The Admissions Process
You can apply for an undergraduate course at Oxford between the 1st September and the 15th October 2020, for entry in 2021 (or deferred entry in 2022). Applicants must complete a UCAS Form before 6pm UK time on the 15th October.
Applicants should ensure that they leave their school or college plenty of time to complete the reference section before the deadline. We will only accept late applications if there are exceptional circumstances.
More information about making a UCAS application can be found on the Oxford undergraduate admissions website.
Below you can find more information about each stage of the admissions process.
Oxford offers just under 250 different courses from 30 faculties and departments. Each course allows both breadth and depth, ensuring that students can gain a wider understanding of their subject while also specialising in the areas that interest them most.
Each course is structured, taught and assessed differently, so it is important to research the courses you think you might enjoy so that you can pick the one that best matches your interests and abilities. Our courses are very challenging, and whilst we provide a lot of academic support for our students, they need to be motivated and willing to work hard in order to do well.
You can find out more about the range of subjects that Oxford offers on the main University website 'Courses' section. Mansfield, as a small college, does not offer every course. You can find out more about the subjects we offer on the Mansfield Subjects page.
Undergraduate students at Oxford are members of the University, of their department, and of one of the colleges. Colleges are small communities within the University, made up of undergraduates, postgraduates and tutors. They have an academic focus as well as being the place where our students live, eat and socialise. Mansfield is one of 30 undergraduate colleges in the University. To find out more about Mansfield, have a look at the following pages:
Applicants to Oxford can express a preference on their UCAS form about which college they'd like to be a member of. They will be considered by all colleges that offer their course, to ensure that no one is disadvantaged by choosing an oversubscribed college, but around two thirds of applicants who receive an offer will be given it by their first choice college.
If you don't want to choose a college, you can make an 'open application', which will mean that a college is assigned to you. The college you are assigned will depend on application patterns for your choice of course that year, but there is no advantage (or disadvantage) to making an open application in terms of your likelihood of being made an offer. The tutors are looking to admit the best candidates from across all colleges, and so won't be concerned about whether or not you chose their college.
You can find out more about how to choose a college on the 'Do you choose a college?' pages of the Oxford admissions website.
The majority of Oxford courses require you to take a test as part of your application. These tests are designed to stretch and challenge you, and to show us your aptitude for the subject. They are not tests that you 'pass' or 'fail', but the scores are used to help us work out who has the potential to do well on our courses.
The registration deadline for all tests is the 15th October, apart from the LNAT for Law. Applicants must ensure that they register for the test; it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they register before the deadline, not their school or college.
Tests take place on 3 or 4 November 2020.
The following Mansfield courses have admissions tests as part of the application process:
- Engineering Science - Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)
- English - English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT)
- Geography - no test in 2020
- History - History Aptitude Test (HAT)
- History and Politics - History Aptitude Test (HAT)
- Law - Law National Admissions Test (LNAT)
- Materials Science - Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)
- Mathematics - Maths Aptitude Test (MAT)
- Mathematics and Statistics - Maths Aptitude Test (MAT)
- Oriental Studies (Arabic/Hebrew) - Oriental Languages Aptitude Test (OLAT)
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics - Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
- Physics - Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)
- Philosophy and Theology - Philosophy Test
Further details about admissions tests, including past papers are available.
For several of our courses, we ask that you send us written work as part of your application. This should be something that has been produced as part of your normal school or college work, of no more than 2000 words in length, and which has been marked by a teacher. We use this piece(s) to assess your writing ability, your ability to think critically, and what kind of support you are receiving from your school.
The deadline for submitting written work is 10th November. There is guidance on the submission of written work and a downloadable copy of the cover sheet.
The following Mansfield courses require written work (the faculty guidance is provided in italics):
English: one piece
This should preferably be an analytical discussion of a topic or topics in the field of English literature, though an English language topic is permissible. It should not be a short timed essay, a critical commentary on particular passages of text (practical criticism exercises), or a piece of creative writing.
History: one piece
Please send an ordinary essay on a historical topic, not a structured question, nor a source-based response, nor a personal study. Your written work should be about 1500 words long, and not longer than 2000 words. Note that in selecting work for submission you should choose a piece which has enthused you and on which you are willing to talk. Do not worry if you have changed your mind on the topic since writing it. Tutors are impressed by candidates who remain intellectually engaged with their work.
Oriental Studies: two pieces
The particular topic of your essay and the A-level (or equivalent) subject from which it is drawn are not important; it is intended to show how you construct an argument and express your ideas in English. If you do not have any recent marked work written in English (for example, because of the combination of subjects you are currently studying), you may submit a separate piece of work, such as an essay in English on one of the topics you have been studying for your A-level (or equivalent). It may be helpful to seek guidance from your teachers in devising a suitable title. In such circumstances, it would not normally be expected for this piece to have been marked, as it will not have been done in the normal course of your studies.
Philosophy & Theology, Theology & Religion: one piece
Please send work in Religious Studies if you are studying this subject to A-level (or equivalent). If you cannot submit a sample of work in Religious Studies, please submit work in a related area. You may send an essay or an examination or test answer to an unseen question, which has been supervised and marked by your school or college. Please ensure that work is not overly long, as tutors want to evaluate the succinctness and pertinence of your work.
As part of the admissions process, we shortlist for interview any candidate who we believe shows aptitude for their subject and fits the selection criteria for their course. Unfortunately we are not able to interview all applicants, but we shortlist on average around 60% of applicants for interview, with variations from subject to subject. Shortlisting is coordinated by each individual department, to ensure that no candidate is disadvantaged by applying to an oversubscribed college. A small amount of reallocation between the colleges takes place during the shortlisting process, though not in every subject.
All applicants for each subject will be notified at the same time whether they have been shortlisted for interview or not. This will be in late November or early December, depending on the subject.
In 2017-18, the percentage of applicants to Oxford shortlisted for the subjects we offer was as follows:
- Engineering: 44%
- English Language and Literature: 60%
- Geography: 74%
- History: 73%
- Human Sciences: 64%
- Law: 38%
- Law with Law Studies in Europe: 31%
- Materials Science: 79%
- Mathematics: 35%
- Mathematics and Statistics: 30%
- Oriental Studies: 80%
- Philosophy and Theology: 52%
- PPE: 33%
- Physics: 37%
- Theology and Religion: 61%
The interview is an significant part of our selection procedure, but it is important to remember that no individual part of your application is considered in isolation - including the interview. Tutors will also be looking at your exam results and predicted grades, your personal statement, your teacher's reference, admissions tests and written work (where applicable) and any contextual data that you provide. Each of these elements will be considered when we decide which candidates to accept.
If you are shortlisted for interview, every effort will be made to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
The style of the interviews will be academic in focus, intellectually challenging, and will combine existing knowledge with new material. Discussions may focus on your personal statement, written work, material studied in school, texts/pictures/problems given during the interview, or completely new material.
During the interviews, we are looking to see that you would benefit from what we have to offer, in terms of both the course content and the way that we teach it. Part of this involves assessing whether you would benefit from studying in the tutorial system, where the focus is on discussion in very small groups. We also want to see that you are able to think critically and independently about the questions we ask you, and that you are able to engage with material that you haven't encountered before.
We expect candidates to be a bit nervous during the interview period, but we will do everything we can to make sure that you are put at ease. Your interviews will be challenging, as we want to test the limits of your abilities, but remember that the tutors want you to succeed as well, as they are looking for candidates whom they will enjoy teaching on the course.
Tutors will make their decision based on how well they think the candidate would perform on the course they have applied for, using the selection criteria for that subject, and how much they would benefit from what we have to offer. Each department will coordinate the decisions for their subject across all colleges, ensuring that the best applicants are made offers regardless of which college they applied to. A number of candidates will be reallocated to a different college, either after having an additional interview there or after the tutors there have considered their application material.
Candidates who are shortlisted for interview will be told whether or not their application has been successful on 12 January 2021. No decisions will be given out over the phone.
For information about feedback, please go to the Feedback page. The deadline for requesting individual feedback is to be confirmed, but likely to be 15 February 2021.