MPP FAQs

These are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. Please also read the Graduate Admissions and Funding website carefully as it contains more comprehensive information on the selection criteria and application process for the MPP.

We also suggest that you visit our BSG Blog where we have posts about funding, posts from incoming students explaining their preparation before coming to Oxford.

How does the MPP differ from other Public Policy courses?

There are four main features that differentiate the MPP from other Public Policy Masters. Firstly, the MPP is a diverse and globally-focused course, both in terms of the student cohort itself and the curriculum.  Second, the MPP is multidisciplinary, giving you a broad perspective of policy problems and solutions.  Third, the MPP is applied, aiming to give you the right tools to find answers to public policy challenges. It is geared towards building the wide range of skills needed for public service – responding to the demand for flexible policy experts who can also deploy their skills as negotiators, analysts and communicators. Finally, the MPP is an intensive course: In terms of content,  it is similar to an 18 month-long programme but concentrated into 12 months.  

How much work experience do I need to be eligible to apply and what kind of degree are candidates expected to have?

There is no set level of work experience required of applicants, nor any particular degree background required. We assess everyone across our three criteria of academic excellence, commitment to public service, and leadership ability. We want our students to be able to learn from each other as much as from our faculty so maintaining a diversity of experience and background is vital. We have previously welcomed students from the ages of 21 to 51, though the majority of students are aged between 25 and 35. These students come to us from a huge range of professional backgrounds such as engineering, medicine, education, and journalism. Our aim is always to have a truly diverse classroom where students from all over the world with different values and perspectives challenge each other.

Who is the ideal MPP candidate?

There is no ideal candidate in terms of background but we are looking for candidates who are not only highly academically able but also truly exemplify our criteria of commitment to public service and leadership ability. Exceptional candidates will be able to show an excellent academic track record, a strong commitment to public service and the ability to have real impact in their chosen field. Our mission as a school is to contribute towards the creation of a world better led, better served, and better governed. The students we are looking for are individuals who are passionate about creating positive change in the world. The best applicants will also know what skills they seek to develop or gain through the MPP and how they will implement these following the course in order to drive this change.  

Can I receive guidance on my suitability for the programme by submitting my CV?

No, the School receives a very large number of applications and enquiries each year. In the interest of making the admissions process as impartial and fair as possible, it is not possible to offer feedback to some candidates when the privilege cannot be extended to all. Therefore, the department cannot provide individual guidance on suitability for the course, but would rather encourage you to read the selection criteria carefully.

I have a GPA of less than 3.7; can I still apply?

Yes, all applications are considered holistically against our selection criteria of academic excellence, commitment to Public Service and demonstrable leadership/impact. A less than stellar performance in one category can be made up for by a stellar performance in the other two. However, we would stress that the MPP is a very intensive programme designed for students with a high level of academic ability. Please note also that the Blavatnik School receives a very large number of applications and entry is extremely competitive.

Does the MPP require a degree in a specific subject?

No, we accept applications from candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds. We usually expect candidates to hold a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree.

I cannot get an academic reference; can I submit only professional references?

No, you are required to submit at least one academic reference and you may be asked to provide one before your application can be assessed. Academic references are preferred but we will accept professional references which speak to your academic and analytical ability.

Do I need to submit an English Language test?

If you are not a native English speaker we seek evidence of proficiency in the English language (for non-native speakers). Please see the central University application guide for full details of this requirement. You are expected to submit an English Language proficiency test by the application deadline. Please note that a failure to do this may jeopardise your chances of successfully joining the course. Alternatively if you would like to be considered for a waiver please submit a request as part of your application - please note that waivers for Blavatnik School applicants are usually only granted when an applicant has studied for 3-years or longer in an English language majority speaking country, as defined by the UKVI. you will be required to demonstrate your English language proficiency at the higher level set by the University. Please see the central University application guide for full details of this requirement. Waivers for Blavatnik School applicants are usually only granted when an applicant has studied for 3-years or longer in an English language majority speaking country, as defined by the UKVI.

Can I change from full-time to part-time?

The MPP is a full-time programme only. Due to the intensive nature of the course part-time study is not possible.

Can I apply after the January deadline has passed?

No, it is not possible to apply after the close of the January deadline. The MPP only has one admissions cycle a year that runs from 1 September to late January.

I am experiencing technical difficulties with the online application form, should I contact the Blavatnik School Admissions Team for help?

No, all applications are initially processed by the central Graduate Admissions office and the Blavatnik School Admissions team cannot access applications until after the deadline has passed. For any technical difficulties or queries you should request support from the Graduate Admissions and Funding office.

Will all applicants be interviewed?

No, applicants interviews are not usually conducted as part of our admissions process.

Can the Blavatnik School Admissions Team update me on the status of my application before decisions are announced?

No, we aim to get decisions out as soon as possible, but are unable to comment before all decisions have been communicated. All candidates will receive notification via email. For information on the timetable for admissions decisions please refer to the 'After You Apply' pages on the Graduate Admissions and Funding website.

Can the Blavatnik School​​​​​​​ Admissions Team update me on the status of my funding applications before decisions are announced?

No, for University managed scholarships in most cases funding decisions are made by external bodies, who will contact shortlisted candidates directly or through us. We are unfortunately not in control of this process and can therefore not guarantee when decisions will be made by.

Is it possible to reapply next year if I am unsuccessful this year?

Yes, each year is a separate admissions cycle and being unsuccessful in one year does not mean that an application would also be unsuccessful in the next.

Will all offers to the MPP come with funding attached to it?

No, all offers will initially be without funding. The process for scholarships and awards is a separate process that in most cases involves decisions made by external bodies. If you have been shortlisted for funding, the relevant funding bodies or the Blavatnik School Admissions Team will contact you after the initial MPP offer has been made.

Can I support my studies or continue with paid employment?

Due to the intensive nature of the MPP programme, we strongly advise students not to take on any work commitments outside the course.

I am considering bringing my partner/family to Oxford, what facilities are available?

There are facilities available across the University for students with partners and families. Limited accommodation is available from colleges and the University Accommodation Office, and we would encourage you to investigate this once a college place has been confirmed. The University Student Union offers advice to students with families which provides information on childcare and schooling.

Which college can I apply to?

For information on colleges that are accepting MPP students please visit the Graduate Admissions and Funding pages or our College membership page in the MPP section.

What is the purpose of a college for a graduate student?

Colleges act as a base for the duration of your time as a graduate student. They provide meals, chapels, social events, sporting clubs, and each has its own library (of varying degrees of size and specialism). Several colleges also provide accommodation for graduate students, either for one year, two years and exceptionally, three years. Some colleges also offer scholarships for applicant students. For further information please check the individual college websites for further details.

Can I come and visit the Blavatnik School to find out more?

All the information you require about the MPP is available on our website however it is possible to visit and speak to the Admissions Team about application to the MPP. If you are going to be in Oxford please email the Blavatnik School Admissions Team (admissions@bsg.ox.ac.uk) to book an appointment. Please note that it is not possible to meet with faculty to discuss your application and that appointment slots are limited.

What are the anticipated future term dates?

Please note that students should be available for class during the term dates – teaching will start no earlier than their beginning and finish no later than their end. Summative assessments may be due after these dates. They can be submitted from outside Oxford. Students will spend 6-8 weeks on their summer project between Saturday 8th week Trinity term and 1st September.
The MPP terms are:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday -2nd week to Friday 10th week
• Hilary term, Monday 0th week to Friday 9th week
• Trinity term, Monday 0th week to Friday 8th week
This means the anticipated (and current) term dates are as follows:
2015-16:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday 24 September – Friday 18 December 2015
• Hilary term, Monday 11 January – Friday 18 March 2016
• Trinity term, Monday 18 April – Friday 17 June 2016
• Summer project, 6-8 weeks between Saturday 18 June and 1 September 2016
2016-17:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday 22 September – Friday 16 December 2016
• Hilary term, Monday 9 January – Friday 17 March 2017
• Trinity term, Monday 17 April – Friday 16 June 2017
• Summer project, 6-8 weeks between Saturday 17 June and 1 September 2017
2017-18:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday 21 September – Friday 15 December 2017
• Hilary term, Monday 8 January – Friday 16 March 2018
• Trinity term, Monday 16 April – Friday 15 June 2018
• Summer project, 6-8 weeks between Saturday 16 June and 1 September 2018
2018-19:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday 20 September – Friday 14 December 2018
• Hilary term, Monday 7 January – Friday 15 March 2019
• Trinity term, Monday 22 April – Friday 21 June 2019
• Summer project, 6-8 weeks between Saturday 22 June and 1 September 2019
2019-2020:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday 26 September – 20 December 2019
• Hilary term, Monday 13 January – Friday 20 March 2020
• Trinity term, Monday 20 April – Friday 19 June 2020
• Summer project, 6-8 weeks between Saturday 20 June and 1 September 2020
2020-2021:
• Michaelmas term, Thursday 24 September – Friday 18 December 2020
• Hilary term, Monday 11 January – Friday 19 March 2021
• Trinity term, Monday 19 April – Friday 18 June 2021
• Summer project, 6-8 weeks between Saturday 19 June and 1 September 2020

If you do not find your answer here please visit the main Graduate Admissions and Funding comprehensive FAQ pages.