Your chance of getting an interview at Oxford depends partly on your subject

Some really fascinating stats here. They winnow out a LOT of maths/CS applicants prior to interview, but almost all Classics applicants get interviewed.

Mostly you’re less likely to get an interview if you’re international - but more likely if applying for physics.

Should also note that this year is going to be tougher, applications have been up significantly.

Numerically this is true, but (of course!) there are layers to it. Math & CS put a LOT of weight on the MAT. Most Classics students have been full-on classics afficianados for years, and I have my suspicious about the the couple of Classics students who applied to it supposedly specifically for the higher acceptance rate!

Anecdotally, we know a student who was very au fait with Oxford, was in the closest thing to an Oxbridge feeder school there is in the US, had the marks, and applied for Geography- with a 90% interview invitation rate. She (and her parents) were quite smug about it until- no invite. Everybody forgets that somebody is in the 10%! Tbh, still don’t know why- but in hindsite (now that she has finished history at Durham) she would agree that it would not have been a good fit for her).

To be fair, I think a lot of the actual percentage is about numbers - a mismatch between the numbers of applicants and the numbers of places for each subjects. But it is useful info to be aware of.

And yes, I agree - the actual application has a big impact on how that particular person will get on in the initial shortlisting as well as ultimate success.

(t would be quite awkward to realise you were in the 3 per cent of classics apps not interviewed.)

I wish there were dual honours in physics and classics, it’d be right up my kids alley!
Where are the numbers you’re talking about, though? Is there a link I’m not seeing?

I wonder if my link got removed? Its buried on the Oxford website and I may struggle to find it again.

Click on the tab for shortlisting to get the interview rates per subject.

If it disappears again I definitely won’t be able to find it again, so for future readers of the thread, it is stats showing interview percentages for each subject for UK only, EU and other internationals in 2019.

To take a few popular subjects:

PPE had 1002 UK applicants, 466 of whom were called to interview, EU 532 and 86 respectively, and other internationals 804 and 172.

Classics 231/223; 19/18; and 28/23

Econ & Management 733/225; 252/25; 544/77

Physics 937/280; 163/43; 305/146

Maths 1001/369; 124/39; 531/211

It gives percentages as well as the raw numbers.

How odd, almost everyone gets shortlisted for chemistry, less than a third for physics…

I know! It’s a numbers game really - I think they aim for a similar proportion of interviews to places for each subject, so where there are lots more applications they have to winnow them down at that stage. But still fascinating info. I haven’t found the equivalent stats for Cambridge.

I am wondering about Math interview… as an International student.

Last year they interviewed 40% of international applicants for straight maths.

Apparently a lot more people apply for physics than for chemistry. I recall that chemistry at Oxford is not supposed to be at the level of Cambridge, but physics is, so aspiring chemists probably apply in much greater numbers to Cambridge.

Also recall metallurgy (now called materials sciences) supposedly being the “easy” option for scientists (at my time’. The one you applied for when you really wanted to go to Oxford for the theatre.

Now it appears to be the “easier” alternative for physics. You still have to do the PAT, though, so wondering how much easier it can be.

My recollection from when my son went through the process is that they interview something like 3-4 people for each slot they have open. The number of maths & cs slots has not been growing at the same rate as the applications for that course, so the interview percentage has been dropping. A lot also does depend on whether the course had an Oxford specific admissions test as well. @collegemom3717 is right about the MAT as it applies to maths & cs. I recall one of my son’s tutors posting on the student room that for maths & cs, performance on the MAT was the single largest determinant in getting shortlisted for interview.

Definitely the case, @HazeGrey.

hey just wondering (a bit off topic) but would you happen to also have the stats for the percentage of people getting interviews at Cambridge per course? I know how many offers there are per applicants, just not what the ratio of offers is (if ever possible, for HSPS specifically).

Thank you sm!

Sorry, no, I haven’t been able to find the same figures for Cambridge :frowning:

Cambridge has traditionally interviewed almost all applicants unless they are clearly unqualified. The test based screening was done on site as part of the interview process. It seems likely that there is now a bit more advance screening in view of the continuing increases in applications, but I don’t believe there is anything corresponding to the fairly fixed 3:1 ratio of interviews to places that Oxford appears to use.


that makes sense. i know the overall ratio is 75% of applicants are interviewed but that’s significantly lower for some courses (law is 50-60% i think) but if there’s no published figure that’s all good thanks anyways :slight_smile:

Interesting statement here from Cambridge: Pembroke Admissions Statement - Offers Without Interview | Pembroke (

Sorry, link doesn’t seem to have come up.

Trying again: