How to Get Into Mathematics at Oxford

Mathematics is one of the most competitive courses at Oxford University. Just 11% of applicants are successful in receiving an offer to study Maths at Oxford and the application process is designed to be challenging.

If you’re thinking of applying for Mathematics or just curious about what it takes to get into one of the best universities for Maths in the UK, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert Oxbridge admissions tutors.

The Profs’ Mathematics admissions tutors have first-hand experience of the admissions process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are more than three times more likely to receive an offer from Oxford University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is the Mathematics course at Oxford like?

Oxford University is ranked as the second best place to study Mathematics in the UK. Its Mathematics course is designed for students who have a true passion for Maths and are interested in solving complex problems.

There are two undergraduate Mathematics degrees to choose from at Oxford: the 3-year BA (Bachelor of Arts) and the 4-year MMath (Master of Mathematics). In both courses, the first year consists of core courses in pure and applied Mathematics and Statistics. The compulsory modules in year 1 include:

  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Probability and statistics
  • Geometry
  • Dynamics
  • Multivariable calculus

In second year, you will also have some compulsory modules to take, as well as being able to choose additional modules. The compulsory modules include:

  • Algebra
  • Complex analysis
  • Metric spaces
  • Differential equations

When you get to your third and fourth years of study, you will be able to choose entirely optional modules (aside from a dissertation, which is compulsory in year 4) and start tailoring your course towards your interests. Oxford offers a wide range of modules, from applied and numerical analysis to logic and set theory and mathematical geoscience.

What are the entry requirements for Mathematics?

Mathematics is an extremely competitive course at Oxford and requires applicants to achieve excellent grades in their A levels (or equivalent) and show a track record of high academic achievement. The table below shows the entry requirements for the Mathematics course:

QualificationGradesSubject requirements
A LevelsA*A*AA*s are required in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken). If Further Mathematics is not available: either A*AAa with A* in Mathematics and a in AS-level Further Mathematics or A*AA with A* in Mathematics.
Advanced HighersAA/AABA in Mathematics.
International Baccalaureate (IB)39 (including core points) with 766 at Higher Level.The 7 must be in Higher Level Mathematics.

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study Mathematics at Oxford? The Profs’ A level and IB tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve the entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

Which subjects are recommended?

Officially, the only compulsory subject you need to apply for Mathematics at Oxford is Maths at a grade A* (or equivalent). If Further Maths is an option at A level, you are also expected to study it and achieve a grade A*. However, Further Maths at A-level is not essential in order to apply, so don’t be put off if you didn’t have the opportunity to study it.

Top tip: While there are no additional subjects that are compulsory in order to apply for Maths at Oxford, there are some things you can study and do to help your application stand out. Firstly, if there are any practical components in any Science A levels you take, you are required to pass these, and they can be a great way to showcase your skills.
Oxford also encourages Maths applicants to take the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) for A level Maths and/or STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) if they are available. Both act as evidence of your mathematical ability and may help your application stand out.

Which admissions test do you need for Mathematics?

Applicants to Mathematics at Oxford are required to take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT). The MAT is designed to assess your mathematical ability. While it is based on AS-level and a small section of A-level Mathematics, it is designed to separate out the most competent applicants to the top universities in the UK, so it is challenging and requires plenty of preparation. Find out more about the MAT and how to prepare in this helpful guide:

How to prepare for the MAT

What score do you need to get in the MAT for Mathematics?

There is no ‘cut-off’ score set by Oxford that you need to achieve in the MAT to secure an offer for Mathematics. Instead, the average score among successful applicants changes slightly each year. See the table below for the average MAT score of successful applicants to all courses and those applying for Maths.

Course(s)Average score amongst all applicants (2021)Average score of successful applicants (2021)
Mathematics and Computer Science46.974.3
All other courses51.173.5

How hard is it to get into Maths at Oxford?

Getting into Oxford to study Mathematics is no mean feat. Not only do you need to achieve the grade requirements and score highly in the MAT, but you also need to perform well in the interview. The table below shows the average percentage of applicants that were interviewed and successful getting into Maths at Oxford.

Average percentage (2019-2021)
Interviewed34%
Successful11%

The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Oxford to study Mathematics. Thanks to our network of experienced tutors, many of whom are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, we have the very latest and best knowledge on what Oxford is looking for in top Mathematics applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for Mathematics at Oxford?

The table below shows the fees for Oxford’s Maths course for both home (UK) and overseas students:

Student statusCourse fees (per year)
Home£9,250
Overseas£32,480

You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on Oxford’s fee status page. You can also use Oxford’s fees, funding and scholarship search to see the funding options available to you.

4 tips on how to get into Mathematics at Oxford

1. Prepare thoroughly for each stage of the admissions process

When applying to study Maths at Oxford, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly.

  • Your grades – preparation for your Mathematics application really starts from the moment you start studying for your A-levels (or equivalent). Excellent grades are essential in order to be considered for a place at Oxford, so you should be aiming for A*A*A in your A-levels (or equivalent) as a minimum.
  • Your UCAS application – the first official stage of your Maths application is completing your UCAS application online. As well as your grades, this includes your personal statement. This is the first chance you’ll get to showcase your suitability for Maths and prove to Oxford that you are interested and committed to the subject areas. Find out how to write a stand-out personal statement in this helpful guide.
  • The MAT admissions test – you are also required to take the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) when applying for Maths at Oxford. This admissions test is designed to be challenging, so it’s really important that you prepare for it just as you would for any other exam.
  • The interview – if your UCAS application and MAT score are impressive enough, you may be invited for an interview at Oxford. This is your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for the course. Oxbridge interviews are like oral admissions tests and there is often even a mark scheme your interviewers will be scoring you against, so it’s important to seek professional help to prepare effectively.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

2. Show evidence of your mathematical ability and passion for Maths

Only around 1 in 10 applicants to study Maths at Oxford are successful, so it’s important that you do everything you can to make your application stand out from the crowd. Oxford will particularly be looking for applicants who have a true passion for Maths as well as exceptional mathematical abilities. There are many ways you can show this, such as:

  • Do additional reading beyond your school syllabus
    Showing that you understand that Maths at university level involves self-teaching Maths can be key to success. Demonstrate to Oxford that you genuinely enjoy analysing new mathematical concepts through reading at least one quantitative text. The vast majority of students are not able to enjoy such self-learning and so you can really stand out by demonstrating a desire to learn higher-level Mathematics.
  • Participate in relevant competitions, clubs or challenges
    If your school or another local organisation has a Maths club or another similar extracurricular club that requires mathematical skills, this is a great way to showcase your ability. Participating in the UK Maths Challenge or other similar competitions can also be a great way to do this and shows that your interests expand beyond the topics covered in the school curriculum.
  • Using practical applications of Maths, Mechanics or Statistics
    Have you used your Maths skills in a business environment to calculate profit or loss? Have you done some website or game design coding and had to use trigonometry in your coding? Have you used applied lessons on friction and gravity to calculate stopping distances and acceleration of go-karts? The options to use Mathematics and problem-solving in extracurricular activities are limitless and all help to prove that you have a serious passion for the subject.

3. Have a 5-year plan

Another factor that can set you aside from other applicants is having a 5-year plan. This doesn’t have to be a plan that you necessarily stick to – in fact, it is expected that your interests and ambitions change as your knowledge and experience grows. Having a plan is simply a great way of demonstrating to Oxford that you are committed to the subject and that you are motivated to succeed at your degree.

The first step to having a plan is to develop an understanding of the industries a degree in Maths can lead to and the specific areas of Maths you can specialise in. For example, identifying that you are interested in the applications of big data – or else want to help Formula 1 racing cars be more energy-efficient – can show that you are a forward-thinking candidate who is serious about getting a job after graduation. You can, of course, also state that you are interested in a PhD and becoming a researcher, backing up your career claims with some knowledge of your chosen field.

4. Seek help from an expert Mathematics admissions tutor

Mathematics is one of the most competitive courses at Oxford and requires you to perform well in multiple stages to be in with a chance of securing an offer. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist Oxbridge preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional Mathematics admissions tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ Mathematics admissions tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles, tailor their application to Oxford’s admissions criteria, prepare for the MAT exam, and excel in the admissions interview.

If you work with one of The Profs’ tutors, you are more than three times more likely to get into Oxford. You’ll also gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for study at an elite UK university, as well as a deeper and broader understanding of the skills and knowledge needed to study Maths at degree-level. Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.