Graduate students in OWL Library at Merton Colleg

Graduate Study: Application

Step 1: Does Merton offer the course you wish to follow?

The University of Oxford offers a huge number of graduate courses (called programmes of study in its admissions literature). Merton does not offer admission in all of these, preferring to focus on subjects in which its Fellows work. This common ground between graduates and Fellows enhances the academic support which the College can offer and makes for a more cohesive intellectual community.

  • If you are considering an application to Merton, first check that the College offers your course using the University's College search tool  
  • Please note it is College policy not to accept anyone, including current Merton students, for a course which Merton does not consider.
  • Why choose a College?

Step 2: How to Apply

Applicants must first have been accepted by a Department or Faculty of the University of Oxford before Merton or any other college can consider them. No separate college application is required - on the university application form, applicants should indicate either one preferred college or that they have no college preference (in which case, a college will be assigned via Graduate Admissions and Recruitment).

  • Details of the University admission process can be found on the University website and in the University Graduate Studies Prospectus
  • On average, graduate applications are not received by the first choice college until approximately 8 weeks after the application deadline date.  It may take up to another 4-6 weeks before a college decision is made.
  • Applications received at Merton are assessed by Fellows in the relevant subject on the basis of academic merit and agreed with the Tutor for Graduates - see below for full details of the selection criteria for Merton College.
  • If and when a conditional or unconditional offer is made to you, the offer letter you will receive will draw your attention to the provision of the College Contract.
  • Unsuccessful applications are returned to the Department and Faculty so that they can be considered by another college.  Merton College does not write to unsuccessful candidates, who should instead contact their Department/Faculty for updates on the progress of their application.
  • All candidates with an offer from the University are guaranteed a place at an Oxford college, but this procedure can take some time.

Selection criteria

  • Applicants must first have been accepted by a Department or Faculty of the University of Oxford before any college or permanent hall may consider them.
  • Applications are considered for any of the courses in which the College offers admission.
  • Applications are usually considered by the Fellows in the subject area.
  • Preference will normally be given to applicants whose area of study overlaps with the academic interests of the College’s Fellows.
  • The College aims to admit a certain number of graduate students each year spread across the range of subjects in which it accepts graduate students, and this will determine the number of offers which can be made to applicants. Where there are more applicants than offers which can be made, the relative academic merit and potential of the applicants may be taken into account. It may not be possible to make offers to applicants whose applications are received late in the admissions round, when places are full.
  • The possession of competitively-won funding may be taken into account as an indicator of the applicant’s academic merit and potential.
  • The final decision on whether to offer a place in the light of the overall competition for graduate places and the spread of those places across subject areas is usually taken by the Senior Tutor.
  • Please note that any offer of a place will be subject to satisfactory completion of the financial declaration form that will be sent to the applicant as part of the offer of a place. Please consult the guidance for more details.

Preference may be given to current or past students of the College who meet the selection criteria described above.

Disabled Students

Applications are welcomed from students with disabilities and early disclosure of any disability/chronic illness on the relevant section of the University application form is encouraged. Such a declaration will in no way disadvantage or prejudice your application. It will instead enable the faculty/department and college to ensure that any necessary adjustments are put in place in a timely fashion.