Frequently asked questions about postgraduate study
FAQs about the MSc/MPhil
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 are currently completing, or have completed within the last two years, 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.
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.
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.
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 research student with individual supervision.
MPhil students who are successful in applying for a DPhil place may enter the second year of the DPhil programme. Entry to the DPhil programme is not automatic from either the MSc or MPhil programme.
If you apply for an MSc course, you will be asked to provide a Personal Statement explaining your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.
If you apply for the MPhil you will need to cover your proposed research topic for the second year of the MPhil course in your Statement of Purpose so that the department can be certain that appropriate supervision can be offered. You should show that you have a reasonable idea of your research area with at least some grasp of the relevant literature and the major issues.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Student visa.
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). 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.
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.
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.
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.
FAQs about the DPhil
For frequently asked questions about our DPhil research degree programme please see the Doctor of Philosophy in Geography and the Environment webpage.
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: email@example.com 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 graduate enquiries at the School of Geography and the Environment.