1. Where can I view the detailed MSc course and elective booklets?
  2. Why are there three application deadlines?
  3. Can I apply before I secure funding?
  4. What level of written and spoken English do I need?
  5. Do you accept recent graduates to the MSc programmes as well as graduates with work experience?
  6. Can I apply for more than one MSc course at Oxford?
  7. What is the difference between the MPhil and MSc programme?
  8. Do I need to submit a research proposal?
  9. When should I expect a decision on my application?
  10. If my application is declined, will I receive feedback?
  11. When does the course begin?
  12. Where can I find accommodation in Oxford?
  13. What are the likely career destinations of postgraduate students?
  14. I need to apply for a visa, when can I expect to receive my CAS number?
  15. Do I need an ATAS certificate?
  16. Can I work to help fund my studies?
  17. Are there any opportunities for developing teaching skills?
  18. Are there any opportunities for work experience and internships?
  19. What level of supervision can I expect?
  20. What research training is provided?
  21. What workspace is provided?
  22. Where can I get more information?
Where can I view the detailed MSc course and elective booklets?

Links to these are available from the respective MSc course pages.

Why are there three application deadlines?

We offer three application deadlines to maximise the time scale for candidates to prepare and make their application. If you wish to apply for Oxford University or departmental scholarships, you should ensure your completed application is made by the January deadline at the very latest. We would expect to receive the majority of our applications by the January deadline. There is no distinct advantage between the November and January deadlines but by March, the number of places are very limited. We would advise that you try and apply by the first two deadlines if at all possible.

Can I apply before I secure funding?

Applications will be considered without secured funding. The college which accepts you will require you to complete a Financial Declaration form in order to meet your financial condition of admission and the college will give you a deadline for meeting this requirement. For further details please see the University's Financial Declaration webpage. If you have any questions regarding the financial declaration, you should contact your college and not the department.

What level of written and spoken English do I need?

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency of English at the higher level required by the University. You can find details of what is required from the University's Application Guide. The department may be able to consider a waiver of this requirement if you have completed, or are currently completing, a degree-level course that is: Full-time; at least nine months long; undertaken at a recognised institution where the medium of instruction and assessment throughout the course is entirely in English. To request a waiver, you will need to write a letter or statement giving the reasons for your request and upload this to your application. We will ask you for proof by means of a letter from your institution indicating that the medium of instruction and assessment has been in English.

You do not need to submit an English language test result at the same time as your application if you have not yet taken a test or received your results; your application will still be considered (provided that all other required documentation has been submitted) by the department but any offer of a place will be conditional on your supplying English language test results at the required level.

Do you accept recent graduates to the MSc programmes as well as graduates with work experience?

Yes, we accept both. One of the factors that make our International Graduate School unique and successful is the diversity of students' nationalities, ages, academic and employment backgrounds. However, all students must demonstrate a track record of academic excellence.

Can I apply for more than one MSc course at Oxford?

You may apply for as many MSc courses as you'd like bearing in mind the following:

  • applying for multiple courses may communicate to those making admission decisions that you are not committed to a particular programme or area of study; and
  • you must fill out a distinct application for each program to which you apply. Therefore, if you apply to 3 courses, you must fill out 3 separate applications and pay three separate fees as the courses do not share materials.
What is the difference between the MPhil and MSc programme?

The key difference is that the MPhil programme involves an extended period of individual research that is termed a thesis rather than a dissertation. Until mid-Trinity term of the first year you will be part of the relevant MSc class, after which you will be treated more as a DPhil student with individual supervision. Furthermore, MPhil students may apply to enter the second year of the DPhil programme subject to appropriate academic progress.

Do I need to submit a research proposal?

Not for MSc or MPhil programmes as you will be asked to develop a research proposal for your dissertation / thesis during Hilary Term and submit this in 8th week of that term. All applicants for the DPhil must submit an acceptable research proposal which addresses the questions of what you plan to accomplish and why you want to and how you are going to do it. You can find full information and guidelines on writing a research proposal on our website.

When should I expect a decision on my application?

You can expect to hear the outcome of your application about 8 to 10 weeks after the application deadline. You should expect to receive college notification around 8 to 10 weeks following the department decision. This timetable is for guidance only and notifications may take longer in some cases. For further information on what to expect after you apply please see the University's After you apply webpage.

If my application is declined, will I receive feedback?

Due to the volume of applications the University receives; it is not possible to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications. For further information on admissions decisions please see the University's Decision timeline webpage.

When does the course begin?

The academic year starts in October each year and students are normally admitted for an October start. The department will notify you of the exact date in their offer letter which will also give you information about any pre-sessional courses/fieldwork that you may be required to attend and the relevant dates. Please see the University's Your offer and contract webpage for further information about your offer and contract.

Where can I find accommodation in Oxford?

Colleges are unable to accommodate all graduate students and the offer of a college place does not guarantee accommodation. The college which accepts you will contact you with regard to making an application for college accommodation. The Graduate Accommodation Office lets and manages rooms, flats and houses in and around Oxford city centre and on sites owned by the University to full-time graduate students. They also offer advice on renting private accommodation. If you wish to look for private accommodation and are based outside of the UK, please see the section on the International Students webpage about immigration checks required by law before agreeing a tenancy. We also recommend you look at the Oxford University Student Union's helpful guide on Living Out.

What are the likely career destinations of postgraduate students?

Many of our graduates are commanding influential positions in multinational corporations, in national, state and international government, in non-governmental organisations, and by continuing with further research. For further information on Careers and Alumni please see the departmental Alumni webpages and the University's Careers and alumni webpage.

I need to apply for a visa, when can I expect to receive my CAS number?

CAS numbers cannot be issued until you have successfully met all academic and financial conditions which were outlined in your offer letter. You are unable to apply for your visa until three months before your course start date. In most cases we would normally start issuing CAS numbers from July onwards. Once a CAS request has been made you will receive an email asking you to check the information that has been used for the CAS request. You should contact your departmental course-coordinator to let them know that the information is correct or let them have any amendments. Once the course-coordinator has been informed, they will be able to submit the CAS request and the CAS number will be sent to you via email within a few days of submission. For further information about the visa application please see the University's Before you arrive webpage and the University's information on the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa - the University website also includes a link to the 'Guide to completing Tier 4 student online application form'.

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

MSc and MPhil students do not need to apply for an ATAS certificate. Some DPhil students may need to apply for a certificate and you will be notified of this requirement when you receive your offer letter. For information about the ATAS certificate please see the University's Tier 4 (General) Student Visa webpage.

Can I work to help fund my studies?

We advise that no student should expect to fund their studies through taking on paid employment or teaching. The MSc or MPhil programmes have a very intensive teaching programme which leaves very little time to take on paid work. You should generally regard your studies as a full-time occupation of at least 40 hours per week, and you should normally be available for academic commitments during core working hours (i.e. 9am to 5pm on weekdays during term for MSc and MPhil students and year-round for DPhil). You may also have a work restriction placed on your student visa. If you do undertake some paid work, you should ensure that this does not impact on your studies. Please see the University Policy on Paid Work Guidelines for Oxford Graduate Students.

Are there any opportunities for developing teaching skills

As the undergraduate and MSc teaching system at Oxford University is normally delivered by academic staff, there are very limited opportunities for graduate students to become involved and, if any teaching is available, it will only be available to DPhil students in their 2nd or subsequent years. Most opportunities arise from undergraduate teaching or acting as a teaching assistant on our MSc courses. Before students are allowed to commence any teaching, they must undertake an 'Introduction to Undergraduate Teaching' seminar which is held in the department each year and, after attending this, students can also take advantage of the Social Sciences Division Preparation for Learning and Teaching at Oxford seminars which are accredited.

Are there any opportunities for work experience and internships?

As the MSc/MPhil courses have a very intensive teaching programme, there is very little time to be able to take on work experience or internships. The School of Geography and the Environment does not normally arrange work experience or internships for DPhil students however, many students have very successfully taken up opportunities related to their research and temporary suspension of studies can be arranged to cover any period which is spent undertaking this.

What level of supervision can I expect?

MSc and MPhil students are allocated a single supervisor for their dissertation/thesis, although you can also request a second supervisor if your research requires, for example from another department or external agency.

MSc students are provided with up to 8 hours of supervisory contact time. For MPhil students the amount, frequency and type of supervision will depend on your research, your agreed research plan and whether or not your supervisor runs a larger research group. In the latter case, some supervision will be provided in the form of regular research group or lab meetings.

If you are undertaking the DPhil, your offer letter will state who your supervisor(s) is and you should arrange to meet with them as soon as possible after arriving in Oxford to establish a timetable of regular meetings and they will help you devise a programme that allows you to realise the full benefits of the resources and intellectual community in Oxford. Your supervisor will meet with you regularly to provide advice about your specific project and suitable research methods and they will review your progress and help you to work within a planned framework and timetable. We would normally expect that you would meet with your supervisor(s) at least two or three times per term depending on your presence in Oxford. It is departmental practice for all research students to have two supervisors if possible. You may be allocated two supervisors when you are admitted however, in some cases only one supervisor may be allocated and a second supervisor will be allocated at the end of the first year if a suitable secondary supervisor can be found. You can find further information on research courses and supervision on the University's Research courses webpage.

What research training is provided?

MSc and MPhil students will receive training throughout the course to help them develop any necessary research skills. DPhil students will be required to attend a weekly training seminar which is held each term. The aim of the DPhil training programme is to welcome, introduce and orientate students into DPhil work and life at the School. The seminars will be led by academics and some sessions will involve experiences from current DPhil students.

Doctoral students at Oxford will need to combine detailed subject knowledge with thorough training in relevant quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques, as well as general research management skills, professional knowledge and career development. This combination of skills, knowledge and training is intended to help with research and also to enhance personal and professional development and employability.

DPhil students will have access to a wide range of training whilst undertaking their research at the University, including:

  • Research methods training within the department, and other departments as appropriate;
  • Researcher Training provided by Doctoral Training in the Social Sciences open to all doctoral student;
  • Training provided by University providers such as the Careers Service, IT Services and Bodleian Library.
What workspace is provided?

MSc students are able to use the Computer Room and have access to their own MSc Common Room where they will find a microwave, fridge and hot water.

DPhil students have access to the Staff Common Room where they will find a microwave, fridge and hot water. There are also three DPhil study rooms. Our large DPhil room offers space on a 'hot desk' basis and rooms two and three have allocated spaces for those who are writing up their thesis. Working space is also available in some of the Libraries.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any questions about the University's application process you are strongly advised to contact the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions Office, tel: +44 (0)1865 270059, or by e-mail: taking particular care to follow the instructions in the automatic reply, in the first instance.

If you have any further questions that have not been answered by the information provided above then please contact the Research Degrees Coordinator at the School of Geography and the Environment.