These are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. Please also read the Oxford University Graduate Admissions website carefully as it contains more comprehensive information on the selection criteria and application process for the MPP.
We also suggest that you visit the School's blog where we have posts about preparing your applications, searching for funding, moving to Oxford with your family and what life at the School is like.
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 at least 6 weeks on their summer project between Saturday 8th week of Trinity term and 1 September.
The MPP terms are:
- Michaelmas term, Monday – 1st week to Friday 10th week
- Hilary term, Monday 0th week to Friday 9th week
- Trinity term, Monday 0th week to Friday 8th week
- Michaelmas term, Monday 25 September – Friday 15 December 2023
- Hilary term, Monday 8 January – Friday 15 March 2024
- Trinity term, Monday 15 April – Friday 14 June 2024
- Summer project, minimum 6 weeks between Saturday 15 June and Sunday 1 September 2024
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. Secondly, the MPP is multidisciplinary, giving you a broad perspective of policy problems and solutions. Thirdly, 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. You may also find the following two blog posts helpful: 'The value of Oxford's Master of Public Policy – why choose our MPP?' and 'This time last year: How I chose the MPP at the University of Oxford over other courses'.
How much work experience do I need to be eligible to apply?
There is no set level of work experience required of applicants. Most of our successful applicants come with at least a year or two of work experience, preferably with demonstrated public service impact. 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 over 50, 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.
What kind of degree are candidates expected to have?
There is no particular degree background required, beyond having a strong academic record at the undergraduate level. Many of our successful applicants will have had some experience with social science, maths or quantitative subjects, or will have gained these skills professionally. 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. Successful applicants come to us from a huge range of professional backgrounds such as engineering, medicine, education, and journalism. The one thing they have in common is the desire to serve and make the world a better place. 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 Blavatnik School of Government 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 and impact. 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 of Government 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?
You do not need to provide evidence of English language proficiency if you meet one of the following criteria:
A. Your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI); or
B. You are a current Oxford student applying for re-admission.
C. You have completed a minimum of three years full-time higher education in English in a UKVI country, completing your course within approximately two years of the start date of the MPP. We will consider any degrees which finished in May 2021 or later for our 2023 intake.
If you do not meet one of the criteria above, you will have to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for the MPP.
Please see the central University application guide for full details of this requirement – please note that the School requires the higher level scores outlined. Where possible you should submit an English language proficiency test by the application deadline; if you have not yet taken a test or received your results your application will still be considered as long as all other required documents have been submitted. Any offer of a place will require you to submit English language test results at the required level by 31 May 2024.
Please note that the Blavatnik School has a higher waiver standard than the central university and waivers are granted at the discretion of the department. If you wish to apply for a waiver you can submit this request either with your application or after you receive an offer.
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 the start of September to early 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 of Government 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. If we’d like further information at the time of assessing your application, we may get in touch via email to request this from you.
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 of Government's admissions team will contact you after the initial MPP offer has been made. In order to be considered for awards managed by the Blavatnik School of Government, you will be required to complete and submit a 'scholarship questionnaire', usually within two weeks of receiving your offer of a place. We do not follow other schools in collecting this information at the point of application as it is important to us that we credibly signal that this does not influence our admissions process.
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. Is this possible and what facilities are available?
In May 2023 plans were announced by the UK government to make future changes to the current system which allows family members to apply to come to the UK. The government has committed to work with the higher education sector to explore alternative options to ensure the brightest and best students can continue to bring dependents when they study at the UK’s world-leading universities.
If you do bring dependents, 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 the main MPP section on our website.
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. 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 your application to the MPP. If you are going to be in Oxford please email the Blavatnik School of Government admissions team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book an appointment. Please note that it is not possible to meet with faculty to discuss your application and that appointment slots with the admissions team are limited.
Are you a good fit for the MPP at the Blavatnik School of Government?
See how many questions you say yes to:
- Do you have 2+ years professional experience?
- Are you motivated to excel in a career in public service?
- Do people seek you out for mentorship?
- Are you someone who actively empowers others to achieve their potential?
- Do you celebrate the success of others?
- Do your ideas get taken forward in your work?
- Do you know how to leverage your professional networks to achieve your professional objectives?
- Do you have a strong academic record?
- Are you a problem solver?
- Are you able to take an idea and turn it into a reality in your professional life?
- Have you created positive change?