Department of Chemistry   University of Oxford

Admissions Criteria



The University and its colleges seek to admit students of high academic merit and potential. Except in respect of the college admitting women only, all selection for admission takes place irrespective of sex. The University and colleges select students for admission without regard to marital status, race, ethnic origins, colour, religion or social background. Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual merits of the candidate and the application of selection criteria appropriate to the programme of study.

Entry is competitive and the attainment of minimum standards is no guarantee of a place.


(i) Academic ability

  • Proven academic excellence: normally demonstrated by achievement of a 2:1 or First class Honours Degree (or equivalent) in a subject with a sufficient overlap with the proposed research. Normally this will be a Chemistry degree, but degrees in other Physical Sciences or in a Biological Science are often also suitable.
  • Potential academic ability to pursue the subject at a high level; originality and creativity of thought .
  • Ability and commitment to pursue the chosen programme to a successful conclusion within the required time limits.

(ii) English language requirement

  • The minimum standards are a score of 7.0 is IELTS or 600 (or 250 in the new computer-based test) in TOEFL.

(iii) Suitability

  • The programme of study that the applicant wishes to pursue is well suited to the academic interests and abilities to which they have drawn attention in their application
  • The relevant faculty/department is able to provide appropriate supervision and facilities for the candidate’s chosen programme of work


In connection with graduate admissions, it is essential to note that well qualified candidates may not be offered a place because:

  • there are constraints on the availability of facilities (especially laboratory and library space), research funding and on supervision;
  • there are limitations on the size of many taught graduate courses;
  • appropriate supervision may not be available for a particular area of academic interest.

In addition, it should be noted that the allocation of graduate supervision is within the responsibilities of departments/faculties, and it may not be possible for a graduate student to undertake their study with a specific member of the academic staff.

It should also be noted that acceptance on a particular course gives no guarantee of final success, and all courses require the student to develop their learning and skills to new levels in order to pass taught course examinations or successfully to undertake all the assessment hurdles of a research programme.

Relevant information

The selectors assess each candidate against the above criteria on the basis of appropriate indicators of proven and potential academic excellence, and taking into account the educational background of students and the level of existing knowledge and experience. Appropriate indicators may include:

  • two or more references
  • academic transcripts or their equivalent
  • samples of academic work produced by the student
  • interview.



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