5. Changes to name and gender records

This section treats name and gender changes separately.

Changing legal name

Many people who change their gender identity decide to change their given name. The University will update its records when individuals provide evidence of a formal process to change their name. This can be done by Deed Poll, which is offered free or at low cost by various online companies. The University does not require deed polls to be enrolled through the courts. An alternative way to change one’s name is to make a Statutory Declaration.

If an individual does not want to change their legal name, or is unable to do so (for example if they are not a UK national) they can ask the University to use a preferred name. We will use that for internal purposes, but where an official/legal process is involved the legal name must still be used.

An individual may also ask members of their college or department to use a different name informally, before making a formal request to add a preferred name to their records.

An individual who is transitioning should be given the opportunity to update any photographs on their University cards and on University webpages. They may wish to make several changes as their physical appearance changes over time.

The University cannot provide additional University cards in alternative names and an individual can only be issued with one card at a time.

Student records – name changes

Information relating to a student’s previous identity that needs to be retained, such as copies of qualification certificates, should be kept confidentially and separate from their current record.

A degree certificate is a legal document. The name that appears on the degree certificate is the student’s legal name at the time the certificate is issued.  However a degree certificate can be reissued for a trans individual (see Alumni records – Gender changes below).

The student is responsible for contacting external agencies with details of any changes to personal details. This includes Student Finance England, the Student Loans Company, UK Visas and Immigration and the student’s bank. It is noted that some external agencies, such as UK Visas and Immigration, insist that students identify according to the male/female binary.

Students who wish to make changes to their gender identity but are not able to change their name legally may request that a preferred name is used on their University Card and email address. 

For more information:

Students www.ox.ac.uk/students/life/studentrecord  
Administrators weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/site/:central:aad:adm:aro


Staff records – name changes

Staff should contact their department HR officer to update their details on the CORE HR personnel management system.

The HR officer should change name details on receipt of proof of name change, for example Deed Poll, passport or driving licence.

Staff name changes should include personnel records, email details, University card and contact information. Where possible, information relating to a staff member’s previous identity that needs to be retained, such as copies of qualification certificates, should be kept confidentially and separate from their current record.

Alumni records – name changes

Alumni who change their name after graduating as part of a transition process may inform their college or department. All requests should be passed to the Academic Records Office, to ensure that all parts of the University have the correct current contact details.

See ‘Alumni records – gender changes’ below for re-issue of degree certificates.


The titles Mr, Miss, Ms, Mrs are social titles and have no legal status. University students and staff may choose the gender-neutral title Mx, or opt for no title. Any options may be chosen, regardless of legal sex or preferred gender and no documentary evidence is required. Students may update their student record by contacting their college. 

Changing gender in records

The University will change recorded gender in student and staff records on receipt of written confirmation of the individual’s intention to live permanently in a different gender. No medical evidence or other documentation is required.

The University aims to recognise people in the gender in which they identify. However the University needs to keep a record of an individual’s legal sex to share with external organisations where required to do so for purposes such as tax, national insurance, pensions and visas.

The University will change an individual’s recorded legal sex, as required by law, if they have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. University Officers should not ask to see the Certificate, but may ask for documentary evidence, such as a birth certificate or passport.

Student records – gender changes

Applicants for study, current students and alumni who intend to change gender permanently may request changes to the gender, name and title in their records. Such a request will start a process by which the individual will agree the detail of the changes in dialogue with the University.

Students www.ox.ac.uk/students/life/studentrecord  
Administrators weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/site/:central:aad:adm:aro

Alumni records – gender changes

Alumni who make changes to their gender identity may inform their college or department, or contact the Academic Records Office directly aro@admin.ox.ac.uk. Alumni should contact the Degree Conferrals Office to request the reissue of a degree certificate following gender transition degree.conferrals@admin.ox.ac.uk. They will normally be required to return their original degree certificate before a new one can be issued.


Staff records – gender changes

Staff should send a written statement of their intention to live permanently in a different gender to their HR officer, who will be responsible for changing records. They should discuss a timetable for changing the individual’s gender on the CORE HR and other systems.

The HR officer should pass a paper record of the changes to gender to the Head of HR Information for confidential storage for the purposes described above: liz.mitchell@admin.ox.ac.uk

If the individual subsequently informs the HR officer that they have a Gender Recognition Certificate, the HR officer should contact the Head of HR Information and ask for the paper record to be destroyed.

Use of preferred gender in student records

Some students may not wish to identify as male or female or may feel that they have a more fluid gender identity, either while they transition or permanently. We offer the option of a Preferred Gender in the student record, with the choices ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘other’.  Non-binary students may wish to choose the ‘other’ option.  Their preferred gender would appear on all student-accessed records (e.g. online student self-service), and in data returned to HESA, but would not be visible to University staff.  

Students may also choose to use this option if they are not in a position to make a permanent change to their gender. See www.ox.ac.uk/students/life/studentrecord.

Students with a fluid gender identity, like other trans students, may seek support from services within the University and from national support services (see section 16).

Use of preferred gender in staff records

The CORE HR personnel management system cannot currently accommodate ‘other’ gender, but this will be introduced in 2018.
Members of staff may ask colleagues to treat them as their preferred gender, including a fluid gender identity. See section 9 for guidance on good practice in communication.

International staff and students

International staff and students who are only in the UK for a limited period may wish to use a preferred name and gender within the University, but make no changes to their documentation from their own country. The University will need to keep copies of official documents for visa purposes.

International staff and students may seek support from services within the University and externally (see sections 7, 8 and 16).  It is recommended that specialist external advice is sought on making changes to name and gender.

The Home Office has issued guidance[1] that transgender people who hold non-British passports in their former name and gender are normally expected to align their passports and other identity documents to reflect their acquired name and gender so that they are using one name for all purposes.

However if a trans person is from a country whose national authorities do not recognise changes to name and gender in passports and national identity documents, they will be able to obtain a biometric residence permit in their acquired gender provided they can prove that they are using their acquired name and gender for all purposes.