Human Sciences Admissions
This document is a guide to the admissions process for Human Sciences and sets out agreed
procedures. It also gives information specific to the Human Sciences pages on ADSS Contact Details
If you have any queries about the system or admissions in general, please contact in the first instance
the Admissions Co-ordinator. If you have technical queries about ADSS please refer to the main
reference manual available from the ADSS website for contact details and telephone support hours.
Overview of Admissions Process
Monday 15th October (Week 2)
Deadline for applications to be received by UCAS
Monday 15th October (Week 2)
Deadline for candidates to register for the TSA
Tuesday23nd October (Week 3)
ADSS Web view goes live
Wednesday 31st October (Week 4)
Thinking Skills Assessment Test (TSA) sat
Thursday 15th November (Week 6)
TSA results released
Monday 19th November (Week 7) 11:00
Thursday 22nd November (Week 7)
Directors of Studies enter interview times for 1st
and 2nd candidates
Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th December
Thursday 6th December c. 6 pm
Places Meeting (Interview scores should be
entered on ADSS prior to this meeting) Decisions
will be entered at the meeting.
Friday 7th December (Week 9)
Panel interviews in the Pauling Centre
Monday 10th December
Directors of Studies to check status of candidates
on ADSS and list of candidates made an offer will
be circulated to colleges.
Wednesday 9th January
Decision date for shortlisted applicants. Offers
and rejections sent by colleges and UAO (to
Monday 12th August
A level results release under embargo to
departments and colleges. Confirmation of offers
by colleges and college allocation of Open Offer
applicants by department
Thursday 15th August
A level results day
The process of selection
Details of all students applying to Human Sciences, a record of marks awarded and any relevant
comments are stored on the admissions website, ADSS. The details of the website are discussed in
the second part of this guide. UCAS forms
Your College Admissions Officer will provide UCAS forms for each of your first choice applicants.
UCAS forms for all candidates are available to view on-line by clicking on the candidate name on the
candidate summary page to bring up their form. You will also be able to print individual UCAS forms
as a PDF from this page by clicking ‘Print this Candidate’ (select two pages per A4 page and print
double-sided to produce a version identical to that produced by your College Admissions Officer).
If you wish to print batches of UCAS forms (e.g. for your second choice candidates), you can print a
PDF of the UCAS forms of all candidates on your screen at any one time by clicking on the ‘Print all
Candidates’ button (selecting ‘All’ on the ‘College 1’ filter and your college on the ‘College 2’ filter will
bring up a list of your second choice candidates). Overseas candidates
If candidates are unable to attend for interview in Oxford, the college considering their application
may choose to interview the candidate by telephone or Skype.
Candidates from the EEA are expected to come to Oxford for interview. Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
All candidates are obliged to take the TSA. Their scripts will be marked externally and the marks for
the critical thinking and problem solving together with an average of the two scores will be provided
for each applicant on ADSS on the TSA Results Screen. ADSS will also store each candidate’s TSA
essay which will be available to read and print off. Shortlisting Meeting and Deselection
After the TSA results have been received and uploaded to ADSS a process will be run within ADSS to
calculate a Pre-Interview score based on the TSA results and contextualized GCSE Scores. Equal
weighting will be given to the TSA result and contextualized GCSE score but where a candidate has no
contextualized GCSE score, the Pre-Interview Score will be calculated solely from the TSA result.
Candidates will be ranked on the Pre-Interview score. These scores and rankings will be visible on the
HS-Candidates Pre-Interview Scoring Screen.
A meeting will be held on Monday of Week 7 (19th November) of all Directors of Studies to decide
which candidates to short-list for interview. The number of candidates shortlisted will be
approximately three times the number of college places available. Candidates with a ‘Widening
Participation’ flag (see below) will not be deselected unless the reasons are overwhelming. These
decisions will be entered on ADSS and Directors of Studies will need to communicate these to their
college admissions office as soon as possible and before Thursday 22nd November.
Following this meeting, a procedure will be run on ADSS, which will allocate all short-listed
candidates a second choice college. This will be done taking into account the relative number and
strength (measured by the pre-interview score) of first choice candidates in colleges to ensure that
the number of candidates a college is interviewing is in proportion to the number of places it is
offering. That is, the total number of interviews (first and second) a college would be expected to
carry out will be approximately six times the number of places it is offering. For most colleges this
will be slightly more as university policy is those candidates below the cut-off point but who are
being interviewed for other reasons (e.g. because they are flagged) are supernumerary.
If there is a serious imbalance between in the ratios of first choice candidates to places, first choice
candidates may be reallocated subject to discussion with the colleges concerned. This is what our website says
Tutors responsible for admitting undergraduates in Human Sciences will be looking at all the available
information from past and predicted examination results. Colleges normally require grades of AAA in
A-levels or the equivalent in other exams such as Scottish Highers, national or International
Baccalaureate etc.* School reports, personal reports and interviews are also used with a view to
assessing the individual candidate's potential to benefit from the academic courses provided by
Oxford in Human Sciences. Evidence of your ability to cope successfully with both the quantitative and
the essay-based components of the course will be an advantage.
*The requirement for candidates taking the IB is 38 with 6 or 7s in higher level subjects; for Scottish
Advanced Highers it is AAB (or AA plus a grade A in an additional Standard Higher course taken in
year 6 where a student is not able to take three Advanced Highers); and for the Cambridge Pre-U a
D3 grade equates to a A grade at A level (and a D2 to an A*) Details of international qualifications
considered equivalent to AAA, given by country can be found at
Further information on Contextual data including a link to the above quick reference guide
can be found at https://www.ox.ac.uk/uao-handbook/applications/contextual-data
First and second choice colleges are displayed on ADSS. Interviews are held on Wednesday 5th and
Thursday 6th December. Candidates need to be notified of their interview times in advance, so please
enter your first choice interview timetable as soon as possible to allow 2nd choice college interviews
to be arranged and notified in good time. In timetabling your interviews please be aware of the need
to enter interview scores on ADSS and arrive promptly at the Places Meeting at 6pm ion Thursday 6th
December in the Pauling Centre. Candidates have been told to arrive by 10am on Wednesday 5th
December, but some may be invited up on Tuesday 4th December if necessary.
NB*** IF YOU WISH TO HAVE A MEETING WITH ALL APPLICANTS BEFORE THE INTERVIEWS START
YOU WILL HAVE TO NOTIFY YOUR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICE TO ENSURE THAT THE CANDIDATES
If your college gives 2 interviews please reconcile the scores. Enter one final college score – enter a
comment if necessary. Possible scores are between 1 and 20, where 20 is the highest score. Please
enter decisions on places at this time. Places will be allocated at the Places meeting on
Thursday evening. A sheet for recording the interview assessment is included as Appendix 1. Interview Marks scale, Human Sciences 2018
Qualitative comments are indicative suggestions to help in deciding marks: not all need apply for such a mark
to be awarded.
Candidates with marks of 14 and above should be in serious consideration for places.
Candidates with marks of 17 and above should be found a place if at all possible: award of such a mark
indicates willingness to take the candidate at the marker’s own college if a place is available
A candidate such as only rarely encountered
Unambiguously first class
Clear suggestions of first class potential: highly
competent in response to tests; highly articulate;
relevant knowledge going beyond what one might
expect; thoughtful and insightful in discussion, taking
the conversation further than the norm
Clearly capable of gaining a 2.1 degree: competent in
response to tests; articulate; sound relevant
knowledge; enthusiastic about Human Sciences
Competent overall, but some suggestion of weakness:
some inaccuracies or difficulty in response to tests or in
discussion of relevant issues; gaps in relevant
knowledge; some lack of enthusiasm for the subject
Signs of potential, but also clear signs of weakness:
inaccuracies or difficulty in response to tests or in
discussion of relevant issues; not as articulate as
tutorial discussion generally requires; gaps in relevant
knowledge; lack of enthusiasm for the subject
Too weak to consider for a place: failures in the tests;
failure to sustain a discussion; worrying gaps in relevant
knowledge; lack of enthusiasm for the subject
As above, but to a greater degree
Failure to navigate the tests and sustain a discussion;
unacceptable gaps in basic knowledge; unenthusiastic
NB This is what we say about the interview:
‘The interview is aimed primarily at assessing the candidate's potential for independent thinking,
ability to follow an argument, skill in communication and listening. It is not a test of knowledge in
isolation from context, or of verbal facility. Interviewers will be looking for evidence of ability to
respond in a thoughtful way to unpredictable questions and ideas, intellectual curiosity, openness of
mind and independent thinking. They will be looking for enthusiasm for their current studies or
activities, but also evidence that the candidate's interest goes beyond their current academic
training, and that they are able to deploy their knowledge in ways that show initiative.' College tutors are asked to enter the interview scores for their candidates as soon as possible and
to let her know when all their scores have been entered.
This will allow her to run a process to automatically calculate the average interview scores for each
The average interview score will appear on the Enter Interview Score screen once the calculation has
been run and will be the average of the two scores given by the colleges.
The Places meeting will be held at the Pauling Centre after 6.00pm on Thursday 6th December. (The
time will be confirmed by email.) All colleges MUST have a representative who can make decisions at
this meeting who will arrive promptly at the meeting. Decisions for each candidate will be logged.
The representative of each college will confirm their interview scores and discuss their candidates’
performance with the representatives of other colleges.
Candidates to whom a college wishes to give a place but whose average interview score is lower than
candidates still unplaced must explain this decision.
In deciding places and candidates for panel interviews for open offer places, all relevant information
will be taken into consideration. At this meeting, colleges will declare to which candidates they will
be awarding places. A limited number of exceptional candidates who have not received a college
place will be selected for a panel interview. The number of open offer places will be decided at the
Places meeting. Panel Interviews
Panel interviews will take place on Friday 7th December at the Pauling Centre.
Possible candidates for panel interviews will be any unplaced candidate with a very high average
interview score. Candidates can be sorted by average interview score and those candidates who, at
this stage, are unplaced, and have the highest average interview scores will be eligible for panel
interviews. It will, however, be possible to interview only a limited number of candidates at panel
stage, commensurate with the time and number of open offer places available. Open Offer Pool
The ‘Pool’ procedure is that some candidates are offered a guaranteed place on the course but their
College assignment is only confirmed as agreed candidates are lost through unforeseen
circumstances or by failing the conditions set. Open offer candidates are made Open conditional
offers by the college to which they originally applied.
When the results are released in August the open offer candidates who have made their grades MUST
be taken in place of any candidate who has not achieved their set conditions
. Only minimal
exceptions can be made to this rule, e.g. pre-notified special circumstances affecting exam
performance. See the guidance for colleges when considering clemency for candidates who have
missed their conditional offers in the UAO handbook. Candidates who are marked for rejection on e-
vision by colleges will need to be confirmed by the Institute before the college can confirm the
rejection. Colleges who are part of the Open Offer Scheme cannot refuse to take an Open Offer Candidate
where they have a candidate who has missed an offer. Colleges will not be able to choose which
Open Offer candidate is allocated to them although consideration will be given to the college the
candidate applied for and was interviewed at when allocating Pool candidates.
In the event of there being fewer candidates with Open Offers than there are missed/declined offers,
the following will be taken into consideration when allocating Open Offer candidates.
It is not desirable for a college to be left with a single student in a year group.
Colleges who have more than one candidate failing to meet their offer/take up their place
will be given priority over those with a single candidate failing to meet their offer/take up
their place (after the above has been taken into account)
Subject to the above, a college which a candidate applied to may have priority over other
In the event that candidates remain unplaced after filling vacancies then the remaining open offer
candidates will be assigned to a college from the list below.
Each year the first named college goes to the bottom of the list, together with any college further
down the list forced to take an extra candidate. This means that with a pool of four, in the extremely
unlikely event that no candidate falls out, Mansfield, Magdalen, St Hugh’s, and St John’s must each
take an extra candidate and St Catz will be top of the list next year. If there are no open offer
candidates to be assigned, Mansfield goes to the bottom of the list and Magdalen will be top next
year. A college cannot refuse to take a candidate from the Open Offer Pool if there are unplaced
candidates after spaces from missed or declined offers have been filled.
If a candidate with a missed offer has a successful remark so that they meet their offer, and the
remark is notified by 31 August, the college who made the offer must honour the place. If an Open
Offer candidate with a missed offer receives a successful remark and meets their offer by 31 August,
the college nearest the top of the underwriting list (given above) which has not already been asked
to take an additional candidate from the pool will be asked to take the candidate, unless there is a
college which is able to take the candidate because it has an unfilled place. Conditional Offers
The standard conditional offer is AAA. For candidates taking IB a score of 38 could be modified by
specifying a top grade in some subject or a bottom grade filter. For other assessment systems the
Admissions Co-ordinator can advise. English Language Requirements
There is a formal requirement for applicants for undergraduate courses to demonstrate their
proficiency in the English language. This does not apply to students who are native English speakers,
nor to those who have been educated in the medium of English language during their two most
recent years of study. Other students applying this year will need to satisfy English language
requirements. Details of level required can be found at:
Your Single Sign-on username and password will allow you access to ADSS. This will be what you use
to access Nexus Webmail or Weblearn. Directors of Studies will be contacted in September to ask
who in their college needs access to ADSS and level of access required i.e. whether ‘read/write’ or
‘read only’ access is needed.
If you are representing more than one college, you will need to inform
If you do not currently have a username and password for Single Sign-on (or have forgotten them)
you will need to go to
, which has information about the
system and how to go about activating and re-activating accounts.
NB The material is confidential and you should ensure that no unauthorised access is permitted. Do
not send UCAS data by e-mail or share your interview comments with colleagues by e-mail.
The log in address is:
Having entered your log-in details successfully, you will see a screen confirming your log-in, and you
should now click on the ‘Continue to Student System’ button. You will be asked to select a team from
the dropdown list on the right. When you have done this you will be taken to the Home page.
Display pages include
showing a list of candidates and summary of key information
HS Candidates Pre-Interview Scoring
: Shows a pre-interview score and ranking based on TSA
score and contextualised GCSEs.
: to enter deselection decisions
to enter interview times
HS-Enter Interview scores
: to enter interview scores
: to show candidates who have a status of Panel interviews (this will only
be populated after the Admissions meeting on Thursday evening of Week 9 until decisions
about candidates interviewed by the panel have been made).
shows candidates who have been awarded places
HS-View Deselected Candidates
shows candidates who have been deselected
: Shows candidates’ TSA results
The options at the top of the left hand side of the screen allow you to select a page to view. When
the page comes up you can chose to display the details of students at their first choice college
(college 1) or 2nd choice college (college 2) by choosing from the drop-down menu of colleges or all
applicants (all). Clicking ‘apply filter’ activates the selection. Candidate Summary Page
The Candidate Summary Page provides an overview of the most important information about each
Several categories are indicated by a flag, the meaning of each symbol is shown by placing the cursor
over the letter. Eg: Deferred candidates are flagged ‘E’. Qualifications
Qualifications have been entered centrally and will be displayed on candidate summary screens.
Upper case letters are achieved scores, lower case letters are predicted grades. Information about
School GCSE scores are given to indicate one measure of the standard of the school. School information
Schools and school type are given.
Full UCAS information
If you double-click on the candidate surname the information contained in their UCAS forms comes
School performance indicators
These statistics relate to the schools specified on the candidate’s UCAS form and are provided for
your information and can be used to place students’ achievements in the context of their school
background. Pre-16 School Score
For England, Northern Ireland and Wales, ‘5+ GCSEs at grade A*-A’ N/A for Scotland.
Contextualised GCSE 9/8/A* Score (see above)
Candidates individual performance on the basis of their Pre-16 school performance – calculated within
ADSS from the GCSE A*/9/8 count (GCSEs > 5) Post-16 School Score
For England, ‘average score per Level 3 examination entry’; for Northern Ireland, % year 14 pupils
achieved 3 or more A levels (including equivalents) at grades A*–C; for Wales, ‘average total score
obtained by each pupil; for Scotland, % S6 year group from two years previously achieving 5+ SCQF
Level 6 or better. Deselection decisions
This screen allows candidates to be marked for deselection and it will be used during the shortlisting
meeting. Interview times
To enter interview days and times for your candidates, click in the box in the College 1 interview time
(or College 2 interview time as appropriate), a pop-up calendar will appear. Click on the date of the
interview (e.g. 5th or 6th December). To move to the month of December use the arrow buttons at
the top of the calendar. To select the time, slide the hour or minute button along until the desired
time appears (this uses a 24 hour clock). Enter Interview Scores
All interview scores should be entered on this page: the columns should be self-explanatory. Please
note that the Average Interview Score will be calculated after all interview scores have been entered
for all candidates. Please notify
when all your interview scores have
‘Final Decision’ column will be filled in at the Places Meeting on Thursday evening.
More detailed manuals are available to download in PDF format from the ADSS Home screen.
Human Sciences Admissions 2018
year 19 20
A candidate such as only rarely encountered
Unambiguously first class
Clear suggestions of first class potential: highly competent in response to
tests; highly articulate; relevant knowledge going beyond what one might
expect; thoughtful and insightful in discussion, taking the conversation further
than the norm
Clearly capable of gaining a 2.1 degree: competent in response to tests;
articulate; sound relevant knowledge; enthusiastic about Human Sciences
Competent overall, but some suggestion of weakness: some inaccuracies or
difficulty in response to tests or in discussion of relevant issues; gaps in
relevant knowledge; some lack of enthusiasm for the subject
Signs of potential, but also clear signs of weakness: inaccuracies or difficulty in
response to tests or in discussion of relevant issues; not as articulate as
tutorial discussion generally requires; gaps in relevant knowledge; lack of
enthusiasm for the subject
Too weak to consider for a place: failures in the tests; failure to sustain a
discussion; worrying gaps in relevant knowledge; lack of enthusiasm for the
As above, but to a greater degree
Failure to navigate the tests and sustain a discussion; unacceptable gaps in
basic knowledge; unenthusiastic