Students FAQ

The Department for Continuing Education offers an opportunity for study to anyone who is willing and capable. Our students are comprised of adults of all ages and circumstances, who come from all walks of life and from many different parts of the world.

These are some of the questions we've been asked by prospective students. Please don't hesitate to ask anything you don't see mentioned below by emailing

Do I need a degree to study at the Department?

  • You only need a degree if you wish to study at postgraduate level. In fact, for many of our courses you may be able to study with no previous qualifications.

What do 'undergraduate' and 'postgraduate' mean?

  • An undergraduate is the name of a student who is studying for their first degree or part of their first degree. So any study at undergraduate level usually means degree level.
  • Once a student has a first degree they are called a graduate. The student may wish to take a further degree. This is often called postgraduate study.

What is an Undergraduate Certificate / Diploma / Advanced Diploma?

  • An Undergraduate Certificate is equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree.
  • An Undergraduate Diploma is equivalent to the second year of an undergraduate degree. 
  • An Advanced Diploma is equivalent to the third year of an undergraduate degree.

I study with the Department am I an undergraduate of the University?

  • To avoid confusion between full-time undergraduates and part-time students studying at undergraduate level, the University has classified OUDCE students as 'Registered part-time students'.

Does the Department award degrees?

  • The Department is not able to offer part-time undergraduate degrees but does offer postgraduate degrees. It is the University of Oxford that awards all the Department's awards.

If I complete a course with OUDCE can I go on to study a degree with Oxford University?

  • The Foundation Certificates in Modern History and English Language and Literature have arrangements where students who successfully complete these awards can apply through an Oxford college to enter the second year of an undergraduate degree in History or English (in competition with other students).
  • Some students who have completed undergraduate awards have used their Certificates / Diplomas / Advanced Diplomas to gain entry into undergraduate degree courses at other universities.

Can I apply for an NUS card?

  • You might be familiar with the National Union of Students (NUS) extra card which allows students to access discounts at many online and high street retailers. The NUS extra card has been replaced with TOTUM and now comes with 1-year free registration with the International Student Identity card (ISIC), which gives access to further international discounts.
  • The TOTUM card is available to students aged 16 or over, studying full or part-time in further or higher education. In order to be eligible for a TOTUM card, your course should require at least 10 hours of student weekly for a minimum of 12 weeks. Additionally, courses carried out by professional learners should be a recognised, accredited course. Certain exceptions apply.
  • For further information, and to apply, see the NUS website:


Glossary of Oxford terminology

  • Michaelmas Term is from October until December
  • Hilary Term is from January until April
  • Trinity Term is from April until July
  • Long Vacation is from July until September
  • Matriculated is a student who is admitted to the University who is eligible to pursue a degree-granting programme. N.B. Part time students on postgraduate certificates and diplomas are not matriculated.
  • Non-matriculated is a student who is admitted on to a credit-bearing course not awarding a full degree.
  • Suspension of Status is a break from a course of study, usually for the duration of a term or a year.
  • Deferral is a postponement of taking up a place on a course, usually starting the course of study a year later than originally enrolled.
  • Extension of Time is an extension to the number of terms in which to complete a course for matriculated students.