Graduate Admissions

Applying for a graduate course

A student wishing to read for one of the graduate degrees under the auspices of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University must first be assessed and admitted by the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies. The Faculty's offer of a place includes the guarantee of a college place, although not necessarily in an applicant's preferred college.

You may wish to consult the relevant programme entries in the University's Graduate Studies Prospectus as well as the list of available graduate courses on this website before submitting your application.

2020-21 entry application deadlines

Friday 10 January 2020 12 noon UK time (deadline for most Oxford scholarships)

Tuesday 3 March 2020 12 noon UK time (whichever is applicable to the course you are applying for).

The application form is available from 2 September 2019 but there is nothing to be gained from applying early, as we assess all applications together after the deadline. However, we would advise you not to leave submitting your application form until the last minute.

The most useful links to guide you through the application process are:

  • Application Guide
    • how to complete your online application form; which deadline to use; what documents to include; how to choose a college; English language proficieny; how to pay the application fee.
  • Graduate fees, funding & scholarship search
    • an estimate of the amount of funding you will need per year to cover your course fees and living costs; a list of available scholarships for different courses; advice on external sources of funding. 
  • Graduate courses in Oriental Studies
    • a list of courses offered by the faculty on the Graduate Admissions webpage; entry requirements; course outlines; start an application. 

Selection criteria

  • Capacity to work at a high intellectual level 
  • Preparedness for your proposed programme of study 
  • Ability to identify and formulate an appropriate project for individual research (not equally important for admission to all master’s programmes, but – all things being equal – excellence in this regard will always increase your competitiveness for funding) 
  • Fit with our programme and supervisory capacity

We assess using five main criteria: previous results (sometimes interim), references, proposal (viability of topic and level of background research already done), written work (research and writing skills), and overall preparedness for the course.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our courses are listed on the 


Your application must include at least two references, with a third reference required in order to complete the application process. 


There are two deadlines, one in January and one in March. This is because there are two times during the admissions cycle during which we will consider applications. The major difference between the deadlines is that many funding schemes, such as the Arts & Humanities Research Council (OOC-DTP)Clarendon Fund and Ertegun require applications to be received by the January deadline in order to be considered.

If you want to be considered for funding we would strongly recommend you use the January deadline.

The only other difference between the deadlines is mainly when you can expect to hear the outcome of your application.

Unfortunately not, the Faculty of Oriental Studies only offers courses for full-time study. You might be able to find some part-time opportunities or short courses in your area of interest with the Department of Continuing Education.

No. The Faculty requires two 2,000 word pieces so that we can assess your ability to write on different topics. It is therefore desirable to submit work which will show a range of ability rather than two highly similar pieces. You written work can be extracts from longer pieces of work.

Yes. Many of our applicants are in a similar position, depending on the specific course. There are many things we are looking for in your written work which are not specific to the subject area, such as ability to construct and defend an argument and presentation of material in the appropriate scholarly form.

You may apply to as many programmes as you want, not forgetting that you will need to pay the application fee for each application. If you were to be given more than one offer, you can accept them but before you arrived at Oxford you would need to decide which would be the best programme for you, and then choose only one course.

The Faculty of Oriental Studies requires you to achieve the higher level scores in the recognised English language tests. Please see the application guide for more information about English language requirements.

You do not need to submit an English language test result at the same time as your application if you have not yet taken a test or are waiting for your results. Your application will still be considered by the Faculty, as long as all other required documents have been submitted. Any offer of a place will require you to submit English language test results at the required level by a deadline set in your offer letter. 

Your English language test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course (not two years before the date you submit your application).

Yes, but only in very specific circumstances and these are listed in the application guide. Please note that English language test waivers are not automatic and are granted at the discretion of the Faculty.

If you are experiencing problems with your online application please contact Graduate Admissions (the Faculty can't help with technical problems).

Please have a look at the Technical Help step-by-step instructions in the application guide for common issues. 

The best way to contact Graduate Admissions is to use their online query form. You can contact them by telephone at +44 (0) 1865 270059. Their current telephone support hours are Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 (UK time), excluding UK public holidays.


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