Alumni Email Forwarding

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the alumni email forwarding service?
A: The email forwarding service will provide you with an Oxford-specific email address which will forward email to your current email account. In the future, if you change your personal email address, you need only tell the service to change the address to forward to. Your Oxford alumni email address will remain the same for all your friends to use and remember.

Q: Who can use the email forwarding service?
A: The service is available to all Oxford University alumni. Alumni status is awarded automatically to all matriculated undergraduate and postgraduate students shortly before your course is due to end. For more information about alumni and associate status please see our eligibility criteria.

Q: How do I access the email forwarding service?
A: The email forwarding service is integrated with our secure website, Oxford Alumni Online. To access the email forwarding service please log in or register at www.alumni.ox.ac.uk/oao then visit the email forwarding section of our website (in ‘Your Oxford’). Alumni will be able to click on a link to activate or edit your email forwarding.

Q: Can I send emails from my alumni email address?
A: No. This is a forwarding-only service, which means it is not possible to send emails from your alumni email address. There are no SMTP server details associated with it to enable this.

Q: How do I make my emails appear to come from my alumni email address?
A: You may want all your emails to appear to come from your alumni email address. This can be accomplished by suitable configuration of your email client. Part of the configuration facilities of most email clients will allow you to specify a From: address and Reply To: address of blah@unit.oxon.org (your alumni email address). This will present a consistent email address image so that, regardless of your 'real' email address, your emails will appear to come from your alumni email address and any replies to your emails will automatically be directed there as well. It is a straight forward process to accomplish this with Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express clients, and many others.

There may be difficulties with email service providers that only provide a web interface as this may not be sufficiently configurable compared with a local email client. Furthermore, there is a possibility that some email service providers might disallow the specification of From: and/or Reply To: fields that differ from your 'real' email address, and potentially, spam scoring may increase because of the anomalous nature of the message addressing.

Due to the myriad email providers and clients available, unfortunately we are unable to offer technical advice regarding specific email accounts. However, there are instructions on the internet for configuring Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Gmail which may be helpful.

Q: I am an alumnus/a and I have logged into Oxford Alumni Online, but I still cannot access the email forwarding service?


A: This is likely to be because our records are incomplete. Please email us at email@alumni.ox.ac.uk and provide your full name, college, course details (eg MPhil Modern European History), matriculation year, date of birth, and alumni number (if you know it). This will enable us to update our records so that you can access all areas of the website restricted to alumni.

We verify all updates to our database with your college and/or the Degree Conferrals Office, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please note, it can take up to three working days for new registrations to be processed, sometimes longer at busy periods (final term for recent leaver registrations, publication of Oxford Today magazine). You will be sent an email confirming that your account is active, and then you will be able to access the email forwarding service.

Q: The email address options provided are not correct or do not reflect all of my affiliations with the University.
A: The email address options are based on information in our database about which course(s) you undertook, and which college(s) you attended. If you think this information is incorrect please email us at email@alumni.ox.ac.uk with your full name, college, course, full name, college, course details (eg MPhil Modern European History), matriculation year, date of birth, and alumni number (if you know it).

Q: The affiliations are correct, but the email address I want is not offered as an option?
A: A particular email address may be omitted from the list because another alumnus/a has already chosen it. Please write to email@alumni.ox.ac.uk with your preferred email address and we will check that it's not already in use and hopefully create it for you. Please note that a full stop in the first part of the email address is required.

Q: I am a student and I will be leaving soon so I want to set up my alumni email address.
A: All students who have matriculated will be contacted by the University Alumni Office shortly before the end of your course. You will be sent your Alumni number and information about how to register for the Alumni website so that you can make use of the wide range of benefits and services available to alumni, including the email forwarding service.

Q: Will this service forward emails sent to my University (Nexus) account?
A: No. The Alumni Email Forwarding Service is completely separate from Nexus, the email system for current University members. It is possibleto arrange for temporary forwarding from your University email account after it expires, but you need to set this up before your University account expires. More information can be found on the OUCS website: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/registration/finish/.

Q: Will my alumni email address expire?
A: No – your email address is for life.

Q: I have set up my alumni email and confirmed my forwarding address but when I test it I do not receive any emails?
A: It is not possible to test the email forwarding system by sending an email from your alumni email address to your forwarding account; it will not reappear in your inbox. The system can only be tested by sending an email from a third address.

Q: What is spam filtering and how does it work?
A: All messages that use the Oxford University Alumni Email Forwarding Service will pass through the Oxford University mail relays. The mail relays scan emails for viruses and other known malicious software and discard all emails that contain such items. The mail relays also examine emails for indicators that they might be spam. This is a much more imprecise process than virus scanning so emails are given a spam scoring that indicates a degree of probability that a message might be spam, but messages are never rejected on the basis of the spam score. The spam score is added to the message header so that it becomes possible for the email recipient to apply his/her own rules for dealing with possible spam emails. Oxford University recommends a spam score greater than or equal to five as a useful threshold value, with such scores being put into a junk mail folder. Even so, you can expect that there will be some emails that score five or more but are legitimate. There are some web pages at www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/scanning/ which provide a more complete explanation of spam filtering and how to configure your email client to handle spam filtering.

Q: Why do messages appear in my Junk Mail folder?
A: It is possible that with some email service providers (Hotmail is one of them) forwarded messages are put directly into the junk mail folder. This is almost certainly because the "To:" address is not the same as the email address you have from your email provider. For example, email to "jo.bloggs@college.oxon.org" will have "jo.bloggs@college.oxon.org" as the "To:" address even though the forwarded destination is, for example, jbloggs@hotmail.com. Such discrepancies can occur in spam email, but it can also be legitimate in the case of mailings via email lists, or the Alumni Email Forwarding Service.
Your email service provider may provide a mechanism to prevent this 'junking' of legitimate email through configuration options in their email interface. For example, in the case of hotmail, click on the "help" button, open up the topic "Filters and Junk E-Mail" and go to the link "Keep mailing list messages out of your Junk E-Mail folder". This explains exactly what to do. Obviously, the exact mechanism for achieving this result will vary from one service provider to another and it is not possible to explain all alternatives here.