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BFA Programme Applying to Study for a BFA BFA Professional Practice Programme BFA FAQ Submitting a Portfolio BFA Affiliated Colleges

Applying to Study for a BFA

The University of Oxford has one admissions process each year for its undergraduate degree programmes. If you would like to study at the Ruskin, you need to apply to the University a year before the start date of your course.  The following information is relevant to the admissions process in 2018 for entry in 2019. However, the deadlines have now passed; the Ruskin cannot accept late applications or consider applicants through clearing. Please check this page regularly for updates about the admissions process in 2019 for entry in 2020

The Ruskin welcomes applications from students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including mature and international students.  

Clear guidelines on the academic qualifications undergraduate applicants need to attain can be found here:

Information about portfolio requirements is available here:

Information regarding international qualifications can be found here:

Information about English language requirements is available here:

For candidates who are undertaking vocational qualifications, please follow this link for more information about required subjects and levels:

For additional information, including details about funding, students with disabilities and applications from mature students please refer to :

We highly recommend that candidates commence a Foundation Course in Fine Art (or equivalent) before applying, though some candidates are accepted directly from school. 


Collegiate System

In order to study at the University of Oxford, you need to belong to both a college and a department. 

Each college determines their own student cohort.  On the Ruskin’s website, you will find a list of colleges that accept undergraduate Fine Art students:

Each college has its own distinctive character, so you may well have a preference.  To understand more about the colleges, please follow this link:

When applying for the Ruskin School of Art, you can choose a specific college.  If you don’t know which college to choose, you can opt for making an open application, whereby you select the subject that you wish to study (i.e. Fine Art) but do not select a college.   Candidates submitting an open application will be assigned a college.  Please note that in some cases successful candidates may be offered a place at a different college from the one to which they originally applied. 


Deadlines for Applying to Study a BFA

There are two key deadlines in the admissions process, for Fine Art:

1.  Submitting your application form via UCAS by 6pm on 15th October 2018

2.  Submitting your portfolio to the Ruskin School of Art at 74 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG by 6pm on Friday 2nd November 2018.

An application is made void if a UCAS form or portfolio is not submitted.  It is therefore very important to meet both the UCAS deadline and the portfolio submission deadline.


UCAS Submission

To apply for the undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Art degree at the Ruskin, each applicant is required to complete and submit a UCAS form by 15th October 2018.

You will need to provide information about yourself, including a personal statement. There is also a place where a teacher or advisor needs to give you a reference. This is all submitted through an online form – no additional references, transcripts, or certificates are required or accepted.

Many people apply to Oxford before they have finished their final year of school or college. If this is the case for you, then your referee will need to provide you with predicted grades – where they say what they expect you to achieve in your A-levels (or equivalent qualifications).

The application form is available online at

Please note that the Ruskin does not offer deferred entry and the UCAS deadline applies to all BFA applicants, whether national or international.   


Portfolio Submission

Once the UCAS form has been submitted, all applicants then need to arrange for their portfolios to be delivered directly to the Ruskin.  

For details on the preparation of your portfolio, and more specific advice, please click hereIt is essential that all applicants submit a portfolio that complies with the stipulated format, size and volume guidelines.

During the process of reviewing portfolios, tutors look for work that goes beyond the mere fulfilment of school curricula.  We search for highly motivated activity, over and above any project-based work, and for a breadth of engagement, a sense of purpose and strength of opinion in the way the portfolio is edited. It is important for us is to be able to discover a sense of the temperament underlying the work, and to sense the deeper interests that inform the portfolio.  We are not interested in finding a particular formula or a specific style, but in signs of energy, ambition, critical reflection and creativity. Applying to the undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Art degree is highly competitive - in 2017 and again in 2018 we received more than 230 applications for a maximum of 30 places.

Please note that the University uses the work you submit for review and evaluation as necessary for the conduct of the admission process.  The University is not in a position to verify the contents of portfolios, or to make any special arrangements for care, custody or return.  Therefore, the University cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage.  

Shortlisting & Notifications

Once candidates have been shortlisted, the colleges (and not the Ruskin) will notify you whether you have been selected for interview.  Usually, the Ruskin retains the portfolios of those applicants who have been shortlisted until the interview date.  Portfolios can be collected once the interview process has been completed.

If you are not shortlisted, you are asked to make arrangements to collect your portfolio from the Ruskin.

If you need your portfolio for other purposes before receiving notification of the progress of your application, you can collect it (after Thursday 8 November) and, if invited, bring it back for your interview.  Please ensure that you contact the Ruskin office in advance to make arrangements to collect your portfolio:


Portfolio Delivery 

When arranging delivery of your portfolio, it is extremely important to ensure that your work is securely packaged.  

The school is able to confirm the arrival of your portfolio, if you wish, but we cannot confirm the safe receipt of the contents, nor can we make special arrangements for repackaging. The successful delivery, and collection, of a portfolio is the candidate’s responsibility. 

Please do remember that it is your task to liaise with courier companies about the importance of your portfolio being delivered before the deadline and to meet all the associated payments.

Portfolios should be delivered to: The Ruskin School of Art, 74 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG

Deliveries can be accepted between Mondays and Fridays from 9.30 am – 8.30pm, and on Saturday mornings, in term time, from 9.30am – 1pm.  

Portfolio Collection

* We store all the portfolios in a secure area and need advance notice to retrieve individual work ready for collection.  Please contact the office : 01865 276940 or email : to confirm the time of collection.

* The Ruskin is only open on Saturday mornings (9-1) during term time. 

We recommend the following courier company who can arrange the delivery or collection of your portfolio: Mail Boxes Etc at 94 London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9FN.  This company regularly transport artwork and will be able to assist you in making arrangements. Telephone: 01865 741729.   Email:

N.B.  It is important that whoever is collecting your portfolio knows your name, i.e., the name that is mentioned on the portfolio, so that they know whose work to collect.  In the past, companies have arrived with only a delivery address (which may be different to the address on your application form). We cannot release portfolios without the company providing a name.

Please make sure that your portfolio is collected by Friday 14 December.


Colleges (and not the Ruskin School of Art) notify candidates of the shortlisting results.

If you have been shortlisted, the college will advise you of the date and time of your interviews, either in a letter or on your arrival at Oxford. If you are based overseas and wish to receive the shortlisting results via email, please contact the college admissions office to let the college know. 

While in Oxford, you will be interviewed by tutors from both the Ruskin and the college. An interview period usually last for two days and includes an overnight stay at the college of your first choice (or the college to which you have been assigned should you have made an open application). 

International students who are unable to travel to the UK due to exceptional circumstances – such as visa applications or school exams – can request an interview by Skype. Please alert both the Ruskin and the college of your situation immediately upon hearing the shortlisting results.

The interview at the Ruskin School will be undertaken by a small group of tutors.  We consider the interview as an opportunity for you to tell us about yourself and the ideas that inform your work. On the second day, all candidates will undertake a Practical Test in the Drawing Studio at the main building.  You are given the chance to demonstrate your ability and inventiveness. If your interview is arranged for the Tuesday, please note that you will be given extra time for the Practical Test. The Ruskin will retain all the work created in the Practical Test. 

College interviews are likely to be carried out by the college tutor for Fine Art or a college admissions tutor in the college. On occassion, however, a college tutor may join the Ruskin panel and there will be one interview at the Ruskin.

You are also invited to bring some (maximum 3-4 examples) of your recent work to your interview and this can often form a basis for discussion.   You will be encouraged to talk about your work and interests and to discuss contemporary art, including books you have read and/or exhibitions that you might have recently visited.  

More information about applying to the University of Oxford to study an undergraduate degree can be found here:

Alternatively, you are welcome to telephone the Undergraduate Admissions enquiry line on: 01865 288000.