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University of Oxford

This page (which you can edit) is part of The Student Room's information and advice about Oxford and Cambridge (known collectively as Oxbridge). Whilst the two universities have have much in common, they also have many differences. Our information on the application procedure and interviews applies to both.

If you have questions, or just want to chat, come join us in TSR's Oxford forum and Cambridge forum.

University of Oxford: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student
FAQ: CollegesApplyingUniversity Life

University of Cambridge: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student

As well as the Oxford Uni Guide, we have pages on: Academic FacilitiesClubs & SocietiesPubs, Clubs & BarsTransportPrivate AccomodationCity Guide

Courses (not all have pages): BiochemistryBiological SciencesClassicsComputer ScienceEarth SciencesEconomics and ManagementEnglishHistoryHuman SciencesMathematicsMedicineMusicPPEPsychology

Colleges: All Souls (no student) • BalliolBrasenoseChrist ChurchCorpus ChristiExeterGreen Templeton (graduates) • Harris Manchester (mature) • HertfordJesusKebleKellogg (graduates) • Lady Margaret HallLinacre (graduates) • LincolnMagdalenMansfieldMertonNewNuffield (social sciences graduates) • OrielPembrokeSt Anne'sSt Antony's (graduates) • St Catherine'sSt Cross (graduates) • St Edmund HallSt Hilda'sSt Hugh'sSt John'sSt Peter'sSomervilleThe Queen'sTrinityUniversityWadhamWolfson (graduates) • Worcester

Look at Personal Statements used to apply to Oxford

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The university 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, some of the academics at Oxford fled north-east to the town of Cambridge, where the University of Cambridge was founded.

Oxford has recently topped two university-ranking league tables produced by British newspapers: it came first according to The Guardian and, for the fourth consecutive year, in The Times table. Although widely contested (as with most league tables) on the basis of their ranking criteria, recent international tables produced by The Times Higher Education Supplement and Shanghai Jiao Tong University rated Oxford fourth and tenth[1] in the world respectively. Most recent international comparisons have placed Oxford second in the world, after Harvard.


The date of the University's foundation is unknown, and indeed it may not have been a single event, but there is evidence of teaching there as early as 1096. When Henry II of England forbade English students to study at the University of Paris in 1167, Oxford began to grow very quickly. The foundation of the first halls of residence, which later became colleges, dates from this period. Rioting in 1209 led many scholars to leave Oxford for other parts of the country, leading to the establishment of a university in Cambridge. On June 20 1214, a charter of liberties was granted to the University by Nicholas de Romanis, the papal legate, which authorised the appointment of a chancellor of the University. Riots between townsmen and scholars ("town and gown") were common until the St Scholastica Day riot in 1355 led to the king confirming the supremacy of the University over the town.

In 1555 - 6 the Protestant Oxford Martyrs, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer were burned at Oxford.

The University's status was formally confirmed by an Act for the Incorporation of Both Universities in 1571, in which the University's formal title is given as The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford. In 1603 the University granted the right to appoint two Members of Parliament, a right which lasted until the abolition of university constituencies in 1949.

The comprehensive set of statutes, known as the Laudian Code, was drawn up by Archbishop William Laud in 1636 and ratified by Charles I. The University supported the king during the English Civil War, and was the site of his court and parliament, but clashed with his grandson, the Roman Catholic James II, who was later overthrown in the Glorious Revolution.

In the 1830s the University was the site of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England.

A Royal Commission to reform the University was appointed in 1850 and its proposals, accepted by Parliament, revolutionised the medieval workings of the University, until then still governed by the code of 1636. Later royal commissions were appointed in 1872 and 1919. In 1871 the Universities Tests Act opened the University to Dissenters and Roman Catholics. The first women's halls were established in 1878, and women were admitted to degrees in 1920.

General Information
11th century
Oxford, SE England, UK
Undergraduate Admissions Office University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD
SU/Guild website:
UCAS Code:

Total students:
Typical offers:
>360 (AAA-A*A*A)
Applicants per place:


At the current time Oxford has around 18000 students in residence, of which some 11000 are undergraduates. Oxford is a collegiate university, consisting of the University's central facilities, such as departments and faculties, libraries and science facilities, and 38 colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). All teaching staff and degree students must belong to one of the colleges (or PPHs). These colleges are not only houses of residence, but have substantial responsibility for the teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates. Some colleges only accept postgraduate students.

As well as the collegiate level of organisation, the University is subdivided into departments on a subject basis, much like most other universities. Departments take a major role in graduate education and an increasing role in undergraduate education, providing lectures and classes and organising examinations. Departments are also a centre of research, funded by outside bodies including major research councils; while colleges have an interest in research, few are subject-specialized in organisation.

The academic year is divided into three terms, known as Full Terms, each of eight weeks' duration. Michaelmas Term lasts from October to December; Hilary Term from January till March; and Trinity Term from April till June. These terms are amongst the shortest of any British university, and the workload during each term is therefore intense.

For information about specific college and courses check out the links at the top of this page.


There are several large university-wide initiatives that encourage students of certain demographics to apply. These are typically students that would not normally consider applying to the university and both initiatives aim to encourage more applicants from such students.

The Widening Participation Team work locally to encourage applications to universities generally and also to Oxford. Oxford Young Ambassadors works with students who may not be considering Oxford or University, providing them with skills to succeed in education and encouraging them to spread the word about universities within their school.

In previous years the University has contributed to the Sutton Trust Summer School scheme for state-school sixth formers, but was replaced with the UNIQ Summer Schools from 2010. These summer schools are intended for sixth formers from schools who do not usually apply to Oxford.

Target Schools is a student led scheme within the Student Union which aims to encourage applications from the state sector and especially from schools and colleges which have no history of sending students to Oxford. Their current major project is working on a shadowing scheme for students with academic potential, and they also work with Looked After Children.


Every college houses its undergraduates for the first year of their degree. After that, it depends on the college: Many guarantee 3 or 4 years accommodation if you want it, whilst others require most undergraduates to live out one year, generally the second year. This is generally into flats in Cowley or Jericho. Undergraduate students must live within 6 miles of Carfax (the centre of Oxford) This figure is 25 miles for postgraduates.

Information can be found about Private Accommodation in Oxford and in individual college articles

Academic Facilities

Oxford University has probably the best academic facilities, in terms of library provision, journal subscription and etc., of any British University (Although it's debatable whether they or Cambridge come top). The copyright library gets first refusal (and therefore generally holds) copies of every book published in the UK, meaning students are rarely unable to find the resources they require, and smaller college libraries allow for a personal, private atmosphere in addition to the massive Bodleian and Radcliffe libraries.

More information about the libraries themselves can be found here.


Oxford meets the needs of students, teachers and the international research community with a rich and diverse range of library resources provided by more than 100 separate libraries. Although their subjects may vary, all students will spend a significant amount of time reading, researching and writing their essays or working on projects. For example, a student writing a politics essay may choose to refer to more than a dozen books, journals and other references when researching for it. There are three types of libraries at the University: college libraries, departmental or faculty libraries and research libraries, including the largest University library, the Bodleian, known affectionately as the 'Bod'.

College libraries

The college library is a good first port of call. College libraries aim to provide the core material for those studying at that college, with multiple copies of the most popular books and other key works featuring regularly on tutors' reading lists. This reduces the amount of material that needs to be bought. College libraries have generous lending limits, and many purchase new books for students on request (some even arrive within a week's request). Most are open round the clock and all provide a quiet environment for studying. The college librarian is able to guide students to resources in the library and elsewhere in the University.

Departmental and faculty libraries

In most subjects, the departmental or faculty library complements the college library. It acts as an extra source of reading list material, as well as giving students access to more specialist material for optional topics and more advanced study of particular areas within their degree course. Library staff give introductory sessions and are available to give further guidance in finding material and using electronic resources.

Research libraries

Although focusing on provision for researchers, the research libraries are open to undergraduate students and many include material or collections specifically selected for students. They hold extensive collections of books and periodicals, making them a valuable resource, especially for extended essays and undergraduate dissertations in the final year. They include:


Radcliffe Science Library: supports the teaching, learning and research needs of the science and medical departments. From 2008, most purchased current journal issues, as well as extensive backsets, are available electronically. Sackler Library: one of the world's foremost collections on the archaeology and antiquities of Europe and the Middle East; extensive holdings in Art History (Western and Eastern) and Classics. There is a multiple-copy Classics lending collection to support undergraduate courses. Social Science Library: supports the teaching/ learning and research needs of the departments in the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences; serves a number of undergraduate courses including PPE, Economics and Management, and History and Politics; houses a significant statistics collection and is well provided with computer terminals. Taylor Institution Library: largest specialist library in the UK for medieval and modern European languages and literatures; houses the Modern Languages Faculty Library, including a new collection of books and DVDs.

Bodleian Library

The principal University research library is the Bodleian, the second largest library in the UK, which houses more than eight million volumes over 117 miles of shelving. The Bodleian is a copyright library and can therefore claim a copy of every book and periodical published in the UK and Ireland.

Electronic resources

The great majority of libraries in Oxford are linked electronically, including an online catalogue which makes it easy to locate materials. OxLIP (Oxford Libraries Information Platform) gives the students access to the largest collection of electronic resources in a UK university. Full texts of newspapers and pre-1900 books support preparation for extended essays in subjects such as English and History. There are also selected internet resources and over 22,000 electronic journals. Oxford is actively involved in developing electronic information provision, and is a leader in the digitisation of manuscripts and other library material.

Oxford Discussions

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Health and Welfare


Oxford has provision for all the major sports, as well as quite a few of the more obscure ones. In addition to college sports grounds (usually a football / rugby pitch and a hockey pitch) the University has, spread across three sites:

  • Olympic water-based astroturf pitch
  • 4 Rugby Pitches
  • 5 Football Pitches
  • Dojo
  • 2 Eton and 2 Rugby Fives courts
  • 2 Lacrosse Fields
  • 2 Cricket Square
  • 2 Croquet Lawns
  • Pulse Gym (45 Cardio Vascular and Body Conditioning machines)
  • 20 Grass and 4 Hard Tennis Courts
  • Powerlifting Room
  • 9 Practice Cricket Nets
  • Indoor Cricket School
  • Fencing and Shooting Room
  • 2 Grass Hockey Pitches
  • Rosenblatt Swimming Pool
  • Sports Hall (used for trampolining, gymnastics, boxing, cheerleading, 5 a side football etc)
  • 3 Squash Courts
  • Iffley Road Running Track
  • Climbing Wall

A "Full Blue" can be gained in: Cricket, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Lawn Tennis, Netball, Rowing, Rugby Union, Squash, Athletics, Boxing, Cross Country, Swimming, Badminton, Basketball, Canoeing, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Modern Pentathlon, Orienteering, Rifle Shooting (full-bore), Rugby league, Sailing, Skiing, Trampolining (women), Volleyball and Water Polo (Although all those from Squash downwards are discretionary)

Half Blues can also be gained in sports above from Squash downwards plus: Archery, Badminton, Eton and Rugby Fives, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Korfball, Lacrosse, Lightweight Rowing, Pistol Shooting, Polo, Rackets, Real Tennis, Riding, Rifle Shooting (small-bore), Table Tennis, Trampolining, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, Weightlifting

NB the above list is taken from the Cambridge list and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Additionally most colleges will field teams in men's rowing, football, rugby, cricket, athletics, hockey and tennis; and women's rowing, football, netball, tennis and hockey. Many colleges also field teams for badminton, lacrosse, pool, swimming etc, and leagues for these sports do exist. More information about college sport can be found on each college's page.




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.



While Oxford is sadly lacking much in the way of cheap and cheerful places to shop (although Primark opened February 2006 and solved part of this problem) it certainly has a wide range of choice.

Large clothing stores

  • Debenhams
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Bhs

Women's clothing

  • Miss Selfridge
  • NEXT and NEXT warehouse
  • New look
  • Zara
  • Mango
  • Evans
  • FCUK
  • Dorothy Perkins
  • Monsoon

Men's clothing

  • Next
  • Topman
  • Burton
  • Moss Bros


  • HMV


  • Waterstones
  • Blackwells
  • Scriptum
  • Oxfam Second Hand Bookshops (there's one on Turl Street and another up St Giles)


Most of the major banks are represented in Oxford with HSBC, Barclays, Natwest and Lloyds on Cornmarket, Abbey on St. Aldates and various others in the near proximity. Both CO-OP and Halifax are near Westgate shopping centre

Restaurants and Eateries

In spite of the fact that the majority of Oxford students seem to favour hall food (I say favour... it's often cheapest, although not if you fancy a cheap pastie for lunch) and whatever they can buy from the two Sainsbury's (one on St. Giles and a larger one in the Westgate Shopping Centre) there are a vast number of other places where one can buy food of varying price and quality.

Sandwich shops

G&Ds - an Oxford grown ice cream and bagel cafe, which now has 3 shops: the original and best shop (George & Davis) on Little Clarendon Street (aka little trendy street), the second shop (George & Danver) on St Aldates/Pembroke Street, and the newest shop (George & Delilah) on the Cowley Road. Bagels made to order with a choice of plain, sesame, or special bagel and a range of fillings. Popular choices include the Mediterranean Bagel (pesto, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes & lettuce), Pizza bagels and Breakfast bagels (scrambled or poached egg with optional bacon and cheese). A range of salads are also available. All of the ice creams and sorbets are made by G&Ds with high quality natural ingredients, and range from the classics Dime Bar Crunch, Baileys and After Eight to weird and wonderful special flavours such as Lavender and Honey. The Petition book allows customers to invent new flavours so your suggestion could end up behind the counter! Of course, coffees, teas, hot chocolate, milkshakes and baked goods are also available at reasonable prices.

Ricardo's - inside the covered market. Very reasonable priced sandwiches/baguettes/paninis all freshly made up to order. Also selection of hot food - chicken nuggets/burgers/chips/jacket potatoes/soups. Very friendly staff who get to know you and will give you free titbits occasionally. Popular with Turl St students. Much cheaper than Heroes on Ship St which is over-priced.

Heroes situated on Ship Street (running off Turl Street and Cornmarket) is largely held up as one of the best sandwich shops in the whole of Oxford. While possibly a little on the pricey side for the every day student budget, their array of baguettes, ciabatta, bagels or even just plain square cut sandwiches are freshly made while you wait and are definitely worth the price tag. They also do a range of soups and other eat-in foods.

For those yet to discover Heroes The Alternative Tuckshop on Holywell Street may play a similar role with a wide array of sandwiches and cold sweets

Bonjour - on the High St. Good baguettes and paninis. Generally less queues than some of the other bigger sandwich shops and not too expensive.

The Tick Tock Café at the top of Cowley Rd is well-situated for Hilda's students, and offers a competitively-priced variety of hot and cold sandwiches, although the quality is not superlative. For an extra 30p you can eat in - and the burgers and breakfasts are a hangover solution!

Mortons is a sandwich shop that (so far) has four branches in Oxford: one on Broad Street, one on Little Clarendon Street, one in the Covered Market and one on New Inn Hall Street. While it is a chain and so not especially individual or personal, it is popular with students due to their Meal Deal. For £3.33 you can get a baguette (which cost £3 when bought on their own, almost), a soft drink (e.g. Diet Coke, Fanta, water...) and either a bag of Walker's crisps or a piece of fruit. Utterly bargainous and the baguettes are excellent. The Broad Street branch also has a small outdoor area behind it where you can eat your food, but the other two branches have no outside space of their own (although the Little Clarendon Branch is conveniently situated as it backs onto Wellington Square, which has a very attractive small green space in the square).

Olive's - a delicatessen on the High St. - Makes fantastic baguettes and paninis (and virtually anything else you can think of) most of which are made to order (specials are made in advance every morning, but are a nice way of trying new things). Friendly service, particularly from Christophe who owns the deli, although it can get busy at lunch, particularly on the hour from about 12-2, since it's situated conveniently across from Exam Schools. Olive's is so good their loyal clientele has even made a Facebook group.

Italian & Pizza Places

Ask and Zizzis seems to be the standard student hangout for a pizza, not least because of their deal on takeaway pizzas for around £5.30 - not bad for a very nice pizza!

Alternatively for those who like a bit more grease in their diet there is also a Pizza Hut on the High Street, and another on George Street.

Bella Italia - national chain, one course pasta meals between £5 and £10, also does pizza.

For great Italian-style pizza in the evenings, Pizza Artisan is very good, if pricy. It's housed in a van that parks right next to Tom Tower on St. Aldates at 7 pm each evening. The Pizzas start at £6, and are great to share.


Opium Den is known as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Oxford. It serves some of the most savoury southern Chinese dishes you will probably ever taste, which makes up for the rather less-than-satisfactory and slow service. Many dishes on the menu are as low as £5.00, and the Duck with Pineapple, which is highly recommended, is only a little less than £6.00. For dessert, the artistically presented Toffee-coated Bananas are a solid choice. Don't let the name deter you.

Peninsula is perhaps a slightly classier choice, with an air of luxury about it. It is located in a basement on George street, and as a result is easy to miss. Many dishes are priced in the range of £7.00-£8.50. It is not very well known, probably because of its location, so it is a good place to go for a quiet meal. The interior is very clean and simple, and the service is excellent.

EAMAYL (Eat as much as you like) on Park End serves pretty basic Chinese - but as the name says, as much as you want of it. £5.75 (Mon - Sat lunch) / £7.50 (Sun lunch) / £10.50 (dinner).

Noodle Nation is another common student food-plan, although the restaurant itself is quite small and can be claustrophobic - much better as a take away. The food is pretty cheap, and the portions quite generous.

"Cafe Soho" (formerly cafe orient on George Street) is a real treat - good value, delicious and with relatively large portions it is well worth the 10-15 minute walk from town as it is located opposite Jeune street on Cowley Road.


Jamal's on Walton Street in Jericho has a justified reputation as the destination of choice for drunken sports teams on crew dates and other socials. This is largely due to its "Bring your own" policy for alcohol, subject to a £1.50 charge per person. The policy on singing, climbing on tables, and throwing up in the toilets is decidedly liberal: regular visitors are likely to summon Mr Jamal himself if their activities are questioned by ordinary staff. The food is in fact very good, and a limited all-you-can eat menu is available on Sundays at lunchtime.

Nearby on Walton Street is the Standard Tandoori, a venerable institution with excellent food and a much quieter atmosphere.

The Moonlight Tandoori on Cowley Road specialises in vegetarian Indian food and the food is very good.

Mirch Masala, found down the Cowley Rd (before Tesco's) is a little-known gem, with starters to die for. They do sell alcohol, but you can bring your own for a very reasonable corkage charge.

Chutney's, near the Oxford Union, is a real treat - friendly staff, efficient service, and a great range of dishes, including a good selection of fish curries.

The Bombay is another popular student haunt owing to its reasonable prices and BYO bottle policy. Located on Walton Street, its Indian food is of high quality and the service is excellent.

A more hidden gem exists in Saffron, an excellent Indian restaurant located in Summertown on the Banbury Road. Tranquil and modern, it also serves high quality food at an affordable price (£20-£30 a head) which is fabulous for a classier night out.

Good old English

The Big Bang on Walton Street is a great place for when you just want good old English food. With eight different types of sausage (two of which are vegetarian) and all served with peas, red cabbage and fried onion there is something for everyone who likes sausage. Portions are generous, although perhaps reflected by prices. If you go on a Tuesday then there is a Jazz evening - £15 for your meal and entertainment. Worth visiting on a special occasion purely for the activities of the wonderfully eccentric maitre d'hotel - opening a champagne bottle with a sword in the naval style is a favourite.

66a, the in-house restaurant at the Cotswold Lodge Hotel (on the corner of Norham Road and Banbury Road), also serves excellent Sunday lunches at the highly reasonable rate of £10 for 2 courses or £15 for 3 courses. The portions are huge and the place is rarely busy despite the delicious cuisine. Their food is also laudable for the rest of the week, although it's not quite as cheap as at Sunday lunchtime.

Kebab Vans

In general every student will remain loyal throughout their time in Oxford to the kebab van nearest to their college.

Ahmed's on the High Street is the late-night rendezvous of students from University College, Merton, Queen's, Magdalen, St Edmund Hall and St Hilda's. Ahmed has become somewhat of a celebrity, and his cheesy chips are staple post-alcohol fare. He will also generously create any combination of food you ask at a reasonable price. And if you're feeling particularily peckish, ask for a "Univ Special."

Hassan's on Broad Street is fought over by Catz, Hertford, New, Jesus, Exeter, Balliol, Trinity and occasionally Wadham and Mansfield, but belongs legally to Lincoln and its members. Serves low price, high quality food from before 7pm until 3am. The chips are especially good - proper big fat ones, not McDonalds style french fries that are more fat than potato. Being there at half 2 most evenings makes for singing, dancing, falling over and all other sorts of debauchery.

Hussein's on St. Giles, opposite St. John's and just on the corner of the Ashmolean, is the Kebab van of choice for the majority of Keble and St. John's students. The proprieters are notoriously friendly, offering discounts to students who spent too much in Park End, and have even volunteered to sponsor the Keble College JCR. The cheesy chips are particularly good.

Ali's on Woodstock Road, outside Green College, serves the colleges of North Oxford and has a fanatical loyalty among students of St. Hugh's and St. Anne's in particular. The cheesy chips are noted as a specialty, and regulars can expect extra chips sprinkled in any food they order.

Medhi's - recently updated van on the High St where it joins Turl St. A fan with Lincoln and Brasenose students, Medhi (who is an honorary member of Lincoln's JCR) serves good quality burgers and chips (not too salty or greasy - but just right) and will also give you free chips inside your burgers if you ask. Also wide selection of kebabs, vegetarian food, onion rings, jacket potatoes and baguettes. Has also started doing takeaway pizzas which are by far cheaper than nearby Pizza Hut and rumoured to be bigger and tastier.

Branos on Gloucester Green. Opens around lunchtime and closes at 3am! The favourite haunt of drunken revellers on their way back home to Worcester College (ask for a Worcester special: fried chicken, chips and cheese for just £3!). Very friendly service!


Japanese - Wagamamas, Market Street, chain restaurant serving quite reasonably priced meals, but only go for a treat, like if your parents are up, or for a date. I recommend the massive bowls of soup, they are truly delicious and around £8. Edamame is an awesome little restaurant on Hollywell street, near New College. It serves home style Japanese cooking, so don't go there looking for much in the way of noodles/sushi (although they do have sushi some nights). It's fairly small inside, but nice nonetheless. French - Cafe Rouge, Pret a Manger - both chain restaurants

McDonalds Eat Starbucks Costa


Transport is rarely a worry for Oxford students, since Oxford as a city is virtually completely flat and so most people walk or cycle everywhere. Transport has now been merged with Transport in Oxford

Religious facilities

Christian Faith

Most colleges have an Anglican chapel of their own. In addition, Oxford has more churches than you can shake a mitre at. Churches in the centre include

  • St. Ebbe's (modern, lively, student Christian Evangelical church)
  • St. Aldate's (modern, thriving, moderate big student church)
  • St. Mary the Virgin (the University Church on High Street) - Church of England
  • St. Michael at the North Gate
  • Mary Magdalen (opposite Sainsbury's - very high Anglican)
  • Pusey House (about 100m up St. Giles from Sainsbury's - very Anglo-Catholic)
  • Wesley Memorial Church (family-orientated, lively Methodist church with a student society ('JWS'))

Roman Catholics may choose between the Catholic Chaplaincy and St. Aloysius on the Woodstock Road. Many college chapels have a Catholic Mass once a term.


Central Oxford Mosque is located Manzil Way, off Cowley Road Oxford. There are also Friday prayers in the OXCIS (Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies), Somerville College, and various other small mosques dotted around town.


The Oxford Jewish Centre is located on Richmond road, towards the northwest of central Oxford.


It's often said that Oxford students work, party, and sleep - and nobody can ever do more than two. Students of the university are well known for their work hard-play hard philosophy, and this is helped by the collegiate system, which provides the opportunity for small societies to spring up in support of every possible hobby or activity.

Information about the clubs and societies of Oxford university can be found here

If formalised fun is less your thing, then there are still a plethora of pubs and clubs around Oxford that are well worth exploring (try to complete the Blackwells colour-in-pub-crawl-poster!)

Information about the social life in Oxford city can now be found here

Famous Oxonians

Oxford has had a role in educating four British and at least eight foreign kings, 47 Nobel prize-winners, three Fields medallists, 25 British Prime Ministers, 28 foreign presidents and prime ministers, seven saints, 86 archbishops, 18 cardinals, and one pope. Seven of the last eleven British Prime Ministers have been Oxford graduates. Amongst the University's old members are many widely influential scientists, artists and other prominent figures. Several contemporary scientists include Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Nobel prize-winner Anthony James Leggett, and Tim Berners-Lee, co-inventor of the world wide web; actors Hugh Grant, Kate Beckinsale, Dudley Moore, Michael Palin. Terry Jones and Richard Burton studied at the University, as did film-maker Ken Loach; Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R.Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Aldous Huxley, Oscar Wilde, Vikram Seth, Iris Murdoch and the poets Shelley, Donne, Auden and Philip Larkin are amongst the long list of writers associated with Oxford. Explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Walter Raleigh, along with modern media magnate Rupert Murdoch were also former students. More complete information on famous senior and junior members of the University can be found in the individual college articles (an individual may be associated with two or more colleges, as an undergraduate, postgraduate, and/or member of staff).


Events and organisations officially connected with the University include:

Pros and Cons of the University of Oxford

  1. +Oxford has the Bodleian Library
  2. +Well-established place of education
  3. +Short, intense terms give longer holidays!
  4. +Loads of clubs and societies to join
  5. +Tutorial system = individual attention/abuse
  6. +National and international reputation
  7. +Lots of bursaries, funds, scholarships etc
  8. +Diverse community and environment
  9. +College provides a unique atmosphere to university life
  1. -Expect to receive significantly more work than average for almost all subjects.
  2. -Lack of vocationally-orientated degrees - all studies are purely academic.
  3. -College system provides for a certain degree of insularity.
  4. -Unequal provision of facilities and services across colleges.

See also

This page (which you can edit) is part of The Student Room's information and advice about Oxford and Cambridge (known collectively as Oxbridge). Whilst the two universities have have much in common, they also have many differences. Our information on the application procedure and interviews applies to both.

If you have questions, or just want to chat, come join us in TSR's Oxford forum and Cambridge forum.

University of Oxford: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student
FAQ: CollegesApplyingUniversity Life

University of Cambridge: Guide & Discussion Forum
How to choose a CollegeCollege Pros and Cons
A Week in the Life: of an Arts Student or of a Science Student

As well as the Oxford Uni Guide, we have pages on: Academic FacilitiesClubs & SocietiesPubs, Clubs & BarsTransportPrivate AccomodationCity Guide

Courses (not all have pages): BiochemistryBiological SciencesClassicsComputer ScienceEarth SciencesEconomics and ManagementEnglishHistoryHuman SciencesMathematicsMedicineMusicPPEPsychology

Colleges: All Souls (no student) • BalliolBrasenoseChrist ChurchCorpus ChristiExeterGreen Templeton (graduates) • Harris Manchester (mature) • HertfordJesusKebleKellogg (graduates) • Lady Margaret HallLinacre (graduates) • LincolnMagdalenMansfieldMertonNewNuffield (social sciences graduates) • OrielPembrokeSt Anne'sSt Antony's (graduates) • St Catherine'sSt Cross (graduates) • St Edmund HallSt Hilda'sSt Hugh'sSt John'sSt Peter'sSomervilleThe Queen'sTrinityUniversityWadhamWolfson (graduates) • Worcester

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