University of Oxford

Applying to Oxford University: Choosing your Degree

More advice here:

This is important. Choosing the course that you would love to study for at least 3 years can be a challenge, but get it right and everything else will fall into place.

Useful Links:
Oxford Undergraduate Courses –
Oxford University Prospectus –
Oxford Alternative Prospectus –
Cambridge Undergraduate Courses –
Cambridge University Prospectus –
The Student Room: Oxbridge Discussion –

Any questions or video suggestions, please do post them in the comments.

By Jamie Miles


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  • Hey, would like some advice. Thanks for the video. I do maths, biology, history and design…but I'm not sure what degree to choose yet. Thinking of law or product design..what do you think? I should have picked English for alevel but I can't change it! Finding maths abit difficult,

  • Living in the Republic of Ireland I don't have A levels (I don't even know what they really are). Does anyone know what results are needed in the Leaving Certificate to get into Oxford.

  • Is the economics in PPE and History+Econ the same as the IB/A-level higher level course programme?
    I love english, history and eco – any advice for course choices?

  • Hey, I was wondering if you could help me with something? Like you, I like English but I prefer to find out the message of the story. I do enjoy Maths, but I'm not sure how much Maths differs from Economics. I enjoy politics, but I'm more interested in Global Politics, but I am still interested in British politics, but not as much. Should I apply to PPE? If not, can you think of a course which could suit my interests?

  • Hey, I'm torn between PPE and E&M. I'm only in year 11, so I have a lot of time, but I'm not so much interested in politics, and economics is the discipline that appeals the most to me. As for philosophy, I'm fairly apathetic about it. Did you do any prior reading for PPE? If so, what did you read for philosophy? Thanks

  • I was the same for philosophy but then I fell in love with it because it teaches you how to think clearly and communicate.

    I read the economist, 'How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes', 'Naked Economics', 'Small is beautiful'.

    For politics and political philosophy I read literature, as I think that is the best way to connect with the issues.

    For some pure philosophy, I read 'Philosophy: the basics'.

    All intro texts, borrowed or bought second-hand 🙂 But! I only read the interesting bits

  • Nope, maths will give you the tools to do economics and then you will pick up the theory as you go along with how to use your mathematical tools to solve problems 🙂 

  • Hi there, Although I'm only in year 11, I really want to study either E&M, or MEM, because I have a love for physics, however It says on the website, it is recommended to take Chemistry. I've only take Biology and Physics at the iGCSE level, and now iy's too late to take Chemistry. I'm really confused, and don't know whether I should even try to apply now? if not i might just go for the pure mathematics course, since I love math. :(

  • They recommend chemistry because of the skills necessary to do it, applying theory to solve problems. I don't see why Biology and Physics would put you at a disadvantage, because they also teach those skills. Don't be disheartened 🙂 

  • +Stefan Kromolicki Just because that is your target doesn't mean your limited to it. You should expect to work hard to get that higher grade if you want to get into Oxford for such a popular and prestegious degree as Law.

  • I need to make decision really quicly wheter I want to study economics and biotechnology so thank you for this video 🙂 Also I would be really happy if you let me know which course is better if for me both of them are equaly interesting.

  • Hey Jamie, I discovered your videos through SimonOxfPhys, I have never made such an important discovery!    Can I just ask one question? You mentioned that a History degree may lack a 'sciency aspect'. Well, History has always been my favourite subject (currently in Y11), but so has Science. I wish to take Biology, Chemistry, History and Politics at A Level. I am leaning towards History as a potential degree, let's just assume I've gotten a place at a University. But, I also love Science, and wish to know more. However, in the long run, I definitely know that a History degree just seems so much more appealing! So the question is, after all of that drivel, does a History degree not entail any Science whatsoever? To be honest, it seems quite obvious, but would I be allowed to take short courses in 'Sciencey' subjects as well as the History degree?     Thank you, keep up the fantastic work!     – :Dan, yes that's right, a smiley face combined with my name. Creativity at its best.

  • (Important  Q!  Need  immediate  reply.. Please!)
    Hello  there~
    I  am  planning  to  apply  to  Oxford  this  year  and  I  have  absolutely  no  idea  how  to  go  about  it.  I'm  from  India  by  the  way.  I  understand  that  the  very  first  step  is  to  choose  a  course.  I  was  thinking  History  and  English  but  I  am  interested  in  learning  other  languages  too.  
    Modern  Languages  seems  a  bit  too  much  for  me  cause  we  have  to  travel  a  lot,  and  I'm  not  sure  if  I'm  ready  for  that.  I've  read  in  the  site  that  we  can  take  part-time  courses..  So,  in  addition  to  the  History  and  English  Course, can  I  take  a  part  time  course  for  French  for  an  year?  And  Japanese  the  next  year?  
    Where  can  I  apply  for  the  part  time  language  courses?  How  do  I  go  about  it?  Please,  Please  help  me!  
    Javeria  Kausar

  • Hi Jamie, I am really really interested in studying PPE at oxford, but I'm not so sure if i could cope with the economics aspect of the course, how flexible is the course? could I drop economics after the first year? 
    thx in advance!

    btw I love your videos they're so helpful!

  • I'm considering applying but not sure whether to do E&M or PPE. I love studying economics and debating politics, never really done any philosophy so not sure if I would enjoy it. I'm also not sure if I would enjoy studying politics as much as debating it, but PPE is a statistically easier course to get on to…

  • My problem when it comes to choosing a course is that there is a wide range of topics that really interest me and it's a matter of choosing only one route. I have looked into PPE and it looks amazing: not only will I love the course, but I will be well equipped for the career I would like to pursue. However I love languages and cultures and I am much more capable in this subject area, but MFL courses tend to be more literature based, which doesn't particularly interest me. I've thought of joint honours degrees but I'm afraid ending up not getting the full scope of a subject and being left wanting to know more

  • I didn't pick subjects which I particularly enjoyed. I picked what I was good at and now I'm doomed. I picked chemistry, biology, maths, further maths and French.

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