University of Oxford
Important Notes for Applicants
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You can only apply to one or two departments. It is not possible to take tutorials in more than two departments during your time at Oxford. If you wish to study in two different departments at Oxford, we recommended that you submit one writing sample from each intended area of study, and one recommendation from a professor in each subject area.
You need to have completed coursework in each of the departments in which you plan to study. You cannot take introductory level courses, general education requirements, or basic electives at Oxford; if you have not had any coursework in a given department, it is highly unlikely that they will accept you to study in that department. You should plan to take classes in your major fields of study.
Instructions for Submitting Second Recommendation
The University of Oxford requires two recommendations from professors who have taught you in the primary subject(s) that you wish to study while abroad. Your professors should focus their recommendations on the quality of your work and on your overall participation and performance in class.
You must submit two graded pieces of work with your application. Printing a clean copy of a previously submitted paper from your computer will suffice. Your writing samples should be in the area(s) that you wish to study at Oxford.
- Writing samples should be academic papers written as part of college-level coursework that you have completed.
- You must submit at least one writing sample for each department to which you plan to apply. For example, if you wish to study English and Philosophy, you should submit one essay from an English class, and one essay from a Philosophy class.
- For English students, academic papers based on literary analysis or criticism are strongly preferred to creative writing.
- Full citations and bibliographies are required if appropriate to the writing sample.
Proofread everything you submit at least twice and take advantage of Spell Check. Papers submitted to Oxford with even minor spelling or grammatical errors are highly unlikely to lead to a successful application. This advice should also be followed when writing your Statement of Purpose.
- For students studying in quantitative fields such as mathematics, sciences, engineering, and economics, numerical (non-essay format) writing samples are perfectly acceptable (e.g. lab reports, problem sets, exams, etc.).
- If you are submitting an exam as a writing sample, the exam needs to consist of open-ended questions. Multiple-choice, matching, and fill-in-the-blank exams are not acceptable. However, exams consisting of problem sets, scientific or quantitative analyses, or essays are acceptable.
- Writing samples should be your own work, and should not include group work or work written by or on behalf of other people.
Music and Art Students
Music and art students can also submit portfolios on CD if it is relevant to the application.
For assistance with any part of the application process, call Katharine Reinhart, your Senior Program Manager, at 1-866-927-2234, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.