Ivy Tutors Network Logo
Find a tutor
How to Get into Oxford University from the US [2024 Guide]

How to Get into Oxford University from the US [2024 Guide]

When it comes to world universities, Oxford is a monolith.  It’s older than the Aztec Empire, older than the Black Death, and still one of the most prestigious universities in the world.  Luckily, they are also very interested in American students, especially at the undergraduate level.

Kevin Newton
Kevin Newton
College Admissions

by Kevin Newton (aneducationabroad.com)

Why choose Oxford University?

When it comes to world universities, Oxford is a monolith. It’s older than the Aztec Empire, older than the Black Death, and still one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Luckily, they are also very interested in American students, especially at the undergraduate level.

Oxford University

Oxford University Rankings

Oxford is routinely ranked as one of the top three universities in the world, vying with Harvard and Cambridge for the top spot. While the rankings change from year to year, currently the Times Higher Education Supplement ranks Oxford as the best university in not only the UK, but the world.

University of Oxford Notable US Alumni

Oxford is not short on famous US alumni. Bill Clinton, a half dozen Supreme Court justices, and dozens of other politicians once called Oxford home. Beyond the US, Monty Python was founded at Oxford, and a list of alumni is a veritable “Who’s Who” of British life.

What does Oxford University Specialize In?

Oxford strives to have world-leading programs in everything it teaches and researches. That said, many in the UK feel that Oxford’s biggest strengths are in the humanities and social sciences, while Cambridge excels in natural sciences.

Oxford University Programs for International Students


Oxford offers a wide range of graduate degree options, ranging from postgraduate programs, PhDs (which it calls DPhils), and masters degrees.  Of note is that upon the passing of seven years from undergraduate graduation, an Oxford BA “upgrades” to an MA.


Oxford offers cutting-edge opportunities for research, with many funded opportunities for study at the doctoral level and beyond. An Oxford DPhil typically takes 3-4 years, and funding can often be found.


Like other UK universities, masters degrees in the UK are typically one year long. These are called “Taught Masters,” and are equivalent to a masters in the US. MPhils, on the other hand, are a “Research Masters” that is used as a step towards a PhD (or DPhil)

Summer Schools

Oxford offers a wide range of summer programs, but it is important to note which are officially conducted by the University, as opposed to those that are simply hosted at the university’s various colleges. Not only do the former have the advantage of having an official Oxford qualification at the end, but they also tend to be much more affordable. Many of these are operated through the Department of Continuing Education.

That said, some of those do have age restrictions. Instead, look for some of the many third party providers that are more well equipped to work with younger students. Please note that there is no advantage to one of these over the other, and there is no inherent advantage to attending one of these summer programs.

What exams are required to study at the University of Oxford for US students?

Students will almost always have to have ACT or SAT scores, typically at a 33/1480 or above. Some subjects may require lower, while others have higher minimums.

Additionally, AP scores of 5 in at least three exams are required, though these can be predicted scores to be earned senior year. IB students will find minimum requirements depending on their course, but typically 7s in their HL subjects are required.

Additionally, the vast majority of degree options at Oxford require a specialized admissions test. Registration for these is often no later than September 30.

University of Oxford

Oxford Acceptance Rate for International Students

Oxford’s admissions rates look odd, when you first see them. On average, around 17% of applicants are admitted. However, there are issues with this number. First, students can only apply to one program at Oxford or Cambridge for undergrad. That heavily reduces the number of applicants. Additionally, some programs are easier to be admitted to than others. Computer Science, for example, is much more competitive than History.

Is it hard to get into Oxford University for US students?

American students are often victims of their own overconfidence when it comes to applying to Oxford. Simply put, as with many other competitive UK universities, simply copying and pasting a Common App personal statement is the fastest way to get rejected from Oxford. However, students who can demonstrate why they belong at a place like Oxford often find that they are much more successful than those who apply to top universities in the US.

University of Oxford Tuition Fee for International Students

Depending on the course of study, Oxford charges different tuition rates. The least expensive courses cost 28,950 British Pounds per year, with the most expensive being more than 66,000 pounds. Please note that this does not include room and board, but is only for three years. Additionally, Oxford, unlike Cambridge, does not charge College fees.

Oxford University

How to Apply for Oxford University from the US?

The first step to applying to Oxford is to start early. Applications are due by October 15, but students will want to be mindful of the fact that they will have had to register for an admissions test by September 30. After the test, routinely held in early November, candidates will then be offered an interview in late November or early December.  

These interviews are not like those conducted by American universities. Instead, they will focus on presenting a candidate with a series of problems relevant to the proposed field of study and seeing how the student works to solve them.

Students will be notified of their admissions results in mid to late January.

How to be Accepted to Oxford University? 4 Tips From Experts:

  • Read in your field - Oxford prides itself on being an intellectual place, so being able to articulate your passion through reading in your personal statement is a great way to stand out.
  • Practice interviewing - Your interview is your last big hurdle to admissions, and Oxford does tend to interview American students. If you can stand out here, you will be successful.
  • Go Beyond on your APs - While 3 APs is the minimum, a number of 5s will make your application look more robust.
  • Don’t save your application to the last minute - October 15 comes up fast; we recommend finishing your Oxford application by September 30.

Finally, we also reccomend that you take advantage of the test preparation services offered by Ivy Tutors Network in order to drastically improve your chances overseas. From preparing for the ACT and SAT to help in all subjects, including AP exams, Ivy Tutors Network is in a unique position to help you make the most of your college applications.


Take a Diagnostic Exam in NYC

Start with a diagnostic SAT, ACT, SHSAT, ISEE, SSAT, TACHS, or AP test so you know where you stand and where you need improvement. Knowledge is power!

Related Blog Posts

Contact Us