Frequently asked questions

About my application

How and why do I choose a college?

Oxford is a collegiate university: students and teaching staff belong both to a Faculty or Department and to a college. Colleges typically provide subsidised accommodation and meals, library and computing facilities, sports equipment, and a social centre with student Common Rooms and a bar. Further information is available on choosing a College on the University website, and from college prospectuses.

How do I decide on a college?

We cannot advise applicants on their choice of college, however, all teaching is organised within the department so college choice will not make any significant difference to the way that students are taught or supervised. When making your choice, first check which colleges accept applications from OII students (see the 'Selecting a College' section on our MSc apply and DPhil apply pages), then check the individual college websites. Factors you should consider when when making your choice include location, accommodation quality (and your eligibility for this), library facilities, any financial support the college may be able to offer (eg awards, bursaries or scholarships) and the collegiate atmosphere and ethos. Note that some colleges accept only graduate students (eg Linacre, Nuffield, St Antony's, St Cross, Kellogg and Wolfson) or mature students (Harris Manchester). Currently, most of our students are based at St Hilda's, Keble, Kellogg, Green Templeton, St Cross and Wolfson. Our faculty members have links with Balliol, Keble, Mansfield and Trinity.

If I am accepted on an programme, am I guaranteed a place at a college?

Yes: colleges will contact candidates separately with their place offers, subject to satisfaction of any funding conditions. In the event of heavy over-subscription of a particular college, some candidates may not be accepted by the college specified in their application and they will be allocated a place at another college. This does not necessarily guarantee accommodation: advice is available from the Oxford University Accommodation Office or individual colleges.

What information is available for international applications?

The University of Oxford has a long tradition of welcoming international students, who currently constitute around 30 percent of the student body. If you are applying from outside the UK, we recommend that you consult the University's International Office which provides information to support international applications (eg immigration and Visas, scholarships and funding, US Graduate Student Loans, English Language requirements, Orientation Programmes, etc).

What fees do I have to pay?

All graduate students have to pay BOTH tuition fees and College fees. See the University's guidance on fee status and fee liability for information on Home / EU / Overseas student classification. As well as covering University and College fees, students will also have to support their maintenance costs. As Oxford is a relatively expensive place to live, it is recommended that students budget between £10,000 and £12,500 per annum to cover accommodation, meals and other living expenses.

About being a student

What facilities does the OII offer its students?

Our doctoral students are provided with working space at the OII or satellite offices. We are equipped with advanced video conferencing facilities and business-class network access. Our library specialises in social sciences, sociology and computing, and our students also have access to the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford.

For further information on student provision at the OII please see MSc Template of Provision (PDF, 36kb) or DPhil Template of Provision (PDF, 36kb).

Students are encouraged to engage fully in the intellectual life of the department, eg through participation in DPhil workshops, departmental seminars, and research projects.

What provisions are there for students with disabilities?

The University of Oxford is committed to providing equality of opportunity and improving access for all people with disabilities who work and study at the University. The University Disability Office produces a Guide for Disabled Students and Applicants. The ground floor of the OII is wheelchair-accessible, providing access to the library, seminar rooms, student computer room and disabled toilet. Ramp access can be provided at the front and back entrances to the OII. The seminar rooms and reception area are fitted with induction loops.

What are the University term dates?

Oxford University terms are referred to as Michaelmas Term (MT), Hilary Term (HT) and Trinity Term (TT). Each term lasts eight weeks. Find out Oxford University term dates.

What is 'Transfer of Status'? (DPhil students only)

As most students will enter their DPhil programme as Probationer Research Students (PRS), they will be expected to gather materials and draft a research proposal for Transfer to DPhil Status between their third and fourth term in Oxford. Assuming the normal three year programme, the OII's Graduate Studies Committee expects you to transfer from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status during your third term.

What is 'Confirmation of Status'? (DPhil students only)

Confirmation of DPhil Status is an essential stage on the way to the doctorate and confirms that the student is capable of producing a thesis of the necessary standard and within an appropriate timescale. It is not possible to submit a thesis for examination until DPhil status has been confirmed: this applies to students who have transferred to the DPhil from an Oxford MLitt, MSc or MPhil as well as to those who enter as a PRS student.

Do I have to live in Oxford during my studies?

You are required by the University's regulations to be in residence in Oxford during term time. That means a commitment to be in Oxford for at least the full eight weeks of all three terms of each academic year (see dates of full term). You also need to be available in Oxford for several events outside full term, from the induction programme to viva voce examinations. Research away from Oxford should be discussed with your supervisor.

Students on the Masters Degree are strongly advised to stay in Oxford until the 1st August to complete their thesis.

How do I choose a supervisor?

Our students are supervised by OII faculty members and Research Associates. Please note that we will only admit students where appropriate supervision is available: see the DPhil application and MSc application pages for details of supervisors. If having read these, you are still unsure who could supervise your proposed resesearch (or if you are considering supervision by a faculty member from a different Oxford University department) please contact us to discuss this.