St Catherine's College, Oxford

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Established: 1905

University: University of Oxford

Address: Manor Rd, Oxford, OX1 3UJ, UK

Telephone: +44 1865 271700


Student Union/JCR website:

Graduate/MCR website: no

Admittance: Men and Women




Compared to colleges like Balliol or Brasenose, Catz doesn't seem that central, and looking at a map may give you the impression that it's "far out". In fact, walking to Broad Street or the High Street only takes 5-10 minutes, so unless you're exceptionally lazy, walking to the centre of Oxford won't seem like a big deal. In many ways, Catz's location is actually an advantage. It's tucked away down Manor Road, away from all the noise, but it's not a huge trek into town either. The fact that it's a bit further out means that the college feels more spacious, and perhaps less claustrophobic than the colleges that are stuck next to each around Turl Street or Broad Street. Besides, the location, and perhaps also the lack of dreaming spires, means that we're safe from the tourists...

The University Parks, quite a few shops and buildings like the English Faculty and the Bodleian Law Library are only five minutes away, so you really won't feel too isolated. Compared to other colleges it's quite far from the train station, but that's about it.


There are four types of rooms at Catz:

  1. Box room
  2. Slightly bigger box room with a sink
  3. Older en-suite
  4. New en-suite

The second years get to choose from the new en-suite rooms. And the third years get to choose from the rest. The box rooms are always left for the first years because the rooms with better facilities are allocated to 2nd/3rd year students. But there are usually a small number of rooms from options 2 and 3 left over so some first years get them. There are also some twin rooms which are reserved for the visiting students (visiting students are largely from America/Hong Kong, but also other countries).

Social Spaces

Being situated only a few minutes walk from town, Catz benefits from being very spaciously laid out. It has two main sets of buildings; the older buildings overlook the quad and contain the first and third year 'box' rooms, whilst the newer buildings overlook the car park and house the porters lodge and second year accommodation, which are some of the most modern, comfortable and spacious en suite rooms you'll find in any oxford college. Apart from accommodation, the main social space for undergraduates will be the JCR. St.Catz has the largest undergraduate population of all oxford colleges, but luckily it also has the largest JCR of Oxford colleges, comprising 4 main spaces including a games room (with 2 pool tables, table football, darts boards, arcade machines, a Nintendo Wii and many seats), massive TV with SkySportsHD (well equipped to deal with big large sporting occasions), the large bar, and JCR lecture theatre. The college's JCR parties (entz) are held in the JCR normally every other week, where decorations transform the JCR according to the theme, and the games room is cleared to turn into a dance floor. The JCR is kitted out with Bose sound system, and so is well equipped to keep the party people happy. Graduates and mature students have their own separate common room, the MCR, a smaller space near the Bernard Sunley Lecture theatre, but still includes a bar, TV, games console and other entertainments.

Library and Computing

The Catz library is large open 8am-midnight Monday-Friday and 9am-midnight Saturday and Sunday. It has many spaces for individual work, as well as two rooms for group discussion (and occasionally tutorials). There is a wide range of books laid out according to subject which can be searched for and reserved online using the university-wide library system. If you require a book that is not in the college's collection, it can be requested easily and the library will purchase it. The library often has a selection of free books that have been removed from its collection, and a couple of times a year there are book sales with many books around 50p. Next to the college is the Social Science Library (SSL), which again has spaces for individual or group study. Despite the name, you do not have to be studying a social science to use this library.

There are two college computing rooms; the JCR computer room is next to the PDR, and the other is on the ground floor of one of the staircases.

Copying and Printing

You can print from any of the college computers and there are printers in the computer rooms as well as in the library. You can print from your own computer to the college printers if you get a some client software.

It costs 4p to print an A4 page in black and white and 10p for colour. You can also print a colour A3 sheet for 25p. Printing in college is paid for using an online system, which is also used to top up your bod card and pay for battels.

Photocopying is 6p a page whether A4 or A3.


St. Catz, having a large number of students, has a well maintained welfare system to ensure everyone is happy at college. Two (one male one female) members of the JCR are elected to positions of welfare reps, and hold weekly sessions where people can come and talk about any problems they have in a friendly environment, whilst grabbing all the free food that's on offer! One on one sessions are also available for more personal problems. Catz also has a large panel of peer supporters that undergo special training, available to talk to. The welfare officers, as well as free food, have free condoms that can be discretely pidged to any member of the college. Welfare condoms are now also available in the vending machine.




Facilities at Catz give you everything you need to live a comfortable college life. This includes a laundry room with many machines that are simple to operate, and an ironing board on every new staircase and on one or two of the older ones. Each room has web and TV access points, and some have telephone points (requests to the lodge). Two computer rooms are also on site, as well as the college IT officer who can sort out any computer related issues that you might have. A large hall near the JCR serves all the meals in college. A sports building can be found past staircase 8, as well as a punt house nearer the newer staircases. One of the most prominent features of Catz is probably its library; big, even by most colleges standards, it has its own computer room, quiet room (for tutorials and other meetings) and many, many books. Most subjects are well stocked up on, and the library has lots of desk space for those needing some quiet, undisturbed working time.


For all meals, you can pay by cash or card (university bod card). The bod card is your university ID card, which allows you access to university/college buildings and can be topped up to pay for things within college - the bar, vending machines, hall, laundry. Everything that you can buy with your card is cheaper than buying it with cash because its either subsidised/doesn't include VAT.

Breakfast: 8:15 till 8:45 can be bought with a ticket, card or cash. With a ticket you can get 8 items for about £1.70. Or if you don't want 8 items then you can just pay for your breakfast with your bod card on a per item basis. Items available range from fruits and yogurts to sausages and bacon and everything in between. Handy if you've got a long day of lectures ahead of you.

Lunch: 12:45 till 1:30 bod card or cash only. Full hot meal and desert is around £4.00. A cold meats and salad bar selection is also available, cost per item, including jacket potatoes, chips and breads.

'Scaf': 6:00 till 6:45 bod card or cash only. A cafeteria style dinner, with a few main hot dishes available and your choice of the sides that is the same daily, and paid per item. Useful as a quick dinner or if menu for hall doesn't take your fancy.

Hall: 7:15 prompt till 8:00 bod card, cash or dinner points. Buying dinner points in advance is cheaper than buying dinner from the till, costs around £4 when using bod card. This is close to formal hall but without actually being formal. There is no dress code, but it is a waited 3 course meal with coffee afterwards. Generally a very good meal, although often a bit of a hit or miss for the vegetarians. Many other colleges will have formal hall with a black tie dress code once a week, but at Catz our daily hall is non-formal (formal dinners do occur throughout the year on special occasions, such as Catz Night).


Sports is a big deal at Catz. Known as a sporting college, it has its hand (or feet!) in most sports, including success in rowing, football, rugby, squash, hockey, basketball (Catz and Balliol field a joint team and are the current college champions), as well as other sports such as badminton, darts, pool, tennis, ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, netball, croquet, volleyball etc. If there's a sport you want to play and is not available at Catz, its easy enough to start a team and get playing!

Facilities include a large playing field (rubgy, football, tennis courts) a short cycle ride away, and on site, one of the largest, well equipped gyms in an Oxford college: boasting 2 treadmills, 4 rowers, 4 cross trainers, bike machines, 2 very well maintain squash courts, and general gym equipment, including smith machine, upright rower, range of dumbells, barbells and e-z bar, pecdec, leg machines, lat pull down, chinning bar, free bench press, and mats. Recently installed is a set of speakers with which a hifi or ipod could be attached. Gym usage is free and available for 24 hours, provided you are a member of the college and have undertaken a gym induction course with the college, which costs £3 and takes about 45mins.

Student-eye view



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