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The Oxford course offers one of the broadest ranges available in a British university, though with strong emphases on the history and understanding of music. There is within it a large degree of flexibility for individual students to focus on their particular interests and abilities.

College teaching in Music centres on the core papers of the syllabus: History, Analysis, Techniques of Composition (including Keyboard Skills) and Musical Thought and Scholarship. These subjects are especially well suited to the close focus on student work that the tutorial system affords. Good prospective students typically display qualities of musicianship, independence of thought, intellectual curiosity, and creativity; but interest in and enthusiasm for the subject are also crucial.

Oriel boasts a number of facilities that are advantageous to Music students. There is a dedicated Music Room on the main College site that can be used for music practice and small concerts. The Senior Library houses a Steinway B grand piano, which may used for practice by Music students and others of a suitably advanced level. The Chapel contains a two manual Walker organ dating from 1988. Music students are provided with the use of keyboards in their rooms for all three years of their course.

Oxford is a vibrant centre of musical activity, with events featuring music of all kinds and styles taking place almost daily during term. Oriel’s central location facilitates the prominent roles its Music students assume in such events; but the College itself has a thriving musical life, and here too music students play a key part. The Music Society organizes occasional lunchtime recitals and evening concerts. The Chapel Choir sings services twice a week during term time and makes regular visits to cathedrals and churches outside Oxford during the vacations.

The College has a Visiting Fellows in Music programme, through which a distinguished musician (or sometimes musicians) collaborates with the College and gives concerts, student masterclasses and lectures. In Michaelmas and Trinity Terms, Champagne Concerts are held in the Senior Library, featuring professional soloists or chamber-music groups; these may be attended free of charge by students at Oriel.

Admission Criteria

Applicants are asked to submit two essays and samples of harmony and counterpoint. Interviewees are required to perform on their first-study instrument, and those not holding Grade 5 in Piano are required additionally to execute piano sight-reading of that standard. Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent) including Music.


Faculty of Music

Teaching Staff

Organising Tutor
Dr David Maw

Fellow & Tutor in Music | Director of Music | Fellow Librarian

Mr Hugh Collins Rice

College Lecturer in Music

Dr Lola Salem

College Lecturer in Music


Classics (Literae Humaniores)

Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. There are additionally 1 place for Classics and English and 1 (usually) for Classics and Modern Languages. Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). Candidates will also be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information can be found on the Classics Faculty website.

English Language and Literature

Number of places 5 or 6 (including joint schools) Admission Criteria One piece of recent written work is required. There is no written test at interview, but all applicants will be expected to have taken the ELAT. Candidates have two interviews in the college. As part of the process, candidates are given a short text to read and then discuss with interviewers; they are also expected to discuss their recent reading, both in and out of school.


Number of places 9 Admission Criteria The admissions process at Oriel is exactly the same as at all other colleges. For further information, please visit the History Faculty admissions pages.

History (Ancient and Modern)

Number of places Usually 1 Admission Criteria Short-listing by History Aptitude Test and GCSE results (contextualized by school performance data). Admission by written work, interviews, and AAA at A-level or equivalent. There are no required subjects, and we consider applicants who do not have A-level History.

Philosophy (Joint Honours)

Admission Criteria The admissions criteria for each course involving philosophy can be found on the dedicated course page. For all courses, applicants invited to interview will be given a philosophy interview, or an interview with a philosophy component. At interview, we will not test whether you are already familiar with philosophical texts or arguments. Instead we are interested in your aptitude and potential for precise analytical thought, and in whether you enjoy abstract reasoning.

Philosophy and Theology

Number of places 3 or 4 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work for Theology (no work is required for Philosophy). Applicants should also complete the Philosophy admissions test, which is usually taken in November each year.

Theology and Religion

Number of places 2 or 3 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates for places in the Single Honours School of Theology are not required to have backgrounds in particular subjects. Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work.  

What next?

Applying to Oriel

Fees and funding

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