How to apply for an Undergraduate Degree

Entry Requirements

We accept a wide variety of qualifications but would expect applicants to have the equivalent of 3 A grades at A level and as far as possible to match the standard entry requirements for each course which in some cases varies from a three A offer.  Alternative qualifications to A Levels include the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Open University credits, previous or current University level study. Information about the University’s entry requirement for many international qualifications can be found here.   Information about the English Language requirement for applicants from countries whose primary language is not English can be found here.  Applicants are advised to contact the Harris Manchester Admissions Office to seek advice about their qualifications to ensure that they would be sufficient to meet the entry requirements of the particular course they are considering applying to. The Tutor for Admissions can be reached on 01865 271009 or admissions@hmc.ox.ac.uk.


All applicants are required to submit an application through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The deadline for applying for entry in October 2021 will be 6.00pm on 15th October 2020. Please make allowance for the length of time an application takes to be completed to avoid narrowly missing the deadline which is one UCAS strictly adheres to.

For further information on how to apply please see www.ox.ac.uk/apply

For information specific to applying for individual courses please click here.

All applicants are strongly advised to consult a copy of the Oxford University Prospectus which gives more details of the content of courses.  It is crucially important that applicants look carefully at the content and structure of their prospective course, to be sure that it is likely to suit them. Oxford syllabi and course structures are singular: it is not possible to study part-time, nor is it easy to take time off from a course. There are no modular courses, and most courses are still largely assessed by three-hour examinations taken at the end of three years.

Written Work

Where written work is required as part of the application, it should be sent direct to the College by 10 November 2020. Applicants who do not have suitable work from a relevant course may choose to write on any topic they deem to be interesting for their prospective course. Further details of the requirements can be found at www.ox.ac.uk/writwork. The Tutor for Admissions is happy to advise applicants who are uncertain of what work to submit.  Harris Manchester will accept unmarked written work which has been produced specifically for the purpose of an Oxford application.

Written Tests

Most courses require applicants to sit a written test as part of the application process. See www.ox.ac.uk/tests for a full list. The written tests are due to take place on 4th November 2020 with the exception of Law, for which candidates may take the LNAT between 1st September and 15th October 2020. The deadline for registering to take the tests is 15th October 2020 (15th September for the LNAT). Tests can be taken at one of a large choice of test centres across the UK and abroad.  Past papers can be downloaded from the website given above.


For information about interviews please see www.ox.ac.uk/interviews. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there may well be changes to the traditional Oxford interview process. Candidates are advised to regularly check the above link for up to date information.

The interviews will most likely take place from 6th to 17th December 2020 and a subject specific timetable will be published here, when available. Candidates who are short listed for interview may be invited to travel to Oxford and may be accommodated in College overnight if required. There would be no charge for accommodation and meals provided. Candidates who live outside of Europe may request to be interviewed by Skype instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I turn 21 in early October in the year of entry may I still apply?
All applicants must have turned 21 by 1st October on the year of entry.

Does the college accept any alternative to A Levels as an entrance qualification?
Yes, we accept a wide range of UK and overseas qualifications.  If in doubt please call HMC’s Admissions Office for further advice (01865 271009, admissions@hmc.ox.ac.uk).

Which undergraduate courses are offered by Harris Manchester
For a list of all undergraduate degrees offered by Harris Manchester please click here

Will a ‘false start’ on another degree programme count against me?
No. We recognise that there are plenty of legitimate reasons why people abandon a degree course. It may be that they haven’t enjoyed the subject as much as they had expected they would or they may have been required to discontinue a course because of circumstances beyond their control. We are happy to consider applications from those who have started but not completed a degree course previously.

Can I transfer from another university?
It is not possible to transfer to an Oxford degree and Oxford does not accept credit accumulated elsewhere to be transferred to towards a degree.  However, undergraduate study undertaken at another university can be used as evidence that you meet our academic standards for entry and may in some circumstances serve as an entrance qualification in itself.

Is there an English language requirement?
For non-native English-speaking applicants the University sets an English language condition.  For further details please click here.

I completed my A Levels (or equivalent qualification) quite some time ago. Will they still count?
We always advise that applicants have the best chance of gaining a place if they have undertaken some form of academic study within three years of applying. We find that those who have been out of education for a longer period sometimes struggle to get back into study, and as the course workloads at Oxford are intense there is little time to adapt to its demands. It is better to be in a position to hit the ground running at the start of the course. However, this is not a strict rule and we do make some exceptions.

Will I be ruled out of contention if I am unable to provide an academic reference?
An academic reference is preferred but if applicants are unable to provide one we will accept a professional reference.  If you are unable to provide either an academic or a professional reference then please contact the HMC Admissions Office for further advice.

If I’m self-taught and am therefore not able to provide any predicted grades will I be ruled out of contention?
As most courses require candidates to sit a written test and/or supply written work we have a reasonable idea of applicants’ potential in the absence of predicted grades. We will therefore still happy to consider applicants in the absence of predicted grades.

If I don’t have any marked written work which I can submit what should I do?
Though the guidance on the University website states that written work must have been conducted during the normal course of school work and must be marked by a teacher we appreciate that often mature applicants won’t have any appropriate coursework to hand. We are therefore happy to accept written work which has been produced specifically for the purpose of the application and which is unmarked.

I’m not currently studying at an institution which hosts written tests. Will I still be able to sit the test?
Yes, there are a large number of ‘open’ test centres across the UK and overseas which applicants may book into. We recommend booking early.  If you have any difficulty in finding an available test centre please contact the HMC Admissions Office for advice.

Is the application process different for mature students?
No, the application procedure and entrance requirements are the same as for school leavers.

Will my professional experience count towards my application?
We do look at professional experience but it needs to be coupled with a formal academic qualification which meets our entrance requirements.

How do you view resit grades?
We are happy to accept resit grades and recognise that people’s capacity to achieve grades that show their full potential can change over time. However, would be concerned a about student’s potential to be successful at Oxford if they had to resit numerous exams, in successive years, particularly where only marginal improvement has been achieved

When being assessed for financial support, how is my household income calculated?
For school leavers their household income is based on that of their parents’ combined wages. If applicants are 25 or over, or have been financially independent for their parents for 3 years or more, household income is based on their own rather than that of their parents. For mature students who meet the criteria for their own income to be judged, if they have given up work to study fulltime they are deemed to have a household income of £0. For further information on financial support available to those from low income households please click here.

What financial support is available to those reading for a 2nd undergraduate degree?
All those admitted for a second undergraduate degree at Harris Manchester are automatically considered for scholarships worth up to £18,000. These are awarded on the basis of academic merit.