Important information

Please note: this Biology course has been changed since the Undergraduate Prospectus was printed. The course structure has changed, and there is now the opportunity to study for a fourth year and graduate with a Master's degree (MBiol), in addition to the existing BA degree.

If you are applying to start in 2019 please use the following link:

If you already have a place to start the Biological Sciences course in 2018 please use the following link:


Each year, we receive many more applications to read Biology than the number of places we can offer, and so we cannot interview everyone who applies. We therefore shortlist applications with the aim of interviewing those who display the greatest potential as biologists in their UCAS form. So, if you have achieved a strong run of GCSE grades (or equivalent), by which we simply mean one of the top sets of grades within your own school, and you have a deep interest in Biology, then we will want to see you at interview. However, please ask your teacher to put your grades in context in their UCAS reference, and do tell us about your scientific interests in your personal statement.

We take account of the full range of information available to us at shortlisting, including information about school performance and on any specific factors affecting achievement. So if you think you meet our admissions criteria then it is always worth applying. And, if you've already taken your A-levels (or equivalent), we will usually interview you if you have met our standard offer and also display the deep interest in Biology that we always look for.

You can find a lot of information on applying to, and studying at Oxford University from the University admissions pages, and a series of useful podcasts here.

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

Applications for Oxford are received through UCAS in much the same way as for other UK Universities – see the UCAS website for more details.

What qualifications do I need?

The current A-level admission requirement is A*AA, with the A* in a Science or a Mathematics (see full list of 'subjects in which an A* grade will be acceptable'). Candidates are expected to have Biology at A-Level (or equivalent). There are no “ideal” combinations of subjects. Equivalent international qualifications are also accepted. For details, please see the University pages on international qualifications. The requirement for the International Baccalaureate is total score of at least 39 points including core points, with 7 at the Higher level in Mathematics or a science (preferably Biology)

Please note the requirements listed above are for entry in 2019. For entry from 2020, A-level Biology (or equivalent) will be required and a second A-level (or equivalent) must be in Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics. The general entry requirements for A-level students will remain A*AA (see the 'full list of subjects in which an A* grade will be acceptable')

What is the College system?

Though Oxford University has many centuries of history behind it, complete with traditions, legends and possible notoriety, we hope that we can immediately dispel any notion of elitism or “superiority”. There are some differences between us and most other British universities, but the only one that need concern you is to do with the Colleges at Oxford. Unlike most other universities, where you would expect to apply to a Biology department to study biology, at Oxford, you have to apply to one of the 21 Colleges that accept biologists (see links page for details). Your choice of college will not influence your success as a biologist. Though you college will be your new home, most of your teaching (and indeed, exams) will be organized centrally by the biologists at Oxford. Your college’s biggest contribution to your education will be via the tutorial system, organized, or at least overseen, by your personal tutor in college who will also be an academic biologist. The University provides further information on the collegiate system.

How do I choose a college?

You can either put down your preference for one particular college, or you can leave the choice of college to the University administration and be allocated to a college according to a formula designed to ensure the fair distribution of candidates. If you do choose your own (and most people do), make sure you select one which has a biology tutor (see the links page for details or check the college website). Please note that the choice of college for a biologist will not affect the quantity and quality of teaching you receive, since the bulk of your working time will be spent in the Departments. This is not to say that colleges are not keen to be centres of academic excellence — indeed they are—but college is also somewhere to live, relax and enjoy all that Oxford is able to provide. The university page on choosing a college may be of some help.

What is the timeline for applications, interviews and admissions?

The deadline for applications to Oxford is the 15th October. On the basis of your UCAS form, you may be called for interview in December by the tutor of your chosen college. This is usually for admission the following October, but you may also submit a deferred application for the following year.

How can I find out more?