University of Oxford
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Welcome to University of Oxford
With its dreaming spires presiding over almost one thousand years of history, the University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The institution traces its roots back to at least the end of the 11th century, although the exact date of foundation remains unclear. According to legend, after riots between scholars and townsfolk broke out in 1209, a group of Oxford academics fled north-east to the town of Cambridge, where the University of Cambridge was founded.
Today, the University of Oxford enjoys its status as one of the world's elite universities, with an academic reputation challenged by Cambridge alone in the UK. The university is consistently at the summit of the British university-ranking league tables published by The Guardian and The Times, while almost all esteemed publications rank it among the global top 10 higher education institutions.
This guide provides an overview of Oxford University, but if you want to get even more detail (including guides to individual colleges), you'll find what you need in the Oxford Uni wiki.
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Courses and fees
There are four academic divisions at Oxford University:
- Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences
- Medical Sciences
- Social Sciences
Undergraduate courses at Oxford are based around the tutorial. Tutorials are weekly sessions that provide an opportunity to discuss current essays or problem sheets between a member of academic staff and a small group of students. Personalised tutoring introduces rigorous academic challenges and in-depth discussions on specialist topics to Oxford undergraduates. Tutors will also offer extra support with any personal issue or aspect of the course. Tutorials are complemented by lectures, seminars and classes, which are organised on a departmental basis.
So, do you feel up to the challenge? Follow the below links to get a better idea of requirements and what to expect from the most popular courses at Oxford:
For a taster of academic life at Oxford, check out the below links outlining a typical week in the life of an Oxford student:
Undergraduate programmes cost £9,000 per academic year for students from the UK and the EU.
Tuition fees for postgraduate studies vary according to the programme being studied. Please check the individual course details on the university website for more information.
The fees for international students are higher and should be checked according to the selected course on the university website.
The university offers a range of financial assistance and scholarships to undergraduate students, which include:
- The non-repayable Oxford Bursary scheme for students from lower-income households.
- The Moritz-Heyman Scholarship for up to 175 UK students with a household income of £16,000 or less.
For more information, check out the fees and funding section of the University of Oxford website.
Study facilities and libraries
When it comes to academic facilities, Oxford is at the forefront of UK unis. With over 100 libraries and 12 million printed items filling over 120 miles of shelves, Oxford boasts the largest university library system in the UK.
Smaller college libraries allow for a personal, private atmosphere in addition to the massive Bodleian and Radcliffe libraries. There are also more than 80,000 e-journals, as well as online and distance-learning facilities.
More information about Oxford's libraries, IT facilities and the Oxford Language Centre can be found in our wiki page about Oxford's academic facilities.
Sports facilitiesFrom the annual boat race to Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile, Oxford has a long and prestigious sporting history. If you're looking to pick up one or two Full or Half-Blues during your time at Oxford, the university and its colleges offer students the chance to participate in almost any sport.
Oxford's sports facilities are state-of-the-art and also cater for more specialist pastimes, with the inclusion of a rowing tank and dojo.
Welfare and healthcare
Each college will have a provision for doctors and nurses - this varies from a nurse who comes in for a few hours each day, with the doctor visiting once or twice a week, to a single hour with the nurse on a weekly basis. In case of medical emergency or A&E services, the Nuffield, Churchill and John Radcliffe university hospitals are all located to the west of the city centre.
Accommodation at the University of Oxford is based on a collegiate system comprising of 38 Colleges and six Permanent Private Halls. Every college houses its undergraduates for the first year of their degree. After that, finding somewhere to live will depend on your college, with many stipulating that undergraduates must live outside of college for one year of study - usually their second.
Prospective students must apply to colleges of their choice. To help you decide, check out our guide to choosing an Oxford College, or click on an individual college below:
Remember, boarding in a college is not compulsory and many options exist for arranging private accommodation in the city of Oxford. Oxford is one of the most expensive parts of the country to live in, with rent rising above inflation year-on-year. Consider this in your budget especially if you intend to live in or around the city centre.
The University of Oxford holds several undergraduate open days from June through to September each year.
As there is no central campus at Oxford University, visitors are required to travel around the city in order to attend college and department open days. However, most colleges are no more than a 15 minute walk away from each other and the university provides guides and assistance for disabled visitors.
The academic year is divided into three semesters, with the dates for 2016/17 as follows:
- Michaelmas: 9 October 2016 - 3 December 2016
- Hilary: 15 January 2017 - 11 March 2017
- Trinity: 23 April 2017 - 17 June 2017
The city of Oxford
Despite being a university town with almost 30% of its residents identifying as students, Oxford has the fastest growing population in the United Kingdom as well as being one of the country's most ethnically diverse cities. The town's economic growth is owed in part to the university but also to a diverse supplemental economy. Core industries include car production, technology, publishing and brewing. The vibe is youthful and cosmopolitan, with a thriving pub scene, live music, markets and festivals. Do check out our comprehensive guide to Oxford's pubs.
Oxford also has many historical buildings, museums and libraries, as well as riverside walks, England’s oldest botanic garden, the University Parks and college gardens.
Oxford University does not have a main campus. Instead, its component colleges, libraries and facilities are dotted throughout the small city of Oxford, typically well within walking distance of each other. The city itself is very central to the UK. By train it is only an hour from London Paddington, Bristol, Birmingham and Southampton, therefore allowing for convenient access to UK airports and other transport links.
With over 300 registered clubs and societies, the University of Oxford has something for everyone. You'll find something to interest you in our guide to Oxford University club and societies.
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