After Your Application

The History Faculty gets a lot of applications for graduate study (about 1250 in 2021-22) and we take their assessment seriously. Each application is assessed by at least one member of Faculty staff, and checked by the (academic) Graduate Admissions Co-ordinator and the Admissions Officer. We understand that you will be eager to know the outcome of your application, but giving applications the care they deserve takes time.

The information on this page is to give you an overview of what will happen to your application after it is submitted.

When the deadline has passed, the central graduate admissions office gathers all the History applications together, checks them, and passes all the approved and complete applications to the Faculty. This is usually done within two weeks of the closing date. Any incomplete applications are passed to the Faculty later and the Faculty decides whether to accept them.

The applications are then sorted into subject strands and applications for each strand securely distributed to teams of assessors. Applications are assessed based on:

  • Previous academic results
  • Proposal
  • Written work
  • References
  • Background knowledge and skills

Using these criteria, Masters applications are given a score out of 40, and DPhil applications are given a score out of 50. Assessors will also check if appropriate supervision is available and recommend whether an offer should be made, based on the assessment score and supervisor availability. Assessors also indicate the academic conditions (degree results) for any offer.

The assessments for each strand are then sent to the Graduate Admissions Co-ordinator and (administrative) Admissions Officer, who double check assessment scores and supervisor availability, convert academic conditions to the applicant’s institution (where necessary), and add any English language requirements.

There is a finite capacity for the numbers of students that can be taught in total, and for each strand. The assessment score needed for an applicant to be made an offer varies from year to year, depending on the number and strength of applications. There is a minimum standard below which offers will not be made.

After the assessments for a strand are checked, admissions office staff update the University record system to record offers (including academic conditions) and rejections. When everything is recorded, offer letters are generated and emailed out by the admissions office. Rejection notifications are sent out automatically. Offers and rejections are sent out by strand, so don’t worry if someone applying to a different strand has heard but you haven’t. Everyone will receive the outcome of their application and we try and co-ordinate timing so offers and rejections for each strand are sent out on the same day, but cannot control the time of day that rejection notices are sent.

Given the number of applications, and our assessment processes, it does take some weeks before decisions are sent out. DPhil decisions are usually sent out at the beginning of March, and Masters decisions in mid-March.

The offer letter constitutes a formal offer of a place at the University of Oxford on the course stated. By accepting the offer, you enter into a contract with the University. However, accepting the offer is not binding, and you can withdraw at any time, for any reason, before the course starts. There is no charge for withdrawing and you will not be liable for any fees. Your offer will have a deadline to reply, which may be before you hear from a college or about funding. If you are unsure that you will be able to take your place, you should accept the offer by the deadline and withdraw later if necessary.

It’s fine to accept multiple offers from Oxford, both from within History and from other departments, but you will only be able to enrol on one course.

If you decline the offer it cannot be reinstated.

If you are made an offer, you are guaranteed a college place, but not at a particular college. When a college decides to offer you a place, they will contact you directly. If you receive notification that your choice of college will not be offering you a place, your application will go back into the pool and be allocated to a different college, who will then decide whether to offer you a place. This process continues until an offer is made. The History Faculty has no control over college allocations or college decisions.

Declining your college offer automatically declines your University offer.

We realise that getting funding is important and necessary for most students, but unfortunately there is not enough funding for everyone. Competition for funding is intense and awarded on the basis of academic merit. Only a small proportion of offer holders, usually about 20%, are awarded funding through the university. Notification could be at any time between you receiving an offer and the end of June. Only successful candidates are notified, and please do continue to search for external funding after you have received an offer. Please be aware that only a minority of students receive funding from the University, and you are strongly advised to search for external funding.

More details on how funding is awarded can be found on the funding page.

If you accept your offer, you will need to fulfil the academic conditions of your offer by the deadline given (usually 31 July) by providing us with an official transcript of your results.

Please note that any transcripts attached to your application cannot be used to fulfil your academic conditions. They can only be used for selection and assessment. In order to verify a transcript, we need a copy sent directly by the awarding institution, so you will need to contact your previous university and ask them to send a copy of your final transcript to the graduate admissions office, or give us access to a secure digital version.

Oxford students do not need to send a transcript, but do need to inform us when your results are available.

Your college will give you a separate deadline for the fulfilment of financial conditions.

Once you have fulfilled all your conditions, we will send you a confirmation letter and a University Card form, which you need to return in order to enrol on your course and be set up on the university IT systems. 

If you need a visa, we will provide you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Study (CAS) number after you have fulfilled all the conditions of your offer. You need the CAS number before you can apply for your visa, but we cannot start the process until you have fulfilled all of your conditions (academic and financial). You will first receive a draft of the CAS statement, which you must check carefully as the information must match the information on your passport exactly. 

Any previous study in the UK undertaken on a student/tier 4 visa must be declared (only study on a student visa needs to be declared).

When you have confirmed the draft information is correct, we will submit the request to UKVI and you will be emailed your CAS number a day or two later.

Deferrals can only be considered after all offer conditions (both academic and financial) are passed, and then only if there are unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances that prevent you taking your place that year. This can include academic opportunities that will enhance your studies, but cannot include financial reasons.

DPhils can be deferred for one, two, or three terms. Masters degrees can only be deferred for three terms.

The Faculty (Co-ordinator of Graduate Studies, Director of Graduate Studies and your supervisor) must first agree to the deferral, before asking your college if they agree. If both agree, the request then goes to the central Graduate Admissions Office for confirmation.

You must return your University card form with plenty of time before terms starts. If you do not return the form you will not be able to enrol on your course and you will not have access to any university IT systems. If you are current Oxford student you must still return the form.

Towards the end of September, you will receive a welcome email from the History graduate office with details of induction events and some course information. You may also get an email from the course convenor for your strand and/or your supervisor. These emails will use your Oxford email address.

The Faculty does not have access to applications until they are checked and released by the central admissions office, and cannot replace documents uploaded after submission. If you want to replace a document in your application, you need to contact the central admissions office [Ask a question (].


If you receive notification that your application has been deemed incomplete by the central admissions office, you must email straight away. If you do not, it is unlikely that your application will be assessed.

If you have a query not covered by the information above, please contact