Graduate Admissions FAQ

Which course should I apply for?

A list of all of the courses offered by the Faculty, including entry requirements, can be found here.

Is it possible to study part-time?

No, the Faculty of Oriental Studies only offers courses for full-time study. You might be able to find some part-time opportunities or short courses in your area of interest with the Department of Continuing Education.

Where can I find information about tuition and college fees?

Information regarding tuition fees, college fees, fee status and fee liability can be viewed here.

When are the deadlines?

The Faculty of Oriental Studies uses three different deadlines for applications in common with many courses at the University of Oxford. One deadline is in November, one in January and one in March. You can find the exact deadlines in the Application Guide, and deadlines for each course on each of the course pages. The Faculty uses the later of the January deadlines.

Why are there three deadlines? What is the difference between the deadlines?

There are three deadlines because there are three major times of year at which we will consider applications. The difference between the deadlines is mainly when you can expect to hear the outcome of your application (see below ‘When will I hear the outcome of my application?’). The only other major difference between the deadlines is that many funding schemes, such as the Arts & Humanities Research CouncilClarendon Fund and Ertegun require applications to be received by the January deadline at the latest in order to be considered.

When is the latest that I can apply for a place?

This is not a sensible way to think about applying for something as important as graduate study. If you are ready to apply now, apply now. If you are not quite ready, try to get all the materials ready as soon as you can. Applications received after the March deadline can only be considered if there are places available and are dependent on the Faculty finding a college willing to accept the candidate.

Can I apply for more than one course?

You may apply to as many programmes as you want, not forgetting that you will need to pay the application fee for each application. If you were to be given more than one offer, you can accept them but you will need to decide which would be the best programme for you, and then choose only one course. The deadlines may vary but usually you need to decide by August 31st.

What supporting materials should I submit with my application?

Details of supporting materials can be found on the individual course pages. Further information on supporting materials can also be found in the Application Guide.

Who will assess my application?

All applications will be assessed by more than one member of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise. In all cases the Director of Graduate Admissions will give approval to a decision. Admission panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

By what criteria will my application be assessed?

Details of selection criteria can be found on the course pages.

There has been a gap in my studies prior to applying for this degree programme. Can my other experience be taken into account?

The Faculty is prepared to take substantial professional experience in a relevant field into account when assessing applications.

There has been a gap in my studies prior to applying for this degree programme. Can I submit references from my employer or personal references?

While we appreciate that obtaining academic references will be difficult for some candidates, we request academic references because we need to establish whether a candidate is intellectually prepared for a course. It is unlikely that this is something that can be established from a professional or personal reference, so you should only submit such references if there is absolutely no alternative.

I do not have any written work on a topic relevant to the course for which I am applying. Can I submit work not directly related to the course?

Yes. Many of our applicants are in a similar position, depending on the specific course. There are many things we are looking for in your written work which are not specific to the subject area, such as ability to construct and defend an argument and presentation of material in the appropriate scholarly form.

Can I submit one 4,000 word piece of written work instead of two 2,000 word pieces?

No. The Faculty requires two 2,000 word pieces so that we can assess your ability to write on different topics. It is therefore desirable to submit work which will show a range of ability rather than two highly similar pieces. Written work can be extracts from longer pieces of work.

Are there any other criteria which may affect whether or not my application is accepted?

The Faculty assesses applications competitively. That means that applications are assessed relative to other applications received during a particular deadline or year. Many of our courses are oversubscribed, in which case we may not be able to offer places to all strong candidates owing to the volume of applications received. In such cases we will offer places to the strongest applications as assessed on the criteria above.

We are only able to accept applications when we can offer adequate supervision in the relevant field. This is particularly relevant in the case of research applicants. If there is no suitable supervisor within the Faculty or the only possible supervisor has already taken on his or her complement of research students for a given year it may mean that we are unable to make an offer. If you are applying for the Doctor of Philosophy in Oriental Studies or the Master of Studies in Oriental Studies you must contact a potential supervisor before you apply to find out whether they are able in principle to supervise your project. Please note that they will not be able to give you any firm assurances until you have applied since it will depend on the details of your application and other applications received. The list of Faculty members gives information about research interests and contact details.

Please note that we are not able to guarantee that students will be supervised by the Faculty member they request when they apply. Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy in Oriental Studies will be informed of the supervisor they have been allocated in their offer letter.

In rare cases it is possible for students to be supervised by someone in a different Faculty or Department of the University of Oxford, but in all such cases a student must be co-supervised by a member of the Faculty.

What are the Faculty’s English language requirements?

Details of English language requirements can be found in the Application Guide

There are no recognised English language test dates which will allow me to receive the scores prior to application. Can I apply without the scores?

Yes. You can apply prior to receiving the scores. If your application is successful any offer you receive will be conditional upon receipt of satisfactory English language test scores.

Is my country counted as a majority English speaking country?

The list of majority English speaking countries is defined by the UK Border Agency. You can find information about the requirements in the Application Guide.

English is not my first language and I am not a national of a majority English speaking country. Are there any circumstances in which I can apply for a waiver?

Yes, but only in very specific circumstances. These are specified in the Application Guide. Please note that English language test waivers are granted at the discretion of the Faculty.

Will my disability, health condition, specific learning difficulty or personal circumstances affect my chances of being accepted?

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the selection criteria appropriate to the programme of study. Further information on how equality and diversity matters are supported during the admissions process is available here

What is Graduate Applicant Self Service?

Graduate Applicant Self Service allows you to edit and add referees, upload missing documents or documents the Faculty have requested, update your information and see the status of your references and your overall application. Further information can be viewed here.

I am currently studying for a taught master's course at the University of Oxford and wish to apply for a research course. How do I apply?

If you wish to carry on to a research programme with no break in your study, you can apply for readmission and will not be charged the application fee. You will find the code you require in order to submit your application for readmission in Student Self Service. Please note that one of your references should be from your Oxford course supervisor. Further information can be viewed here.

When will I hear the outcome of my application?

This depends on the deadline by which your application was received. You will usually find out the outcome of your application around 8 to 10 weeks after the application deadline date. Where courses remain open beyond standard University deadlines there is no formal decision-making timetable for applications, though you can still generally expect to be notified of the outcome around 8 to 10 weeks after completing your application during this time. For information on everything that happens after you submit your application, including your self-service options, please see the Decision timeline.

I applied in November/January/March but I still haven’t heard the outcome of my application and it is now past the time specified above. What should I do?

You should check whether your application was considered complete by the relevant deadline. An application that was received in November may not have been deemed complete by the November deadline. In this case it is treated as received by the January deadline and the response will be later.  An application is only complete when all supporting materials have been received, including references, by the relevant deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that references have been submitted in time.

I’ve checked and my application was received and complete by the relevant deadline but I still haven’t heard.

The Faculty send out responses to all applications by email. Check that the response has not gone into your junk mail. If it has not, contact us by emailing Please be aware that we will not give out the outcome of applications over the phone and at busy times when we are trying to inform candidates of the outcome of applications receiving a high volume of phone enquiries will interfere with our ability to process applications.

How can I find scholarship and funding information?

Your best guide to funding opportunities will always be the University's website. We recommend that you use the Fees, funding and scholarship seach which is a useful tool for finding any funding that you may be eligible to apply for.

Who can I contact for more information?

If your question is not answered above, on the Faculty’s Graduate Admissions page, or in the application guide, you should contact the Faculty’s Graduate Studies Administrator, by emailing

If your question relates to the availability of supervision, particularly for Doctor of Philosophy in Oriental Studies and the Master of Studies in Oriental Studies applications, you may need to contact the Faculty member with whom you would be interested in working.

If your question relates to a technical problem with the online application system, you should contact the University's Graduate Admissions Office.