Postgraduate taught courses: admissions

It is the responsibility of Education Committee, through its Graduate Panel and Graduate Admissions Committee, to determine the policy, timetable, and process for the admission of graduate taught students.

Postgraduate taught (PGT) students are admitted in accordance with the general regulations for the degree awarded set out in the Examination Regulations. These should be read in conjunction with the associated special regulations made by individual boards or departments. Divisional Boards and Faculty Boards have the power and responsibility to admit PGT students. In the case of Divisional Boards, this power is delegated to, and responsibility discharged by, departments and other units designated by a Board as a University Admitting Body (UAB).

In the formulation and implementation of its policy and procedures for the admission of graduate taught students, all members of the University must be mindful of the University’s Equality Policy (NEW LINK) and of its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010). These include the requirement to have ‘due regard’ to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunity, and
  • Foster good relations between people with different ‘protected characteristics’

The University seeks to attract applicants of the highest quality and potential, regardless of background. Decisions on the admission of students will be based on the individual merits of each candidate as assessed against the entry requirements.

UABs must only admit applicants who can provide evidence of a strong academic record. The minimum academic requirement that applicants must meet in order to be considered for admission as a graduate taught student is a strong upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree with honours, or equivalent qualification.  This condition may be waived only where there is alternative evidence of real academic strength and aptitude for the programme in question. For example, evidence of relevant professional experience may be a basis for waiving this condition. The authority to waive the minimum academic requirement lies with Divisional Boards which may delegate this power to UABs. Academic waivers must be approved by the appropriate authority at divisional or UAB level, usually the Director of Graduate Studies.

The University’s English language requirements for individual programmes of study, set either at the Higher level or at the Standard level (as specified on the Graduate Admissions website) must be met in full. It must be met by either (a) certification of the Higher or Standard level as specified; or (b) suitable alternative evidence of the candidate having met the required standard of English language proficiency. The latter will require certification to be formally waived. The grounds and procedure for granting a waiver are set out in full in the English Language test waiver policy. The authority to waive the requirement for certification lies with Divisional Boards which may delegate this power to UABs. Divisions are asked to report regularly on waivers granted and when English language courses are set as terms of the offer, and this information is reviewed by Education Committee.

A UAB must ensure that information relating to postgraduate taught programmes is clear, accurate and of sufficient detail to enable applicants to make informed choices. It should contain the following as a minimum:

  1. The criteria for assessment of applicants to the programme including: measures of academic ability (degree level etc); English language requirements; other qualifications and/or experience required; supporting materials required
  2. Deadlines for receipt of applications
  3. The name of the course director
  4. Course structure and content, for example: nature and type of qualification; course duration; pattern of teaching, learning and assessment; arrangements for resits; study and residence requirements
  5. The arrangements that will be put in place for supervising the graduate’s work as appropriate
  6. The induction arrangements
  7. IT support/ library facilities/ experimental facilities available
  8. Opportunities for work experience and internships
  9. Dept/Faculty social facilities
  10. Dept/Faculty arrangements for pastoral and welfare support
  11. Specific requirements such as health clearance, immunisation

Additionally, the University provides the following information:

  • Fees, additional costs and living costs
  • Funding opportunities
  • Visa requirements
  • University accommodation, and general information relating to college accommodation
  • Careers advice

Having made an offer, UABs should inform prospective students of any significant changes to the programme made between publication of the programme on the website and the offer of a place, and between the offer of a place and the start of the course, and the options open to the student in these circumstances. The UAB is also responsible for drawing to the attention of the prospective student any information which should be studied, or courses taken, between the time of offer and time of arrival, and where they might be accessed e.g. English language courses.

All applicants must submit the following materials in order to be considered for admission to a taught programme:

  1. A fully completed application form
  2. Three academic references (one or more may be substituted with a professional reference, as set out in the entry requirements for the course)
  3. Transcript(s) of previous higher education
  4. CV/résumé
  5. Statement of purpose/ personal statement
  6. The application fee.

Applicants may also be required to supply additional materials with their application, depending on the requirements of the course, as specified in the Course Guide.

The applicant is responsible for providing these materials in sufficient time to meet the published deadlines for applications. Applicants must include in their applications details of all periods of study at university level, and all qualifications attempted whilst at university.

Applicants for full-time study who, if admitted, would be concurrently registered at another institution are not eligible for admission to Oxford. Exceptions may only be made where such registration is part of a formal collaborative arrangement between the University and the other Institution. Such arrangements must have the approval of the division and Education Committee.

The UAB should ensure that:

  • Admissions procedures are clear and consistently followed by all staff
  • Entry requirements are reviewed annually
  • All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved on behalf of the UAB by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee
  • Recommendations not to accept may be made by one or more members of staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved on behalf of the UAB by the DGS or Admissions Committee
  • Admission offers make clear what the applicant must do: a) to take up the offer, b)to request deferral of entry, or c)if they fail to meet any conditions specified in the offer, including conditions set by the college

UABs must ensure that admissions panels or committees include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training e.g. the Graduate Admissions Assessors and Admissions Staff Guidance: online course. UABs are responsible for briefing all those assessing applications on the admissions procedures and the entry requirements.

Contact us

Education Policy Support
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Tel: 01865 270091