Please select a question below to find out more about each topic.
For candidates applying in 2021 for entry in 2022 or deferred entry in 2023: all candidates for Geography are required to sit the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) in November. Decisions about which candidates to call for interview will be made on the basis of the performance in the TSA, as well as contextualised GCSE results and other information from the UCAS form. As at other universities, Oxford makes conditional or unconditional offers to candidates, depending upon whether they have taken their A Levels. Decisions about whom to admit to read Geography are made on the basis of information on performance in the TSA, candidates' UCAS forms, and performance in interview. Applicants for Oxford must submit their UCAS forms by the October deadline.
For candidates applying in 2021 for entry in 2022 or deferred entry in 2023: all candidates for Geography are required to sit the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) in November. Further details on registering for the test, as well as practice papers, can be found on this website.
We know that everyone's education has been disrupted over the past 18 months and the centre assessed grades awarded at GCSE may not reflect an applicant's potential. Taking the TSA allows all applicants another opportunity to demonstrate their academic potential. However, decisions will never be based solely on your performance in the TSA and we do not set a minimum TSA score which applicants need to achieve in order to be shortlisted.
Decisions on shortlisting are based on all the information we have available from your UCAS form, TSA results and contextual information about you, your school and your neighbourhood (for more details see the University Admissions webpage on Contextual Data ).
The TSA does not require a lot of extra study as it is a test of skills and aptitudes that you already possess. There is no 'factual' knowledge that you need to learn for the test. However, it is important that you are familiar with the format of the test and have practised answering questions within the time limit for the test. We recommend that you spend some time looking at the preparation guidance and past papers (with answers) which are available on the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) page of the University website.
The School of Geography and the Environment admits approximately eighty students to read geography each year. For candidates offering A levels, we normally expect A*AA. The A* may be in any A level subject. We do not have any preferred A level combinations and there are no required subjects. Taking Geography at A level is not a requirement, although nearly all candidates will have taken Geography. We do not accept General Studies as a qualifying A-level for admission. The School also accepts candidates completing the International Baccalaureate (IB), Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers and internationally-recognised equivalents of A-levels.
In order to gain a place in the School of Geography and the Environment you should be at the top of your geography set at school. We would normally expect anyone applying for geography to have a good string of A grades at GCSE and AS-level, and to be on course for getting A*AA at A2-level. Conditional offers are normally A*AA grades at A-level or AAB at Scottish Advanced Higher level. For the IB the standard offer is 39 points with 7;6;6 at Higher Level. For Pre U examinations the offer will normally be D2;D3;D3.
Where a candidate completes a relevant A-Level before they apply, this will be taken into account in considering the application. Applications will be considered individually to decide whether an A level taken early will be included in the conditional offer.
All courses at Oxford are academically rigorous. Tutors need to be convinced of your ability to manage an intense workload, so that you will be able to cope with the demands of studying here. If any student feels that studying three A-Levels (or equivalent qualifications) at the same time would be too much work for them, we would encourage them to consider whether an Oxford degree is really the best choice.
Applicants who have not achieved the standard offer at the first time of taking A levels will not normally be considered.
No. We have no preference for pre- or post- A-level candidates.
Yes. The School welcomes candidates both for deferred places and for places in the forthcoming year. Colleges will normally only offer a deferred place if the candidate is ranked high in the list of candidates applying to that college.
This is difficult to answer because so many different considerations can go into choosing a college. It's all up to your personal preferences!
Visit our page on Oxford's tutorial system to help you decide which college to apply to.
If, having read the brochures, visited Oxford, and talked it over with your teachers, you are unable to identify a preferred college, you should leave your application form blank and let our computer allocate you to a college where there is a favourable ratio of places to applicants. This then becomes your 'first choice' college. If you have decided which college you prefer, you should put this college down as your college of preference.
Not all candidates who apply to Oxford for geography are interviewed. We interview the equivalent of 3 candidates per place and reallocate candidates before interview to ensure that each college interviews three candidates for each place they have available.
In 2020 all our interviews were conducted online. The University is currently consulting tutors and departments before deciding whether interviews will be online in 2021 or whether we will revert to our usual process of inviting students to attend interviews in Oxford. See the University's Interviews webpage for further information.
We expect all applicants from the United Kingdom and Europe to make themselves available for interview; this is why we publish our interview timetable so far in advance.
The interview dates for geography are always at the beginning of December and timetables should be available from the University website early in the year. Some colleges may ask candidates to arrive in Oxford a day in advance of the schedule.
For applicants applying in 2021, the University is currently consulting tutors and departments before deciding whether interviews will be online in 2021 or in person. See the University's Interviews webpage for further information.
You will stay in Oxford probably for two nights and you will be accommodated in a college.
All candidates are interviewed by tutors in their 'first choice' college. In many colleges, candidates are gathered together before the interviews start, to meet their interviewers and to discuss any organisational questions. All colleges give candidates two interviews for geography, usually one in physical and one in human geography. Interviews last from twenty minutes to half an hour. You may be asked to comment upon a variety of pictorial, cartographic and tabulated data which will be given to you in the interview. You will have an opportunity during the interview period to ask any questions you may have about geography at Oxford.
It is unlikely that you will be interviewed by more than one college.
No. Once we have decided which candidates will be called for interview we undertake a process of reallocation to ensure that each college only interviews the equivalent of three candidates per place it has available. You may, therefore, be called for interview by a college other than the college to which you applied. This ensures that all candidates have an equal chance of obtaining a place.
Around 10 'open offers' are made each year. If you receive an open offer you are guaranteed a place at Oxford to read geography if you get your grades, but you will only know at which college after the A-level results are published in August.
We aim to let everyone know the outcome of their application in January. Post- A2-level candidates whose applications are successful will have their place confirmed. Pre- A2-level candidates who have been successful will be told the conditions that they will have to satisfy to take up their place in Oxford. Their place will be confirmed by their college in August, after school exam results are out.
Where can I get more information?
The Undergraduate Coordinator,
School of Geography and the Environment,
Oxford University Centre for the Environment,
South Parks Road,
Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 275887
Fax: +44 (0)1865 275885
Or visit us on one of our Open Days and come and chat to us in person!