University of Oxford

Faculty of History

General Admissions Requirements

A student wishing to read for one of the graduate degrees under the auspices of the History Faculty at Oxford University must first be assessed and admitted by the Faculty Board of History. The Faculty's offer of a place includes the guarantee of a college place, although not necessarily in an applicant's preferred college. 

Entrance requirements and assessment criteria – for admissions and funding

Your application needs to convince us that you have the qualities we are looking for. We will use the evidence on your application as a basis for deciding not only whether to offer you a place, but also whether to nominate you for certain kinds of funding. Access to such funding is very competitive: we anticipate that about one third of the doctoral students and one tenth of the master’s students we will ultimately admit will be fully funded through Oxford resources. It is therefore very important that you make every effort to make a good case for yourself. All applicants for funding and all doctoral applicants should pay special attention to what we say in this guidance about developing the research element in their proposal. 

Overall, what we want to have demonstrated to us by your application is your:

  • capacity to work at a high intellectual level 
  • preparedness for your proposed programme of study 
  • ability to identify and formulate an appropriate project for individual research (not equally important for admission to all master’s programmes, but – all things being equal – excellence in this regard will always increase your competitiveness for funding
  • fit with our programme and supervisory capacity

Please note that one condition of admitting you is our ability to find a qualified supervisor who has spare capacity and can take you on. We will make every effort to identify appropriate supervisors for well qualified students, but every year we have to reject a small number of applicants on this ground alone. You should not try to recruit your own supervisor: the faculty appoints supervisors on the basis of our assessment of their fit with your research interests and their spare teaching capacity; but you should check that your interests match our expertise.

The following table shows how we expect to use the evidence you submit to test these points:

Academic RecordReferencesWritten WorkProposal
Level of WorkYesYes  Yes  Yes  
PreparednessYes  Yes  Yes Yes  
ProjectNoNoPossiblyYes  
Academic FitNoNoNoYes  

When we assess your preparedness we will not necessarily expect you to have already all the skills you will need for your programme and project: you will doubtlessly be hoping to develop these skills further within the programme. 

We do not routinely interview applicants. If we do talk to you, face to face or on the telephone, the object of the discussion will normally be to clarify certain aspects of your application. As a general rule, we expect to make our decision about whether to admit you and whether to allocate you funding entirely on the basis of the written evidence you submit. Those who are still enrolled in a degree programme relevant to the programme of study they are applying for must expect to receive a conditional offer only, and the Faculty will set a required completion level in accordance with its assessment of the individual applicant. The criteria outlined for academic record, written work and focus of individual research are considered to be minimum achievement levels, and the actual condition set by the Faculty’s academic assessors in individual cases may well be higher than this guidance.

Page last updated: 10/04/2012, at 13:10

Contact Us

There are a number of ways that you can contact us directly:

By post:

Faculty of History
George Street
Oxford OX1 2RL
United Kingdom

By telephone or fax:

Tel: +44 1865 615000
Fax: +44 1865 250704

Or by email:

For information on graduate admissions, contact:
graduate.admissions(at)history.ox.ac.uk

For information on undergraduate admissions, contact:
schools.liaison(at)history.ox.ac.uk