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What are Oxford colleges

What are they?
I don’t understand why I can only go to certain ones for my subject choice?
Reply 1
Original post by Anonymous
What are they?
I don’t understand why I can only go to certain ones for my subject choice?


Oxford and Cambridge are unique in the collegiate system they have. They have many colleges that form the university. Not all colleges offer every course as it would be logistically impossible to have facilities that are catered for every subject at every college! So be sure to check which colleges offer your course and further which colleges have additional things that you like
Reply 2
Original post by subbhy
Oxford and Cambridge are unique in the collegiate system they have. They have many colleges that form the university. Not all colleges offer every course as it would be logistically impossible to have facilities that are catered for every subject at every college! So be sure to check which colleges offer your course and further which colleges have additional things that you like


I’m looking for Fine Art do the colleges on offer really have facilities for art
I just don’t understand why there are so many colleges that accept all different subjects
Reply 3
Original post by Anonymous
I’m looking for Fine Art do the colleges on offer really have facilities for art
I just don’t understand why there are so many colleges that accept all different subjects


I’m not sure! Maybe you can pop them an email and ask?

I know natural sciences is offered by all colleges, perhaps because of popularity? Or it doesn’t need specialised resources?
An Oxford College is a self governing academic community made up of a Head of House, elected Fellows, other academic staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. The college is usually the hub of an Oxford undergraduate's academic and social world whilst at Oxford. The subjects offered by a college depend on its academic staff. If the college has no Fellow and Tutor in, say, medicine, it does not teach medicine.

Each college raises its own funding, governs its own property, and decides on who becomes a member, working in co-operation with the university. The colleges provide tuition, libraries, pastoral support, accommodation, food, and social facilities. The university provides lectures, labs, more libraries, and administers courses, exams and awards degrees. Most full time Oxford academics have two jobs, one with a college and one with the university.

Colleges have varying endowments, student numbers, buildings, and other facilities.
Original post by Anonymous
I’m looking for Fine Art do the colleges on offer really have facilities for art
I just don’t understand why there are so many colleges that accept all different subjects

Art is taught at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, but each student at the School is also a member of a college. In this respect art is unusual amongst subjects.

STEM students interact more with the university than humanities students do, because STEM students go to more lectures and use the university labs.

It is not unusual for, say, a history undergraduate to attend zero lectures and instead learn through reading and tutorials.

It is normal for tutorials to be shared between colleges. For example, College A teaches its history students Period X, but sends its students to College Y for tutorials on Period B.

Most (not all) students love their colleges and become loyal to them. In a banterish way, the typical Oxford student thinks that his or her college is superior to all other colleges in Oxford, but thinks that Oxford is superior to Cambridge; and the same is true in reverse. You become a member of the college and the university for life.
(edited 3 weeks ago)
History: the University of Oxford pre-dates its colleges. Scholars began to gather at Oxford, an established market town at a river crossing, at a date which is now uncertain about 900 to 1000 years ago. Houses to accommodate the students grew up. In the thirteenth century, Bishops, Monarchs, and wealthy individuals started to endow colleges, in which students could live and study in a quasi-monastic way (at that time the main study was Theology, but study of philosophy, classical languages, law, and eventually science and medicine followed on).

Early colleges provided living space, a library, a chapel, and a hall for dining and debating. This remains the basic model of a college, now supplemented by seminar rooms, performance spaces, sports grounds, gardens, and so on.

Scholars proceeded to become Bachelors, then Masters, then Doctors. This is why Oxford undergraduates are awarded BAs in all subjects, and can become MAs automatically some time later. Oxford provided graduates to staff the Church, the Civil Service, and the Law. Later, Oxford became a fashionable place for the sons of the gentry and aristocracy to study.

Medieval colleges look like fortified houses because they are. Violent conflicts between students and townspeople led to the colleges locking their doors.

Cambridge started 800 years ago when some scholars from Oxford moved to Cambridge, then a small town in the Fens, because of plague and/or conflict.

After a failed attempt to start a third university at Stamford, Oxford and Cambridge remained the only two universities in England until the foundations of the collegiate Universities of London and Durham in the early nineteenth century. In Scotland, St Andrew's, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are the oldest universities but are not collegiate.The University of Dublin was intended to be a collegiate university but Trinity College was and is its only college. The same is the case at Harvard in the US, founded in the early C17 by Cambridge graduates. Wales had no universities before the late C19/early 20.

The modern idea of a university developed in the nineteenth century. Women's colleges were founded in the late C19, and Oxford and Cambridge admitted women to the University in the early and mid C20. The universities gradually became more meritocratic in their admissions procedures, and now entry can only be obtained by competing on academic merit.

Factoid: until the mid C20 the universities of Oxford and Cambridge had their own Members of Parliament.
Reply 7
Because each college is kind of a microcosm of the whole university but some (or arguably all) cannot be, and probably for the sake of different characters, some or many colleges wouldn't want them to be, a full microcosm of the university. As well as the aforementioned reasons of different sizes/endowments (and sometimes general histories). (fun fact, before Oxford had the number of colleges it has now, it used to have over 100 different halls instead. The mind boggles. Oxford has more colleges and more students than Cambridge. Many colleges do tend to be smaller than those at Cambridge though).
12 colleges at Oxford offer Fine Art. All but 2 of those are old/very very old.

St Edmund Hall say they have the largest Fine Art intake of any Oxford college and they are directly situated opposite the Ruskin School of Art.

Queen's College have been admitting students for Fine Art since 2006. They are just across the road from the Ruskin School of Art.

St John's College say their average intake for Fine Art each year is just 1 student, although there's a lot of information on their website about artists in residence and a gallery they run.

Christ Church (average Fine Art intake of 2) say they are 'a particularly good college for Fine Art students' and that they are the only Oxford college with both an Art Room and a specialist Art Tutor.

Magdalen College (average Fine Art intake of 1 or 2) say they are 'situated conveniently close to the Ruskin School of Art' and that they have their own dedicated studio for the exclusive use of their own Fine Art students.

Worcester College (average Fine Art intake 1) say that the Ruskin School of Art make the selection but the college has the final decision. They clearly imply that they'd ideally like someone who gets involved in Worcester life, not just with Ruskin life and 'Several Worcester fellows are directly concerned with art'.

New College Oxford (actually a very old one now) say they have 2 places for Fine Art.. and that's all they have to say on the subject! Some other courses get whole paragraphs devoted to them on their website. So if they're anything special for Fine Art, they don't want most people to know about it!

St Hugh's College have a fellow who is a professor and curator in Chinese Art but they don't appear to normally admit students for Fine Art so this college isn't one of the 12.

Brasenose College. 3 Fine Art students are definitely admitted every year. There is a tutor for Fine Art there. Most of the description focusses on the Ruskin School of Art.

St Anne's College. Fine Art intake unknown. Their website doesn't state why choose that college for this course. It just diverts to the general Fine Art page for the university.

Exeter College (average Fine Art intake 1) say they have an exhibition space and they focus on the Victorian architecture parts of the college as a form of inspiration, although the college dates from 1314. There is a photo of their Professor of Contemporary Art, looking rather cool and Warholesque.

St Catherine's College (average Fine Art intake 1) say they have a 1960s building for art. They say that previous students of the Ruskin course have found St Catherine's (aka St Catz) 'congenial and stimulating'.

Which college had you ideally hoped to go to instead?
(edited 3 weeks ago)
Nowadays six Permanent Private Halls (PPH) remain. They are governed by Christian denominations and not by their Fellows.

Christ Church is a college but does not have the word college as part of its name. Lady Margaret Hall and St Edmund Hall are colleges, but are still called Halls. Regent's Park College is not a college, it's a PPH.

Oxford teaches logic. This does not require it to practise logic!

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