Studying as a mature student

The English Faculty would encourage anyone with strong academic potential and a keen interest in English Literature to apply to study here, irrespective of age. We understand that your educational and professional journey may be more varied  than if you'd gone to university straight out of school; our tutors will take your work experience and life skills into account when you apply.

Routes into studying English at Oxford

There are two main ways you can apply to study English at Oxford:

1) Apply via UCAS in the same way as all students – find out more on the University's 'Guide for applicants' page.

2) Take the Foundation Certificate in English Literature at the University's Department for Continuing Education. This course is taught part-time over two years, and is equivalent to the first year of a full-time undergraduate English degree. After completing the course, you will be able to apply for second-year entry to an English Literature degree, at Oxford or elsewhere. Visit the Department for Continuing Education's website for further details.

Choosing a college

When you apply to Oxford, you will be asked to choose a college, or make an 'open application'. Mature students are open to apply to any college which offers their course. Harris Manchester College is only open to mature students (over the age of 21). Its diversity of age, nationality and background makes the college a very interesting and vibrant community. The college has a number of scholarships for second undergraduate degrees.

Find out about all the colleges on the University website

Visit the Harris Manchester College website for further details

Financial support

Oxford is committed to ensuring that no one who is offered a place is unable to study here for financial reasons and offers a number of scholarships. These include:

  • The Crankstart Scholarship is available to all UK residents with a household income of £27,500 per year or less, who will be studying for their first undergraduate degree. 
  • An Oxford Bursary, an annual, non-repayable bursary to support your living costs available to first-degree UK students with a household income of up to £42,875.
  • The Childcare Grant, a non-repayable grant for students in full time higher education with children under the age of 15 (or under the age of 17 if they have special needs)
  • The Adult Dependants’ Grant, a non-repayable grant for students in full time higher education with an adult that is financially dependent on them
  • The Parents’ Learning Allowance, a non-repayable grant for student parents who are in full time higher education or initial teacher training
  • Disabled Students’ Allowance, a non-repayable grant to help cover some of the extra costs that may result from a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.

See the University's Fees and Funding page for more information.


The University aims to assist wherever possible in the provision of childcare. For further details please see the childcare pages.