Fellows Quad buildings seen from Fellows Garden

Admissions Feedback 2023-24

Most of these reports have been prepared by the College but they incorporate or refer to departmental and faculty reports where these are available. They are intended to inform those planning applications in the future and also to provide to unsuccessful candidates, their referees, schools and families with an indication as to the most likely reasons they were not selected in this round. The vast majority of our applicants are very talented, with exemplary academic backgrounds. The most common reason for non-selection is simply that it is an exceptionally competitive process. Some more specific indications of what tutors in particular subjects are seeking, and the processes and competition in each area, can be found under each subject header. It is important to remember both that Oxford makes its selection on academic criteria alone, and that interview performance is only one of the elements which tutors take into account when evaluating an application. 

If you have been a referee for an unsuccessful candidate, we encourage you to continue to send your students to us, taking into account the comments here regarding any of the subject areas in which they may be interested. You may also wish to consult the pages on specific subjects. Merton's Schools Liaison and Access Officer will be pleased to provide any advice on supporting applications or you may wish to contact the Oxford college linked to your area under the University's Regional Outreach Scheme

Merton received 712 applications in this admissions round. 102 candidates have been made an offer by the College for 2023 entry, including eight open offers. Five offers were made to applicants under the recently launched Opportunity Oxford scheme.


Summary of Admissions Process for Chemistry – Information for 
Applicants 2023-24

1. Admissions statistics
1067 (1015 last year) applications were received in 2023 for Chemistry, approximately 5.8 per place. 
Of these 661 (658 last year) applicants were shortlisted for interviews. In all 214 (205 last year) offers 
were made, including open offers.

The breakdown of applicants by APR Region was:
Home: 639
EU / Overseas: 428

The breakdown of applicants by gender, as declared on the UCAS forms, was:
Woman: 499
Man: 548
I prefer not to say / I use another term: 20

17 applications were for deferred entry, and 120 applicants made open applications (i.e. did not 
specify a college preference).

The breakdown of those given offers by APR Region is:
Home: 170
EU / Overseas: 44

The breakdown of those given offers by gender, as declared on the UCAS forms, is as follows:
Woman: 90
Man: 118
I prefer not to say / I use another term: 6

2. Admissions process
Throughout the process all UCAS forms, contextual information, application and interview grades
were easily accessible via a web-based database to all College tutors involved.

2.1 Shortlisting
In light of the competition for places, the purpose of shortlisting is to provide time, during the 
December interview window, to guarantee that all shortlisted applicants receive at least two 
interviews. Application numbers increased again this year, which meant that some applicants who 
might have been shortlisted in previous years were not shortlisted this year.

Shortlisting was performed by the Chemistry Admissions Coordinators and the College tutors in 
accordance with the stated admissions criteria, based on all 
available and relevant data. These data include all aspects of the applicant's UCAS form and any 
further relevant contextual data specific to the application. Each application was graded against 
agreed descriptors. All recommendations from college tutors to modify the shortlist were submitted, 
with reasoning, to the Chemistry Admissions Coordinators for scrutiny. The proposed list of all 
applicants not to be shortlisted was available to all colleges for a period of 5 days before the shortlist 
was finalised. A small number of applicants were brought back into contention at the request of a 

To even out the chances of admission between colleges, 77 shortlisted applicants were reallocated to 
different colleges from their application college, before interviews. The colleges then sent letters 
and/or emails to all applicants, informing them of the outcome of the shortlisting exercise.
590 of the shortlisted applicants offered A-levels. 534 of those offered at least one of A-level Physics, 
Biology, and Further Mathematics (in addition to the required Chemistry and Mathematics A-levels).

2.2 Interview process
Admissions interviews took place remotely via Microsoft Teams. The University Admissions Office 
produced guidance for remote interviews and corresponding advice on their website for applicants. 
All shortlisted Chemistry applicants were interviewed remotely over a two-week period in December.
The timetable of interviews by subject was readily available on the Undergraduate Admissions website
well in advance of the dates.

All applicants had at least two interviews at their first-assigned college. 260 applicants had an 
additional interview at a second college. Second college allocation was calculated in such a way as to 
even out the chances of admission between colleges. Interviews were academic in nature. Applicant
performance was judged according to the stated admissions criteria. The interviews were graded 
against agreed descriptors.

2.3 Decisions
The Chemistry Department operates various procedures in a coordinated effort to ensure that the 
strongest applicants are admitted to the University irrespective of college choice. These include 
transparency of all application grades, interview grades, and UCAS forms amongst all tutors involved 
with admissions, and a final meeting of tutors from every college at which the strongest, unplaced 
applicants are collectively discussed and final offers, including open offers, are made.
Decisions are deemed to be official at the end of the final meeting. These decisions are then 
communicated to the respective college offices for dissemination to shortlisted applicants.
Standard offers are stated on the Chemistry course page of the University website 
(https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/chemistry) for those taking 
A-levels, the International Baccalaureate or Advanced Highers. College tutors seek advice from 
Admissions tutors or the Admissions Office in making other offers

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Classics and joint schools

Coming soon

Economics and Management

Economics and Management 2023-24 cycle admissions report

Note on the data in this report
The data used for the statistics in this report are a snapshot of the data available on 3 January 2024. Whilst it is not anticipated that there will be significant change between this date and the date on which candidates are notified of the outcome of their applications, small changes may be possible. As such, the statistics presented in this report may differ slightly from any statistics produced after final decisions are communicated.

Candidates who submitted their applications after the deadline at 6pm on 16th October 2023 that were not considered, are excluded from the statistics given in this report.

Admissions requirements
Information on the requirements to study Economics and Management at Oxford can be found on the University website at https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing/economics-and-management, and on the department website at https://economics.web.ox.ac.uk/undergraduate-admissions-criteria.

Application numbers
The table below shows information regarding the number of applicants, shortlisted applicants, and applicants made offers. It further shows the numbers by Gender (only “Man” and “Woman” are included due to low numbers in other categories), and by domicile (“UK” or “Non-UK”).

  Man Woman UK Non-UK Total
Applicants 908 598 828 689 1517
Shortlisted applicants 170 105 181 97 218
Applicants made offers 53 40 67 26 93

GCSE results
GCSEs (General Certificates in Secondary Education) are UK qualifications usually taken in Year 11 (when the applicant is 15-16). It is not required for applicants to have taken GCSEs, and we receive and consider many applications, particularly from outside the UK, that have not taken GCSEs. However, where these results are available, they are considered when making decisions.

View full report

English and joint schools

Thank you for applying for a place on BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. We appreciate the time and effort you put into making an application. We had a high number of applicants for English Language and Literature, with many very good applications, which means that we had to make many difficult decisions. 

View full report

Law and Law with Law Studies in Europe

In the 2022-23 admissions round the estimated competition for places across Oxford was 9:1 for Law including LSE. 

Candidates were selected using standard selection criteria. Law aims to interview around 2 candidates for every place available. 

Law tutors worked together across Oxford to ensure the strongest candidates in the cohort as a whole were admitted into individual colleges. Colleges were able to nominate up to two of their first-choice applicants per available place for interview and then a Faculty Selection Committee identified further candidates to be reallocated to colleges. 

The assessment of candidates at the pre-interview stage is based on the following six criteria: 

  1. academic performance to date; 

  1. predicted and/or achieved grades; 

  1. reference; 

  1. the LNAT multiple choice test; and 

  1. the LNAT essay. 

It is important to note that weakness in one of these areas may be compensated by exceptional strength elsewhere, as well as by extenuating circumstances (medical conditions, recent bereavements, etc.). Contextual data is taken into account when making our assessment.  

Prior to the online interviews, we held an online pre-interview meeting to allow the applicants to see who would be interviewing them, to explain the interview process, and to answer any questions. Those who notified us that they would be unable to attend this meeting were able to watch a recording before their interviews started. Interviews started shortly afterwards. Each candidate received two interviews with Merton. 

The admissions team at Merton considered the above-mentioned six criteria together with the interview performance when making their final decisions. All decisions are taken carefully and followed strict procedural safeguards to ensure that the best candidates – i.e. those who showed the most potential as a whole – were selected and offered a place. This is a thorough, long and demanding process which – we believe – ensures that those most suited to the particular study approach and system in Oxford are selected. We see many talented and promising candidates each year but are constrained by the number of places we can offer. 

In the end, six candidates were offered a college place at Merton for the academic year 2023-24, and one candidate was made an open offer. 

Departmental feedback 

This year we received 2141 applications for 240 places, there were approximately 8.92 applications per available place. Almost all of our applicants had unblemished school records and very strong and supportive references. 

As part of the university-wide Common Framework for Admissions, introduced a few years ago, the Law Faculty shortlists candidates (college-blind) in consultation with a Faculty Selection Committee (FSC) consisting of representatives from 15 Colleges. Once college blinding is removed, Colleges also have the opportunity to add candidates who were not selected by the FSC to their shortlists. Some candidates are shortlisted to their college of application, and some are reallocated to other colleges for interview. FSC collectively shortlisted approximately 2.5 applicants per place available on the Law course. As a result of this process, each college can interview between 2.5 and 3 applicants per available place. The point of this system is to minimise the extent to which applicants may be prejudiced by their choice of college and to make sure, as far as possible, that all those applicants who are strong enough to merit an interview are in fact interviewed. 

Applications are assessed against our criteria for selection, details of which are published on the Faculty website. The assessment of candidates at the pre-interview stage takes account of all information in the application, including: (1) academic performance to date; (2) predicted grades; (3) reference; (4) the LNAT multiple choice test, and (5) the LNAT essay. LNAT essays are marked college-blind by a pool of markers drawn from all colleges to ensure consistency. Evaluation of shortlisted candidates will also include their performance at interview. Weakness in one of these areas can be compensated by exceptional strength elsewhere, as well as by special circumstances (medical conditions, recent bereavements etc.). Particular attention is paid to any factors identified in the application that may have affected academic performance. The Faculty is also aware that factors such as socio-economic disadvantage and school performance can mean that it is difficult for some students to perform to their full potential before applying to university. Therefore, in accordance with University guidance, we use a range of contextual data to help us to better understand students’ achievements in the context of their individual background. Detailed information on contextualisation is available, published on the University website

Mathematics and joint schools
Modern Languages and joint schools
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)