Open days

It is a very good idea for applicants to come to one of the University open days. There are general events at Hertford, including an opportunity to meet and talk with a physics and/or philosophy tutor. The Physics Department organises tours and events on the open days.

This is a valuable opportunity to meet students and teaching staff and to get an appreciation of the course and the atmosphere of the College. Details of these open days in college are here and the university and for law are here.

Application process

Hertford College typically has an intake of 8 physics and physics and philosophy students each year.  This is a relatively large group and we think it provides a good basis for students to work effectively within a cohort.  When you apply to Oxford, you can either select the college that you wish to study at, or make an ‘open’ application where your application will be allocated to a college. 

Applications are made through UCAS. As part of the Physics application process, we ask candidates to take a Physics Aptitude Test in their schools.  This is taken in November and details can be found on the physics departmental web site:

Because the number of applicants is large, not all of the applicants can be interviewed and so a selection is made on the basis of the applications and the results from the PAT test.  It is therefore very important that you take the test seriously and prepare properly, including reviewing the past paper available on the website.  All the college tutors within the physics department cooperate to ensure that the ratio of applicants to college places available is equalised.  This can result in some reallocation of applicants to colleges other than the one they applied to.

Final selection of candidates to be admitted is made on the basis of the application form, including your actual and predicted examination grades, school references and statement,  the PAT results and the interview performance.


Interviews – what to expect

Interviews are held in December at the college. You should expect two interviews at Hertford College, one concentrating more on Mathematics and the other concentrating more on Physics. A third interview will be conducted at another college.  The purpose of the interview is to identify the best candidates. To do this we will ask you to work through some problems. We do not ask trick questions or aim to catch you out; that would tell us nothing and does not help us identify excellent candidates. However, some questions that are asked may be unfamiliar – we want to see how you approach a problem and your reasoning