Balliol students

Applying to Balliol

Please see also Oxford University’s ‘Information for undergraduate applicants’ relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

Application procedure

There is a detailed step-by-step guide to application and there is also a video guide from our Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions. We recommend all candidates review these in conjunction with the following information.

UCAS application and admissions tests

You need to submit an application through UCAS no later than 6.00pm UK time on Monday 16 October 2023 (to be considered for direct entry in 2024, or deferred entry in 2025). See more information about the UCAS form

Many Oxford courses will also require you to take an admissions test. You must ensure that you have registered for your test no later than Friday 29 September 2023 in order to be able to take it later in the year. Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) recently announced its decision to withdraw from delivering its admissions testing services over the next two years. In 2023, they will deliver paper-based TSA and BMAT tests for the final time but will not be delivering Oxford’s own tests. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will manage the delivery of Oxford’s own admissions tests. 

The TSA and BMAT tests arranged by CAAT will be taken by candidates on 18 October. Any questions regarding either of these tests should be directed to CAAT.

2023 dates for Oxford’s own admissions tests run by TCS are as follows:

  • 19 October: CAT, Oxford ELAT, GAT, MAT and AMELAT
  • 20 October: HAT, MLAT, PAT and Philosophy test

See more information about the Oxford tests.

The only exceptions are for applicants to Medicine and Law. Please check our website carefully to ensure you don’t miss the date of your test.

Please note that some courses will require you to take more than one test. These additional tests must be registered for separately. 

Written work

Many courses require you to submit written work. Please check whether this applies to your course on this page about written work. You will need to submit each piece as a PDF with its own cover sheet to undergraduate@​balliol.​ox.​ac.​uk no later than 10 November.

Entrance requirements

Most courses require suitable qualifications in relevant subjects: see the University’s general entrance requirements and the specific subject requirements. Balliol makes a few exceptions to these, so check the Balliol subject page for your chosen subject.

Students who are not studying A‑levels should see this list of equivalent suitable qualifications. If you do not find the qualification you are taking in this list, or have further questions, please email undergraduate@​balliol.​ox.​ac.​uk.

Students who have already gained an undergraduate degree may be admitted to the College to read for an Oxford BA (in which case they may be granted ‘senior status’, which allows the degree to be completed in two years).

Mature students

The entrance process for mature applicants is identical to that for all other applicants. See more information about applying as a mature student.

Disability

If you have a disability, we would encourage you to get in touch with the Undergraduate Admissions Office early in the application process, so that we can discuss any reasonable adjustments that may be required. Any disability disclosure will be dealt with confidentially and sensitively and will not influence the admissions process. Your application will be assessed solely on academic merit. Please read ‘What should I do if I have a disability?’.

What happens next?

Acknowledgement

Within a few weeks of the deadline. We will send an email to say that we have received your application. For subjects requiring written work (see above) we will explain how you should send it to us.

Shortlisting 

13 weeks before the timetabled interview dates. There are about ten times as many candidates as places available across the University and unfortunately it isn’t possible to interview everyone. Tutors use the information from your UCAS application, any tests and written work (for subjects that require these), and additional contextual data, to assess your application against the selection criteria for your course. After each application has been reviewed, tutors will decide on a shortlist of candidates in late November or early December. 

You will receive an email and a letter indicating whether or not you have been invited for interview. You may not receive this until a week before the interviews are due to take place. If you have been invited, the letter will include practical details of your interview and further information.

Interviews

All candidates who are successful at the shortlisting stage will be invited to attend an interview. You may be asked to attend more than one interview at Balliol or to attend interviews for other colleges.

See further information on interviews.

Decision

Shortlisted candidates will be told whether or not their application has been successful in early January 2023. If we make you an offer it will be either conditional on achieving certain grades in your exams (see entrance requirements above) or unconditional, if you have already completed your exams and submitted certificates. 

See further information on decisions.

Reallocation

A key aim of the admissions procedure is that an applicant’s chance of obtaining a place should as far as possible be independent of the college handling the application, whether the candidate applied to a particular college or made an open application. To assist with this, candidates may be reallocated from the college initially handling their application to another college where the ratio of applicants to places is lower, to ensure the ratio is as constant as possible across the university.

Reallocation occurs after the shortlist of candidates for interview has been drawn up. You may therefore be invited to interview at a different college from that which initially handled your application.

Many applicants will also be interviewed at more than one college, from any one of whom an offer may be forthcoming. In 2017, 35% of successful applicants got an offer from a college they didn’t specify on their application. Reallocated candidates are treated in exactly the same way at interview as other candidates and tutors are interested exclusively in ensuring that the strongest candidates are offered a place at Oxford, regardless of whether or not you applied to their college, or made an open application.