student

6am Rowing – I cycle down to Christ Church Meadow to go rowing. I’m a morning person, so like getting up early!

8.30am Shower and breakfast

10am Lecture on US Politics.

11am Reading – I head back to college to do some reading.

1pm Lunch at college.

2pm I relax for a while, and do some Japanese study ready for this evening’s class at the Language Centre.

5pm Tutorial – with two others. We go through our essays that we submitted yesterday and discuss our arguments.

6pm Japanese class – I’m enjoying starting to get to know the characters in the group now - it’s a real mix!

8pm Meet some friends in town to have dinner.

Evening I prepare some work for a class that I am teaching tomorrow at a local school, which is organised through Schools Plus.

Jamie: 2nd-year Medicine student

9am Lecture - 9am is usually when teaching starts, although we have a few precious 10am starts! I grab breakfast on the go and usually sneak in at the back of the lecture. The lecture is on virology.

10am Living anatomy - we get to prod and poke each other! Today, we’re looking at cranial nerves so we test sensory reactions like taste.

11 30am An optional Computer Aided Learning class - I popped in and then went to the Biochemistry café for lunch with some friends.

2pm Tutorial in college – We discussed essays and then did a short presentation on a pathogenic bacteria. Everyone picked the most gruesome thing they could. I went for syphilis. The tutorial was bigger than usual, because we were doing presentations.

3.30pm Home – finished off my essay work and prepared for an upcoming tutorial.

6pm Dinner

7pm Rehearsal – I play trombone in the Jazz Orchestra so I cycled down to the Music Faculty for the rehearsal.

10pm Catch up with friends to round off the day.


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