Why should I study Statistics?

Statistics has really developed into its own subject, rather than a branch of Mathematics, in the last 100 years or so. Most sectors and industries these days will use statistics and statistical modelling in some form or another, so it is a growing field with vast job opportunities in a range of interesting areas. The increase in digitally available data has created a need for analytically able professionals who can make sense of large sets of data, something that a degree in Statistics perfectly equips you for. Studying Statistics at undergraduate level offers a unique opportunity to combine highly mathematical content with the ability to apply techniques to data.

What is the difference between the Mathematics and Mathematics and Statistics degrees?

The first year of the two courses is identical, as is the compulsory core of the second year. Mathematics and Statistics students will have the opportunity to study Statistics in more depth, whereas Mathematics students will typically have more options in Mathematics. You can switch between the two degrees up until the end of the second year.

Which colleges offer Mathematics and Statistics?

The University admissions website lists all the colleges that offer a course. Most colleges offer Mathematics and Statistics. For more on choosing a college, see the "Choosing a college" section of our website.

Why do you award a BA degree rather than a BSc?

That's just the way it is in Oxford: all three-year first degree courses lead to a BA, even in science, and there are no BSc degrees awarded in Oxford. Employers of our graduates all know this, so it never causes any practical difficulty.

What are your entry requirements?

Please see our page on entry requirements.

Do I have to take Further Maths?

We encourage all applicants to take as much Maths as their school offers, as it is the best preparation you can have for a degree in Mathematics and Statistics. We are aware that some schools do not offer Further Maths, and would encourage you to look into the Further Maths Support Programme in this case (see http://www.fmnetwork.org.uk), although it is not compulsory. Similarly, we are aware that some students only discover a love of mathematics in their first year of A-levels, and so are only able to take Further Maths to AS-level.

The Maths Institute has extension material for those only taking single Maths at A-level.

My school does Maths in Year 12 and Further Maths in Year 13, what do I do?

If your school schedules maths lessons such that you study a full Maths A-level in Year 12 and a full Further Maths A-level in Year 13, we will accept the grade obtained in the Maths A-level as part satisfying the offer (provided the grade achieved was an A*). A standard conditional offer in this case would be A*A (with A* in Further Maths).

Do I need to disclose UMS marks?

The University of Oxford does not require you to disclose UMS marks on your UCAS form. However, if the student or teacher wishes to include this information (perhaps due to exceptional achievement), tutors will consider this as part of the overall academic achievement of the student.

How do you view resits?

We would prefer not to see resits in exams. The primary method of assessment at the University of Oxford is by examination, and there are very limited opportunities for resits. However, if there are contextual or extenuating circumstances for dropped grades please let us know in the teachers' reference.

Do you use STEP or AEA papers when making offers?

No. Offers will generally be based only on the qualifications you are studying towards, as well as English Language requirements where appropriate.

When is the application deadline?

Applications via UCAS close on 15th October. Please note that we cannot accept any applications after this date, so make sure you get your entry in on time, and remember to register for the MAT by this deadline too.

Do I have to sit an entrance exam?

When you submit your application to study at Oxford, you will also have to register for the Maths Aptitude Test, which takes place in early November. More details about this can be found on the how to apply section of our website.

Why is the success rate for Mathematics & Statistics lower than that for Mathematics?

This is a complicated question. All applicants for Mathematics and the joint courses are assessed on an equal basis with no quotas, and shortlisting for interview is not done separately for each course, but rather is based on MAT and other application information overall. The Mathematics and Statistics course is substantially smaller than the Mathematics course, so a drop in the intake of even three or four students (for no particular reason) affects our success rate disproportionately. Please apply for the course that you are most interested in and be assured that you have no less “chance” of getting into Mathematics and Statistics.

Can I take a gap year?

Applications for deferred entry will be considered as long as you plan to use your time out constructively. Activities might include technical employment relevant to Mathematics or Statistics or teaching abroad. If uncertain, applicants should raise any questions with the tutors at their chosen/allocated college; tutors may discuss details of the gap year during interviews. After discussion with the candidates, some deferred entry applicants may be offered an immediate place instead. There is no policy for making more demanding offers to candidates seeking a deferred offer. Tutors will typically set successful gap year applicants academic work to be completed during the year or the summer before their first term in Oxford.

Where can I find out about the cost of doing a degree, any scholarships available, etc?

Despite what you may have heard, it's no more expensive to study at Oxford than at any other university. In fact, our world-class resources and college provision actually keep living costs down. Oxford is committed to ensuring that UK students with the academic ability to achieve a place here are not held back by their financial circumstances.

The University's main website provides information and advice to prospective students from both the UK and overseas about fees payable for University tuition and to the college, living costs, and sources of funding at the University of Oxford. There is also a useful YouTube video on the subject.

If you have any questions about funding that aren't answered in these pages please contact student.funding@admin.ox.ac.uk. You can also find details of student funding arrangements on the government website

What are my career prospects?

Many of our graduates have careers in statistics and the closely related field of operational research. They are in demand in the insurance and financial services professions, especially those whose studies have included a substantial component of statistics and applied probability. In recent years about 35% of Oxford Mathematics graduates have joined the finance and finance-related sectors, and include a management analyst for a management consultancy firm and an actuarial consultant. Graduates can also find jobs in fields as diverse as health, education, the civil service, technology and research.

Can you direct me to any interesting websites or books for Statistics?

Firstly, you can follow us on Twitter (@OxfordStats), where we post interesting Stats-related articles, as well as the occasional joke. We also advertise our events through Twitter.

Some books you may want to look at:

  • The Tiger That Isn't - Michael Blastland & Andrew Dilnot
  • The Signal & The Noise - Nate Silver
  • The Improbability Principle - David Hand
  • The Norm Chronicles - Michael Blastland & David Spiegelhalter
  • Significance Magazine - published by the Royal Statistical Society

Websites to look at:

  • David Spiegelhalter's site on risk: www.understandinguncertainty.org
  • Significance magazines website: www.significancemagazine.org
  • Nate Silver's website: www.fivethirtyeight.com

Any other questions?

Further general FAQs about undergraduate entry to the University of Oxford can be found on the University's Admissions pages. You can also send any questions not answered on these pages to undergraduate.admissions@stats.ox.ac.uk