Student FAQs

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


Who is Continuing Education for?

The Department for Continuing Education offers an opportunity for study to anyone who is willing and capable. Our students comprise adults of all ages and circumstances, who come from all walks of life and from many different parts of the world. Most courses are offered flexibly to be taken alongside other commitments.

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?

'Undergraduate' refers to a student who is studying for their first degree, or part of their first degree. Once awarded their first degree, they are called a 'graduate'. The student may wish to take a further degree, and this is often called postgraduate study.

What are Undergraduate Certificates, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas?

Broadly speaking, these map respectively to the first, second and third years of an undergraduate degree (but an Advanced Diploma or a combination of these awards does not constitute a full Oxford BA or undergraduate degree). They are all recognised qualifications.

I study on an Undergraduate Certificate (Diploma or Advanced Diploma) 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'. You are a member of the University and have access to its libraries, the Students Union, Oxford University Clubs and Societies etc.

Does the Department offer degree programmes?

Yes. We offer postgraduate degrees (masters and doctoral), but the University does not offer part-time undergraduate degrees. Our undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications are all awarded by the University of Oxford.

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

Our Foundation Certificates in Modern History and in 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 institutions.

Some of our students subsequently study at another institution, before returning to Oxford to take their masters or doctoral degree.

Can I apply for a student discount card?

TOTUM (which has replaced the old NUS Extra card) comes with one-year free registration with the International Student Identity card (ISIC), which gives access to high street and international discounts. For further information visit

Glossary of Oxford terminology

Some common terms

  • Michaelmas Term is from October until December
  • Hilary Term is from January until April
  • Trinity Term is from April until July
  • The Long Vacation is from July until September
  • ‘Matriculated’ is a student who is admitted to the University and is eligible to pursue a degree-granting programme. Matriculated students become members of a college.
  • ‘Non-matriculated’ is a student who is admitted to an award-bearing programme, such as an undergraduate or postgraduate certificate or diploma, but that does not award a full degree. Non-matriculated students are not normally members of a college.
  • '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).

For more, see the full Oxford Glossary.