Map Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR

For the past several years, Oxford University has been using a helpful ‘traffic light’ system for prospective applicants. The system indicates which school subjects are important for each course: ‘red’ subjects are considered essential for the course (and to meet application requirements), ‘yellow’ subjects are recommended in preparation for the course, and ‘green’ subjects are considered helpful or useful.

This can be a very useful tool for students who are still undecided as to which course they want to study: check out the traffic lights for courses you’re interested in to help whittle down your options.

For those just finishing GCSEs and yet to choose A-level (or equivalent) subjects, we recommend using this tool to plan the subjects necessary or recommended for the university courses in which you are interested.

This information can be found on each relevant course page on the Oxford University website. However, to make things a little easier, we have compiled them all into one handy table for you here. We have also included whether written work is necessary for a given course, since this can also take some time to prepare.

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Course Red (Essential) Yellow (Recommended) Green (Useful) Written Work
Archaeology and Anthropology     A combination of arts and science subjects Two recently marked essays (written for school within a two-week period, preferable from different subjects); one short essay of 500 words or less on the question “What can we learn about people, either past or present, from their material culture?”
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies     A language to A-level or equivalent (does not need to be an Asian or Middle Eastern Language) Two pieces (in English) from school studies or written specifically for the application
Biochemistry (Molecular and Cellular) A-level or equivalent Chemistry, plus another science or Mathematics Mathematics to A-level or equivalent Biology beyond GCSE or equivalent  
Biology Biology and either Chemistry, Physics, or Mathematics to A-level or equivalent      
Biomedical Sciences Two A-levels or equivalent from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics; Practical components of any Science A-levels must be taken and passed; At least a grade C/4 at GCSE in any of Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics not taken at A-level      
Chemistry Chemistry and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent; In IB, Mathematics 7 at SL is acceptable only when ‘Analysis & Approaches’ is taken Additional science subject or Further Mathematics    
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History     A classical language, Classical Civilisation, or Ancient History Two pieces of recently marked work from school or college studies
Classics     Either or both classical languages (Latin and Ancient Greek), Classical Civilisation, Ancient History, or a modern language Two pieces (either essays or commentaries) preferably in areas relevant to Classics
Classics and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies     Either or both classical languages (Latin and Ancient Greek), Classical Civilisation, Ancient History, or a modern language (does not need to be an Asian or Middle Eastern language)  
Classics and English English Literature or English Language and Literature to A-level or equivalent   Either or both classical languages (Latin and Ancient Greek), Classical Civilisation, Ancient History, or a modern language  
Classics and Modern Languages (For Classics and French, German, Russian, and Spanish) chosen modern language to A-level or equivalent (for Classics and French, German, Russian, and Spanish)

 

(For Classics and Czech/Beginners’ Czech, Italian/Beginners’ Italian, Modern Greek/Beginners’ Modern Greek, Portuguese/Beginners’ Portuguese, and Beginners’ German) candidates may apply with an A-level or equivalent in the relevant modern language or for a beginners’ course; Beginners’ courses are not available to candidates who have not studied either Latin or Ancient Greek to A-level or equivalent.

  Either or both classical languages (Latin and Ancient Greek), Classical Civilisation, Ancient History, or a modern language One/three pieces: a piece of written work in your chosen Modern Language unless you are applying to study as a beginner; a piece of written work in English for the Classics part of the course; a piece of written work in English for the Modern Languages part of the course (if you have a piece of written work in English that you think would be suitable for both subjects, you may send two copies of the same work)
Computer Science Mathematics to A-level (A*/A Grade) or equivalent Further Mathematics A-level or equivalent (at least A Grade)    
Computer Science and Philosophy Mathematics to A-level (A*/A Grade) or equivalent Further Mathematics A-level or equivalent (at least A Grade)    
Earth Sciences (Geology) Mathematics plus Physics or Chemistry A-level or equivalent Chemistry or Physics as a third subject Biology, Geology, or Further Mathematics  
Economics and Management Mathematics to A-level (A*/A Grade) or equivalent      
Engineering Science Physics and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent   Further Mathematics  
English Language and Literature English Literature or English Language and Literature to A-level or equivalent   A language or History One piece of work, which should be: an analytical essay in the English Literature field; written in the normal course of school or college work; marked by a teacher (not rewritten after marking); not more than 2,000 words
English and Modern Languages (For English and French/German/Russian/Spanish) English Literature or English Language and Literature to A-level; Candidates expected to have the relevant language to A-level or equivalent.

 

(For English and: Beginners’ German, Czech/Beginners’ Czech, Italian/Beginners’ Italian, Modern Greek/Beginners’ Modern Greek, or Portuguese/Beginners’ Portuguese) English Literature or English Language and Literature to A-level; Candidates applying for a non-beginners’ language course expected to have an A-level or equivalent in the relevant language

    One/three pieces: a piece of written work in your chosen Modern Language unless you are applying to study as a beginner; a piece of written work in English for the English part of the course; a piece of written work in English for the Modern Languages part of the course (if you have a piece of written work in English that you think would be suitable for both subjects, you may send two copies of the same work)
European and Middle Eastern Languages The relevant European language to A-level or equivalent (applicants are not normally expected to have knowledge of the relevant Middle Eastern language before starting the course)     One piece of work in the target language to be studied (for the European language)
Fine Art   Art at A-level or equivalent; Post-18 Art Foundation Course   A digital portfolio submission is required in lieu of written work
Foundation Year in Chemistry, Engineering and Materials Science (For Chemistry) Chemistry and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent.

 

(For Engineering) Physics and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent.

 

(For Materials) Physics and Mathematics to A-level; GCSE or equivalent Chemistry.

(For Materials) A-level or equivalent Chemistry is highly recommended.    
Foundation Year in Humanities Your degree subject to A-level or equivalent (with the exception of Theology and some Classics options which request any essay writing subject to A-level or equivalent).     Candidates may be required to submit a recent example of writing.
Foundation Year in Law     A subject involving essay writing. Candidates may be required to submit a recent example of writing.
Foundation Year in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics)   Mathematics to A-level or equivalent. It is not necessary to have studies Politics, Philosophy or Economics; History can be useful. Candidates may be required to submit a recent example of writing.
Geography   Geography to A-level or equivalent.    
History   History to A-level or equivalent.   One essay on a historical topic, written as part of your normal school or college work.
History (Ancient and Modern)   History to A-level or equivalent. A classical language, Classical Civilisation, and Ancient History. One essay on a historical topic (either ancient or modern), written as part of your normal school or college work.
History and Economics   History and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent.   One recent marked essay on a historical topic, written as part of your normal school or college work.
History and English English Literature or English Language and Literature to A-level or equivalent. History to A-level or equivalent.   Two pieces: one piece on a historical topic for history, and one piece for English.
History and Modern Languages (For History with Czech, French, German, Italian, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish) Candidates are usually required to have their chosen language to A-level unless starting a beginners’ course. History to A-level or equivalent.   Two pieces: one piece for each of the subjects forming their course.
History and Politics   History to A-level or equivalent. Sociology, Politics, or Government and Politics. One essay on a historical topic, written as part of your normal school or college work.
History of Art An Essay-based subject to A-level or equivalent.   History of Art, Fine Art, History, English, or a foreign language. Two pieces: one marked essay of up to 2,000 words written for an A-level or equivalent course; one personal response to a piece of art, architecture, or design of no more than 750 words.
Human Sciences     Biology or Mathematics to A-level or equivalent.  
Law (Jurisprudence) (For Law with Law Studies in Europe) Candidates wanting to study in Germany, Spain, or France are expected to have the relevant language to A-level or equivalent; Candidates wanting to study in Italy may be admitted without A-level or equivalent Italian, although will need to demonstrate sufficient language aptitude after the first two years of the course.   An essay subject  
Materials Science Maths and Physics to A-level or equivalent; Chemistry at GCSE or equivalent. Chemistry to A-level or equivalent highly recommended. Further Mathematics.  
Mathematics Mathematics to A-Level (A* Grade) or equivalent. Further Mathematics highly recommended.    
Mathematics and Computer Science Mathematics to A-Level (A*/A Grade) or equivalent; if Further Mathematics is taken to AS-level only, an A Grade is required. Further Mathematics highly recommended.    
Mathematics and Philosophy Mathematics to A-level (A* Grade) or equivalent. Further Mathematics highly recommended.    
Mathematics and Statistics Mathematics to A-level (A* Grade) or equivalent. Further Mathematics highly recommended.    
Medicine Chemistry and at least one of Biology, Physics, Mathematics, or Further Mathematics (at least Grade A); every practical component must be chosen and passed).

 

GCSEs at grade C/4 or equivalent required in Biology, Physics, and Mathematics.

     
Medicine (graduate-entry) A first degree at class 2.1 or above in experimental science, including bioscience, chemistry, experimental physics and engineering.

 

Chemistry and at least one of Biology, Physics, or Mathematics to A-level (A/A* Grade) or equivalent.

     
Modern Languages (For French and Spanish) Relevant language to A-level or equivalent or proficiency at or above CEFR level B1.

 

(For Czech, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Russian) Beginners’ courses do not require knowledge of the relevant language; non-beginners’ courses require an A-level or equivalent or proficiency at or above CEFR level B1.

 

(for Polish) All applicants are expected to be beginners, although those with experience are welcome to apply.

    One piece written in the target language to be studied (other than for beginners’ courses) and one recent marked piece in English written as part of your school or college work.
Modern Languages and Linguistics (For Linguistics and French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) Candidates are expected to have the relevant language to A-level unless studying the language at beginners’ level.     One piece written in the target language to be studied (other than for beginners’ courses) and one recent marked piece in English written as part of your school or college work; additionally, if you are studying a qualification involving linguistic analysis (e.g. English Language), please also send in a piece of written work from that.
Music Music to A-level or equivalent or Music Theory Grade7 or above.     Two teacher-marked essays; one or two examples of teacher-marked harmony and counterpoint; (optional) one or two short examples of original composition.

 

Candidates are also required to submit a video recording audition of up to 5 minutes performing on their chosen instrument or voice in advance of their interview.

Philosophy and Modern Languages The relevant language to A-level or equivalent unless applying to a beginners’ course.     One piece written in the target language to be studied (other than for beginners’ courses) and one recent marked piece in English written as part of your school or college work.
Philosophy, Politics and Economics   Mathematics to A-level or equivalent. It is not necessary to have studied Politics, Philosophy, or Economics; History can provide a useful background.  
Philosophy and Theology     A subject involving essay writing to A-level or equivalent. One piece written in English written as part of your current or recent course of study (less than 2,000 words in length).
Physics Physics and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent. The inclusion of a Maths Mechanics module is highly recommended. Further Mathematics.  
Physics and Philosophy Physics and Mathematics to A-level or equivalent. The inclusion of a Maths Mechanics module is highly recommended. Further Mathematics.  
Psychology (Experimental)   One or more science subject to A-level or equivalent.

 

Candidates are recommended to have an A/7 or above in GCSE Mathematics (where GCSEs are taken).

   
Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics   (For Psychology) One or more science subject to A-level or equivalent. (For Linguistics) English Language, Mathematics, a science, or any other language.  
Religion and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies     Experience of studying a language and a subject involving essay writing to A-level or equivalent.

 

Students are not expected to have studied any of the languages on the course before.

One piece written in English written as part of your current or recent course of study (less than 2,000 words in length).
Theology and Religion     A subject involving essay-writing to A-level or equivalent. One piece written in English written as part of your current or recent course of study (less than 2,000 words in length).
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