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University of Oxford

"Oxford University" redirects here. For other uses, see Oxford University (disambiguation).

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge.

University of Oxford
Latin: Universitas Oxoniensis
Other name
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford
MottoLatin: Dominus illuminatio mea
Motto in English
The Lord is my light
TypePublic research university Ancient university
Establishedc. 1096; 925 years ago (1096)
Endowment£6.1 billion (including colleges) (2019)
Budget£2.145 billion (2019–20)
ChancellorThe Lord Patten of Barnes
Vice-ChancellorLouise Richardson
Academic staff
6,995 (2020)
Students24,515 (2019)
Undergraduates11,955
Postgraduates12,010
Other students
541 (2017)
Location,
England, United Kingdom

51°45′18″N01°15′18″W /51.75500°N 1.25500°W /51.75500; -1.25500Coordinates: 51°45′18″N01°15′18″W /51.75500°N 1.25500°W /51.75500; -1.25500
CampusUniversity town
Colours Oxford Blue
AthleticsThe Sporting Blue
AffiliationsIARU
Russell Group
Europaeum
EUA
Golden Triangle
G5
LERU
SES
Universities UK
Websiteox.ac.uk

The university is made up of thirty-nine semi-autonomous constituent colleges, six permanent private halls, and a range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford consists of lectures, small-group tutorials at the colleges and halls, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further tutorials provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.

Oxford operates the world's oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019, the university had a total income of £2.45 billion, of which £624.8 million was from research grants and contracts.

Oxford has educated a wide range of notable alumni, including 28 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of October 2020, 72 Nobel Prize laureates, 3 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals. Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes.

Contents

Founding

Balliol College, one of the university's oldest constituent colleges

The University of Oxford's foundation date is unknown. It is known that teaching at Oxford existed in some form as early as 1096, but it is unclear when a university came into being.

It grew quickly from 1167 when English students returned from the University of Paris. The historian Gerald of Wales lectured to such scholars in 1188 and the first known foreign scholar, Emo of Friesland, arrived in 1190. The head of the university had the title of chancellor from at least 1201, and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231. The university was granted a royal charter in 1248 during the reign of King Henry III.

After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled from the violence to Cambridge, later forming the University of Cambridge.

Aerial view of Merton College's Mob Quad, the oldest quadrangle of the university, constructed in the years from 1288 to 1378

The students associated together on the basis of geographical origins, into two 'nations', representing the North (northerners or Boreales, who included the English people from north of the River Trent and the Scots) and the South (southerners or Australes, who included English people from south of the Trent, the Irish and the Welsh). In later centuries, geographical origins continued to influence many students' affiliations when membership of a college or hall became customary in Oxford. In addition, members of many religious orders, including Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and Augustinians, settled in Oxford in the mid-13th century, gained influence and maintained houses or halls for students. At about the same time, private benefactors established colleges as self-contained scholarly communities. Among the earliest such founders were William of Durham, who in 1249 endowed University College, and John Balliol, father of a future King of Scots; Balliol College bears his name. Another founder, Walter de Merton, a Lord Chancellor of England and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, devised a series of regulations for college life; Merton College thereby became the model for such establishments at Oxford, as well as at the University of Cambridge. Thereafter, an increasing number of students lived in colleges rather than in halls and religious houses.

In 1333–1334, an attempt by some dissatisfied Oxford scholars to found a new university at Stamford, Lincolnshire, was blocked by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge petitioning King Edward III. Thereafter, until the 1820s, no new universities were allowed to be founded in England, even in London; thus, Oxford and Cambridge had a duopoly, which was unusual in large western European countries.

Renaissance period

In 1605 Oxford was still a walled city, but several colleges had been built outside the city walls (north is at the bottom on this map).

The new learning of the Renaissance greatly influenced Oxford from the late 15th century onwards. Among university scholars of the period were William Grocyn, who contributed to the revival of Greek language studies, and John Colet, the noted biblical scholar.

With the English Reformation and the breaking of communion with the Roman Catholic Church, recusant scholars from Oxford fled to continental Europe, settling especially at the University of Douai. The method of teaching at Oxford was transformed from the medieval scholastic method to Renaissance education, although institutions associated with the university suffered losses of land and revenues. As a centre of learning and scholarship, Oxford's reputation declined in the Age of Enlightenment; enrolments fell and teaching was neglected.

In 1636, William Laud, the chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, codified the university's statutes. These, to a large extent, remained its governing regulations until the mid-19th century. Laud was also responsible for the granting of a charter securing privileges for the University Press, and he made significant contributions to the Bodleian Library, the main library of the university. From the beginnings of the Church of England as the established church until 1866, membership of the church was a requirement to receive the BA degree from the university and "dissenters" were only permitted to receive the MA in 1871.

An engraving of Christ Church, Oxford, 1742

The university was a centre of the Royalist party during the English Civil War (1642–1649), while the town favoured the opposing Parliamentarian cause. From the mid-18th century onwards, however, the university took little part in political conflicts.

Wadham College, founded in 1610, was the undergraduate college of Sir Christopher Wren. Wren was part of a brilliant group of experimental scientists at Oxford in the 1650s, the Oxford Philosophical Club, which included Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. This group held regular meetings at Wadham under the guidance of the college's Warden, John Wilkins, and the group formed the nucleus that went on to found the Royal Society.

Modern period

Students

Before reforms in the early 19th century, the curriculum at Oxford was notoriously narrow and impractical. Sir Spencer Walpole, a historian of contemporary Britain and a senior government official, had not attended any university. He says, "few medical men, few solicitors, few persons intended for commerce or trade, ever dreamed of passing through a university career." He quotes the Oxford University Commissioners in 1852 stating: "The education imparted at Oxford was not such as to conduce to the advancement in life of many persons, except those intended for the ministry." Nevertheless, Walpole argued:

Among the many deficiencies attending a university education there was, however, one good thing about it, and that was the education which the undergraduates gave themselves. It was impossible to collect some thousand or twelve hundred of the best young men in England, to give them the opportunity of making acquaintance with one another, and full liberty to live their lives in their own way, without evolving in the best among them, some admirable qualities of loyalty, independence, and self-control. If the average undergraduate carried from University little or no learning, which was of any service to him, he carried from it a knowledge of men and respect for his fellows and himself, a reverence for the past, a code of honour for the present, which could not but be serviceable. He had enjoyed opportunities... of intercourse with men, some of whom were certain to rise to the highest places in the Senate, in the Church, or at the Bar. He might have mixed with them in his sports, in his studies, and perhaps in his debating society; and any associations which he had this formed had been useful to him at the time, and might be a source of satisfaction to him in after life.

Out of the students who matriculated in 1840, 65% were sons of professionals (34% were Anglican ministers). After graduation, 87% became professionals (59% as Anglican clergy). Out of the students who matriculated in 1870, 59% were sons of professionals (25% were Anglican ministers). After graduation, 87% became professionals (42% as Anglican clergy).

M. C. Curthoys and H. S. Jones argue that the rise of organised sport was one of the most remarkable and distinctive features of the history of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was carried over from the athleticism prevalent at the public schools such as Eton, Winchester, Shrewsbury, and Harrow.

All students, regardless of their chosen area of study, were required to spend (at least) their first year preparing for a first-year examination that was heavily focused on classical languages. Science students found this particularly burdensome and supported a separate science degree with Greek language study removed from their required courses. This concept of a Bachelor of Science had been adopted at other European universities (London University had implemented it in 1860) but an 1880 proposal at Oxford to replace the classical requirement with a modern language (like German or French) was unsuccessful. After considerable internal wrangling over the structure of the arts curriculum, in 1886 the "natural science preliminary" was recognized as a qualifying part of the first year examination.

At the start of 1914, the university housed about 3,000 undergraduates and about 100 postgraduate students. During the First World War, many undergraduates and fellows joined the armed forces. By 1918 virtually all fellows were in uniform, and the student population in residence was reduced to 12 per cent of the pre-war total. The University Roll of Service records that, in total, 14,792 members of the university served in the war, with 2,716 (18.36%) killed. Not all the members of the university who served in the Great War were on the Allied side; there is a remarkable memorial to members of New College who served in the German armed forces, bearing the inscription, 'In memory of the men of this college who coming from a foreign land entered into the inheritance of this place and returning fought and died for their country in the war 1914–1918'. During the war years the university buildings became hospitals, cadet schools and military training camps.

Reforms

Two parliamentary commissions in 1852 issued recommendations for Oxford and Cambridge. Archibald Campbell Tait, former headmaster of Rugby School, was a key member of the Oxford Commission; he wanted Oxford to follow the German and Scottish model in which the professorship was paramount. The commission's report envisioned a centralised university run predominantly by professors and faculties, with a much stronger emphasis on research. The professional staff should be strengthened and better paid. For students, restrictions on entry should be dropped, and more opportunities given to poorer families. It called for an enlargement of the curriculum, with honours to be awarded in many new fields. Undergraduate scholarships should be open to all Britons. Graduate fellowships should be opened up to all members of the university. It recommended that fellows be released from an obligation for ordination. Students were to be allowed to save money by boarding in the city, instead of in a college.

The system of separate honour schools for different subjects began in 1802, with Mathematics and Literae Humaniores. Schools of "Natural Sciences" and "Law, and Modern History" were added in 1853. By 1872, the last of these had split into "Jurisprudence" and "Modern History". Theology became the sixth honour school. In addition to these B.A. Honours degrees, the postgraduate Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) was, and still is, offered.

The mid-19th century saw the impact of the Oxford Movement (1833–1845), led among others by the future Cardinal John Henry Newman. The influence of the reformed model of German universities reached Oxford via key scholars such as Edward Bouverie Pusey, Benjamin Jowett and Max Müller.

Administrative reforms during the 19th century included the replacement of oral examinations with written entrance tests, greater tolerance for religious dissent, and the establishment of four women's colleges. Privy Council decisions in the 20th century (e.g. the abolition of compulsory daily worship, dissociation of the Regius Professorship of Hebrew from clerical status, diversion of colleges' theological bequests to other purposes) loosened the link with traditional belief and practice. Furthermore, although the university's emphasis had historically been on classical knowledge, its curriculum expanded during the 19th century to include scientific and medical studies. Knowledge of Ancient Greek was required for admission until 1920, and Latin until 1960.

The University of Oxford began to award doctorates for research in the first third of the 20th century. The first Oxford DPhil in mathematics was awarded in 1921.

The mid-20th century saw many distinguished continental scholars, displaced by Nazism and communism, relocating to Oxford.

The list of distinguished scholars at the University of Oxford is long and includes many who have made major contributions to politics, the sciences, medicine, and literature. As of October 2020, 72 Nobel laureates and more than 50 world leaders have been affiliated with the University of Oxford.

Women's education

First two women's colleges

The university passed a statute in 1875 allowing examinations for women at roughly undergraduate level; for a brief period in the early 1900s, this allowed the "steamboat ladies" to receive ad eundem degrees from the University of Dublin. In June 1878, the Association for the Education of Women (AEW) was formed, aiming for the eventual creation of a college for women in Oxford. Some of the more prominent members of the association were George Granville Bradley, T. H. Green and Edward Stuart Talbot. Talbot insisted on a specifically Anglican institution, which was unacceptable to most of the other members. The two parties eventually split, and Talbot's group founded Lady Margaret Hall in 1878, while T. H. Green founded the non-denominational Somerville College in 1879. Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville opened their doors to their first 21 students (12 from Somerville, 9 from Lady Margaret Hall) in 1879, who attended lectures in rooms above an Oxford baker's shop. There were also 25 women students living at home or with friends in 1879, a group which evolved into the Society of Oxford Home-Students and in 1952 into St Anne's College.

These first three societies for women were followed by St Hugh's (1886) and St Hilda's (1893). All of these colleges later became coeducational, starting with Lady Margaret Hall and St Anne's in 1979, and finishing with St Hilda's, which began to accept male students in 2008. In the early 20th century, Oxford and Cambridge were widely perceived to be bastions of male privilege, however the integration of women into Oxford moved forward during the First World War. In 1916 women were admitted as medical students on a par with men, and in 1917 the university accepted financial responsibility for women's examinations.

On 7 October 1920 women became eligible for admission as full members of the university and were given the right to take degrees. In 1927 the university's dons created a quota that limited the number of female students to a quarter that of men, a ruling which was not abolished until 1957. However, during this period Oxford colleges were single sex, so the number of women was also limited by the capacity of the women's colleges to admit students. It was not until 1959 that the women's colleges were given full collegiate status.

In 1974, Brasenose, Jesus, Wadham, Hertford and St Catherine's became the first previously all-male colleges to admit women. The majority of men's colleges accepted their first female students in 1979, with Christ Church following in 1980, and Oriel becoming the last men's college to admit women in 1985. Most of Oxford's graduate colleges were founded as coeducational establishments in the 20th century, with the exception of St Antony's, which was founded as a men's college in 1950 and began to accept women only in 1962. By 1988, 40% of undergraduates at Oxford were female; in 2016, 45% of the student population, and 47% of undergraduate students, were female.

In June 2017, Oxford announced that starting the following academic year, history students may choose to sit a take-home exam in some courses, with the intention that this will equalise rates of firsts awarded to women and men at Oxford. That same summer, maths and computer science tests were extended by 15 minutes, in a bid to see if female student scores would improve.

The detective novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, herself one of the first women to gain an academic degree from Oxford, is largely set in the all-female Shrewsbury College, Oxford (based on Sayers' own Somerville College), and the issue of women's education is central to its plot. Social historian and Somerville College alumna Jane Robinson's book Bluestockings: A Remarkable History of the First Women to Fight for an Education gives a very detailed and immersive account of this history.

Scrollable image. Aerial panorama of the university.

Map

Map of the University of Oxford
St Anne's College
Balliol College
Christ Church College
The Queen's College
Worcester College
Oriel College
Corpus Christi College
St Antony's College
St Hugh's College
Somerville College
St John's College
New College
St Catherine's College
Magdalen College
All Souls College
Brasenose College
Exeter College
Green Templeton College
Harris Manchester College
Hertford College
Jesus College
Keble College
Kellogg College
Lady Margaret Hall
Linacre College
Lincoln College
Mansfield College
Merton College
Nuffield College
Pembroke College
St Cross College
St Edmund Hall
St Hilda's College
St Peter's College
Trinity College
University College
Wadham College
Wolfson College
Wolfson College
Wolfson College is on Linton Road, 580m from this arrow
Blackfriars
Campion Hall
Regent’s Park College (Permanent Private Hall)
St Benet's Hall
St Stephen’s House
St Stephen’s House
St Stephen's House is on Marston Street, 350m from this arrow
Wycliffe Hall
Blackfriars
Campion Hall
Regent’s Park College (Permanent Private Hall)
St Benet’s Hall
St Stephen’s House
St Stephen’s House
Wycliffe Hall
University of Oxford Faculties & Facilities (Central Oxford)
Show map of Oxford city centre
St Anne's College
Balliol College
Christ Church College
The Queen's College
Worcester College
Oriel College
Corpus Christi College
St Antony's College
St Hugh's College
Somerville College
St John's College
New College
St Catherine's College
Magdalen College
All Souls College
Brasenose College
Exeter College
Green Templeton College
Harris Manchester College
Hertford College
Jesus College
Keble College
Kellogg College
Lady Margaret Hall
Linacre College
Lincoln College
Mansfield College
Merton College
Nuffield College
Pembroke College
St Cross College
St Edmund Hall
St Hilda's College
St Peter's College
Trinity College
University College
Wadham College
Wolfson College
Blackfriars
Campion Hall
Regent’s Park College (Permanent Private Hall)
St Benet's Hall
St Stephen’s House
Wycliffe Hall
Blackfriars
Campion Hall
Regent’s Park College (Permanent Private Hall)
St Benet’s Hall
St Stephen’s House
Wycliffe Hall
Show map of Oxford
Key
- University Department - University Facility - University Office
- College (illustrative) - Permanent Private Hall

Main sites

Atrium of the Chemistry Research Laboratory, where the university has invested heavily in new facilities in recent years
The Sheldonian Theatre, built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1664 and 1668, hosts the university's Congregation, as well as concerts and degree ceremonies.

The university is a "city university" in that it does not have a main campus; instead, colleges, departments, accommodation, and other facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. The Science Area, in which most science departments are located, is the area that bears closest resemblance to a campus. The ten-acre (4-hectare) Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in the northwest of the city is currently under development. However, the larger colleges' sites are of similar size to these areas.

Iconic university buildings include the Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre used for music concerts, lectures, and university ceremonies, and the Examination Schools, where examinations and some lectures take place. The University Church of St Mary the Virgin was used for university ceremonies before the construction of the Sheldonian. Christ Church Cathedral uniquely serves as both a college chapel and as a cathedral.

In 2012–2013, the university built the controversial one-hectare (400m × 25m) Castle Mill development of 4–5-storey blocks of student flats overlooking Cripley Meadow and the historic Port Meadow, blocking views of the spires in the city centre. The development has been likened to building a "skyscraper beside Stonehenge".

Parks

Autumn in the Botanic Garden

The University Parks are a 70-acre (28 ha) parkland area in the northeast of the city, near Keble College, Somerville College and Lady Margaret Hall. It is open to the public during daylight hours. As well as providing gardens and exotic plants, the Parks contains numerous sports fields, used for official and unofficial fixtures, and also contains sites of special interest including the Genetic Garden, an experimental garden to elucidate and investigate evolutionary processes.

The Botanic Garden on the High Street is the oldest botanic garden in the UK. It contains over 8,000 different plant species on 1.8 ha (4+12 acres). It is one of the most diverse yet compact major collections of plants in the world and includes representatives of over 90% of the higher plant families. The Harcourt Arboretum is a 130-acre (53 ha) site six miles (10 km) south of the city that includes native woodland and 67 acres (27 hectares) of meadow. The 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) Wytham Woods are owned by the university and used for research in zoology and climate change.

There are also various collegiate-owned open spaces open to the public, including Bagley Wood and most notably Christ Church Meadow.

As a collegiate university, Oxford is structured as a federation, comprising over forty self-governing colleges and halls, along with a central administration headed by the Vice-Chancellor.

Academic departments are located centrally within the structure of the federation; they are not affiliated with any particular college. Departments provide facilities for teaching and research, determine the syllabi and guidelines for the teaching of students, perform research, and deliver lectures and seminars.

Colleges arrange the tutorial teaching for their undergraduates, and the members of an academic department are spread around many colleges. Though certain colleges do have subject alignments (e.g., Nuffield College as a centre for the social sciences), these are exceptions, and most colleges will have a broad mix of academics and students from a diverse range of subjects. Facilities such as libraries are provided on all these levels: by the central university (the Bodleian), by the departments (individual departmental libraries, such as the English Faculty Library), and by colleges (each of which maintains a multi-discipline library for the use of its members).

Central governance

The university's formal head is the Chancellor, currently Lord Patten of Barnes, though as at most British universities, the Chancellor is a titular figure and is not involved with the day-to-day running of the university. The Chancellor is elected by the members of Convocation, a body comprising all graduates of the university, and holds office until death.

Wellington Square, the name of which has become synonymous with the university's central administration

The Vice-Chancellor, currently Louise Richardson, is the de facto head of the university. Five pro-vice-chancellors have specific responsibilities for education; research; planning and resources; development and external affairs; and personnel and equal opportunities. The University Council is the executive policy-forming body, which consists of the vice-chancellor as well as heads of departments and other members elected by Congregation, in addition to observers from the students' union. Congregation, the "parliament of the dons", comprises over 3,700 members of the university's academic and administrative staff, and has ultimate responsibility for legislative matters: it discusses and pronounces on policies proposed by the University Council.

Two university proctors, elected annually on a rotating basis from two of the colleges, are the internal ombudsmen who make sure that the university and its members adhere to its statutes. This role incorporates student discipline and complaints, as well as oversight of the university's proceedings. The university's professors are collectively referred to as the Statutory Professors of the University of Oxford. They are particularly influential in the running of the university's graduate programmes. Examples of statutory professors are the Chichele Professorships and the Drummond Professor of Political Economy. The various academic faculties, departments, and institutes are organised into four divisions, each with its own head and elected board. They are the Humanities Division; the Social Sciences Division; the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division; and the Medical Sciences Division.

The University of Oxford is a "public university" in the sense that it receives some public money from the government, but it is a "private university" in the sense that it is entirely self-governing and, in theory, could choose to become entirely private by rejecting public funds.

Colleges

To be a member of the university, all students, and most academic staff, must also be a member of a college or hall. There are thirty-nine colleges of the University of Oxford (including Reuben College, planned to admit students in 2021) and six permanent private halls (PPHs), each controlling its membership and with its own internal structure and activities. Not all colleges offer all courses, but they generally cover a broad range of subjects.

The colleges are:

The permanent private halls were founded by different Christian denominations. One difference between a college and a PPH is that whereas colleges are governed by the fellows of the college, the governance of a PPH resides, at least in part, with the corresponding Christian denomination. The six current PPHs are:

The PPHs and colleges join together as the Conference of Colleges, which represents the common concerns of the several colleges of the university, to discuss matters of shared interest and to act collectively when necessary, such as in dealings with the central university. The Conference of Colleges was established as a recommendation of the Franks Commission in 1965.

Teaching members of the colleges (i.e. fellows and tutors) are collectively and familiarly known as dons, although the term is rarely used by the university itself. In addition to residential and dining facilities, the colleges provide social, cultural, and recreational activities for their members. Colleges have responsibility for admitting undergraduates and organising their tuition; for graduates, this responsibility falls upon the departments. There is no common title for the heads of colleges: the titles used include Warden, Provost, Principal, President, Rector, Master and Dean.

Finances

Dining hall at Christ Church. The hall is an important feature of the typical Oxford college, providing a place to both dine and socialise.

In 2017/18, the university had an income of £2,237m; key sources were research grants (£579.1m) and academic fees (£332.5m). The colleges had a total income of £492.9m.

While the university has a larger annual income and operating budget, the colleges have a larger aggregate endowment: over £4.9bn compared to the university's £1.2bn. The central University's endowment, along with some of the colleges', is managed by the university's wholly owned endowment management office, Oxford University Endowment Management, formed in 2007. The university has substantial investments in fossil fuel companies, and in 2014 began consultations on whether it should follow some US universities which have committed to sell off their fossil fuel investments.

The total assets of the colleges of £6.3 billion also exceed total university assets of 4.1 billion. The college figure does not reflect all the assets held by the colleges as their accounts do not include the cost or value of many of their main sites or heritage assets such as works of art or libraries.

The university was one of the first in the UK to raise money through a major public fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Oxford. The current campaign, its second, was launched in May 2008 and is entitled "Oxford Thinking – The Campaign for the University of Oxford". This is looking to support three areas: academic posts and programmes, student support, and buildings and infrastructure; having passed its original target of £1.25 billion in March 2012, the target was raised to £3 billion. The campaign had raised a total of £2.8 billion by July 2018.

Funding criticisms

This section appears to be slanted towards recent events. Please try to keep recent events in historical perspective and add more content related to non-recent events.(January 2021) ()

The university has faced criticism for some of its sources of donations and funding, including £726,706 from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (the organisation that designs and produces the UK's nuclear warheads) between 2017 and 2019, a donation of £150m from the US billionaire businessman Stephen A. Schwarzman in 2019, and an £80m donation from businessmen David and Simon Reuben (who were criticised for their trade with Russian aluminium factories) in 2020. The university has defended its decisions saying it "takes legal, ethical and reputational issues into consideration."

Affiliations

Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the G5, the League of European Research Universities, and the International Alliance of Research Universities. It is also a core member of the Europaeum and forms part of the "golden triangle" of highly research intensive and elite English universities.

Admission

University admission statistics
Year Applications Offers Offer rate (%) Admitted Yield (%)
2019 23,020 3,889 16.9 3,280 84.3
2018 21,515 3,840 17.8 3,309 86.2
2017 19,938 3,771 18.9 3,270 86.7
2016 19,144 3,751 19.6 3,262 87.0
2015 18,377 3,663 19.9 3,216 87.8
Percentage of state-school students at Oxford and Cambridge

In common with most British universities, prospective students apply through the UCAS application system, but prospective applicants for the University of Oxford, along with those for medicine, dentistry, and University of Cambridge applicants, must observe an earlier deadline of 15 October. The Sutton Trust maintains that Oxford University and Cambridge University recruit disproportionately from 8 schools which accounted for 1,310 Oxbridge places during three years, contrasted with 1,220 from 2,900 other schools.

To allow a more personalised judgement of students, who might otherwise apply for both, undergraduate applicants are not permitted to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same year. The only exceptions are applicants for organ scholarships and those applying to read for a second undergraduate degree. Oxford has the lowest offer rate of all Russell Group universities.

Most applicants choose to apply to one of the individual colleges, which work with each other to ensure that the best students gain a place somewhere at the university regardless of their college preferences. Shortlisting is based on achieved and predicted exam results, school references, and, in some subjects, written admission tests or candidate-submitted written work. Approximately 60% of applicants are shortlisted, although this varies by subject. If a large number of shortlisted applicants for a subject choose one college, then students who named that college may be reallocated randomly to under-subscribed colleges for the subject. The colleges then invite shortlisted candidates for interview, where they are provided with food and accommodation for around three days in December. Most applicants will be individually interviewed by academics at more than one college. Students from outside Europe can be interviewed remotely, for example, over the Internet.

Offers are sent out in early January, with each offer usually being from a specific college. One in four successful candidates receives an offer from a college that they did not apply to. Some courses may make "open offers" to some candidates, who are not assigned to a particular college until A Level results day in August.

The university has come under criticism for the number of students it accepts from private schools; for instance, Laura Spence's rejection from the university in 2000 led to widespread debate. In 2016, the University of Oxford gave 59% of offers to UK students to students from state schools, while about 93% of all UK pupils and 86% of post-16 UK pupils are educated in state schools. However, 64% of UK applicants were from state schools and the university notes that state school students apply disproportionately to oversubscribed subjects. The proportion of students coming from state schools has been increasing. From 2015 to 2019, the state proportion of total UK students admitted each year was: 55.6%, 58.0%, 58.2%, 60.5% and 62.3%. Oxford University spends over £6 million per year on outreach programs to encourage applicants from underrepresented demographics.

In 2018 the university's annual admissions report revealed that eight of Oxford's colleges had accepted fewer than three black applicants in the past three years. Labour MP David Lammy said, "This is social apartheid and it is utterly unrepresentative of life in modern Britain." In 2020, Oxford had increased its proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students to record levels. The number of BAME undergraduates accepted to the university in 2020 rose to 684 students, or 23.6% of the UK intake, up from 558 or 22% in 2019; the number of Black students was 106 (3.7% of the intake), up from 80 students (3.2%). UCAS data also showed that Oxford is more likely than comparable institutions to make offers to ethnic minority and socially disadvantaged pupils.

Teaching and degrees

Undergraduate teaching is centred on the tutorial, where 1–4 students spend an hour with an academic discussing their week's work, usually an essay (humanities, most social sciences, some mathematical, physical, and life sciences) or problem sheet (most mathematical, physical, and life sciences, and some social sciences). The university itself is responsible for conducting examinations and conferring degrees. Undergraduate teaching takes place during three eight-week academic terms: Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity. (These are officially known as 'Full Term': 'Term' is a lengthier period with little practical significance.) Internally, the weeks in a term begin on Sundays, and are referred to numerically, with the initial week known as "first week", the last as "eighth week" and with the numbering extended to refer to weeks before and after term (for example "noughth week" precedes term). Undergraduates must be in residence from Thursday of 0th week. These teaching terms are shorter than those of most other British universities, and their total duration amounts to less than half the year. However, undergraduates are also expected to do some academic work during the three holidays (known as the Christmas, Easter, and Long Vacations).

Research degrees at the master's and doctoral level are conferred in all subjects studied at graduate level at the university.

Scholarships and financial support

Rhodes House – home to the awarding body for the Rhodes Scholarships, often considered to be the world's most prestigious scholarship

There are many opportunities for students at Oxford to receive financial help during their studies. The Oxford Opportunity Bursaries, introduced in 2006, are university-wide means-based bursaries available to any British undergraduate, with a total possible grant of £10,235 over a 3-year degree. In addition, individual colleges also offer bursaries and funds to help their students. For graduate study, there are many scholarships attached to the university, available to students from all sorts of backgrounds, from Rhodes Scholarships to the relatively new Weidenfeld Scholarships. Oxford also offers the Clarendon Scholarship which is open to graduate applicants of all nationalities. The Clarendon Scholarship is principally funded by Oxford University Press in association with colleges and other partnership awards. In 2016, Oxford University announced that it is to run its first free online economics course as part of a "massive open online course" (Mooc) scheme, in partnership with a US online university network. The course available is called ‘From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development’.

Students successful in early examinations are rewarded by their colleges with scholarships and exhibitions, normally the result of a long-standing endowment, although since the introduction of tuition fees the amounts of money available are purely nominal. Scholars, and exhibitioners in some colleges, are entitled to wear a more voluminous undergraduate gown; "commoners" (originally those who had to pay for their "commons", or food and lodging) are restricted to a short, sleeveless garment. The term "scholar" in relation to Oxford therefore has a specific meaning as well as the more general meaning of someone of outstanding academic ability. In previous times, there were "noblemen commoners" and "gentlemen commoners", but these ranks were abolished in the 19th century. "Closed" scholarships, available only to candidates who fitted specific conditions such as coming from specific schools, were abolished in the 1970s and 1980s.

Libraries

The Clarendon Building is home to many senior Bodleian Library staff and previously housed the university's own central administration.

The university maintains the largest university library system in the UK, and, with over 11 million volumes housed on 120 miles (190 km) of shelving, the Bodleian group is the second-largest library in the UK, after the British Library. The Bodleian is a legal deposit library, which means that it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK. As such, its collection is growing at a rate of over three miles (five kilometres) of shelving every year.

The buildings referred to as the university's main research library, The Bodleian, consist of the original Bodleian Library in the Old Schools Quadrangle, founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1598 and opened in 1602, the Radcliffe Camera, the Clarendon Building, and the Weston Library. A tunnel underneath Broad Street connects these buildings, with the Gladstone Link, which opened to readers in 2011, connecting the Old Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera.

The Bodleian Libraries group was formed in 2000, bringing the Bodleian Library and some of the subject libraries together. It now comprises 28 libraries, a number of which have been created by bringing previously separate collections together, including the Sackler Library, Law Library, Social Science Library and Radcliffe Science Library. Another major product of this collaboration has been a joint integrated library system, OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information System), and its public interface, SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online), which provides an electronic catalogue covering all member libraries, as well as the libraries of individual colleges and other faculty libraries, which are not members of the group but do share cataloguing information.

A new book depository opened in South Marston, Swindon in October 2010, and recent building projects include the remodelling of the New Bodleian building, which was renamed the Weston Library when it reopened in 2015. The renovation is designed to better showcase the library's various treasures (which include a Shakespeare First Folio and a Gutenberg Bible) as well as temporary exhibitions.

The Bodleian engaged in a mass-digitisation project with Google in 2004. Notable electronic resources hosted by the Bodleian Group include the Electronic Enlightenment Project, which was awarded the 2010 Digital Prize by the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Museums

Oxford maintains a number of museums and galleries, open for free to the public. The Ashmolean Museum, founded in 1683, is the oldest museum in the UK, and the oldest university museum in the world. It holds significant collections of art and archaeology, including works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, and Picasso, as well as treasures such as the Scorpion Macehead, the Parian Marble and the Alfred Jewel. It also contains "The Messiah", a pristine Stradivarius violin, regarded by some as one of the finest examples in existence.

The University Museum of Natural History holds the university's zoological, entomological and geological specimens. It is housed in a large neo-Gothic building on Parks Road, in the university's Science Area. Among its collection are the skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, and the most complete remains of a dodo found anywhere in the world. It also hosts the Simonyi Professorship of the Public Understanding of Science, currently held by Marcus du Sautoy.

The interior of the Pitt Rivers Museum

Adjoining the Museum of Natural History is the Pitt Rivers Museum, founded in 1884, which displays the university's archaeological and anthropological collections, currently holding over 500,000 items. It recently built a new research annexe; its staff have been involved with the teaching of anthropology at Oxford since its foundation, when as part of his donation General Augustus Pitt Rivers stipulated that the university establish a lectureship in anthropology.

The Museum of the History of Science is housed on Broad Street in the world's oldest-surviving purpose-built museum building. It contains 15,000 artefacts, from antiquity to the 20th century, representing almost all aspects of the history of science. In the Faculty of Music on St Aldate's is the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, a collection mostly of instruments from Western classical music, from the medieval period onwards. Christ Church Picture Gallery holds a collection of over 200 old master paintings.

Publishing

The Oxford University Press is the world's second oldest and currently the largest university press by the number of publications. More than 6,000 new books are published annually, including many reference, professional, and academic works (such as the Oxford English Dictionary, the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the Oxford World's Classics, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the Concise Dictionary of National Biography).

Rankings and reputation

Rankings
National rankings
Complete (2022)1
Guardian (2021)1
Times / Sunday Times (2021)2
Global rankings
ARWU (2021)7
CWTS Leiden (2020)11
QS (2022)
2
THE (2021)1
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence FrameworkGold

Oxford is regularly ranked within the top 5 universities in the world and is currently ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, as well as the Forbes's World University Rankings. It held the number one position in the Times Good University Guide for eleven consecutive years, and the medical school has also maintained first place in the "Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health" table of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for the past seven consecutive years. In 2021, it ranked 6th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. The THE has also recognised Oxford as one of the world's "six super brands" on its World Reputation Rankings, along with Berkeley, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. The university is fifth worldwide on the US News ranking. Its Saïd Business School came 13th in the world in Financial Times Global MBA Ranking.

Oxford was ranked ninth in the world in 2015 by the Nature Index, which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals. It is ranked 5th best university worldwide and 1st in Britain for forming CEOs according to the Professional Ranking World Universities, and first in the UK for the quality of its graduates as chosen by the recruiters of the UK's major companies.

In the 2018 Complete University Guide, all 38 subjects offered by Oxford rank within the top 10 nationally meaning Oxford was one of only two multi-faculty universities (along with Cambridge) in the UK to have 100% of their subjects in the top 10. Computer Science, Medicine, Philosophy, Politics and Psychology were ranked first in the UK by the guide.

According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject, the University of Oxford also ranks as number one in the world for four Humanities disciplines: English Language and Literature, Modern Languages, Geography, and History. It also ranks 2nd globally for Anthropology, Archaeology, Law, Medicine, Politics & International Studies, and Psychology.

Sexual harassment accusations

In 2015, a half-dozen students filed a complaint through sexual harassment attorney and Oxford alumna Ann Olivarius against Oxford for what The Times called an “epidemic” of sexual misconduct. Oxford has also been accused of using non-disclosure agreements or ‘gagging orders’ to silence students who report sexual harassment. In 2020, it was reported that Oxford saw a 15-fold increase in sexual harassment and violence.

Traditions

An undergraduate student at the University of Oxford in subfusc for matriculation

Academic dress is required for examinations, matriculation, disciplinary hearings, and when visiting university officers. A referendum held among the Oxford student body in 2015 showed 76% against making it voluntary in examinations – 8,671 students voted, with the 40.2% turnout the highest ever for a UK student union referendum. This was widely interpreted by students as being a vote on not so much making subfusc voluntary, but rather, in effect, abolishing it by default, in that if a minority of people came to exams without subfusc, the rest would soon follow. In July 2012 the regulations regarding academic dress were modified to be more inclusive to transgender people.

Other traditions and customs vary by college. For example, some colleges have formal hall six times a week, but in others this only happens occasionally, or even not at all. At most colleges these formal meals require gowns to be worn, and a Latin grace is said.

Balls are major events held by colleges; the largest, held triennially in 9th week of Trinity Term, are called commemoration balls; the dress code is usually white tie. Many other colleges hold smaller events during the year that they call summer balls or parties. These are usually held on an annual or irregular basis, and are usually black tie.

Punting is a common summer leisure activity.

There are several more or less quirky traditions peculiar to individual colleges, for example the All Souls Mallard song.

Clubs and societies

Rowing at Summer Eights, an annual intercollegiate bumps race

Sport is played between college teams, in tournaments known as cuppers (the term is also used for some non-sporting competitions). In addition to these there are higher standard university wide groups. Significant focus is given to annual varsity matches played against Cambridge, the most famous of which is The Boat Race, watched by a TV audience of between five and ten million viewers. This outside interest reflects the importance of rowing to many of those within the university. Much attention is given to the termly intercollegiate rowing regattas: Christ Church Regatta, Torpids, and Summer Eights. A blue is an award given to those who compete at the university team level in certain sports. As well as traditional sports, there are teams for activities such as Octopush and quidditch.

There are two weekly student newspapers: the independent Cherwell and OUSU's The Oxford Student. Other publications include the Isis magazine, the satirical Oxymoron, and the graduate Oxonian Review. The student radio station is Oxide Radio. Most colleges have chapel choirs. Music, drama, and other arts societies exist both at the collegiate level and as university-wide groups, such as the Oxford University Dramatic Society and the Oxford Revue. Unlike most other collegiate societies, musical ensembles actively encourage players from other colleges.

The Oxford Union's debating chamber

Most academic areas have student societies of some form which are open to students studying all courses, for example the Scientific Society. There are groups for almost all faiths, political parties, countries, and cultures.

The Oxford Union (not to be confused with the Oxford University Student Union) hosts weekly debates and high-profile speakers. There have historically been elite invitation-only societies such as the Bullingdon Club.

Student union and common rooms

The Oxford University Student Union, formerly better known by its acronym OUSU and now rebranded as Oxford SU, exists to represent students in the university's decision-making, to act as the voice for students in the national higher education policy debate, and to provide direct services to the student body. Reflecting the collegiate nature of the University of Oxford itself, OUSU is both an association of Oxford's more than 21,000 individual students and a federation of the affiliated college common rooms, and other affiliated organisations that represent subsets of the undergraduate and graduate students. The OUSU Executive Committee includes six full-time salaried sabbatical officers, who generally serve in the year following completion of their Final Examinations.

The importance of collegiate life is such that for many students their college JCR (Junior Common Room, for undergraduates) or MCR (Middle Common Room, for graduates) is seen as more important than OUSU. JCRs and MCRs each have a committee, with a president and other elected students representing their peers to college authorities. Additionally, they organise events and often have significant budgets to spend as they wish (money coming from their colleges and sometimes other sources such as student-run bars). (It is worth noting that JCR and MCR are terms that are used to refer to rooms for use by members, as well as the student bodies.) Not all colleges use this JCR/MCR structure, for example Wadham College's entire student population is represented by a combined Students' Union and purely graduate colleges have different arrangements.

Throughout its history, a sizeable number of Oxford alumni, known as Oxonians, have become notable in many varied fields, both academic and otherwise. A total of 69 Nobel prize-winners have studied or taught at Oxford, with prizes won in all six categories. More information on notable 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.

Politics

British Prime Ministers who attended Oxford University

Twenty-eight British prime ministers have attended Oxford, including William Gladstone, H. H. Asquith, Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson. Of all the post-war prime ministers, only Gordon Brown was educated at a university other than Oxford (the University of Edinburgh), while Winston Churchill, James Callaghan and John Major never attended a university.

Over 100 Oxford alumni were elected to the House of Commons in 2010. This includes former Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, and numerous members of the cabinet and shadow cabinet. Additionally, over 140 Oxonians sit in the House of Lords.

At least 30 other international leaders have been educated at Oxford. This number includes Harald V of Norway, Abdullah II of Jordan, William II of the Netherlands, five Prime Ministers of Australia (John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott, and Malcolm Turnbull), Six Prime Ministers of Pakistan (Liaquat Ali Khan, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Sir Feroz Khan Noon, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan), two Prime Ministers of Canada (Lester B. Pearson and John Turner), two Prime Ministers of India (Manmohan Singh and Indira Gandhi, though the latter did not finish her degree), Prime Minister of Ceylon (S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike), Norman Washington Manley of Jamaica, Haitham bin Tariq Al Said (Sultan of Oman) Eric Williams (Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago), Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (former President of Peru), Abhisit Vejjajiva (former Prime Minister of Thailand), and Bill Clinton (the first President of the United States to have attended Oxford; he attended as a Rhodes Scholar). Arthur Mutambara (Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe), was a Rhodes Scholar in 1991. Seretse Khama, first president of Botswana, spent a year at Balliol College. Festus Mogae (former president of Botswana) was a student at University College. The Burmese democracy activist and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, was a student of St Hugh's College. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the current reigning Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of Bhutan, was a member of Magdalen College. The world's youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, completed a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Law

Oxford has produced a large number of distinguished jurists, judges and lawyers around the world. Lords Bingham and Denning, commonly recognised as two of the most influential English judges in the history of the common law, both studied at Oxford. Within the United Kingdom, three of the current justices of the Supreme Court are Oxford-educated: Robert Reed (Deputy President of the Supreme Court), Nicholas Wilson, and Michael Briggs; retired Justices include David Neuberger (President of the Supreme Court 2012–2017), Jonathan Mance (Deputy President of the Supreme Court 2017–2018), Alan Rodger, Jonathan Sumption, Mark Saville, John Dyson, and Simon Brown. The twelve Lord Chancellors and nine Lord Chief Justices that have been educated at Oxford include Thomas Bingham, Stanley Buckmaster, Thomas More, Thomas Wolsey, Gavin Simonds. The twenty-two Law Lords count amongst them Leonard Hoffmann, Kenneth Diplock, Richard Wilberforce, James Atkin, Simon Brown, Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson, Robert Goff, Brian Hutton, Jonathan Mance, Alan Rodger, Mark Saville, Leslie Scarman, Johan Steyn; Master of the Rolls include Alfred Denning and Wilfred Greene; Lord Justices of Appeal include John Laws, Brian Leveson and John Mummery. The British Government's Attorneys General have included Dominic Grieve, Nicholas Lyell, Patrick Mayhew, John Hobson, Reginald Manningham-Buller, Lionel Heald, Frank Soskice, David Maxwell Fyfe, Donald Somervell, William Jowitt; Directors of Public Prosecutions include Sir Thomas Hetherington QC, Dame Barbara Mills QC and Sir Keir Starmer QC.

In the United States, three of the nine incumbent Justices of the Supreme Court are Oxonians, namely Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Neil Gorsuch; retired Justices include John Marshall Harlan II, David Souter and Byron White. Internationally, Oxonians Sir Humphrey Waldock served in the International Court of Justice; Akua Kuenyehia, sat in the International Criminal Court; Sir Nicolas Bratza and Paul Mahoney sat in the European Court of Human Rights; Kenneth Hayne, Dyson Heydon, as well as Patrick Keane sat in the High Court of Australia; both Kailas Nath Wanchoo, A. N. Ray served as Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India; Cornelia Sorabji, Oxford's first female law student, was India's first female advocate; in Hong Kong, Aarif Barma, Thomas Au and Doreen Le Pichon currently serve in the Court of Appeal (Hong Kong), while Charles Ching and Henry Litton both served as Permanent Judges of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong; six Puisne Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada and a chief justice of the now defunct Federal Court of Canada were also educated at Oxford.

The list of noted legal scholars includes H. L. A. Hart, Ronald Dworkin, Andrew Burrows, Sir Guenter Treitel, Jeremy Waldron, A. V. Dicey, William Blackstone, John Gardner, Robert A. Gorman, Timothy Endicott, Peter Birks, John Finnis, Andrew Ashworth, Joseph Raz, Paul Craig, Leslie Green, Tony Honoré, Neil MacCormick and Hugh Collins. Other distinguished practitioners who have attended Oxford include Lord Pannick Qc, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Amal Clooney, Lord Faulks QC, and Dinah Rose QC.

Mathematics and sciences

Three Oxford mathematicians, Michael Atiyah, Daniel Quillen and Simon Donaldson, have won Fields Medals, often called the "Nobel Prize for mathematics". Andrew Wiles, who proved Fermat's Last Theorem, was educated at Oxford and is currently the Regius Professor and Royal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at Oxford. Marcus du Sautoy and Roger Penrose are both currently mathematics professors, and Jackie Stedall was a professor of the university. Stephen Wolfram, chief designer of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha studied at the university, along with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Edgar F. Codd, inventor of the relational model of data, and Tony Hoare, programming languages pioneer and inventor of Quicksort.

The university is associated with eleven winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, five in physics and sixteen in medicine.

Scientists who performed research in Oxford include chemist Dorothy Hodgkin who received her Nobel Prize for "determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances", Howard Florey who shared the 1945 Nobel prize "for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases", and John B. Goodenough, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019 "for the development of lithium-ion batteries". Both Richard Dawkins and Frederick Soddy studied at the university and returned for research purposes. Robert Hooke, Edwin Hubble, and Stephen Hawking all studied in Oxford.

Robert Boyle, a founder of modern chemistry, never formally studied or held a post within the university, but resided within the city to be part of the scientific community and was awarded an honorary degree. Notable scientists who spent brief periods at Oxford include Albert Einstein developer of general theory of relativity and the concept of photons; and Erwin Schrödinger who formulated the Schrödinger equation and the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. Structural engineer Roma Agrawal, responsible for London's Shard, attributes her love of engineering to a summer placement during her undergraduate physics degree at Oxford.

Economists Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, E. F. Schumacher, and Amartya Sen all spent time at Oxford.

Literature, music, and drama

Writers associated with Oxford include Vera Brittain, A.S. Byatt, Lewis Carroll, Penelope Fitzgerald, John Fowles, Theodor Geisel, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Joseph Heller, Christopher Hitchens, Aldous Huxley, Samuel Johnson, Nicole Krauss, C. S. Lewis, Thomas Middleton, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Naipaul, Philip Pullman, Dorothy L. Sayers, Vikram Seth, J. R. R. Tolkien, Evelyn Waugh, Oscar Wilde, the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Donne, A. E. Housman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot and Philip Larkin, and seven poets laureate: Thomas Warton, Henry James Pye, Robert Southey, Robert Bridges, Cecil Day-Lewis, Sir John Betjeman, and Andrew Motion.

Composers Hubert Parry, George Butterworth, John Taverner, William Walton, James Whitbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber have all been involved with the university.

Actors Hugh Grant, Kate Beckinsale, Rosamund Pike, Felicity Jones, Gemma Chan, Dudley Moore, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Anna Popplewell and Rowan Atkinson were students at the university, as were filmmakers Ken Loach and Richard Curtis.

Religion

Oxford has also produced at least 12 saints, 19 English cardinals, and 20 Archbishops of Canterbury, the most recent Archbishop being Rowan Williams, who studied at Wadham College and was later a Canon Professor at Christ Church. Duns Scotus' teaching is commemorated with a monument in the University Church of St. Mary. Religious reformer John Wycliffe was an Oxford scholar, for a time Master of Balliol College. John Colet, Christian humanist, Dean of St Paul's, and friend of Erasmus, studied at Magdalen College. Several of the Caroline Divines e.g. in particular William Laud as President of St. John's and Chancellor of the University, and the Non-Jurors, e.g. Thomas Ken had close Oxford connections. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, studied at Christ Church and was elected a fellow of Lincoln College. Britain's first woman to be an ordained minister, Constance Coltman, studied at Somerville College. The Oxford Movement (1833–1846) was closely associated with the Oriel fellows John Henry Newman, Edward Bouverie Pusey and John Keble. Other religious figures were Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the third Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Shoghi Effendi, one of the appointed leaders of the Baháʼí Faith, and Joseph Cordeiro, the first Pakistani Catholic cardinal.

Philosophy

Oxford's philosophical tradition started in the medieval era, with Robert Grosseteste and William of Ockham, commonly known for Occam's razor, among those teaching at the university. Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham and the empiricist John Locke received degrees from Oxford. Though the latter's main works were written after leaving Oxford, Locke was heavily influenced by his twelve years at the university.

Oxford philosophers of the 20th century include Richard Swinburne, a leading philosopher in the tradition of substance dualism; Peter Hacker, philosopher of mind, language, anthropology, and he is also known for his critique of cognitive neuroscience; J.L. Austin, a leading proponent of ordinary-language philosophy; Gilbert Ryle, author of The Concept of Mind; and Derek Parfit, who specialised in personal identity. Other commonly read modern philosophers to have studied at the university include A. J. Ayer, Elizabeth Anscombe, Paul Grice, Mary Midgley, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Nagel, Bernard Williams, Robert Nozick, Onora O'Neill, John Rawls, Michael Sandel, and Peter Singer. John Searle, presenter of the Chinese room thought experiment, studied and began his academic career at the university. Likewise, Philippa Foot, who mentioned the trolley problem, studied and taught at Somerville College.

Sport

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister, who had been at Exeter College and Merton College, ran the first sub-four-minute mile in Oxford.

Some 150 Olympic medal-winners have academic connections with the university, including Sir Matthew Pinsent, quadruple gold-medallist rower.

Rowers from Oxford who have won gold at the Olympics or World Championships include Michael Blomquist, Ed Coode, Chris Davidge, Hugh Edwards, Jason Flickinger, Tim Foster, Luka Grubor, Christopher Liwski, Matthew Pinsent, Pete Reed, Jonny Searle, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Jake Wetzel, Michael Wherley, and Barney Williams. Many Oxford graduates have also risen to the highest echelon in cricket: Harry Altham, Bernard Bosanquet (inventor of the googly), Colin Cowdrey, Gerry Crutchley, Jamie Dalrymple, Martin Donnelly, R. E. Foster (the only man to captain England at both cricket and football), C. B. Fry, George Harris (also served in the House of Lords), Douglas Jardine, Malcolm Jardine, Imran Khan, Sophie Le Marchand, Alan Melville, Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, M. J. K. Smith, and Pelham Warner.

Oxford students have also excelled in other sports. Such alumni include American football player Myron Rolle (NFL player); Olympic gold medalists in athletics David Hemery and Jack Lovelock; basketball players Bill Bradley (US Senator, NBA player, and Olympic gold medalist) and Charles Thomas McMillen (US Congressman, NBA player, and Olympic silver medalist); figure skater John Misha Petkevich (national champion); footballers John Bain, Charles Wreford-Brown, and Cuthbert Ottaway; fencer Allan Jay (world champion and five-time Olympian); modern pentathlete Steph Cook (Olympic gold medalist); rugby footballers Stuart Barnes, Simon Danielli, David Humphreys, David Edward Kirk, Anton Oliver, Ronald Poulton-Palmer, Joe Roff, and William Webb Ellis (allegedly the inventor of rugby football); World Cup freestyle skier Ryan Max Riley (national champion); polo player Claire Tomlinson (highest ranked woman world-wide); and tennis player Clarence Bruce.

Adventure and exploration

Explorers and adventurers who attended Oxford University

Three of the most well-known adventurers and explorers who attended Oxford are Walter Raleigh, one of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era, T. E. Lawrence, whose life was the basis of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, and Thomas Coryat. The latter, the author of "Coryat's Crudities hastily gobbled up in Five Months Travels in France, Italy, &c'" (1611) and court jester of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, is credited with introducing the table fork and umbrella to England and being the first Briton to do a Grand Tour of Europe.

Other notable figures include Gertrude Bell, an explorer, archaeologist, mapper and spy, who, along with T. E. Lawrence, helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan and Iraq and played a major role in establishing and administering the modern state of Iraq; Richard Francis Burton, who travelled in disguise to Mecca and journeyed with John Hanning Speke as the first European explorers to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile; anthropologist Katherine Routledge, who carried out the first survey of Easter Island; mountaineer Tom Bourdillon, member of the expedition to make the first ascent of Mount Everest; and Peter Fleming, adventurer and travel writer and elder brother of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.

The University of Oxford is the setting for numerous works of fiction.

Oxford was mentioned in fiction as early as 1400 when Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales referred to a "Clerk [student] of Oxenford".

By 1989, 533 novels based in Oxford had been identified and the number continues to rise.

Famous literary works range from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, which in 1981 was adapted as a television serial, to the trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, which features an alternate-reality version of the university and was adapted for film in 2007 and as a BBC television series in 2019.

Other notable examples include:

Notable non-fiction works on Oxford include Oxford by Jan Morris.

The university is parodied in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series with "Unseen University" and "Brazeneck College" (in reference to Brasenose College).

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  22. Adolphus Ballard, James Tait. (2010.) British Borough Charters 1216–1307 Archived 1 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Cambridge University Press, 222.
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  30. McKisack, May (1963). The Fourteenth Century 1307–1399. Oxford History of England. p. 501.
  31. Daniel J. Boorstin. (1958.) The Americans; the Colonial Experience, Vintage, pp. 171–184 Archived 24 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
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  33. "Early Modern Ireland, 1534–1691", editors: T. W. Moody, Theodore William Moody, Francis X. Martin, Francis John Byrne, Oxford University Press (1991), p. 618, ISBN 978-0-19-820242-4 [1]
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  40. For more details see Mark C. Curthoys, "Origins and Destinations: the social mobility of Oxford men and women" in Michael G. Brock and Mark C. Curthoys, eds. The History of the University of Oxford Volume 7: Nineteenth-Century (2000) part 2, pp 571–95.
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  42. The history of the University of Oxford: Nineteenth-century Oxford, Volumes 6–7, page 355.
  43. Harrison, Brian; Aston, Trevor Henry (1994). History of the University of Oxford: Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century – Oxford Scholarship. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229742.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-822974-2.
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  66. Brockliss, Laurence (2016).

    University of Oxford
university, oxford, language, watch, edit, oxford, university, redirects, here, other, uses, oxford, university, disambiguation, collegiate, research, university, oxford, england, there, evidence, teaching, early, 1096, making, oldest, university, english, spe. University of Oxford Language Watch Edit Oxford University redirects here For other uses see Oxford University disambiguation The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford England There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096 2 making it the oldest university in the English speaking world and the world s second oldest university in continuous operation 2 10 11 It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris 2 After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209 some academics fled north east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge 12 The two English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge University of OxfordCoat of armsLatin Universitas OxoniensisOther nameThe Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford 1 MottoLatin Dominus illuminatio meaMotto in EnglishThe Lord is my lightTypePublic research university Ancient universityEstablishedc 1096 925 years ago 1096 2 Endowment 6 1 billion including colleges 2019 3 Budget 2 145 billion 2019 20 3 ChancellorThe Lord Patten of BarnesVice ChancellorLouise Richardson 4 5 Academic staff6 995 2020 6 Students24 515 2019 7 Undergraduates11 955Postgraduates12 010Other students541 2017 8 LocationOxford England United Kingdom 51 45 18 N 01 15 18 W 51 75500 N 1 25500 W 51 75500 1 25500 Coordinates 51 45 18 N 01 15 18 W 51 75500 N 1 25500 W 51 75500 1 25500CampusUniversity townColours Oxford Blue 9 AthleticsThe Sporting BlueAffiliationsIARU Russell Group Europaeum EUA Golden Triangle G5 LERU SES Universities UKWebsiteox wbr ac wbr uk The university is made up of thirty nine semi autonomous constituent colleges six permanent private halls and a range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions 13 All the colleges are self governing institutions within the university each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities All students are members of a college 14 It does not have a main campus and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre Undergraduate teaching at Oxford consists of lectures small group tutorials at the colleges and halls seminars laboratory work and occasionally further tutorials provided by the central university faculties and departments Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally Oxford operates the world s oldest university museum as well as the largest university press in the world 15 and the largest academic library system nationwide 16 In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019 the university had a total income of 2 45 billion of which 624 8 million was from research grants and contracts 3 Oxford has educated a wide range of notable alumni including 28 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world 17 As of October 2020 72 Nobel Prize laureates 3 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have studied worked or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals 18 Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships including the Rhodes Scholarship one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes 19 Contents 1 History 1 1 Founding 1 2 Renaissance period 1 3 Modern period 1 3 1 Students 1 3 2 Reforms 1 4 Women s education 2 Buildings and sites 2 1 Map 2 2 Main sites 2 3 Parks 3 Organisation 3 1 Central governance 3 2 Colleges 3 3 Finances 3 3 1 Funding criticisms 3 4 Affiliations 4 Academic profile 4 1 Admission 4 2 Teaching and degrees 4 3 Scholarships and financial support 4 4 Libraries 4 5 Museums 4 6 Publishing 4 7 Rankings and reputation 4 8 Sexual harassment accusations 5 Student life 5 1 Traditions 5 2 Clubs and societies 5 3 Student union and common rooms 6 Notable alumni 6 1 Politics 6 2 Law 6 3 Mathematics and sciences 6 4 Literature music and drama 6 5 Religion 6 6 Philosophy 6 7 Sport 6 8 Adventure and exploration 7 Oxford in literature and other media 8 See also 9 References 9 1 Citations 9 2 Sources 9 2 1 Histories 9 2 2 Popular studies and collections 9 2 3 Guide books 10 External linksHistory EditSee also Timeline of Oxford Founding Edit Balliol College one of the university s oldest constituent colleges The University of Oxford s foundation date is unknown 20 It is known that teaching at Oxford existed in some form as early as 1096 but it is unclear when a university came into being 2 It grew quickly from 1167 when English students returned from the University of Paris 2 The historian Gerald of Wales lectured to such scholars in 1188 and the first known foreign scholar Emo of Friesland arrived in 1190 The head of the university had the title of chancellor from at least 1201 and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231 2 21 The university was granted a royal charter in 1248 during the reign of King Henry III 22 After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209 some academics fled from the violence to Cambridge later forming the University of Cambridge 12 23 Aerial view of Merton College s Mob Quad the oldest quadrangle of the university constructed in the years from 1288 to 1378 The students associated together on the basis of geographical origins into two nations representing the North northerners or Boreales who included the English people from north of the River Trent and the Scots and the South southerners or Australes who included English people from south of the Trent the Irish and the Welsh 24 25 In later centuries geographical origins continued to influence many students affiliations when membership of a college or hall became customary in Oxford In addition members of many religious orders including Dominicans Franciscans Carmelites and Augustinians settled in Oxford in the mid 13th century gained influence and maintained houses or halls for students 26 At about the same time private benefactors established colleges as self contained scholarly communities Among the earliest such founders were William of Durham who in 1249 endowed University College 26 and John Balliol father of a future King of Scots Balliol College bears his name 24 Another founder Walter de Merton a Lord Chancellor of England and afterwards Bishop of Rochester devised a series of regulations for college life 27 28 Merton College thereby became the model for such establishments at Oxford 29 as well as at the University of Cambridge Thereafter an increasing number of students lived in colleges rather than in halls and religious houses 26 In 1333 1334 an attempt by some dissatisfied Oxford scholars to found a new university at Stamford Lincolnshire was blocked by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge petitioning King Edward III 30 Thereafter until the 1820s no new universities were allowed to be founded in England even in London thus Oxford and Cambridge had a duopoly which was unusual in large western European countries 31 32 Renaissance period Edit In 1605 Oxford was still a walled city but several colleges had been built outside the city walls north is at the bottom on this map The new learning of the Renaissance greatly influenced Oxford from the late 15th century onwards Among university scholars of the period were William Grocyn who contributed to the revival of Greek language studies and John Colet the noted biblical scholar With the English Reformation and the breaking of communion with the Roman Catholic Church recusant scholars from Oxford fled to continental Europe settling especially at the University of Douai 33 The method of teaching at Oxford was transformed from the medieval scholastic method to Renaissance education although institutions associated with the university suffered losses of land and revenues As a centre of learning and scholarship Oxford s reputation declined in the Age of Enlightenment enrolments fell and teaching was neglected In 1636 34 William Laud the chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury codified the university s statutes These to a large extent remained its governing regulations until the mid 19th century Laud was also responsible for the granting of a charter securing privileges for the University Press and he made significant contributions to the Bodleian Library the main library of the university From the beginnings of the Church of England as the established church until 1866 membership of the church was a requirement to receive the BA degree from the university and dissenters were only permitted to receive the MA in 1871 35 An engraving of Christ Church Oxford 1742 The university was a centre of the Royalist party during the English Civil War 1642 1649 while the town favoured the opposing Parliamentarian cause 36 From the mid 18th century onwards however the university took little part in political conflicts Wadham College founded in 1610 was the undergraduate college of Sir Christopher Wren Wren was part of a brilliant group of experimental scientists at Oxford in the 1650s the Oxford Philosophical Club which included Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke This group held regular meetings at Wadham under the guidance of the college s Warden John Wilkins and the group formed the nucleus that went on to found the Royal Society Modern period Edit Students Edit Before reforms in the early 19th century the curriculum at Oxford was notoriously narrow and impractical Sir Spencer Walpole a historian of contemporary Britain and a senior government official had not attended any university He says few medical men few solicitors few persons intended for commerce or trade ever dreamed of passing through a university career He quotes the Oxford University Commissioners in 1852 stating The education imparted at Oxford was not such as to conduce to the advancement in life of many persons except those intended for the ministry 37 Nevertheless Walpole argued Among the many deficiencies attending a university education there was however one good thing about it and that was the education which the undergraduates gave themselves It was impossible to collect some thousand or twelve hundred of the best young men in England to give them the opportunity of making acquaintance with one another and full liberty to live their lives in their own way without evolving in the best among them some admirable qualities of loyalty independence and self control If the average undergraduate carried from University little or no learning which was of any service to him he carried from it a knowledge of men and respect for his fellows and himself a reverence for the past a code of honour for the present which could not but be serviceable He had enjoyed opportunities of intercourse with men some of whom were certain to rise to the highest places in the Senate in the Church or at the Bar He might have mixed with them in his sports in his studies and perhaps in his debating society and any associations which he had this formed had been useful to him at the time and might be a source of satisfaction to him in after life 38 Out of the students who matriculated in 1840 65 were sons of professionals 34 were Anglican ministers After graduation 87 became professionals 59 as Anglican clergy Out of the students who matriculated in 1870 59 were sons of professionals 25 were Anglican ministers After graduation 87 became professionals 42 as Anglican clergy 39 40 M C Curthoys and H S Jones argue that the rise of organised sport was one of the most remarkable and distinctive features of the history of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the late 19th and early 20th centuries It was carried over from the athleticism prevalent at the public schools such as Eton Winchester Shrewsbury and Harrow 41 All students regardless of their chosen area of study were required to spend at least their first year preparing for a first year examination that was heavily focused on classical languages Science students found this particularly burdensome and supported a separate science degree with Greek language study removed from their required courses This concept of a Bachelor of Science had been adopted at other European universities London University had implemented it in 1860 but an 1880 proposal at Oxford to replace the classical requirement with a modern language like German or French was unsuccessful After considerable internal wrangling over the structure of the arts curriculum in 1886 the natural science preliminary was recognized as a qualifying part of the first year examination 42 At the start of 1914 the university housed about 3 000 undergraduates and about 100 postgraduate students During the First World War many undergraduates and fellows joined the armed forces By 1918 virtually all fellows were in uniform and the student population in residence was reduced to 12 per cent of the pre war total 43 The University Roll of Service records that in total 14 792 members of the university served in the war with 2 716 18 36 killed 44 Not all the members of the university who served in the Great War were on the Allied side there is a remarkable memorial to members of New College who served in the German armed forces bearing the inscription In memory of the men of this college who coming from a foreign land entered into the inheritance of this place and returning fought and died for their country in the war 1914 1918 During the war years the university buildings became hospitals cadet schools and military training camps 43 Reforms Edit Two parliamentary commissions in 1852 issued recommendations for Oxford and Cambridge Archibald Campbell Tait former headmaster of Rugby School was a key member of the Oxford Commission he wanted Oxford to follow the German and Scottish model in which the professorship was paramount The commission s report envisioned a centralised university run predominantly by professors and faculties with a much stronger emphasis on research The professional staff should be strengthened and better paid For students restrictions on entry should be dropped and more opportunities given to poorer families It called for an enlargement of the curriculum with honours to be awarded in many new fields Undergraduate scholarships should be open to all Britons Graduate fellowships should be opened up to all members of the university It recommended that fellows be released from an obligation for ordination Students were to be allowed to save money by boarding in the city instead of in a college 45 46 The system of separate honour schools for different subjects began in 1802 with Mathematics and Literae Humaniores 47 Schools of Natural Sciences and Law and Modern History were added in 1853 47 By 1872 the last of these had split into Jurisprudence and Modern History Theology became the sixth honour school 48 In addition to these B A Honours degrees the postgraduate Bachelor of Civil Law B C L was and still is offered 49 The mid 19th century saw the impact of the Oxford Movement 1833 1845 led among others by the future Cardinal John Henry Newman The influence of the reformed model of German universities reached Oxford via key scholars such as Edward Bouverie Pusey Benjamin Jowett and Max Muller Administrative reforms during the 19th century included the replacement of oral examinations with written entrance tests greater tolerance for religious dissent and the establishment of four women s colleges Privy Council decisions in the 20th century e g the abolition of compulsory daily worship dissociation of the Regius Professorship of Hebrew from clerical status diversion of colleges theological bequests to other purposes loosened the link with traditional belief and practice Furthermore although the university s emphasis had historically been on classical knowledge its curriculum expanded during the 19th century to include scientific and medical studies Knowledge of Ancient Greek was required for admission until 1920 and Latin until 1960 The University of Oxford began to award doctorates for research in the first third of the 20th century The first Oxford DPhil in mathematics was awarded in 1921 50 The mid 20th century saw many distinguished continental scholars displaced by Nazism and communism relocating to Oxford The list of distinguished scholars at the University of Oxford is long and includes many who have made major contributions to politics the sciences medicine and literature As of October 2020 72 Nobel laureates and more than 50 world leaders have been affiliated with the University of Oxford 17 Women s education Edit First two women s colleges Lady Margaret Hall 1878 Somerville College 1879 The university passed a statute in 1875 allowing examinations for women at roughly undergraduate level 51 for a brief period in the early 1900s this allowed the steamboat ladies to receive ad eundem degrees from the University of Dublin 52 In June 1878 the Association for the Education of Women AEW was formed aiming for the eventual creation of a college for women in Oxford Some of the more prominent members of the association were George Granville Bradley T H Green and Edward Stuart Talbot Talbot insisted on a specifically Anglican institution which was unacceptable to most of the other members The two parties eventually split and Talbot s group founded Lady Margaret Hall in 1878 while T H Green founded the non denominational Somerville College in 1879 53 Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville opened their doors to their first 21 students 12 from Somerville 9 from Lady Margaret Hall in 1879 who attended lectures in rooms above an Oxford baker s shop 51 There were also 25 women students living at home or with friends in 1879 a group which evolved into the Society of Oxford Home Students and in 1952 into St Anne s College 54 55 These first three societies for women were followed by St Hugh s 1886 56 and St Hilda s 1893 57 All of these colleges later became coeducational starting with Lady Margaret Hall and St Anne s in 1979 58 59 and finishing with St Hilda s which began to accept male students in 2008 60 In the early 20th century Oxford and Cambridge were widely perceived to be bastions of male privilege 61 however the integration of women into Oxford moved forward during the First World War In 1916 women were admitted as medical students on a par with men and in 1917 the university accepted financial responsibility for women s examinations 43 On 7 October 1920 women became eligible for admission as full members of the university and were given the right to take degrees 62 In 1927 the university s dons created a quota that limited the number of female students to a quarter that of men a ruling which was not abolished until 1957 51 However during this period Oxford colleges were single sex so the number of women was also limited by the capacity of the women s colleges to admit students It was not until 1959 that the women s colleges were given full collegiate status 63 In 1974 Brasenose Jesus Wadham Hertford and St Catherine s became the first previously all male colleges to admit women 64 65 The majority of men s colleges accepted their first female students in 1979 65 with Christ Church following in 1980 66 and Oriel becoming the last men s college to admit women in 1985 67 Most of Oxford s graduate colleges were founded as coeducational establishments in the 20th century with the exception of St Antony s which was founded as a men s college in 1950 and began to accept women only in 1962 68 By 1988 40 of undergraduates at Oxford were female 69 in 2016 45 of the student population and 47 of undergraduate students were female 70 71 In June 2017 Oxford announced that starting the following academic year history students may choose to sit a take home exam in some courses with the intention that this will equalise rates of firsts awarded to women and men at Oxford 72 That same summer maths and computer science tests were extended by 15 minutes in a bid to see if female student scores would improve 73 74 The detective novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers herself one of the first women to gain an academic degree from Oxford is largely set in the all female Shrewsbury College Oxford based on Sayers own Somerville College 75 and the issue of women s education is central to its plot Social historian and Somerville College alumna Jane Robinson s book Bluestockings A Remarkable History of the First Women to Fight for an Education gives a very detailed and immersive account of this history 76 Buildings and sites Edit Scrollable image Aerial panorama of the university Map Edit Map of the University of Oxford St Anne s College Balliol College Christ Church College The Queen s College Worcester College Oriel College Corpus Christi College St Antony s College St Hugh s College Somerville College St John s College New College St Catherine s College Magdalen College All Souls College Brasenose College Exeter College Green Templeton College Harris Manchester College Hertford College Jesus College Keble College Kellogg College Lady Margaret Hall Linacre College Lincoln College Mansfield College Merton College Nuffield College Pembroke College St Cross College St Edmund Hall St Hilda s College St Peter s College Trinity College University College Wadham College Wolfson College Wolfson College Wolfson College is on Linton Road 580m from this arrow Blackfriars Campion Hall Regent s Park College Permanent Private Hall St Benet s Hall St Stephen s House St Stephen s House St Stephen s House is on Marston Street 350m from this arrow Wycliffe Hall Blackfriars Campion Hall Regent s Park College Permanent Private Hall St Benet s Hall St Stephen s House St Stephen s House Wycliffe Hall Maths Zoology Theology and Religion Philosophy Computer Science Plant Sciences Law Social Policy and Intervention Medieval and Modern LanguagesROQ Physics Blavatnik School of Government Chemistry Rothermere American Institute History Internet Martin School Oxford Man Institute International Development Pathology Geography and the Environment IT Classics Archaeology Biochemistry Bodleian Library Administration Radcliffe Science Library Radcliffe Camera Exam Schools Materials amp Engineering Medicine Said Business School Ashmolean amp Taylor Institution Sackler Oxford University Press Hebrew amp Jewish studies Linguistics Oriental Institute Ruskin Art SchoolUniversity of Oxford Faculties amp Facilities Central Oxford Show map of Oxford city centre St Anne s College Balliol College Christ Church College The Queen s College Worcester College Oriel College Corpus Christi College St Antony s College St Hugh s College Somerville College St John s College New College St Catherine s College Magdalen College All Souls College Brasenose College Exeter College Green Templeton College Harris Manchester College Hertford College Jesus College Keble College Kellogg College Lady Margaret Hall Linacre College Lincoln College Mansfield College Merton College Nuffield College Pembroke College St Cross College St Edmund Hall St Hilda s College St Peter s College Trinity College University College Wadham College Wolfson College Blackfriars Campion Hall Regent s Park College Permanent Private Hall St Benet s Hall St Stephen s House Wycliffe Hall Blackfriars Campion Hall Regent s Park College Permanent Private Hall St Benet s Hall St Stephen s House Wycliffe Hall Maths Zoology Theology and Religion Philosophy Computer Science Plant Sciences Law Social Policy and Intervention Medieval and Modern LanguagesROQ Physics Blavatnik School of Government Chemistry Rothermere American Institute History Internet Martin School Oxford Man Institute International Development Pathology Geography and the Environment IT Classics Archaeology Biochemistry Bodleian Library Administration Radcliffe Science Library Radcliffe Camera Exam Schools Materials amp Engineering Medicine Said Business School Ashmolean amp Taylor Institution Sackler Oxford University Press Hebrew amp Jewish studies Linguistics Oriental Institute Ruskin Art SchoolUniversity of OxfordShow map of OxfordKey University Department University Facility University Office College illustrative Permanent Private Hall Main sites Edit Atrium of the Chemistry Research Laboratory where the university has invested heavily in new facilities in recent years The Sheldonian Theatre built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1664 and 1668 hosts the university s Congregation as well as concerts and degree ceremonies The university is a city university in that it does not have a main campus instead colleges departments accommodation and other facilities are scattered throughout the city centre The Science Area in which most science departments are located is the area that bears closest resemblance to a campus The ten acre 4 hectare Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in the northwest of the city is currently under development However the larger colleges sites are of similar size to these areas Iconic university buildings include the Radcliffe Camera the Sheldonian Theatre used for music concerts lectures and university ceremonies and the Examination Schools where examinations and some lectures take place The University Church of St Mary the Virgin was used for university ceremonies before the construction of the Sheldonian Christ Church Cathedral uniquely serves as both a college chapel and as a cathedral In 2012 2013 the university built the controversial one hectare 400m 25m Castle Mill development of 4 5 storey blocks of student flats overlooking Cripley Meadow and the historic Port Meadow blocking views of the spires in the city centre 77 The development has been likened to building a skyscraper beside Stonehenge 78 Parks Edit Autumn in the Botanic Garden The University Parks are a 70 acre 28 ha parkland area in the northeast of the city near Keble College Somerville College and Lady Margaret Hall It is open to the public during daylight hours As well as providing gardens and exotic plants the Parks contains numerous sports fields used for official and unofficial fixtures and also contains sites of special interest including the Genetic Garden an experimental garden to elucidate and investigate evolutionary processes The Botanic Garden on the High Street is the oldest botanic garden in the UK It contains over 8 000 different plant species on 1 8 ha 4 1 2 acres It is one of the most diverse yet compact major collections of plants in the world and includes representatives of over 90 of the higher plant families The Harcourt Arboretum is a 130 acre 53 ha site six miles 10 km south of the city that includes native woodland and 67 acres 27 hectares of meadow The 1 000 acre 4 0 km2 Wytham Woods are owned by the university and used for research in zoology and climate change There are also various collegiate owned open spaces open to the public including Bagley Wood and most notably Christ Church Meadow 79 Organisation EditSee also Category Departments of the University of Oxford As a collegiate university Oxford is structured as a federation comprising over forty self governing colleges and halls along with a central administration headed by the Vice Chancellor Academic departments are located centrally within the structure of the federation they are not affiliated with any particular college Departments provide facilities for teaching and research determine the syllabi and guidelines for the teaching of students perform research and deliver lectures and seminars Colleges arrange the tutorial teaching for their undergraduates and the members of an academic department are spread around many colleges Though certain colleges do have subject alignments e g Nuffield College as a centre for the social sciences these are exceptions and most colleges will have a broad mix of academics and students from a diverse range of subjects Facilities such as libraries are provided on all these levels by the central university the Bodleian by the departments individual departmental libraries such as the English Faculty Library and by colleges each of which maintains a multi discipline library for the use of its members Central governance Edit The university s formal head is the Chancellor currently Lord Patten of Barnes though as at most British universities the Chancellor is a titular figure and is not involved with the day to day running of the university The Chancellor is elected by the members of Convocation a body comprising all graduates of the university and holds office until death 80 Wellington Square the name of which has become synonymous with the university s central administration The Vice Chancellor currently Louise Richardson 4 5 is the de facto head of the university Five pro vice chancellors have specific responsibilities for education research planning and resources development and external affairs and personnel and equal opportunities The University Council is the executive policy forming body which consists of the vice chancellor as well as heads of departments and other members elected by Congregation in addition to observers from the students union Congregation the parliament of the dons comprises over 3 700 members of the university s academic and administrative staff and has ultimate responsibility for legislative matters it discusses and pronounces on policies proposed by the University Council Two university proctors elected annually on a rotating basis from two of the colleges are the internal ombudsmen who make sure that the university and its members adhere to its statutes This role incorporates student discipline and complaints as well as oversight of the university s proceedings 81 The university s professors are collectively referred to as the Statutory Professors of the University of Oxford They are particularly influential in the running of the university s graduate programmes Examples of statutory professors are the Chichele Professorships and the Drummond Professor of Political Economy The various academic faculties departments and institutes are organised into four divisions each with its own head and elected board They are the Humanities Division the Social Sciences Division the Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences Division and the Medical Sciences Division The University of Oxford is a public university in the sense that it receives some public money from the government but it is a private university in the sense that it is entirely self governing and in theory could choose to become entirely private by rejecting public funds 82 Colleges Edit Main article Colleges of the University of Oxford Tom Quad Christ Church Main Quad Worcester College To be a member of the university all students and most academic staff must also be a member of a college or hall There are thirty nine colleges of the University of Oxford including Reuben College planned to admit students in 2021 83 and six permanent private halls PPHs each controlling its membership and with its own internal structure and activities 14 Not all colleges offer all courses but they generally cover a broad range of subjects The colleges are All Souls College Balliol College Brasenose College Christ Church Corpus Christi College Exeter College Green Templeton College Harris Manchester College Hertford College Jesus College Keble College Kellogg College Lady Margaret Hall Linacre College Lincoln College Magdalen College Mansfield College Merton College New College Nuffield College Oriel College Pembroke College The Queen s College Reuben College St Anne s College St Antony s College St Catherine s College St Cross College St Edmund Hall St Hilda s College St Hugh s College St John s College St Peter s College Somerville College Trinity College University College Wadham College Wolfson College Worcester College The permanent private halls were founded by different Christian denominations One difference between a college and a PPH is that whereas colleges are governed by the fellows of the college the governance of a PPH resides at least in part with the corresponding Christian denomination The six current PPHs are Blackfriars Campion Hall Regent s Park College St Benet s Hall St Stephen s House Wycliffe Hall The PPHs and colleges join together as the Conference of Colleges which represents the common concerns of the several colleges of the university to discuss matters of shared interest and to act collectively when necessary such as in dealings with the central university 84 85 The Conference of Colleges was established as a recommendation of the Franks Commission in 1965 86 Teaching members of the colleges i e fellows and tutors are collectively and familiarly known as dons although the term is rarely used by the university itself In addition to residential and dining facilities the colleges provide social cultural and recreational activities for their members Colleges have responsibility for admitting undergraduates and organising their tuition for graduates this responsibility falls upon the departments There is no common title for the heads of colleges the titles used include Warden Provost Principal President Rector Master and Dean Finances Edit Dining hall at Christ Church The hall is an important feature of the typical Oxford college providing a place to both dine and socialise In 2017 18 the university had an income of 2 237m key sources were research grants 579 1m and academic fees 332 5m 87 The colleges had a total income of 492 9m 88 While the university has a larger annual income and operating budget the colleges have a larger aggregate endowment over 4 9bn compared to the university s 1 2bn 3 The central University s endowment along with some of the colleges is managed by the university s wholly owned endowment management office Oxford University Endowment Management formed in 2007 89 The university has substantial investments in fossil fuel companies and in 2014 began consultations on whether it should follow some US universities which have committed to sell off their fossil fuel investments 90 The total assets of the colleges of 6 3 billion also exceed total university assets of 4 1 billion 88 87 The college figure does not reflect all the assets held by the colleges as their accounts do not include the cost or value of many of their main sites or heritage assets such as works of art or libraries 91 The university was one of the first in the UK to raise money through a major public fundraising campaign the Campaign for Oxford The current campaign its second was launched in May 2008 and is entitled Oxford Thinking The Campaign for the University of Oxford 92 This is looking to support three areas academic posts and programmes student support and buildings and infrastructure 93 having passed its original target of 1 25 billion in March 2012 the target was raised to 3 billion 94 The campaign had raised a total of 2 8 billion by July 2018 87 Funding criticisms Edit This section appears to be slanted towards recent events Please try to keep recent events in historical perspective and add more content related to non recent events January 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message The university has faced criticism for some of its sources of donations and funding including 726 706 from the Atomic Weapons Establishment the organisation that designs and produces the UK s nuclear warheads between 2017 and 2019 95 a donation of 150m from the US billionaire businessman Stephen A Schwarzman in 2019 96 and an 80m donation from businessmen David and Simon Reuben who were criticised for their trade with Russian aluminium factories in 2020 97 The university has defended its decisions saying it takes legal ethical and reputational issues into consideration Affiliations Edit Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research led British universities the G5 the League of European Research Universities and the International Alliance of Research Universities It is also a core member of the Europaeum and forms part of the golden triangle of highly research intensive and elite English universities 98 Academic profile EditAdmission Edit University admission statistics 99 Year Applications Offers Offer rate Admitted Yield 2019 23 020 3 889 16 9 3 280 84 32018 21 515 3 840 17 8 3 309 86 22017 19 938 3 771 18 9 3 270 86 72016 19 144 3 751 19 6 3 262 87 02015 18 377 3 663 19 9 3 216 87 8 Percentage of state school students at Oxford and Cambridge 100 101 In common with most British universities prospective students apply through the UCAS application system but prospective applicants for the University of Oxford along with those for medicine dentistry and University of Cambridge applicants must observe an earlier deadline of 15 October 102 The Sutton Trust maintains that Oxford University and Cambridge University recruit disproportionately from 8 schools which accounted for 1 310 Oxbridge places during three years contrasted with 1 220 from 2 900 other schools 103 To allow a more personalised judgement of students who might otherwise apply for both undergraduate applicants are not permitted to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same year The only exceptions are applicants for organ scholarships 104 and those applying to read for a second undergraduate degree 105 Oxford has the lowest offer rate of all Russell Group universities 106 Most applicants choose to apply to one of the individual colleges which work with each other to ensure that the best students gain a place somewhere at the university regardless of their college preferences 107 Shortlisting is based on achieved and predicted exam results school references and in some subjects written admission tests or candidate submitted written work Approximately 60 of applicants are shortlisted although this varies by subject If a large number of shortlisted applicants for a subject choose one college then students who named that college may be reallocated randomly to under subscribed colleges for the subject The colleges then invite shortlisted candidates for interview where they are provided with food and accommodation for around three days in December Most applicants will be individually interviewed by academics at more than one college Students from outside Europe can be interviewed remotely for example over the Internet Offers are sent out in early January with each offer usually being from a specific college One in four successful candidates receives an offer from a college that they did not apply to Some courses may make open offers to some candidates who are not assigned to a particular college until A Level results day in August 108 109 The university has come under criticism for the number of students it accepts from private schools 110 for instance Laura Spence s rejection from the university in 2000 led to widespread debate 111 In 2016 the University of Oxford gave 59 of offers to UK students to students from state schools while about 93 of all UK pupils and 86 of post 16 UK pupils are educated in state schools 112 113 114 However 64 of UK applicants were from state schools and the university notes that state school students apply disproportionately to oversubscribed subjects 115 The proportion of students coming from state schools has been increasing From 2015 to 2019 the state proportion of total UK students admitted each year was 55 6 58 0 58 2 60 5 and 62 3 99 Oxford University spends over 6 million per year on outreach programs to encourage applicants from underrepresented demographics 112 In 2018 the university s annual admissions report revealed that eight of Oxford s colleges had accepted fewer than three black applicants in the past three years 116 Labour MP David Lammy said This is social apartheid and it is utterly unrepresentative of life in modern Britain 117 In 2020 Oxford had increased its proportion of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic BAME students to record levels 118 119 The number of BAME undergraduates accepted to the university in 2020 rose to 684 students or 23 6 of the UK intake up from 558 or 22 in 2019 the number of Black students was 106 3 7 of the intake up from 80 students 3 2 119 120 UCAS data also showed that Oxford is more likely than comparable institutions to make offers to ethnic minority and socially disadvantaged pupils 118 Teaching and degrees Edit Main articles Degrees of the University of Oxford List of professorships at the University of Oxford and Undergraduate education at University of Oxford Undergraduate teaching is centred on the tutorial where 1 4 students spend an hour with an academic discussing their week s work usually an essay humanities most social sciences some mathematical physical and life sciences or problem sheet most mathematical physical and life sciences and some social sciences The university itself is responsible for conducting examinations and conferring degrees Undergraduate teaching takes place during three eight week academic terms Michaelmas Hilary and Trinity 121 These are officially known as Full Term Term is a lengthier period with little practical significance Internally the weeks in a term begin on Sundays and are referred to numerically with the initial week known as first week the last as eighth week and with the numbering extended to refer to weeks before and after term for example noughth week precedes term 122 Undergraduates must be in residence from Thursday of 0th week These teaching terms are shorter than those of most other British universities 123 and their total duration amounts to less than half the year However undergraduates are also expected to do some academic work during the three holidays known as the Christmas Easter and Long Vacations Research degrees at the master s and doctoral level are conferred in all subjects studied at graduate level at the university Scholarships and financial support Edit Rhodes House home to the awarding body for the Rhodes Scholarships often considered to be the world s most prestigious scholarship There are many opportunities for students at Oxford to receive financial help during their studies The Oxford Opportunity Bursaries introduced in 2006 are university wide means based bursaries available to any British undergraduate with a total possible grant of 10 235 over a 3 year degree In addition individual colleges also offer bursaries and funds to help their students For graduate study there are many scholarships attached to the university available to students from all sorts of backgrounds from Rhodes Scholarships to the relatively new Weidenfeld Scholarships 124 Oxford also offers the Clarendon Scholarship which is open to graduate applicants of all nationalities 125 The Clarendon Scholarship is principally funded by Oxford University Press in association with colleges and other partnership awards 126 127 In 2016 Oxford University announced that it is to run its first free online economics course as part of a massive open online course Mooc scheme in partnership with a US online university network 128 The course available is called From Poverty to Prosperity Understanding Economic Development Students successful in early examinations are rewarded by their colleges with scholarships and exhibitions normally the result of a long standing endowment although since the introduction of tuition fees the amounts of money available are purely nominal Scholars and exhibitioners in some colleges are entitled to wear a more voluminous undergraduate gown commoners originally those who had to pay for their commons or food and lodging are restricted to a short sleeveless garment The term scholar in relation to Oxford therefore has a specific meaning as well as the more general meaning of someone of outstanding academic ability In previous times there were noblemen commoners and gentlemen commoners but these ranks were abolished in the 19th century Closed scholarships available only to candidates who fitted specific conditions such as coming from specific schools were abolished in the 1970s and 1980s 129 Libraries Edit See also Category Libraries of the University of Oxford The Clarendon Building is home to many senior Bodleian Library staff and previously housed the university s own central administration The university maintains the largest university library system in the UK 16 and with over 11 million volumes housed on 120 miles 190 km of shelving the Bodleian group is the second largest library in the UK after the British Library The Bodleian is a legal deposit library which means that it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK As such its collection is growing at a rate of over three miles five kilometres of shelving every year 130 The buildings referred to as the university s main research library The Bodleian consist of the original Bodleian Library in the Old Schools Quadrangle founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1598 and opened in 1602 131 the Radcliffe Camera the Clarendon Building and the Weston Library A tunnel underneath Broad Street connects these buildings with the Gladstone Link which opened to readers in 2011 connecting the Old Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera The Bodleian Libraries group was formed in 2000 bringing the Bodleian Library and some of the subject libraries together 132 It now comprises 28 133 libraries a number of which have been created by bringing previously separate collections together including the Sackler Library Law Library Social Science Library and Radcliffe Science Library 132 Another major product of this collaboration has been a joint integrated library system OLIS Oxford Libraries Information System 134 and its public interface SOLO Search Oxford Libraries Online which provides an electronic catalogue covering all member libraries as well as the libraries of individual colleges and other faculty libraries which are not members of the group but do share cataloguing information 135 Duke Humfrey s Library in the Bodleian Library A new book depository opened in South Marston Swindon in October 2010 136 and recent building projects include the remodelling of the New Bodleian building which was renamed the Weston Library when it reopened in 2015 137 138 The renovation is designed to better showcase the library s various treasures which include a Shakespeare First Folio and a Gutenberg Bible as well as temporary exhibitions The Bodleian engaged in a mass digitisation project with Google in 2004 139 140 Notable electronic resources hosted by the Bodleian Group include the Electronic Enlightenment Project which was awarded the 2010 Digital Prize by the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies 141 Museums Edit See also Category Museums of the University of Oxford Oxford maintains a number of museums and galleries open for free to the public The Ashmolean Museum founded in 1683 is the oldest museum in the UK and the oldest university museum in the world 142 It holds significant collections of art and archaeology including works by Michelangelo Leonardo da Vinci Turner and Picasso as well as treasures such as the Scorpion Macehead the Parian Marble and the Alfred Jewel It also contains The Messiah a pristine Stradivarius violin regarded by some as one of the finest examples in existence The University Museum of Natural History holds the university s zoological entomological and geological specimens It is housed in a large neo Gothic building on Parks Road in the university s Science Area 143 144 Among its collection are the skeletons of a Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops and the most complete remains of a dodo found anywhere in the world It also hosts the Simonyi Professorship of the Public Understanding of Science currently held by Marcus du Sautoy The interior of the Pitt Rivers Museum Adjoining the Museum of Natural History is the Pitt Rivers Museum founded in 1884 which displays the university s archaeological and anthropological collections currently holding over 500 000 items It recently built a new research annexe its staff have been involved with the teaching of anthropology at Oxford since its foundation when as part of his donation General Augustus Pitt Rivers stipulated that the university establish a lectureship in anthropology The Museum of the History of Science is housed on Broad Street in the world s oldest surviving purpose built museum building 145 It contains 15 000 artefacts from antiquity to the 20th century representing almost all aspects of the history of science In the Faculty of Music on St Aldate s is the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments a collection mostly of instruments from Western classical music from the medieval period onwards Christ Church Picture Gallery holds a collection of over 200 old master paintings Publishing Edit Main article Oxford University Press The Oxford University Press is the world s second oldest and currently the largest university press by the number of publications 15 More than 6 000 new books are published annually 146 including many reference professional and academic works such as the Oxford English Dictionary the Concise Oxford English Dictionary the Oxford World s Classics the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the Concise Dictionary of National Biography Rankings and reputation Edit RankingsNational rankingsComplete 2022 147 1Guardian 2021 148 1Times Sunday Times 2021 149 2Global rankingsARWU 2021 150 7CWTS Leiden 2020 151 11QS 2022 152 2THE 2021 153 1British Government assessmentTeaching Excellence Framework 154 Gold Oxford is regularly ranked within the top 5 universities in the world and is currently ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 155 156 as well as the Forbes s World University Rankings 157 It held the number one position in the Times Good University Guide for eleven consecutive years 158 and the medical school has also maintained first place in the Clinical Pre Clinical amp Health table of the Times Higher Education THE World University Rankings for the past seven consecutive years 159 In 2021 it ranked 6th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings 160 The THE has also recognised Oxford as one of the world s six super brands on its World Reputation Rankings along with Berkeley Cambridge Harvard MIT and Stanford 161 The university is fifth worldwide on the US News ranking 162 Its Said Business School came 13th in the world in Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 163 Oxford was ranked ninth in the world in 2015 by the Nature Index which measures the largest contributors to papers published in 82 leading journals 164 165 It is ranked 5th best university worldwide and 1st in Britain for forming CEOs according to the Professional Ranking World Universities 166 and first in the UK for the quality of its graduates as chosen by the recruiters of the UK s major companies 167 In the 2018 Complete University Guide all 38 subjects offered by Oxford rank within the top 10 nationally meaning Oxford was one of only two multi faculty universities along with Cambridge in the UK to have 100 of their subjects in the top 10 168 Computer Science Medicine Philosophy Politics and Psychology were ranked first in the UK by the guide 169 According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject the University of Oxford also ranks as number one in the world for four Humanities disciplines English Language and Literature Modern Languages Geography and History It also ranks 2nd globally for Anthropology Archaeology Law Medicine Politics amp International Studies and Psychology 170 Sexual harassment accusations Edit In 2015 a half dozen students filed a complaint through sexual harassment attorney and Oxford alumna Ann Olivarius against Oxford for what The Times called an epidemic of sexual misconduct 171 172 Oxford has also been accused of using non disclosure agreements or gagging orders to silence students who report sexual harassment 173 In 2020 it was reported that Oxford saw a 15 fold increase in sexual harassment and violence 174 Student life EditTraditions Edit See also Academic dress of the University of Oxford An undergraduate student at the University of Oxford in subfusc for matriculation Academic dress is required for examinations matriculation disciplinary hearings and when visiting university officers A referendum held among the Oxford student body in 2015 showed 76 against making it voluntary in examinations 8 671 students voted with the 40 2 turnout the highest ever for a UK student union referendum 175 This was widely interpreted by students as being a vote on not so much making subfusc voluntary but rather in effect abolishing it by default in that if a minority of people came to exams without subfusc the rest would soon follow 176 In July 2012 the regulations regarding academic dress were modified to be more inclusive to transgender people 177 Other traditions and customs vary by college For example some colleges have formal hall six times a week but in others this only happens occasionally or even not at all At most colleges these formal meals require gowns to be worn and a Latin grace is said Balls are major events held by colleges the largest held triennially in 9th week of Trinity Term are called commemoration balls the dress code is usually white tie Many other colleges hold smaller events during the year that they call summer balls or parties These are usually held on an annual or irregular basis and are usually black tie Punting is a common summer leisure activity There are several more or less quirky traditions peculiar to individual colleges for example the All Souls Mallard song Clubs and societies Edit See also Category Clubs and societies of the University of Oxford Rowing at Summer Eights an annual intercollegiate bumps race Sport is played between college teams in tournaments known as cuppers the term is also used for some non sporting competitions In addition to these there are higher standard university wide groups Significant focus is given to annual varsity matches played against Cambridge the most famous of which is The Boat Race watched by a TV audience of between five and ten million viewers This outside interest reflects the importance of rowing to many of those within the university Much attention is given to the termly intercollegiate rowing regattas Christ Church Regatta Torpids and Summer Eights A blue is an award given to those who compete at the university team level in certain sports As well as traditional sports there are teams for activities such as Octopush and quidditch There are two weekly student newspapers the independent Cherwell and OUSU s The Oxford Student Other publications include the Isis magazine the satirical Oxymoron and the graduate Oxonian Review The student radio station is Oxide Radio Most colleges have chapel choirs Music drama and other arts societies exist both at the collegiate level and as university wide groups such as the Oxford University Dramatic Society and the Oxford Revue Unlike most other collegiate societies musical ensembles actively encourage players from other colleges The Oxford Union s debating chamber Most academic areas have student societies of some form which are open to students studying all courses for example the Scientific Society There are groups for almost all faiths political parties countries and cultures The Oxford Union not to be confused with the Oxford University Student Union hosts weekly debates and high profile speakers There have historically been elite invitation only societies such as the Bullingdon Club Student union and common rooms Edit The Oxford University Student Union formerly better known by its acronym OUSU and now rebranded as Oxford SU 178 exists to represent students in the university s decision making to act as the voice for students in the national higher education policy debate and to provide direct services to the student body Reflecting the collegiate nature of the University of Oxford itself OUSU is both an association of Oxford s more than 21 000 individual students and a federation of the affiliated college common rooms and other affiliated organisations that represent subsets of the undergraduate and graduate students The OUSU Executive Committee includes six full time salaried sabbatical officers who generally serve in the year following completion of their Final Examinations The importance of collegiate life is such that for many students their college JCR Junior Common Room for undergraduates or MCR Middle Common Room for graduates is seen as more important than OUSU JCRs and MCRs each have a committee with a president and other elected students representing their peers to college authorities Additionally they organise events and often have significant budgets to spend as they wish money coming from their colleges and sometimes other sources such as student run bars It is worth noting that JCR and MCR are terms that are used to refer to rooms for use by members as well as the student bodies Not all colleges use this JCR MCR structure for example Wadham College s entire student population is represented by a combined Students Union and purely graduate colleges have different arrangements Notable alumni EditMain articles List of University of Oxford people and List of Nobel laureates affiliated with the University of Oxford Throughout its history a sizeable number of Oxford alumni known as Oxonians have become notable in many varied fields both academic and otherwise A total of 69 Nobel prize winners have studied or taught at Oxford with prizes won in all six categories 17 More information on notable 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 Politics Edit British Prime Ministers who attended Oxford University Margaret Thatcher Somerville College Tony Blair St John s College Boris Johnson Balliol College Twenty eight British prime ministers have attended Oxford including William Gladstone H H Asquith Clement Attlee Harold Macmillan Edward Heath Harold Wilson Margaret Thatcher Tony Blair David Cameron Theresa May and Boris Johnson Of all the post war prime ministers only Gordon Brown was educated at a university other than Oxford the University of Edinburgh while Winston Churchill James Callaghan and John Major never attended a university 179 Over 100 Oxford alumni were elected to the House of Commons in 2010 179 This includes former Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband and numerous members of the cabinet and shadow cabinet Additionally over 140 Oxonians sit in the House of Lords 17 International leaders who attended Oxford University Aung San Suu Kyi St Hugh s College Indira Gandhi Somerville College Bill Clinton University College At least 30 other international leaders have been educated at Oxford 17 This number includes Harald V of Norway 180 Abdullah II of Jordan 17 William II of the Netherlands five Prime Ministers of Australia John Gorton Malcolm Fraser Bob Hawke Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull 181 182 183 Six Prime Ministers of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy Sir Feroz Khan Noon Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan 17 two Prime Ministers of Canada Lester B Pearson and John Turner 17 184 two Prime Ministers of India Manmohan Singh and Indira Gandhi though the latter did not finish her degree 17 185 Prime Minister of Ceylon S W R D Bandaranaike Norman Washington Manley of Jamaica 186 Haitham bin Tariq Al Said Sultan of Oman 187 Eric Williams Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Pedro Pablo Kuczynski former President of Peru Abhisit Vejjajiva former Prime Minister of Thailand and Bill Clinton the first President of the United States to have attended Oxford he attended as a Rhodes Scholar 17 188 Arthur Mutambara Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe was a Rhodes Scholar in 1991 Seretse Khama first president of Botswana spent a year at Balliol College Festus Mogae former president of Botswana was a student at University College The Burmese democracy activist and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was a student of St Hugh s College 189 Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck the current reigning Druk Gyalpo Dragon King of Bhutan was a member of Magdalen College 190 The world s youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai completed a BA in Philosophy Politics and Economics 191 Law Edit Lawyers who attended Oxford University Lord Neuberger Christ Church Ronald Dworkin Magdalen College Elena Kagan Worcester College Oxford has produced a large number of distinguished jurists judges and lawyers around the world Lords Bingham and Denning commonly recognised as two of the most influential English judges in the history of the common law 192 193 194 195 both studied at Oxford Within the United Kingdom three of the current justices of the Supreme Court are Oxford educated Robert Reed Deputy President of the Supreme Court Nicholas Wilson and Michael Briggs 196 retired Justices include David Neuberger President of the Supreme Court 2012 2017 Jonathan Mance Deputy President of the Supreme Court 2017 2018 Alan Rodger Jonathan Sumption Mark Saville John Dyson and Simon Brown The twelve Lord Chancellors and nine Lord Chief Justices that have been educated at Oxford include Thomas Bingham 192 Stanley Buckmaster Thomas More 197 Thomas Wolsey 198 Gavin Simonds 199 The twenty two Law Lords count amongst them Leonard Hoffmann Kenneth Diplock Richard Wilberforce James Atkin Simon Brown Nicolas Browne Wilkinson Robert Goff Brian Hutton Jonathan Mance Alan Rodger Mark Saville Leslie Scarman Johan Steyn 200 Master of the Rolls include Alfred Denning and Wilfred Greene 195 Lord Justices of Appeal include John Laws Brian Leveson and John Mummery The British Government s Attorneys General have included Dominic Grieve Nicholas Lyell Patrick Mayhew John Hobson Reginald Manningham Buller Lionel Heald Frank Soskice David Maxwell Fyfe Donald Somervell William Jowitt Directors of Public Prosecutions include Sir Thomas Hetherington QC Dame Barbara Mills QC and Sir Keir Starmer QC In the United States three of the nine incumbent Justices of the Supreme Court are Oxonians namely Stephen Breyer 201 Elena Kagan 202 and Neil Gorsuch 203 retired Justices include John Marshall Harlan II 204 David Souter 205 and Byron White 206 Internationally Oxonians Sir Humphrey Waldock 207 served in the International Court of Justice Akua Kuenyehia sat in the International Criminal Court Sir Nicolas Bratza 208 and Paul Mahoney sat in the European Court of Human Rights Kenneth Hayne 209 Dyson Heydon as well as Patrick Keane sat in the High Court of Australia both Kailas Nath Wanchoo A N Ray served as Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India Cornelia Sorabji Oxford s first female law student was India s first female advocate in Hong Kong Aarif Barma Thomas Au and Doreen Le Pichon 210 currently serve in the Court of Appeal Hong Kong while Charles Ching and Henry Litton both served as Permanent Judges of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong 211 six Puisne Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada and a chief justice of the now defunct Federal Court of Canada were also educated at Oxford The list of noted legal scholars includes H L A Hart 212 Ronald Dworkin 212 Andrew Burrows Sir Guenter Treitel Jeremy Waldron A V Dicey William Blackstone John Gardner Robert A Gorman Timothy Endicott Peter Birks John Finnis Andrew Ashworth Joseph Raz Paul Craig Leslie Green Tony Honore Neil MacCormick and Hugh Collins Other distinguished practitioners who have attended Oxford include Lord Pannick Qc 213 Geoffrey Robertson QC Amal Clooney 214 Lord Faulks QC and Dinah Rose QC Mathematics and sciences Edit Scientists who attended Oxford University Stephen Hawking University College Tim Berners Lee The Queen s College Dorothy Hodgkin Somerville College Three Oxford mathematicians Michael Atiyah Daniel Quillen and Simon Donaldson have won Fields Medals often called the Nobel Prize for mathematics Andrew Wiles who proved Fermat s Last Theorem was educated at Oxford and is currently the Regius Professor and Royal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at Oxford 215 Marcus du Sautoy and Roger Penrose are both currently mathematics professors and Jackie Stedall was a professor of the university Stephen Wolfram chief designer of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha studied at the university along with Tim Berners Lee 17 inventor of the World Wide Web 216 Edgar F Codd inventor of the relational model of data 217 and Tony Hoare programming languages pioneer and inventor of Quicksort The university is associated with eleven winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry five in physics and sixteen in medicine 218 Scientists who performed research in Oxford include chemist Dorothy Hodgkin who received her Nobel Prize for determinations by X ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances 219 Howard Florey who shared the 1945 Nobel prize for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases and John B Goodenough who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019 for the development of lithium ion batteries 220 Both Richard Dawkins 221 and Frederick Soddy 222 studied at the university and returned for research purposes Robert Hooke 17 Edwin Hubble 17 and Stephen Hawking 17 all studied in Oxford Robert Boyle a founder of modern chemistry never formally studied or held a post within the university but resided within the city to be part of the scientific community and was awarded an honorary degree 223 Notable scientists who spent brief periods at Oxford include Albert Einstein 224 developer of general theory of relativity and the concept of photons and Erwin Schrodinger who formulated the Schrodinger equation and the Schrodinger s cat thought experiment Structural engineer Roma Agrawal responsible for London s Shard attributes her love of engineering to a summer placement during her undergraduate physics degree at Oxford Economists Adam Smith Alfred Marshall E F Schumacher and Amartya Sen all spent time at Oxford Literature music and drama Edit Literary figures who attended Oxford University Oscar Wilde Magdalen College Vera Brittain Somerville College J R R Tolkien Exeter College Writers associated with Oxford include Vera Brittain A S Byatt Lewis Carroll 225 Penelope Fitzgerald John Fowles Theodor Geisel Robert Graves Graham Greene 226 Joseph Heller 227 Christopher Hitchens Aldous Huxley 228 Samuel Johnson Nicole Krauss C S Lewis 229 Thomas Middleton Iris Murdoch V S Naipaul Philip Pullman 17 Dorothy L Sayers Vikram Seth 17 J R R Tolkien 230 Evelyn Waugh 231 Oscar Wilde 232 the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley 233 John Donne 234 A E Housman 235 Gerard Manley Hopkins W H Auden 236 T S Eliot and Philip Larkin 237 and seven poets laureate Thomas Warton 238 Henry James Pye 239 Robert Southey 240 Robert Bridges 241 Cecil Day Lewis 242 Sir John Betjeman 243 and Andrew Motion 244 Composers Hubert Parry George Butterworth John Taverner William Walton James Whitbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber have all been involved with the university Actors who attended Oxford University Rowan Atkinson Queen s College Rosamund Pike Wadham College Hugh Grant New College Actors Hugh Grant 245 Kate Beckinsale 245 Rosamund Pike Felicity Jones Gemma Chan Dudley Moore 246 Michael Palin 17 Terry Jones 247 Anna Popplewell and Rowan Atkinson were students at the university as were filmmakers Ken Loach 248 and Richard Curtis 17 Religion Edit Oxford has also produced at least 12 saints 19 English cardinals and 20 Archbishops of Canterbury the most recent Archbishop being Rowan Williams who studied at Wadham College and was later a Canon Professor at Christ Church 17 249 Duns Scotus teaching is commemorated with a monument in the University Church of St Mary Religious reformer John Wycliffe was an Oxford scholar for a time Master of Balliol College John Colet Christian humanist Dean of St Paul s and friend of Erasmus studied at Magdalen College Several of the Caroline Divines e g in particular William Laud as President of St John s and Chancellor of the University and the Non Jurors e g Thomas Ken had close Oxford connections The founder of Methodism John Wesley studied at Christ Church and was elected a fellow of Lincoln College 250 Britain s first woman to be an ordained minister Constance Coltman studied at Somerville College The Oxford Movement 1833 1846 was closely associated with the Oriel fellows John Henry Newman Edward Bouverie Pusey and John Keble Other religious figures were Mirza Nasir Ahmad the third Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Shoghi Effendi one of the appointed leaders of the Bahaʼi Faith and Joseph Cordeiro the first Pakistani Catholic cardinal 251 Philosophy Edit Philosophers who attended Oxford University John Locke Christ Church Mary Midgley Somerville College Thomas Hobbes Hertford College Oxford s philosophical tradition started in the medieval era with Robert Grosseteste 252 and William of Ockham 252 commonly known for Occam s razor among those teaching at the university Thomas Hobbes 253 254 Jeremy Bentham and the empiricist John Locke received degrees from Oxford Though the latter s main works were written after leaving Oxford Locke was heavily influenced by his twelve years at the university 252 Oxford philosophers of the 20th century include Richard Swinburne a leading philosopher in the tradition of substance dualism Peter Hacker philosopher of mind language anthropology and he is also known for his critique of cognitive neuroscience J L Austin a leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy Gilbert Ryle 252 author of The Concept of Mind and Derek Parfit who specialised in personal identity Other commonly read modern philosophers to have studied at the university include A J Ayer 252 Elizabeth Anscombe Paul Grice Mary Midgley Iris Murdoch Thomas Nagel Bernard Williams Robert Nozick Onora O Neill John Rawls Michael Sandel and Peter Singer John Searle presenter of the Chinese room thought experiment studied and began his academic career at the university 255 Likewise Philippa Foot who mentioned the trolley problem studied and taught at Somerville College 256 Sport Edit People in sports who attended Oxford University Imran Khan Keble College Bill Bradley Worcester College Matthew Pinsent St Catherine s College Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister who had been at Exeter College and Merton College ran the first sub four minute mile in Oxford Some 150 Olympic medal winners have academic connections with the university including Sir Matthew Pinsent quadruple gold medallist rower 17 257 Rowers from Oxford who have won gold at the Olympics or World Championships include Michael Blomquist Ed Coode Chris Davidge Hugh Edwards Jason Flickinger Tim Foster Luka Grubor Christopher Liwski Matthew Pinsent Pete Reed Jonny Searle Andrew Triggs Hodge Jake Wetzel Michael Wherley and Barney Williams Many Oxford graduates have also risen to the highest echelon in cricket Harry Altham Bernard Bosanquet inventor of the googly Colin Cowdrey Gerry Crutchley Jamie Dalrymple Martin Donnelly R E Foster the only man to captain England at both cricket and football C B Fry George Harris also served in the House of Lords Douglas Jardine Malcolm Jardine Imran Khan Sophie Le Marchand Alan Melville Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi M J K Smith and Pelham Warner Oxford students have also excelled in other sports Such alumni include American football player Myron Rolle NFL player Olympic gold medalists in athletics David Hemery and Jack Lovelock basketball players Bill Bradley US Senator NBA player and Olympic gold medalist and Charles Thomas McMillen US Congressman NBA player and Olympic silver medalist figure skater John Misha Petkevich national champion footballers John Bain Charles Wreford Brown and Cuthbert Ottaway fencer Allan Jay world champion and five time Olympian modern pentathlete Steph Cook Olympic gold medalist rugby footballers Stuart Barnes Simon Danielli David Humphreys David Edward Kirk Anton Oliver Ronald Poulton Palmer Joe Roff and William Webb Ellis allegedly the inventor of rugby football World Cup freestyle skier Ryan Max Riley national champion polo player Claire Tomlinson highest ranked woman world wide and tennis player Clarence Bruce Adventure and exploration Edit Explorers and adventurers who attended Oxford University Gertrude Bell Lady Margaret Hall T E Lawrence Jesus College Sir Walter Raleigh Oriel College Three of the most well known adventurers and explorers who attended Oxford are Walter Raleigh one of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era T E Lawrence whose life was the basis of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia and Thomas Coryat The latter the author of Coryat s Crudities hastily gobbled up in Five Months Travels in France Italy amp c 1611 and court jester of Henry Frederick Prince of Wales is credited with introducing the table fork and umbrella to England and being the first Briton to do a Grand Tour of Europe 258 Other notable figures include Gertrude Bell an explorer archaeologist mapper and spy who along with T E Lawrence helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan and Iraq and played a major role in establishing and administering the modern state of Iraq Richard Francis Burton who travelled in disguise to Mecca and journeyed with John Hanning Speke as the first European explorers to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile anthropologist Katherine Routledge who carried out the first survey of Easter Island mountaineer Tom Bourdillon member of the expedition to make the first ascent of Mount Everest and Peter Fleming adventurer and travel writer and elder brother of Ian Fleming creator of James Bond Oxford in literature and other media EditMain article University of Oxford in popular culture The University of Oxford is the setting for numerous works of fiction Oxford was mentioned in fiction as early as 1400 when Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales referred to a Clerk student of Oxenford By 1989 533 novels based in Oxford had been identified and the number continues to rise 259 Famous literary works range from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh which in 1981 was adapted as a television serial to the trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman which features an alternate reality version of the university and was adapted for film in 2007 and as a BBC television series in 2019 Other notable examples include Zuleika Dobson 1911 by Max Beerbohm a satire about undergraduate life Sinister Street 1913 1914 by Compton MacKenzie himself a graduate of Magdalen College a Bildungsroman about two children born out of wedlock Gaudy Night 1935 by Dorothy L Sayers herself a graduate of Somerville College a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novel The Inspector Morse detective novels 1975 1999 by Colin Dexter adapted for television as Inspector Morse 1987 2000 the spin off Lewis 2006 2015 and the prequel Endeavour 2012 True Blue 1996 a film about the mutiny at the time of the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race of 1987 The History Boys 2004 by Alan Bennett alumnus of Exeter College a play about a group of grammar school boys in Sheffield in 1983 applying to read history at Oxford and Cambridge It premiered at the National Theatre and was adapted for film in 2006 Posh 2010 a play by Laura Wade and its film adaptation The Riot Club 2014 about a fictionalised equivalent of the Bullingdon Club Testament of Youth 2014 a drama film based on the memoir of the same name written by Somerville alumna Vera Brittain Notable non fiction works on Oxford include Oxford by Jan Morris 260 The university is parodied in Terry Pratchett s Discworld series with Unseen University and Brazeneck College in reference to Brasenose College See also Edit University of Oxford portal Oxfordshire portal Academic scarves of the University of Oxford Gaudy celebrations List of medieval universities May Morning celebration Oxford er Oxford bags Oxford comma Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities OSCOLA Oxford University UK Parliament constituency Oxford University Police Town and gownReferences EditCitations Edit The University as a charity University of Oxford Archived from the original on 12 January 2016 a b c d e f g Introduction and History University of Oxford Archived from the original on 20 October 2014 Retrieved 21 October 2014 a b c d Finance and funding ox ac uk Retrieved 3 April 2020 a b Declaration of approval of the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor Oxford University Gazette University of Oxford 25 June 2015 p 659 Archived from the original on 30 June 2015 Retrieved 28 June 2015 a b New Vice Chancellor pledges innovative creative future for Oxford News and Events University of Oxford 4 January 2016 Archived from the original on 7 January 2016 Retrieved 6 January 2016 https www hesa 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