Examination Fellowships: Further Particulars

The College intends to make up to two elections to Examination Fellowships on Saturday, 6 November 2021 if candidates of sufficient merit present themselves.


The examination is open to any candidate who meets ALL the following conditions:

  • has a degree (or by 1 October 2021 will have a degree) from the University of Oxford; or is registered (or by 1 October 2021 will have registered) for a higher degree at the University;
  • has successfully completed all the examinations necessary for a first BA or equivalent degree whether at the University of Oxford or elsewhere; and,
  • normally, has successfully completed their first degree not more than ten terms before the relevant election., i.e. no earlier than Summer 2018*.

*Please note: the term limit is normally seven terms, but has been extended for 2021 due to the cancellation of the 2020 Examination.

Terms of Fellowship

The Fellowships are for seven years and cannot be extended. They are open to those who intend to pursue an academic career and the College pays the University fees of Fellows registered for a higher degree at the University of Oxford. They are also open to those who, while intending to take up non-academic work (such as the practice of the law, politics, the arts, diplomacy, etc.), nevertheless wish to maintain and strengthen their links with Oxford academic life. It is therefore a requirement that all Examination Fellows in the first two years of their Fellowship pursue a course of study or training approved by the College. 

Examination Fellows are members of the Governing Body and are obliged to attend College Meetings (three per annum) and Election Meetings (two per annum). Fellows will be entitled to a study, dinners, and lunches without charge, and may be assigned single accommodation in the College or one of its annexes or, if resident within 25 miles of Oxford, are eligible to receive a housing allowance (see below). Fellows are conventionally required to dine in College at least twenty-eight times in each academic term of the first year of tenure. Non-academic Fellows can comply with this convention by, for example, spending the weekends during term in College and the weekdays working elsewhere. The College is prepared to consider deferment of this requirement in exceptional cases.

Remuneration, Allowances, and Entitlements

During the first two years Fellows are entitled to receive a stipend or scholarship allowance, which they may supplement, of up to £15,480 per annum (see Note below), and may be eligible for a housing allowance of currently £5,818 per annum. At the end of that period the Fellowship will (with the approval of the College) be extended for a further five years, during which a Fellow who decides to take up or continue:

a)    full-time academic work in the College will receive a stipend of £22,778 to £24,867 per annum, rising by annual increments over five years to £28,527 to £31,185 per annum, the actual level of pay depending on whether and how much public lecturing is undertaken, plus a housing allowance of £9,899 per annum, if eligible;
b)    an academic or non-academic appointment elsewhere will receive a stipend of £3,379 per annum.

Full-time academic College Fellows may draw on academic allowances of up to £3,825 per annum, and can apply for academic grants from the College’s Academic Purposes Committee. 
Note: All salaries and allowances are reviewed annually. In the case of Fellows who are already in receipt of another scholarship or Research Council funding, the College will top up the scholarship or grant to the same level given above for the remainder of the first academic year, after which the College will assume full responsibility for the payment of University of Oxford tuition fees and the scholarship and subsequent stipend. 


Prospective candidates should make applications online by 4.00 pm (UK time) on Monday, 23 August 2021. Those who for good cause do not meet the normal eligibility criteria but nevertheless wish to be admitted to the examination should make their case when prompted on the online application form.

All eligible applicants will be sent an email in the week commencing 6 September, and must respond to this email to confirm their place in the examination. Candidates who do not reply by the deadline specified in the email will not be admitted. 

The online application system is hosted by the Colleges’ Administrative Software Consortium Fellowship Application System (in Cambridge). All technical queries or inquiries about the application process and submitted applications should be made to the Fellows’ Secretary: fellows.secretary@all-souls.ox.ac.uk.


The examination will be held in line with all Covid-19 policies in place at Oxford University at the time. The College fully expects the examination to take place and to have examination space for all eligible applicants. However, because of the pandemic there is a small risk that this will not be possible. The College therefore reserves the right to cancel the examination or to cap candidate numbers if exceptional circumstances arise.

Examination Details

The examination will be held in the College, starting on Wednesday, 29 September at 9.30 am and ending on Thursday, 30 September at 5.00 pm.

The examination will consist of four papers of three hours each:

  • two Specialist Papers in:
    • Law;
    • History (Each paper will contain a section of questions on History of the Ancient World);
    • Philosophy;
    • Economics;
    • Politics;
    • English Literature:
      • Paper I: questions on English literature (i.e. any literature in English) from before the Conquest to the present day;
      • Paper II: a compulsory practical criticism question, followed by questions which candidates may answer in relation to literature written in languages other than English if they wish; 
    • Classical Studies:
      • Paper I: Greek world;
      • Paper II: Roman world; 
        • On each paper, candidates will be required to answer one question from Section A, requiring demonstration of technical mastery of either language or archaeological material; and two from Section B, covering language, literature, history, archaeology, philosophy;
  • two General Papers.

Candidates must answer questions from one paper only in each session of the examination. They may, however, ask to see up to two specialist papers in any examination session, but can only answer from one paper in that session. The vast majority of applicants do their two specialist papers in the same subject, though that is not obligatory. While a degree in a specific subject is not a requirement for sitting a specialist paper in it, experience suggests that candidates without prior formal education in that subject, or a closely related one, are very unlikely to be shortlisted.

Assessment Criteria

The following criteria will be used in marking all papers:

  • Engagement
    • Incisiveness of engagement with the question
    • Range of issues addressed within or across essays
    • Depth and sophistication of comprehension of issues and implications of the question
    • Directness of answer to the question
  • Argument
    • Coherence of argument
    • Analytical clarity and power
    • Intellectual penetration
    • Originality and/or independence of thought
  • Information
    • Relevance of the deployment of information
    • Knowledge of original sources
    • Range, depth and detail of evidence cited
    • Accuracy of information
  • Organisation & Presentation (See Note below)
    • Clarity and coherence of structure
    • Clarity, fluency, and elegance of prose
    • Correctness of grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Potential
    • Potential for future intellectual development

Note:  These criteria will be interpreted in the light of the University’s policies and individual assessments regarding candidates with specific learning difficulties, e.g. dyslexia.

Further advice on what the College is looking for in candidates can be found on the College website.

Past Papers

Examination papers from previous years may be seen on the College website.  

Equal Opportunities

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Oxford.  In order to enable the College to monitor the effectiveness of its equality policy and procedures, all candidates are invited to complete the confidential recruitment monitoring form which is processed entirely separately from the applications, and plays no part in the selection process.  

Requests for Special Examination Arrangements

Candidates who require any special examination arrangements to be made for them should indicate this on their online application. Supporting documentation will be required, and we will be unable to make special arrangements if this is not provided as part of the online application. 

Visa Requirements

Applicants from outside the UK are asked to note the UK’s visa requirements.


  • Tuesday, 28 September
    • 4.00 pm: Candidates are invited to attend a meeting in the Hall when the Warden and others will talk about the Fellowship and take questions.
  • Wednesday, 29 September
    • 9.30 am – 12.30 pm: Specialist Paper I
    • 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm:  General Paper I
  • Thursday, 30 September 
    • 9.30 am – 12.30 pm: Specialist Paper II 
    • 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm: General Paper II

All examinations will take place in All Souls College.

Dress for examinations

Men are expected to wear a suit, tie, and gown at the examinations. Women should wear equivalent attire. Sub-fusc clothing is not required.


Candidates are requested to use BLACK ink or ballpoint pen for all scripts.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones and other communication devices must not be taken into the examination.

Lunch and Accommodation

Candidates are asked to make their own arrangements for lunch and accommodation.

Short-listing of Candidates

The College will prepare a short list of candidates by Tuesday, 26 October, at the latest. Candidates not short-listed will also be notified by email on or around that date.

Viva for Short-listed Candidates

All short-listed candidates will be invited to a viva in the presence of Fellows of the College on the morning of Saturday, 30 October. The vivas solely concern the candidates’ scripts and issues raised by them.

Fellowship Election

The Fellowship Election will take place on Saturday, 6 November and Fellowships are normally tenable from that date, though in some circumstances deferral may be agreed.

PDF of the Further Particulars