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How to Apply

The major steps involved in the application process for a (first) undergraduate degree at Oxford are shown below. You can click on each step to view more information.

Step 1: Choose a course

The Department of Statistics offers both a 3-year BA and 4-year MMath in Mathematics and Statistics. The four-year MMath is naturally more challenging and provides the opportunity for more in-depth study. It also involves a project in a topic with a statistical component. You do not have to make a decision about BA or MMath until the end of your second year. You may also want to compare and contrast this course with the BA/MMAth in Mathematics offered by the Mathematical Institute.

For the first four terms this course is identical to the Oxford Mathematics course, up to and including the compulsory core of the second year of the Mathematics course.

In the remainder of the second year, Mathematics and Statistics students have a choice of topics in probability and statistics. The third and (optional) fourth year has no compulsory courses and a wide range of options available from both Mathematics and Statistics.

You can find full details of the Mathematics and Statistics course content on our website.

Step 2: Choose a college

As part of your application to Oxford, you will either need to select a college to apply to, or make an Open application. If you make an Open applications, you will be assigned a college. This will not disadvantage you in any way, and is just a way of saying “I don’t mind which college I go to”.

Each college has its own particular history, ethos and architecture, but the quality of the teaching is identical, and the colleges are more similar than they are different. College life is one of the university’s greatest assets, and the close college community provides a friendly and welcoming home.

The majority of Oxford colleges offer Mathematics and Statistics undergraduate courses, but to make sure you can find a full list on the University’s main website.

To help you decide, you can read about each college in the Undergraduate Prospectus, or on the college’s own website. The University’s “How to choose a college” video (below) also provides information to get you started. You may want to consider the size or age of the college, the location, cost of living and the accommodation and facilities available. The Student Union provides excellent some advice on these factors. However you decide on the college you apply to, you are sure to be welcomed.

Step 3: Apply (UCAS) and register for MAT

You will need to make your application via UCAS. The deadline for undergraduate applications to Oxford is 15th October. At the same time as submitting your application, you should also register for the Maths Aptitude Test (MAT). The test will not take place until mid-November, but you must be registered for it by the 15th October deadline. The test is often taken at your school or college, and the results are taken into account when shortlisting applicants for interview. Information about finding and registering with a test centre, and about how your school can become a test centre, can be found on the Admissions Testing Service website.You can also find specimen tests to help you prepare on the Mathematical Institute website.

The UCAS form is an important opportunity to tell us about yourself, and the information you provide will be used to make a decision on whether to invite you for interview. It will also be used to make sure that everything relevant to your application is considered in an interview. Please remember to register for the MAT by the UCAS deadline, as late registrations are not permitted. We must receive your completed application, including personal statement and reference, via UCAS for you to be considered.

Step 4: Maths Admissions Test

In early November you will need to sit the Maths Aptitude Test, or MAT, usually at your school or college if it is a registered test centre.

The MAT lasts 2½ hours. The mathematical knowledge and techniques required to do the questions are taken from a syllabus roughly corresponding to the C1 and C2 modules from A-level maths, though the questions are set more variously than A-level questions. A syllabus (PDF format) for the test has been published. Some specimen papers and recent past papers are available on the Mathematical Institute website.

• No calculators, formula sheets or dictionaries are permitted during the test.
• Only answers written in the booklet will be marked. There are spare blank pages at the end of the test paper.
• Further credit cannot be gained by attempting questions other than those appropriate to the degree applied for.

The MAT is set with the aim of being approachable by all students, including those without Further Mathematics A-level, and those from other educational systems (e.g. Baccalaureate and Scottish Highers). It aims to test the depth of mathematical understanding of a student in the fourth term of their A-levels (or equivalent) rather than a breadth of knowledge. Applicants are encouraged to attempt some of the specimen/past tests so that they might have a sense of the format and style of the test, but no further preparation or practice, beyond work for A-levels, is intended.

You can find specimen tests to help you prepare on the Mathematical Institute website.

Step 5: Interview

Based on the information given in the application and the results of the MAT, around 60% of applicants are invited for interview. You can find some general information and advice about the interview from the Oxford Admissions website.

If you are currently studying in the UK, EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland then you will generally be expected to attend interviews in Oxford in December if your application is shortlisted. Applicants from further afield, particularly those requiring a visa to enter the United Kingdom, will typically be offered an interview via Skype.

A copy of the interview timetable is published a few months in advance. Please note that you may not receive notice of your invitation to interview until a week beforehand. Since the email or letter informing you whether you have been invited for interview comes from the college, do get in touch with them if you have any concerns that something may have gone astray.

Those who come to Oxford for interview will typically stay up to three days and have at least two interviews with different colleges during that time. Accommodation and meals will be provided in the college that you applied (or were allocated) to free of charge.

During the interview you will be set problems to work through, with hints given as appropriate. Tutors will be looking for a capacity to absorb and use new ideas, the ability to think and work independently and perseverance and enthusiasm.

Step 6: Offer

The decision on whether you have gained an offer to study at Oxford will be sent out in mid-January by the colleges, along with any conditions of the offer. The letter or email will explain one of two things:
You are made an offer of a place to study your subject.

The offer will either be at a particular college, or it may be an “open offer”. An open offer means that you have an offer from Oxford and are guaranteed a place if you meet the terms of any conditional offer. However, the college you will go to has not yet been specified, and will be decided after your final examination results have been published. A conditional offer will typically be

• A*A*A, with A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken) if you are studying A-levels
• AA/AAB with A in Mathematics if you are studying Advanced Highers and
• 39 points including 7 in Higher Level Mathematics and further 6 6 if you are studying International Baccalaureate.

If you have already completed your examinations, this offer will probably be unconditional. If you have not yet finished your final examinations, the offer will probably be conditional upon your achieving certain grades, as per the entry requirements.
Your application has, unfortunately, not been successful.

For many applicants who have, until now, been the most academically successful in their school or college, it can be very dispiriting to not get an offer. In recent years, over 80% of those who applied did not receive an offer; and it is probable, if you have selected your other courses wisely, that you will go on to study at another excellent university. In a few years’ time you may wish to consider applying to Oxford for further study after you have completed your first degree elsewhere. We often see candidates who were unsuccessful in their undergraduate applications here making successful applications for graduate study.
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A quick overview of the process is given by the University’s admissions video (below), and the University’s Undergraduate Prospectus also contains detailed information about how to make an application. If you’d like to get some students’ perspectives on the application process and what it’s like to study at Oxford, the Wall of 100 Faces contains 100 short videos, typically 1 minute or shorter, of current students studying a variety of different courses.