1. How does admission to read geography at Oxford differ from other universities?

In 2019 there will be a pilot of a new admissions test, the Geography Admissions Test. The results will not be used to make decisions in 2019, but all applicants must take the test. As soon as more information becomes available, we will post it online here.

Decisions about which candidates to call for interview will be made on the basis of the information in the UCAS form and contextualised GCSE results. 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 from: candidates' UCAS forms, and performance in interview. Applicants for Oxford must submit their UCAS forms by the October deadline.

2. Do I need to take an admissions test?

In 2019 there will be a pilot of a new admissions test, the Geography Admissions Test. The results will not be used to make decisions in 2019, but all applicants must take the test. As soon as more information becomes available, we will post it online here.

3. How many geography places are there each year and what A-level subjects do I need to be considered for a place?

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* does not need to be in Geography. 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 takes candidates offering the International Baccalaureate (IB), Scottish Highers and internationally-recognised equivalents of A-levels.

4. What grades do I need to get?

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 based on A*AA grades. 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.

5. Will A-levels taken before Year 13 be taken into account?

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.

6. Will my application be considered if I retake an A2 subject?

Applicants who have not achieved the standard offer at the first time of taking A levels will not normally be considered.

7. Is there any advantage in waiting until after I have my A-level results to apply to Oxford?

No. We have no preference for pre- or post- A-level candidates.

8. Do I have to send in any submitted work before the interviews?


9. Will I be interviewed?

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.

10. What happens if I cannot come to Oxford during the interview period?

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 well in advance. Candidates from outside of Europe are not expected to come for interview but may be interviewed by telephone or Skype.

11. When will the interviews be?

The interview dates for geography are always at the beginning of December, and should be available from the University website quite early in the year. Some colleges may ask candidates to arrive in Oxford a day in advance of the schedule.

12. What will happen when I come up for interview?

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 also 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. You need not feel bound to ask questions, however.

13. Will I be interviewed by more than one college?

It is unlikely that you will be interviewed by more than one college. There may be some second interviews to allow colleges which have not filled all their places to see candidates who might become available.

14. Are some colleges more difficult to get into than others?

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.

15. How do I choose which college to put on my application form?

This is difficult to answer because so many different considerations can go into choosing a college. 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.

16. Can I apply for a deferred place (i.e. to start one year later)?

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. Applicants for deferred places are not usually interviewed at other colleges.

17. What are the 'open offers'?

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 in August.

18. When will I know the result of my application?

We aim to let everyone know the outcome of their application in January. 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. Post- A2-level candidates whose applications are successful will have their place confirmed. In August, after the A-level results are out, colleges will confirm the places they have offered.

19. What is the course structure and how is teaching organised?

There is a great deal of detail about the structure of the course and how it is taught on this website. In summary, the Oxford course has at its core a concern with the integration of human and physical geography, but within this framework allows you to specialise in either of these branches of the subject. Much of your time will be spent working independently, reading and preparing for tutorials, as well as for submitted work in optional papers, and researching for your dissertation. College tutors take you for tutorials and small classes, as well as seeing you individually to discuss your general progress. Lectures, seminars and classes take place in the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) building, and the School organises the optional subjects in years two and three, and the field trips.

20. What are the Open Days?

The School of Geography and the Environment holds an annual Department Open Day in early June, for which bookings are taken on a first-come first-served basis. The School also participates in the wider Oxford Open Days which take place on two days in late June/July and on one day in mid-September, and there is no need to book for these. On all Open Days you can attend a short talk and a question-and-answer session, see displays about the course and past field trips, and have a tour of the Geography and the Environment Library (which is part of the Radcliffe Science Library nearby). The dates for all the Open Days are posted early in the year on our website, along with other details.

21. Where can I get more information?

Write to:
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
Web site: https://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/undergraduate/
(in particular please see the website for details of our Open Days)