Applications for Postgraduate Study
When to apply
New students are formally admitted to the University each October, January, and April: that is, at the beginning of each of the three University terms. The admission process can take a little time: we need you to gather together some basic supporting evidence regarding previous study, language proficiency, and current employment, and obtain at least two references; we'll also want to arrange an interview. For this reason, we'd advise you to start the process at least three months before your intended month-of-admission.
Preparing your application
You can prepare your application on line, using the web pages provided for this purpose. Register or sign in at https://www.softeng.ox.ac.uk/signin.
You will need to provide us with the following:
- personal information and contact details
- your current cv (two or three pages will suffice)
- a brief statement of your reasons for applying
- details of previous higher (university-level) education
- information regarding nationality and citizenship
- language information and language test results (if applicable)
- the names and addresses of two referees
As soon as you've provided the first two items, we should be in a position to determine whether you appear likely to meet the programme admission criteria in terms of previous education and experience, and we'll be happy to provide some initial advice on this basis: simply click "request a review" on the website.
Making your application
Before you submit your application, you need to provide all of the information mentioned above, and upload appropriate, supporting evidence: you should provide transcripts for any previous university-level education that you've mentioned, and provide test certificates for any language tests that you've referred to. As soon as you've done this, you can apply by clicking "submit my application" on the last page of the on-line application form. You will need to pay the University application fee (currently £50) at this point.
We will offer an interview to any applicant who appears to meet the admission criteria (see below), either in person or (in the case of overseas applicants only) via telephone or videoconference. You can request an early interview as soon as you've provided your contact details and uploaded your cv: simply click on the button on the form. Otherwise, we will contact you to arrange an interview when your application arrives.
If you request an early interview, we'll also review the combination of education and experience described on your cv; if it doesn't look as if it would be enough, we'll let you know right away. We would prefer you to complete your application before the interview, but if you're having difficulty in obtaining transcripts, we'll happily interview you on the basis of the information you've provided.
We will consider references from anyone in a position to comment on your readiness for postgraduate study. It would be good if one of your referees were able to comment on your academic ability or previous education, and the other were able to comment on your professional experience. A reference from your current employer or line manager is always welcome.
You can ask your referees to send their recommendations to us directly: by post, or by email. You can obtain and forward their recommendations yourself only if they are presented in a sealed envelope, with the referee's signature across the seal, and a piece of clear tape over the signature and the seal.
We prefer to receive applications on-line, handled via this site, although you can also submit an application by downloading the standard, generic paper form at
completing and sending it, with all of the supporting evidence, to the Programme Office.
A range of assistive measures are in place to support applications from students with disabilities; further information on this support is available under Disability Support.
To be accepted for postgraduate study in software engineering (or software and systems security), you should have:
- at least two years' close engagement with software (or security) issues in a professional environment (but see below);
- a university-level qualification in a related subject (but see below);
- a good command of both written and spoken English;
- an appreciation of the challenges and practices in software engineering (or in software and systems security);
- an appropriate level of logical, mathematical, or analytical skills;
- a good understanding of the nature of the programme, and the level of commitment required;
- the support of their employer, if necessary, in embarking on this course of study.
More extensive experience may compensate for the lack of a related qualification, and a strong, immediately-relevant qualification—e.g. in engineering or computing—may compensate for a lack of experience.