University of Oxford undergraduate admissions statistics

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Between 1990 and 2010, the number of undergraduate applicants to the University of Oxford increased by 76% from 9,742 to 17,144.[1] In the face of this increase, over the same period the university has continued to accept roughly 3,200 undergraduates. As a result, whereas approximately one in three applicants were successful in 1991, under one in five candidates were offered a place at Oxford in 2010. One key factor behind these changes has been the progressive internationalisation of the undergraduate student body resulting from the growth in numbers of applicants from outside of the UK. In 1990 those domiciled outside the UK made up around seven percent of applications and three percent of acceptances; two decades later, the equivalent figures were 28.1 and 15.5.

As epitomised by the Laura Spence Affair, the admissions policies of the University of Oxford and its constituent colleges have over the years been frequently criticized for a number of different reasons, including the overrepresentation of students educated at fee-paying private schools and the underrepresentation of students from minority ethnicity groups.[2][3] The tables below contain information on the numbers of individuals applying to and being accepted by the University of Oxford categorised by type of post-primary school, “region of domicile” and “ethnic origin”.

All of the data contained in these tables pertaining to the University of Oxford are provided free and online by the university itself.[1] These data are published in a portable document format, which falls short of the draft “Public Data Principles” set out by the UK Government’s Transparency Board.[4]

Maintained sector[edit]

Below are statistics for the maintained sector’s share of the pool of total applications and acceptances to the University of Oxford between 1990 and 2010 (excluding 2003 for which the data have been incorrectly entered in the admissions publication issued by the university). The overwhelming majority of UK university applicants come from the non-independent or maintained sector.[5] According to the Independent Schools Council, around 6.5% of children in the UK or just over 18% of pupils aged 16 and over attend fee-paying schools.[6] In contrast to the non-private school educational profile of the overall population, the majority of applications to and acceptances by the University of Oxford come from independent schools. The underrepresentation of pupils from the non-independent sector flies in the face of the university’s own target of having 62% of offers going to applicants from state schools, which is laid down in the university’s access agreement with the Office for Fair Access.[7]

' Total number of applications Total number of applications - maintained sector Total number of acceptances Total number of acceptances - maintained sector Maintained sector as % of applications Maintained sector as % of acceptances
1988 9,516 4,473 3,164 1,457 47.0 46.0
1989 9,742 4,500 3,110 1,384 46.2 44.5
1990 9,795 4,356 3,189 1,343 44.5 42.1
1991 9,706 4,339 3,184 1,362 44.7 42.8
1992 9,666 4,484 3,157 1,380 46.4 43.7
1993 9,380 4,249 3,276 1,410 45.3 43.0
1994 9,796 4,459 3,231 1,390 45.5 43.0
1995 9,548 4,235 3,397 1,480 44.4 43.6
1996 9,535 4,189 3,219 1,338 43.9 41.6
1997 9,340 4,249 3,308 1,449 45.5 43.8
1998 9,405 4,177 3,239 1,445 44.4 44.6
1999 9,340 4,378 3,221 1,519 46.9 47.2
2000 9,548 4,397 3,265 1,575 46.1 48.2
2001 11,097 5,454 3,393 1,671 49.1 49.2
2002 11,793 5,608 3,281 1,539 47.6 46.9
2003
2004 12,278 5,837 3,176 1,518 47.5 47.8
2005 12,496 5,809 3,214 1,490 46.5 46.4
2006 12,614 6,000 3,208 1,511 47.6 47.1
2007 13,639 6,339 3,160 1,480 46.5 46.8
2008 13,388 6,123 3,170 1,534 45.7 48.4
2009 15,277 6,673 3,202 1,482 43.7 46.3
2010 17,144 7,744 3,154 1,475 45.2 46.8

Region of domicile[edit]

Share of applications and acceptances[edit]

The table below provides data on each region’s share of applications and acceptances to Oxford University between 1990 and 2010. What this shows, among other things, is that well over half of hopeful and successful applicants come from the southern part of England (covering East Anglia, Greater London, the South East and the South West).

' ' North North West Yorkshire and Humberside East Midlands West Midlands East Anglia Greater London South East South West Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Overseas
1990 Applications 2.5 10.5 5.4 3.8 8.7 3.5 10.3 29.8 10.9 3.7 2.1 1.8 7.0
1990 Acceptances 2.7 11.4 6.3 3.8 8.7 3.9 10.2 31.7 10.5 3.2 2.3 2.0 3.2
1991 Applications 2.3 10.6 5.5 3.8 8.0 3.3 11.4 30.4 10.6 3.5 1.9 1.5 7.1
1991 Acceptances 2.4 11.0 6.8 3.6 7.9 3.8 11.5 30.6 10.9 3.0 2.0 1.7 4.8
1992 Applications 2.3 10.9 5.2 3.8 7.9 3.3 11.2 28.8 11.1 4.0 2.0 1.8 7.7
1992 Acceptances 2.9 11.3 5.3 3.8 7.8 3.7 12.8 29.7 10.7 3.4 2.1 1.9 4.7
1993 Applications 2.2 10.4 4.4 4.3 7.9 3.3 11.4 28.7 11.4 4.0 2.0 1.5 8.4
1993 Acceptances 2.1 12.0 4.8 4.6 8.0 3.8 11.4 30.3 11.4 3.1 1.5 1.7 5.4
1994 Applications 2.5 9.6 5.4 3.9 7.4 2.8 10.9 28.9 10.4 4.0 2.4 1.5 10.3
1994 Acceptances 2.6 9.6 6.0 4.3 7.0 3.4 11.7 31.2 10.6 3.1 2.7 1.8 6.1
1995 Applications 2.4 9.6 5.1 4.1 7.4 3.3 10.9 27.8 10.7 3.7 2.3 1.5 11.2
1995 Acceptances 2.5 9.5 5.8 4.5 8.0 3.9 11.9 29.8 10.5 3.6 2.3 1.3 6.4
1996 Applications 2.1 8.9 4.7 4.0 7.3 3.0 11.8 29.2 10.4 3.6 2.0 1.5 11.6
1996 Acceptances 2.0 9.3 5.4 4.2 8.0 3.7 11.6 30.9 11.1 3.4 2.1 1.7 6.5
1997 Applications 2.1 8.2 4.7 3.4 5.8 3.1 15.3 22.8 11.3 3.4 2.2 1.2 16.5
1997 Acceptances 2.1 9.0 5.2 3.8 6.5 3.6 16.9 24.9 12.0 3.3 2.3 1.5 8.9
1998 Applications 2.1 9.1 4.0 3.5 5.7 3.2 15.4 22.3 11.3 4.1 2.2 1.3 15.7
1998 Acceptances 1.9 10.7 4.7 3.7 5.8 4.0 16.9 25.1 11.7 4.1 1.9 1.4 8.1
1999 Applications 1.7 8.7 4.8 3.9 5.6 3.2 15.9 23.0 10.7 3.8 2.2 1.3 15.2
1999 Acceptances 1.9 9.8 5.1 4.2 7.1 3.7 16.8 24.4 10.3 3.8 1.8 1.5 9.6
2000 Applications 2.0 8.6 4.4 3.7 6.3 3.2 15.3 22.1 10.1 4.2 2.3 1.4 16.4
2000 Acceptances 2.3 8.9 5.1 3.9 6.8 4.0 16.0 24.9 11.1 4.0 2.1 1.6 9.2
2001 Applications 1.8 8.6 4.5 3.6 6.8 7.0 16.5 17.7 9.2 4.8 2.0 1.2 16.2
2001 Acceptances 2.5 10.0 5.4 4.4 6.6 7.1 17.5 20.0 9.4 4.6 2.0 1.2 9.2
2002 Applications 2.1 8.9 4.3 3.8 7.0 6.7 15.6 17.6 9.7 4.2 2.0 1.5 16.4
2002 Acceptances 2.2 10.0 5.0 3.9 7.0 7.2 17.1 20.0 9.7 4.2 1.8 2.3 9.7
2003 Applications 2.0 8.6 4.4 3.7 6.6 6.7 15.4 17.5 9.7 4.4 2.2 1.5 17.3
2003 Acceptances 2.2 9.9 4.6 3.8 6.5 7.2 17.5 19.4 9.4 4.7 2.6 2.0 10.4
2004 Applications 1.7 8.2 3.9 4.0 6.5 6.7 15.4 17.4 9.2 4.3 2.1 1.3 19.3
2004 Acceptances 1.9 8.5 4.5 4.0 6.7 8.2 18.7 18.3 9.2 4.0 2.1 1.7 12.2
2005 Applications 1.9 7.9 3.7 3.9 6.2 6.6 16.3 17.0 9.0 4.1 2.0 1.1 20.4
2005 Acceptances 1.9 8.7 3.9 4.1 7.0 7.7 18.5 19.6 9.8 3.1 2.2 1.2 12.4
2006 Applications 1.9 7.3 4.1 3.5 6.3 6.4 15.6 17.3 9.0 3.5 1.9 1.1 22.3
2006 Acceptances 1.9 7.7 5.0 3.5 6.3 7.2 18.9 20.5 9.9 2.6 1.8 0.9 13.6
2007 Applications 1.7 7.2 3.9 3.9 6.2 6.6 15.1 17.3 9.0 3.2 2.0 1.0 23.1
2007 Acceptances 2.1 7.4 4.5 4.3 6.6 8.4 19.5 19.0 10.3 2.5 2.1 1.0 12.3
2008 Applications 1.6 6.8 3.8 3.7 5.8 6.4 15.7 17.0 8.4 3.0 1.7 0.9 25.2
2008 Acceptances 2.0 7.2 4.4 3.8 6.4 7.9 18.9 20.6 10.0 2.6 1.7 1.0 13.3
2009 Applications 1.3 6.3 3.8 3.7 5.8 6.0 15.5 15.5 7.6 3.2 1.8 0.9 28.6
2009 Acceptances 1.2 7.2 4.1 3.5 6.6 8.2 19.6 20.5 9.0 2.5 1.9 1.1 14.8
2010 Applications 1.5 6.4 3.7 3.5 5.5 6.1 15.8 15.8 8.3 2.5 1.8 0.9 28.1
2010 Acceptances 1.9 6.2 4.2 3.6 6.2 7.6 19.5 20.5 9.8 2.3 1.7 0.9 15.5

Success rate by region of domicile[edit]

The table below details information on the rate of success of applicants from different parts of the UK and overseas. Overall competition over places on undergraduate courses at the University of Oxford has stiffened in the course of the past two decades. The odds of being offered a spot increased from roughly 1:3 to 1:5 between 1990 and 2010.

' 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 1990-99 2000-09 1990–2009
North 34.3 34.4 40.4 31.1 36.3 35.5 33.7 33.2 33.3 37.4 39.8 48.0 32.2 29.6 29.4 25.7 25.6 29.5 28.8 19.8 22.6 35.0 30.8 32.9
North West 34.9 34.3 34.1 37.8 35.2 32.5 37.4 37.2 41.6 38.6 35.5 39.8 34.4 32.0 27.0 28.3 27.0 23.9 25.2 23.9 17.9 36.3 29.7 33.0
Yorkshire and Humberside 37.5 41.1 33.3 35.1 39.1 37.6 40.4 37.0 41.0 36.1 40.3 40.9 34.9 29.4 30.0 27.1 31.2 26.3 27.5 22.5 21.0 37.8 31.0 34.4
East Midlands 31.9 31.2 33.2 35.2 37.9 36.0 37.5 38.2 37.1 36.4 36.5 41.2 31.4 29.0 26.1 27.2 25.6 25.7 24.4 19.8 19.0 35.5 28.7 32.1
West Midlands 32.0 32.6 32.2 33.2 33.0 36.0 39.1 37.7 36.0 43.8 37.4 33.3 30.3 27.1 26.4 29.1 25.7 24.7 26.3 23.9 20.8 35.5 28.4 32.0
East Anglia 34.8 37.8 36.3 37.3 42.0 38.3 44.1 39.2 44.8 39.1 43.3 34.8 32.7 30.2 31.5 30.2 28.7 29.5 29.5 28.2 22.8 39.4 31.9 35.6
Greater London 31.5 33.6 37.3 32.8 37.2 36.2 35.1 37.2 38.8 35.9 36.0 36.3 33.4 31.5 31.5 29.3 30.8 30.0 28.6 26.4 22.7 35.6 31.4 33.5
South East 34.0 33.3 33.8 34.4 37.6 35.4 37.7 37.0 39.9 36.2 38.9 38.6 34.7 30.8 27.2 29.6 30.2 25.5 28.6 27.5 23.8 35.9 31.2 33.5
South West 30.6 34.0 31.7 32.6 35.7 32.2 37.9 35.8 36.4 32.8 38.1 35.2 30.4 26.8 26.0 27.9 28.0 26.5 28.2 24.8 21.7 34.0 29.2 31.6
Wales 27.9 29.2 27.4 24.8 27.1 31.6 34.4 32.6 35.4 33.4 33.5 32.7 30.6 29.7 23.7 19.5 19.0 18.3 21.2 16.3 17.0 30.4 24.4 27.4
Scotland 35.1 35.5 34.7 24.0 39.5 32.6 37.1 35.1 30.8 28.1 31.5 33.3 27.8 32.1 25.8 29.0 25.2 24.4 24.3 21.7 17.4 33.2 27.5 30.4
Northern Ireland 36.4 37.4 36.5 36.6 40.7 29.2 41.7 42.0 36.5 37.6 37.8 34.5 45.6 37.9 34.2 27.0 22.2 23.8 24.8 25.0 17.5 37.5 31.3 34.4
Overseas 14.5 22.5 20.0 21.0 20.7 18.9 19.9 18.3 18.4 21.6 19.3 19.4 18.1 16.7 16.3 15.6 15.5 12.3 12.5 10.8 10.2 19.6 15.6 17.6
Overall 31.9 33.2 32.8 32.7 34.9 33.0 35.6 33.8 35.4 34.1 34.5 34.2 30.6 27.8 25.9 25.7 25.4 23.2 23.7 20.9 18.4 33.7 26.4 29.9

Ethnic origin[edit]

The table below contains figures for the share of UK applications and acceptances who elected to record their ethnic origin and chose white as the category of self-identification. This particular presentation of the data is necessary as the number of non-white and mixed ethnic origin categories changes over time, which makes if difficult to make longitudinal comparisons.

' UK applications recording ethnic origin UK acceptances recording ethnic origin % applications - white % acceptances - white
1993 8,756 2,875 88.2 90.1
1994 8,783 2,856 88.3 91.2
1995 8,359 2,892 87.2 92.0
1996 8,555 3,200 87.1 92.4
1997 7,872 3,049 85.9 89.9
1998 7,872 3,049 85.9 89.9
1999 7,964 2,957 85.7 89.8
2000 7,772 2,928 86.5 89.5
2001 7,974 2,966 84.9 88.3
2002 9,266 3,082 84.7 88.0
2003 9,723 2,940 83.7 86.2
2004 9,881 2,792 82.7 85.6
2005 10,005 2,816 81.1 85.7
2006 9,760 2,755 84.2 88.1
2007 10,367 2,716 84.7 86.6
2008 9,280 2,683 83.5 87.6
2009 10,210 2,653 82.1 87.3
2010 11,566 2,617 82.4 87.8

On the basis of the above data, here are the success rates for white applicants and non-white applicants for each of the above years.

'' Success rate white Success Rate non-white Disparity
1993 34% 28% 22%
1994 34% 24% 38%
1995 37% 22% 69%
1996 40% 22% 80%
1997 41% 28% 46%
1998 41% 28% 46%
1999 39% 27% 47%
2000 39% 29% 33%
2001 39% 29% 34%
2002 35% 26% 32%
2003 31% 26% 22%
2004 29% 24% 24%
2005 30% 21% 40%
2006 30% 21% 39%
2007 27% 23% 17%
2008 30% 22% 39%
2009 28% 18% 50%
2010 24% 16% 54%

Note:Disparity is the greater likelihood of acceptance if one is white as opposed to ethnic minority (Difference in success rates/success rate non-white).

Success Rate by Subjects 2010–2011[edit]

Based on the figures published by The Guardian for 2010–2011 admissions, this table shows the success rates for white applicants and non-white applicants from the UK for each grade combination at A level for all subjects and the individual subjects of Medicine, Law, and Economics and Management:[8][9]

Success Rates AAA A*AA A*A*A A*A*A*+
White:All Subjects 19.9% 22.83% 34.20% 52.21%
Non-white: All Subjects 14.71% 17.01% 23.45% 38.27%
White: Medicine 6.10% 10.75% 21.05% 43.00%
Non-white: Medicine 2.27% 5.71% 8.65% 22.08%
White: Law 21.15% 20.96% 31.85% 51.14%
Non-white*: Law 20.00% 29.31% 38.78% 40.00%
White: Economics and Management 19.00% 21.01% 24.76% 44.44%
Non-white: Economics and Management 1.64% 6.17% 17.86% 29.55%

∗Not statistically significant

As seen from the success rates, ethnic minorities with the same grades as white applicants, for all subjects and for Medicine and Economics and Management, have significantly lower success rates. Further, white applicants with lower grades than ethnic minority applicants often fare better at admissions: for example white applicants to Economics and Management with AAA had a higher success rate than ethnic minority applicants with A*A*A.

References[edit]