FAQs

Which institutions can I apply from?

We accept applications from our partner universities and programmes in the US and China. These are: Barnard College, Brown University, Bryn Mawr College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, University of Georgetown, George Washington University, Haverford College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, , and the University of Hong Kong, as well as all Chinese institutions that are in partnership with the Oxford Prospects and Global Development Centre. We also accept a limited number of students from European universities through the Erasmus exchange programme.

What are your requirements?

We ask for applicants to have a minimum of 3.7 GPA or equivalent, as well as strong references and sample work relating to your chosen course. Depending on subject you may also be asked to have already taken relevant courses at your home institution – see below for more information. Your home institution may also have internal criteria to be considered, so you should consult with them before applying.

Do I have to stay for the whole year?

Yes – Pembroke only accepts applications for all three terms. Additionally, we require all our students to remain in Oxford during term time, so if you are successful you should not apply for any summer internships that overlap with our term dates. Our terms are very short – only 8 weeks – so we feel it is important that our students are here for the full period in order to get the benefit of an Oxford education!  For more information on the structure of the academic year see here.

Please see here for the term dates for the upcoming academic year.

What subjects can I apply for?

The system in Oxford is very different to much of the rest of the world, and emphasises the study of one subject (or a specific combination of subjects) in depth, rather than the flexibility you may be used to elsewhere. As such, Visiting Students are asked to select from one of the courses listed here.

It is possible to apply for a subject combination that is not on the list, or a single subject that is usually taught in combination with another subject, but this provision can’t be guaranteed as any non-standard teaching will need to be organised on a case-by-case basis. You may be made an offer for a different course combination than the one you applied for.

What papers can I take?

Our Visiting Students will study the same papers as our own undergraduates, in most cases entering the course at the 2nd year level. In some cases, the tutors may advise that you take some 1st-year papers; in others, they may allow you to take 3rd-year options, but this is at the discretion of the tutor.  Some bespoke teaching outside the normal course is available in a very limited number of subjects, but again this can’t be guaranteed and should not be the expectation when you apply.

For more information on the content of your chosen course, you should reference the relevant course overview or research the information available on the various Department/Faculty websites.

Do I need a background in my chosen subject?

Yes, although the amount varies by subject. In most cases, especially Maths and other STEM subjects, a strong base of background knowledge is essential. Our courses are based on the UK system, where high school students begin to specialise much earlier than in the US, and are not suitable for anyone looking for a ‘101’-level course. This is also why most Visiting Students will study with our 2nd-year undergraduates, regardless of their year group at home.

In a few cases – such as Philosophy and some languages – we are willing to take students with less formal teaching in the subject if they show talent and aptitude in related courses, although they would invariably be required to begin at a 1st-year level. This is because these subjects are less often taught in UK high schools, and so our tutors are able to teach beginners.

When can I apply?

Our deadline for applications for the following academic year is the 31st January - but your home institution may have their own internal deadline, so you should apply in consultation with them. We aim to communicate our decisions by late February although in certain situations this may take longer.

Who should I contact if I have other questions?

Your first point of contact should be Kirstie Morris, our Academic Support Officer, at Kirstie.morris@pmb.ox.ac.uk.