It is incredibly confusing and I do not mean to cause undue stress/anxiety. This process is stressful enough as it is. That being said: I want to produce this information so there is some transparency and consistency out there!
To provide full context: I was initially told by the **Academic** Department that they had a 5% leeway "if necessary" in Sep 2022.
I enquired again in Jan 2023 to **Graduate** Admissions to check if the leeway was 5%, or 10% - the initial response was what I quoted above.
I provided them evidence of the email I received in Sep 2022 - confirming a 5% leeway.
Graduate Admissions stated the following
"The email you received was from the academic department and not this office.
The Graduate Admissions Office processes applications before they reach the department and we review documents against the course page. We may reject written work that is substantially in excess of what is specified on the course page. A minor excess such as 5% over may well not be removed as we cannot check every single document for an exact word count - but it is our policy to always advise applicants to adhere to the published word limits to avoid any issue. On receiving the application if it is complete and ready for assessment, it is at the department's discretion whether or not to consider written work that exceeds the published word count.
Graduate Admissions Team
Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
University of Oxford
Further enquiries and questions: www.graduate.ox.ac.uk/aq
I think you will be fine - and I very much doubt they will reject any applications within 10%... The key word being "substantial"...
That's so confusing and I really hope it's not true (I am at 2079)! I asked admission's the same question a few months ago over the phone and I was assured that they allow some leeway above the word limit especially since they are conscious of the fact that many applicants need to submit extracts from larger works.
Unless by rejected they mean they would reject it on the self-service page and not allow it to proceed for assessment so that you know in advance whether it was acceptable in the first place.