Frequently Asked Questions


You may have a number of questions regarding your application to study history at Oxford. Please check through the list below to see if your query is covered before emailing the History Faculty Graduate Office.

We hope you find what you were looking for. If not, please email us at and we will be happy to help.

Applying - The Basics


Visit the Applying to Oxford page  - this will give a you breakdown of the steps you need to take and the application guide.

You can also look at History-specific information in the How to Apply section of our website.



We expect applicants to have some previous experience with History, if they do not have a History degree (single honours or major subject). Some degrees (such as Theology, for example), can be closely related to History (depending on the topic) and therefore a continuation onto a History programme could make sense. 



The Graduate admissions deadline is in early January. The date will be published on the How to Apply page.



Masters Programmes

Yes, you must start in October


DPhil Programmes 

The Faculty may, in exceptional circumstances, accommodate a January or even April start. Please contact the Graduate Office if you would like to discuss this.



Yes, however you will have to pay the application fee for each application. 



No. All your applications will be assessed separately and independent of any other.



No, you do not need to try to find your own supervisor.

The faculty will appoint supervisors on the basis of our assessment of their fit with your research interests and their spare teaching capacity.

Find out more about supervisors on the 'How to Apply' Page.




The University’s residence policy requires registered graduates to live within a 25 miles radius from Oxford City Centre (Carfax Tower) during term time 

Under exceptional circumstances (such as an established family home of mature students) the University authorities may grant a dispensation from this residence requirement 



No, you do not need to live in Oxford.

However, when studying part-time, you will be fully integrated into the research culture of the University and expected to attend the University on a regular basis for supervision, study, skills training and participation in some of the many research seminars. 

This will translate in most cases roughly to attending Oxford two days a week during full term. For those working alongside their studies, the Faculty appreciates that you will have non-standard attendance and work patterns.




Our full-time programmes do anticipate a commitment to their study, equivalent to a full-time job (40 hours a week).

Sometimes students may have access to part-time or casual work alongside their course work, but we strongly advise our graduates that they should not commit themselves to more than six hours per week on average 



If you are on a part-time course and in employment, you must provide a letter from your employer stating you may take time off if necessary to attend the University as required for the duration of the course.



If you think your topic is out of the ordinary, and/or requires a specialist supervisor who might not usually be available at all Universities, please email us a brief topic outline (3-4 sentences) so that we can check whether appropriate supervision is available.



If you are applying for a college award (see Funding Search) you are usually expected to nominate that particular college as your preference. 

You are not guaranteed an offer from your preferred college.

You have the option of indicating that you have no particular college preference which will mean that your application, once the Faculty has made you an offer, will be directed to one of the colleges that still has places available.  



No. This does not apply to graduate students.

Students actually find it useful to be in a different college from their supervisor, as in addition to their supervisor they will also have a college advisor who can provide additional support and guidance.




The full list of programmes offered by the History Faculty can be seen on the Graduate Admissions pages of the History website.



Master of Studies (MSt/MSc)

  • Full time - 9 months;
  • Part-time - 21 Months.

Master of Philiosophy (MPhil)

  • Full-time - 21 months.

Doctor of Philiosophy (DPhil)

  • Requires typically a minimum of three and a maximum of four years of research, analysis, and writing-up of your findings.

Master of Letters (M.Litt) 

  • typically a minimum of two and a maximum of three years of research, analysis, and writing-up of your findings.



No, the Faculty does not offer any distance learning courses.



All our programmes are designed to prepare you for a research degree: length and cost may well be the main criteria for your choice.



The MSt and MSc are both 9 month long courses. 

If you do a MSt./MSc you need to keep in mind that, if you want to apply for a DPhil (or PhD elsewhere), you will have to apply for  this within a few months of starting your master's programme. This means that you need to have a clear idea of your D.Phil. topic at that point and feel ready to write a research proposal. 



The MPhil takes place over two years and will provide a broader grounding in your subject area. It places more emphasis on the research element, requiring a more substantial dissertation. An MPhil. may also be a suitable degree for those who do not intend to carry on towards a doctorate, but would like some broader exposure to the subject area and wish to complete a significant piece of individual research.



You need to decide which faculty or department would be best suited to your topic, and for which your previous training and experience are likely to qualify. This might mean that you need to rethink your focus somewhat, thereby pulling it in one direction or the other.

Consider whether your topic can (and should) contain enough of the History element and whether this focus is reflected in your proposal/statement of purpose.

A second supervisor for advice on any non-historical element of your topic can often be found.


Costs and Funding


The primary source for funding information is the University’s Funding Search which is a useful tool for finding the right award to apply for.



The University's fee calculator can be used to find the University fees charged.

The cost of college accommodation depends on the college and the accommodation you are provided with, and thus cannot be calculated beforehand.



The Clarendon scholarship does not require a separate application.

Applications for AHRC funding, via The Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Partnership (OOC DTP), require a separate form to be completed and uploaded as part of the application.

AHRC, ESRC and Clarendon applications are initially assessed by the Faculty who then submits a list of nominees for review by the relevant Divisional panels. 

All internal funding (Faculty and college-linked awards) is done through the Faculty. In most cases no separate application is necessary.

Some of the named scholarships on the application form and virtually all college-based scholarship will require some additional material (please check the scholarships on the University website). 



Once nominations have been agreed successful candidates will be informed in late March / early April of the outcome and in due course be asked for any additional information which may be required for the documentation which has to be submitted to the relevant funding body. 

While the University aims to keep applicants informed about funding decisions it is not always possible to inform everyone individually that their funding application has been unsuccessful; the huge numbers of applicants for Clarendon and AHRC funding, for instance, make this task fairly unmanageable (in those cases the University places a summary announcement on the relevant webpage indicating that all successful candidates have been contacted, and that those who have not been contacted need to assume that their application was unsuccessful).



In parallel to AHRC, ESRC, and Clarendon funding eligible candidates will also have been considered for the Faculty’s departmental and college-linked awards, and additional awards may only become available if one or more of the nominees for such awards for unforeseen reasons have to withdraw from their Oxford award. 

In consequence, we need to advise you that you need to investigate your alternative financial options if you have not been offered an internal award by early April.



If you realise that you are unable to finance your studies at Oxford, please contact us at and your college to tell us that you are withdrawing from your place.

The sooner you inform us of that decision, the sooner another applicant on the waiting-list is able to take up a place and start planning their own finances.


Documents for application



Yes, we normally require three academic references. Your application will only be accepted if at least two of your references were received by the relevant application deadline. Please ask your referees to check their Junk Folders after you submitted the reference section 

In the case of mature students two academic references and one professional reference are acceptable. 




We require a transcript that shows the individual marks for all your subjects.

If you already have a final transcript of your previous degree, you can submit a PDF copy of it with your application – this will need to be a scan of the original official transcript.

If you are currently enrolled in a degree programme and therefore do not have a final transcript yet, you should submit an interim transcript showing individual marks for all your subjects.In this case, the offer of a place at Oxford will be conditional, asking you to achieve a certain level of performance in your examination results and to provide us with a final transcript when it is produced at the end of the academic year. 

If made an offer, we will need the original (hard copy) of your transcript for our records before we can confirm our offer.



An official transcript is the original document showing all your marks to-date, in hard copy, usually bearing a stamp and a signature from the awarding institution.

It is NOT an online printout, photocopy (even colour) or your degree certificate.

Please consult the University's Application Guide about their requirements and definitions.



We do not usually return transcripts, as we need to keep them to prove that we have had the evidence for a student’s admission to the programme, should we ever be audited. 

We can sometimes make exceptions if a transcript is irreplaceable for a special reason.


Language Certificates


If you are not a native English speaker, we will require you to provide us with a language certificate. For required scores see the University’s information on language skills (History applicants need to achieve test results at the higher level). 

However, if you are not a native English speaker, but have completed more than twelve months of a degree programme at an English speaking university, you can ask for a language test waiver. In this case, please also ask your referees to comment explicitly on your English language skills in their references. 

Please note that we might still ask you to take an English language test, should we for any reason have doubts about your English language competence, or if your current academic institution is not recognised as an English language teaching environment for visa requirements by the UK Border Agency.



If you need more time to improve your English and want to take your English test after submitting your application, you can do this. 

Ideally we would like to have your language certificate by mid-February for January applications (but the test result can also be considered as an academic condition to be fulfilled by 31st July). 



For required scores on language tests, see the University’s information on language skills (History applicants need to achieve test results at the higher level). 

If you do not reach these score, you can still try to improve your English language skills during the assessment process. Please state in your application that you are intending to re-take your English language test later to try to improve the score

You can then send in your new language test certificate to be added to your application documents to:

Graduate Admissions Officer, Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL.


Written Work


Yes, your written work serves the purpose of showing your writing and research skills.

Although ideally such work would relate to History, as you are also submitted your research proposal, writing samples from other subject areas would still give our assessors a clear idea of your abilities.



Yes, you can submit a chapter or two of a longer work, such as a previous thesis or dissertation. In this case you will need to add an introductory page stating that the submitted work is part of a bigger piece of writing, and giving any context necessary for the written work to be clearly understood.

Previous Degrees and Qualifications


We expect our applicants to obtain average marks which place them in the category of a very high Upper Second-Class honours degree (c. 68% or above), or a GPA of 3.70/4.00.

Applicants should keep in mind that their past academic record is not the only element of our assessment.



The Faculty look at individual marks on your transcript. Should your overall GPA be lower than our requirements state, but your individual marks for History are outstandingly high, we would still consider your application.



We require a minimum GPA of 3.70 out of 4.0.

If your university calculates the GPA differently, you would have to work out a similar percentage.

The University offers general guidance on the types of qualifications and grades from countries outside the UK that would usually be considered to meet its minimum entry requirements.You can find guidance on international qualifications here



No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores are sought for our courses


If you receive an offer

Your Offer


Please send us an email at to accept or reject your place.



No.  The offer letter constitutes a formal offer of a place at the University of Oxford and when you accept it, you will enter into a contract with the University. This is not a binding contract, but gives us an indication as to whether you have the intention of coming to Oxford, should you be able to fulfil any academic and financial conditions.

Please email us as soon as possible should you change your mind at any point. We would appreciate it if you would provide a reason for not wishing to take up your place at Oxford. If you choose to accept an offer from another university, it would be helpful if you told us where you will be going instead. 



You will need to meet the conditions set out in your offer letter by the date specified. 

If you cannot meet the conditions by the given deadline (usually 31st July), please get in touch with us and let us know when we can expect the required documents to meet the conditions of your offer.



For master's programmes or diplomas with late results we try our best to facilitate the continuation of your studies without a year's break. However, in some cases this may not be possible. 

If you are not able to get us a final transcript/confirmed marks before registering for the Oxford course, we will have to ask for three things: 

  1. An interim transcript with marks up to that point, showing any marks that were not in the transcript submitted with your application. These marks could be released to us unofficially by your university, if they are not released to you at that point, but you would need to make sure your university office is happy to do this.
  2. Confirmation that you have submitted your dissertation  (assuming the dissertation is the element delaying things).
  3. Confirmation from your supervisor that s/he has seen a final draft of your dissertation, commenting on the progress and quality of the work, and giving us an indication as to the likely outcome of the dissertation. You need to make sure that your supervisor is happy to release this information to us confidentially, even though the assessment process will not have started at that point. If your supervisor is not willing to give us such a specific indication before marking has commenced, we will have to wait for confirmation of your final mark, which in your case may be too late for starting the course in October.

If we are happy with your interim marks and the indication from your supervisor is positive and detailed enough, we may be able to waive your academic conditions so that you don't waste a year. All this would only happen once you submitted your dissertation, which is likely going to be just before our course starts, it requires nerves of steel from you, as it'll be extremely short notice for you to be informed where you will be spending the next academic year. If you don't think you can cope with such a situation, it would be better to take a year out inbetween.

If your course is by dissertation-only and there are no other examined elements forthcoming in the current year, we will have to wait for the final mark of your dissertation. This could be unofficially released to us by your university before it is available officially, but again, you need to check that they would be willing to do this.
Should you need a visa, this whole process may complicate matters quite a bit more, and in some cases make them impossible, depending a bit on where you are planning to spend your summer. If you already have a UK visa and stay here, you can still register for your course at Oxford on your current visa, but you would need to show evidence that you have started your visa application for the Oxford course.



You will next hear from a college offering you a place. Please note that this could take some time (up to 10 weeks after being offered a place), if your preferred college has no capacity for additional students. We guarantee a college place for everyone who has been made an offer by the Faculty. 

You will have to work towards satisfying the academic (if any) and college conditions for your offer. The college will give you a separate deadline for the fulfilment of financial conditions (often the end of August).

Once all conditions are fulfilled, you will be sent a confirmation letter and a Card Form by us, which you will have to sign and return in the post. 

If you need a visa: after your contract is registered as having been received, we can submit our sponsorship information for your Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS) number which you need for your visa application. Please consider that it will take at least 1 week for the contract to reach us (depending on where you live) and at least 2 weeks to get your visa (please see also ‘Visa’ section below).



If your preferred college is unable to offer you a place, we will find you a place at a college which has still capacity for your programme and subject area. This can sometimes be a time-consuming process, but if the Faculty has made you an offer we will eventually also secure a college place. 

Please note, that if your college place offer is made very late, you might not be able to get college accommodation.


Making changes


Rejecting your college place automatically means withdrawing from your place at Oxford 

However, if another college awards you a scholarship, or partial award in excess of £ 2,000 then you will be expected to migrate to the college which is offering the award



Please inform yourself about the University’s general policy on deferrals

You cannot defer your place for financial reasons.

We usually do not defer places for master’s programmes. 

If you think you have a good (academic) reason for deferring your place, you must first fulfil all conditions (academic and financial) before a deferral can be granted.

Once this has been done, please e-mail a letter addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies to, explaining why you would like to defer your place. 




Please email us and the college which has offered you a place.



No. Whatever reason you decide not to accept your place for, a withdrawal will not be held against you should you wish to apply again. But you need to be aware that when you re-apply there is no automatic guarantee that you will be offered a place again, as you will be up against a new cohort of competitors


Your Student Card Form


Once you have fulfilled all conditions (academic and financial) you are emailed a card form by us. 

If you have fulfilled all your conditions, but still have not received your card form, please get in touch with us, so we can look into your case.



You return it to the the University Card Office. The address is in the Completion of Conditions letter.



No. The card office needs your original signature and a passport-size photo.



Once your card form has been returned and your University card is produced, you will get an email inviting you to register for Student Self Service and your Oxford email address.

You can also email us to check for you.


If you do not receive an offer


Unfortunately, we are not able to offer individual feedback on your application due to the amount of applications that we receive.

We hope that our published criteria will give you and your referees some useful indication on how you could improve any application that you may make in the future.



No, your new application will be assessed without consideration of any previous applications.



Although you cannot do much to change the references others write for you, or your previous results, the written work you provide and your statement of purpose/research proposal can be improved.

Re-writing written work is a huge undertaking, and it is likely that your written work is the product of a supervised and well-planned degree.

Invest time and effort in your proposal: make sure it is detailed and yet concise; make sure you show very clearly what you would like to focus on; give it a title; consult our website and look at the topics of our current (research) students to get an idea of the way titles are formulated; narrow down your topic and focus on a particular point that may have not been looked at from that angle before.




You will need a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS) number. We will issue a CAS request for you and send you the details and number electronically.

If you change email address (when leaving another University), please make sure we have one that reaches you.

For general questions on UK immigation policy please contact - for information about the progress of your CAS request, and any necessary update to the information we hold, please contact the Faculty at

We can set up a draft of your CAS request once you have completed all the conditions of your offer (academic and financial).

If your offer was unconditional, we can submit the CAS as soon as you have completed the financial conditions.

CAS numbers are normally issued 3 months before the start of term, in July. 



You need to be here one week in advance of the formal start of Michaelmas Term, for the induction week events (usually starting on the first Monday in October). 

International students are encouraged to join us earlier for an orientation event by the Student Information Office (usually on the last Thursday in September). 

If you have applied for a Medieval degree and/or need to enrol in the pre-term Latin course, you need to arrive in time for this pre-term course in mid-September.



You will need to:

  1. Contact your supervisor
  2. Register on Student Self-Service  
  3. Fill in your self-assessment form (we send this out by email during the summer) and don’t forget to actually email it back 
  4. Make sure your Junk Filter is set to allowing emails to come through from ‘’ addresses 



You will need to make sure you have registered for your Oxford email addresses and get into the habit of checking them.

You should expect to find a Welcome Pack from us at your college, informing you of the start-of-year induction events. 

If you haven’t heard from us about language tuition by the end of 0th week, please get in touch with us.