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Applying to Study for a BFA

The University of Oxford has one admissions process each year for its undergraduate degree programme. 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 2019 for entry in 2020. However, the admissions cycle for 2020 entry is now closed and the Ruskin cannot accept late applications or offer places through clearing. This page will be updated in due course with information about applying in October 2020 for entry in 2021.

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: www.ox.ac.uk/enreqs

Information about portfolio requirements is available here: http://www.rsa.ox.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/submitting-a-portfolio

Information regarding international qualifications can be found here: www.ox.ac.uk/intquals

Information about English language requirements is available here: www.ox.ac.uk/englang

For candidates who are undertaking vocational qualifications, please follow this link for more information about required subjects and levels: www.ox.ac.uk/vocquals

For additional information, including details about funding, students with disabilities and applications from mature students please refer to : www.ox.ac.uk/study

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: http://www.rsa.ox.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/bfa-affiliated-colleges

Each college has its own distinctive character, so you may well have a preference.  To understand more about the colleges, please follow this link: http://www.ox.ac.uk/collegechoice

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 15 October 2019.

2.  Submitting your portfolio online to the Ruskin School of Art by 6pm on 1 November 2019.  

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 15 October 2019.

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 www.ucas.com

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 submit their portfolios online to the Ruskin.  Portfolio submissions can be uploaded via SlideRoom from Wednesday 16 October 2019 and the deadline for portfolio submission is 18.00 GMT on Friday 1 November.

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 - each year, we receive 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.  


Shortlisting & Notifications

Once candidates have been shortlisted, the colleges (and not the Ruskin) will notify you whether you have been selected for interview.  



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 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: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford

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

last edited: January 10th 2020