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The most popular courses at Oxford University

Subject and number of applications per place.

Economics & Management 16.9

Computer Science 16.1

Medicine 11.0

Maths & Computer Science 10.6

Biomedical Sciences 10.1

History & Politics 9.2

PPE* 9.2

Mathematics 9.1

Physics 8.0

Law** 8.0

*Philosophy, Politics and Economics **Including Law/Law with Studies in Europe

https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/AnnualAdmissionsStatisticalReport2021.pdf

A-level grade profile of UK-domiciled students applying to, receiving offers from and being admitted to Oxford (2020 UK intake)s

While three A grades is Oxford’s minimum standard offer for candidates taking A-levels, many courses particularly in the sciences require at least one A* grade.

More than 70% of applicants and over 90% of admitted students were awarded A*AA or better at A-level.

58.4% of admitted students achieved three A* grades or better at A-level.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by aaq1
why are these the most popular courses?

In terms of the number of applicants in 2020 year admissions cycle for Oxford University.

Medicine, Law, PPE, Economics & Management are very large intake courses so it is expected. But Law at Oxford is less competitive than LSE, UCL and KCL too.
Original post by thegeek888
In terms of the number of applicants in 2020 year admissions cycle for Oxford University.

Medicine, Law, PPE, Economics & Management are very large intake courses so it is expected. But Law at Oxford is less competitive than LSE, UCL and KCL too.

You can only apply to Oxford or Cambridge though, so that will make the application per place numbers look artificially low compared to those other unis.
Original post by Tremelim
You can only apply to Oxford or Cambridge though, so that will make the application per place numbers look artificially low compared to those other unis.

Harvard has 60,000 applications a year, but Cambridge only just under half that. So we really need a post A-Level system of applying for UCAS with grades and no more predicted grades. This was discussed by the education department many years ago but was not implemented. :s-smilie:
The thing is that none of this changes if you are aware of it - and also that it's basically irrelevant at an individual level. If you are taking double maths, physics and economics and you are really good at economics and love economics, you are much more likely to get a place for E&M than you are to get a place for physics, even though physics has half as many applicants per place.
Original post by thegeek888
So we really need a post A-Level system of applying for UCAS with grades and no more predicted grades. This was discussed by the education department many years ago but was not implemented. :s-smilie:


Huh? If you don't want to apply with predicted grades, there is no issue at all in you taking a gap year and applying with achieved grades. Loads of people do it.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by aaq1
why are these the most popular courses?

Because they are seen as prestigious and most likely to earn you good money. Many people try to apply for medicine or law just because of how fancy it sounds, without having a deep insight/ keenness about the subject, or what it entails. Those purely in it for the money will get found out at interview stage.
Original post by skylark2
Huh? If you don't want to apply with predicted grades, there is no issue at all in you taking a gap year and applying with achieved grades. Loads of people do it.

Yes, but predicted grades are inaccurate for 1000s of candidates for UCAS each year. So we really need reforms for a post A-Level system of applying.
Original post by aaq1
only 16% of students are correctly predicted based on their best three A-levels, the majority of students are over-predicted (75%) and only a small proportion are under-predicted (8%).

Read this please: :smile: https://www.ucas.com/corporate/news-and-key-documents/news/ucas-sets-out-ways-enhance-how-students-make-their-university-choices
inaccuracy of predicted grades: On average, 18 year old UK students studying A levels are predicted 2.35
A level grades above their achieved grades. Using UCAS data, the consultation states that 79% of individuals
had predicted grades which were overpredicted, and 8% were underpredicted, with a view that this presents
risks in relation to ‘undermatching’, particularly by disadvantaged students.

https://www.ucas.com/file/445986/download?token=eqvclJCj
Original post by aaq1
yes i am aware of that and it has been discussed till cows come home on TSR. I am not sure how this discussion is relevant to the thread. Can you throw some light?

Too many applicants are predicted A*A*A*, A*A*A, A*AA and more but don't succeed in achieving the grades they're predicted.
Does anyone know what studying medicine at Oxford uni is like?

Do a lot of people drop out a lot?

How many people make it to 5th year of a 1st year cohort?

What is the resit policy like?

How is the style of teaching, do you learn things or do you self study a lot, are the lecturers good at teaching?

How are the placements and do you feel like you learn anything on them?


As much insight will be highly appreciated.
Original post by The physics
Does anyone know what studying medicine at Oxford uni is like?

Do a lot of people drop out a lot?

How many people make it to 5th year of a 1st year cohort?

What is the resit policy like?

How is the style of teaching, do you learn things or do you self study a lot, are the lecturers good at teaching?

How are the placements and do you feel like you learn anything on them?


As much insight will be highly appreciated.


My son is at present in his sixth and final year of Oxford medicine. It’s hard to get in and the drop out rate is quite low. You get used to the relentless pace.

the course goes into massive detail - you spend ages just learning about cells - and little patient contact ( apart from gps) until you graduate with your first degree. You don’t just learn to be an doctor but an innovator.

it’s great if you are interested in research like my son. He was able to work across five labs alongside his studies. He was encouraged to get his research published and now has three research papers published. After his final degree he is doing his elective but has reached out to some labs in America, where the big money is and it looks like he has been able to secure an internship there. Oxford is certainly opening a lot of doors for him ( although it was he who networked and took every opportunity he could find).

as for the tutors, one of them were telling him an idea and said don’t quote me as the research has not been published yet and I am hoping for a Nobel prize. If you are ambitious Oxford will get right behind you.

having said that if you want to be a successful hospital doctor a lot will depend on your attitude to patients and all the staff. Book learning and your university does not count when you have a suffering patient and distressed relatives to deal with. Apply to Oxford because you love medicine not for the pose.
Just looking at the thread title got me thinking - shouldn't the most popular course be defined as the one with the most applicants, regardless of how many places there are? I don't know whether/how that changes the statistics, but it seems odd to me that you'd theoretically be defining a course with 100 applicants for 5 places as "more popular" than one with 10000 applicants for 600 places.
Original post by The physics
Does anyone know what studying medicine at Oxford uni is like?

Do a lot of people drop out a lot?

How many people make it to 5th year of a 1st year cohort?

What is the resit policy like?

How is the style of teaching, do you learn things or do you self study a lot, are the lecturers good at teaching?

How are the placements and do you feel like you learn anything on them?


As much insight will be highly appreciated.

Tough in the first two years, easier after. You have more contact time and work than at other unis. It sets you up well for the career though, pass rates in doctors exams are much higher, etc.

No drop out rate is very low.

Oxford is 6 years not 5.

The med school does a very good job at taking care of you and the student feedback is very good - see the national student survey scores.

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