# What grades do I need?

## Our Offer & Subject Choice at School

# Our offer

Below we discuss the minimum (predicted) grades you will need to make a competitive application to our Computer Science undergraduate degrees. Information is also provided on subject choice at school.

Further information about what our tutors look for in candidates is given on a separate page.

All students must have achieved, or be on track to achieve, one of the sets of qualifications outline below. You can take any of the qualifications which are listed as acceptable on this page or on the University admissions site. Taking one of these accepted qualifications will help you make the most competitive application, rather than seeking to qualify through attending the first year of university elsewhere.

## A-levels

We will normally make an offer of A*AA on three A-levels, regardless of how many A-levels a student is taking. The table below shows our standard A-level offers:

Computer Science |
A*AA, including Maths, with the A* in Maths, Further Maths or Computer Science Those taking Further Maths A-level or AS-level are required to achieve at least a Grade A. |

Computer Science and Philosophy |
A*AA, including Maths, with the A* in Maths, Further Maths or Computer Science Those taking Further Maths A-level or AS-level are required to achieve at least a Grade A. |

Mathematics and Computer Science |
If you're taking a full A-level in Further Maths: A*AA including A*A in Maths and Further Maths, in either order If you're taking Further Maths to AS-level only: A*AAa including A* in Maths and a in Further Maths AS If you're not taking Further Maths: A*AA with A* in Maths |

Further Maths A-level is strongly recommended as best preparation for our courses. **From 2020-23, 96% of A-level students who were offered places for Computer Science courses (including joint courses) took Further Maths to A-level.** If your school offers Further Maths A-level, we expect you to have taken it. More on this in the 'subject choice at school' information below.

If a practical component forms part of any of your science A-levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.

## International Baccalaureate

39 points, including core points. Higher Level grades of 7 6 6 with the 7 in Maths. We will accept candidates who are taking either of the new IB Mathematics courses (HL Mathematics: applications and interpretation or HL Mathematics: analysis and approaches), without preference between the two courses.

## Scottish Highers

Students with Scottish qualifications would usually be expected to have AAAAB or AAAAA in their Scottish Highers. Supplemented by Advanced Highers: AA/AAB, which should include Mathematics to Advanced Higher (A grade).

## BTEC and other vocational qualifications

Competition for places at Oxford University is extremely strong, and all courses are academic in nature. Although Computer Science may suggest a more vocational style of learning, the courses are strongly academic in their focus. Academic qualifications such as A-levels, the International Baccalaureate or any other academic equivalent are strongly recommended as the best preparation for any course of study at Oxford. For students wishing to meet the offer with BTEC qualifications we would typically be looking for the following combinations of BTEC __AND__ A-level qualifications:

- BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in any subject with minimum grades of DDD. You would also need an A* in Maths A-level. We would strongly recommend also taking Further Maths at A-level (in which at least an A would need to be achieved), though this is not a requirement.
- BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in any subject with minimum grades of DD. You would also need A* in Maths A-level. We would strongly recommend also taking Further Maths at A-level (in which at least an A would need to be achieved), though this is not a requirement.
- BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in any subject with minimum grade of D. Plus at least A*A between Maths and Further Maths A-levels. If your school is unable to offer Further Maths at A-level, students would need to be studying another relevant science subject at A-level.
- BTEC Level 3 National Extended certificate in any subject with minimum grade of D. Plus at least A*A between Maths and Further Maths A-levels. If your school is unable to offer Further Maths at A-level, students would need to be studying another relevant science subject at A-level.
- We don’t make offers based on the BTEC certificate.

We also recognise the achievements of students who hold vocational, professional or other qualifications, and these will be taken into account during the admissions procedure.

# Overseas Qualifications

We accept applicants from around the world, with a wide range of educational backgrounds. There is a page on the University admissions site that gives a good guide to the grades that we consider comparable to A*AA A-levels. So with a little consultation, any tutor will be able to work out what would be a fair set of conditions for you. But as a general rule we’re looking for top-level grades in Maths, and also preferably science subjects. In addition, all non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy the University's English Language requirements.

The following are standard conditional offers for applicants studying for some of the overseas qualifications that we most often see, for courses in Computer Science, Mathematics & Computer Science, and Computer Science & Philosophy.

## US qualifications

Candidates should achieve the following:

- Four APs at grade 5 including Calculus BC and two other maths or science subjects.
- Three APs at Grade 5 in Calculus BC and two other Maths or Science subjects
**plus**a score of 32 or above in the ACT**or**1470 or above (out of 1600) in the SAT with a score of at least 770 in Mathematics. We do not require the optional essay for either the ACT or the SAT.

**OR**

Please note that Calculus AB and Calculus BC cannot be counted as two separate subjects for the purposes of meeting your offer, whether taken as separate tests or by receiving the AB sub-score when taking Calculus BC.

The following combinations of Physics courses can be counted as two separate qualifications for the purposes of meeting your offer:

If you are taking both Physics C courses, or both Physics 1 and Physics 2, you will not be able to count any additional Physics courses towards your offer requirements. In addition, only the specified combinations of Physics 1/2 and Physics C are permitted.

We count AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles as two seperate subjects.

We don't make offers based on a GPA score, but if you wish to include this additional information, please ask your referee to mention it in the reference.

#### superscoring

Please note that to meet the requirements of an offer to the University, your SAT Total Score for the SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing, and SAT Math sections must be from the same session; we will not consider scores from multiple sessions ('superscoring'). This also applies to scores for the ACT, so we will only consider the ‘Highest Full Battery’ score, and not the ACT Superscore.

Candidates are asked to enter all their scores for any tests taken when they complete their UCAS application, showing the relevant dates for each. This gives tutors a complete picture of a candidate's academic record, rather than just the ‘superscore’ of best results for the different sections of any test taken on multiple occasions.

Candidates are also asked to include any pending test scores on the UCAS application: that is, details of any test they intend to take up until the end of Senior Year. Again, this is to give tutors a complete picture of the candidates’ academic record, including studies which are still in progress.

Further information for applicants from the United States can be found in An American student's guide to undergraduate study at Oxford.

## Bulgarian Diploma Za Sredno Obrazovanie

Candidates should achieve an overall score of at least 5.75 with 6 in end-of-year exams in Mathematics, and at least 5.9 in the State Matriculation Exam in Mathematics.

## French Diplôme du Baccalauréat General

We accept the French Diplôme du Baccalauréat General with an overall score of at least 16. Students taking the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat should achieve an overall score of at least 14. In both cases, you would be expected to choose Maths as one of your specalised subjects and achieve a top grade in it.

The Baccalauréat Technologique in the reformed system is not something we accept as the basis of an application to study with us.

## German Abitur

Abitur with overall grade of 1.2, with grade 14 in Maths, studied at Leistungskurze where available, plus two other subjects with at least grade 13.

## Indian qualifications

Candidates should achieve the Year XII qualification, studied with either the CBSE (All-India SSC) or CISCE (ISC) examination boards, with grades as follows:

**CBSE:**Grades A1 A1 A1 A2 A2, with grade A1 in Mathematics**CISCE:**Overall grade of at least 90%, with grades of at least 95% in three subjects (including Mathematics) and 85% in the other two subjects.

For the CBSE board, we are aware that students will not know their grades at the point when they are applying. As an indication, therefore, we will be looking for marks of 91 or above for A1 and 81 to 90 for A2.

We do not require the JEE-Advanced (formerly known as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)) entrance examinations as a pre-condition for entry.

## Irish Leaving Certificate

*(From 2017)* Candidates should achieve grades of H1 H1 H2 H2 H2 H2, including H1 in Mathematics, and in Applied Mathematics if taken or else a science subject.

## Polish Matura

Candidates should achieve an overall average of 80% with scores in the ninth (top) stanine in standard and extended Mathematics, and scores in the eighth stanine or above in two other subjects (e.g. Computer Science) at extended level.

## Romanian Diploma De Bacalaureat

Candidates should achieve an overall of at least 9.0 with at least 9.5 in Mathematics.

## Sweedish Gymnasieexamen/Högskoleförberedande examen

In Gymnasieexamen/Hogskoleforberedande examen 2500 points with overall average score of 19.00 or above on a Programme related to your choice of course at Oxford, with Grade A (20.00) in Gymnasiegemensamma amnen Mathematics and Programgemensamma amnen Mathematics 4 plus two other courses at the highest level available in your study programme, including Mathematics 5 if you are taking it. If you are taking Mathematics 5, you should achieve Grade A in it.

# Subject Choice at School

## Maths, Further Maths & Computer Science

Our courses are very mathematical. We are looking for excellent mathematicians with an interest in computer science. As a general rule we want to see applicants who have taken as much advanced maths as their school system allows.

The following advice is for those taking A-levels, but the general principles apply irrespective of qualification type.

Further Maths A-level is strongly recommended as best preparation for our courses. From 2020-23, 96% of A-level students who were offered places for Computer Science courses (including joint courses) took Further Maths to A-level.

Whilst it is possible to make a competitive application to Oxford Computer Science degrees without Further Maths A-level, wherever possible we would encourage an applicant to take it. Further Maths is not a requirement as we know not all schools are able to offer this subject. If your school offers Further Maths A-level, we expect you to have taken it and do well in it. If you are based in England, and your school doesn't offer Further Maths please see the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme website as they can provide extra maths support. In Wales, see the Further Mathematics Support Programme Wales.

We find that people who take Further Maths spend more time developing their maths fluency, and it is this time rather than the specific knowledge taught in Further Maths that makes a difference. If Further Maths was not offered by your school, and/or you have self-studied it, please ask your referee to indicate this in your UCAS reference.

We know that some schools teach Maths in Year 12 and Further Maths in Year 13. Others teach the two A-levels in parallel over two years. Either option is fine, and we don't have preference between them. We see A level Maths and A level Further Maths as two separate A Levels.

You don’t need to have studied Computer Science at school to have a realistic chance of success in applying to Oxford. Though this subject is relevant, the way Computer Science is studied at University level is quite different from the way it is studied at school.

## Philosophy

Computer Science and Philosophy can be studied at Oxford without requiring any previous qualifications in either subject. Students who like the idea of doing Philosophy with a broadly scientific focus can apply, even if they have never previously studied either discipline.

Recent experience of writing essays, though by no means essential, would be helpful. Further information is available on the Faculty of Philosophy admissions webpages.

## A-levels taken early and resits

We would discourage students from sitting A-levels early (earlier than Y12) unless the student is very confident of achieving top grades. Whilst Oxford is in favour of stretching students, we would not want to see this at the expense of levels of achievement.

We would prefer not to see resits, but we do understand even the best candidates can have a bad day. If an applicant has had a bad result in one paper which has caused a dropped grade, it's helpful if the marks breakdown is included in the application. This will allow us to see the level the student has generally been achieving, and put the bad day into context. If there are contextual reasons/extenuating circumstances surrounding a dropped grade(s) please make sure the referee includes these in their reference. It can help us tell which grades are a true reflection of your ability, and how much weight to give to predicted grades where they are at odds with your achieved ones.

Please be aware that all courses at Oxford are academically rigorous. Tutors need to be convinced of your ability to manage an intense workload, so that you will be able to cope with the demands of studying here. If any student feels that studying three A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) at the same time would be too much work for them, we would encourage them to consider whether an Oxford degree is really the best choice.If you have taken an unusually high number of A-levels, some of which are notably more relevant to Computer Science than others, it may be that the conditional offer includes additional clauses specifying which of your A-levels can be used towards the A*AA.

## GCSEs

We do look at GCSE results when accessing candidates, and we would of course prefer to see a good set of results, especially amongst Maths and Science subjects, but there are no fixed requirements. A good smattering of 8/9/A*s is helpful evidence in showing your abilities, but it's certainly not the last word. Successful Computer Science applicants average about eight/nine grades 8/9/A*s but some have fewer: a few even have no 8/9/A*s (although such candidates will need to persuade us that they're better than their results suggest). We are trying to find out if you're likely to be an excellent Computer Scientist. We really aren't too concerned about how you got on in subjects that aren't relevant to this, such as sport or drama.

Factors such as the MAT and the interviews are important parts of the application process. Good performance here can certainly outweigh weaker GCSE scores. If there is contextual information/extenuating circumstances around your lower GCSE scores please do make sure your referee mentions this in the reference. It can help us judge how much weight to give these grades, especially where your grades are notably different to your projected A-level/IB (or equivalent) grades.

## STEP papers and EPQs

We are looking for students with a genuine interest in their chosen subject. Extended Projects (EPQs) don’t form part of our standard offers, but we’ll certainly notice that you’ve chosen to explore your interests in an area that’s relevant to the degree you're applying for.

STEP papers don’t form part of our standard conditional offers either. But we are looking for students who have developed their mathematical thinking. Some of our successful students tell us they found STEP a useful way of doing this.

## My qualification is not accepted or is not listed

If your qualification(s) are not listed on this page or on the University admissions site or they are listed as not accepted, please see the advice in the previous link under the section titled ‘What to do if your qualification is not accepted or is not listed.’

## Deferred entry

Deferred entry applications in Computer Science, Computer Science & Philosophy and in Mathematics & Computer Science will be considered from applicants who have planned structured activities in their gap year; activities might include technical employment relevant to the subject(s) being applied for, teaching abroad or a gap year programme. If uncertain, applicants should raise any questions with the tutors at their chosen/allocated college; tutors may discuss details of the gap year during interviews. After discussion with the candidates, some deferred entry applicants may be offered an immediate place instead. There is no policy for making more demanding offers to candidates seeking a deferred offer. Tutors will typically set successful gap year applicants academic work to be completed during the year or the summer before their first term in Oxford.

## Transfers and applying whilst studying at university

Oxford University does not accept transfer students. If you wish to follow an undergraduate course here, then you would need to start the course from the beginning. Advice is available for those currently studying at another UK university, and for those on course at an international university.

If you are looking to apply to us for a second undergraduate degree please see here.

## Mature students

If you are a mature student, please note that it’s essential that you have also undertaken formal academic qualifications within the three years before you apply.

More information for mature students available here

## Entering qualifications on the UCAS form

You must enter, on your UCAS form, all your qualifications from secondary education onwards – whether you have the result (even any that were ungraded) or you’re still awaiting exams and results. Without this your application is considered incomplete. UCAS provides guidance here.