- Public collegiate research university
- Founded 1096 – the oldest university in the English speaking world
- Member of the Russell Group – leading UK research universities
- 21% of undergraduate students are international
- 12,500+ undergraduate students
- Admission is highly selective and based on academic ability and potential
- No main campus – the buildings and colleges are spread throughout the city
- Has the world’s oldest university museum – Ashmolean Museum – and the largest university press in the world
- There are many other museums, arts galleries, theatres and cultural spaces
- 56 miles north-west of London – direct train links into the capital and elsewhere around the UK
- Over 150,000 people live in Oxford
- A beautiful and historic city in which the university has a very strong presence – can get very busy with tourists
- Oxford is a very green city with numerous parks and nature walks
- Cycling is a very popular way to get around the city – for everyone!
The College System
- Oxford has more than 30 colleges and halls. These are academic communities where students can live and have their tutorials. Each has its own dining room, bar, common room and library, and lots of societies and activities. There are also music rooms, laundry and fitness facilities, and a Porter’s lodge.
- Not all colleges admit students for every subject and some have strong reputations for particular areas, others for political leanings or interests in areas such as sustainability and the environment
- All students are required to have a college affiliation in addition to belonging to their academic department and to the wider university
- Each college is self-governing and independent
- Colleges are responsible for admitting undergraduate students and for organising the academic tutorials; they also provide accommodation, meals, and an environment for students to socialise and meet new people, as well as offering pastoral and academic support when needed.
- Choose your college based on: preferred size, location (eg. near your subject buildings), appearance and type of accommodation, particular facilities or clubs/societies/activities, scholarship and funding opportunities, and personal ‘fit’ – each college has a distinct feel that should gel with the living environment you think will suit you best. Short-list half a dozen and then do some deeper research via the university and colleges websites. Try and speak with current students if you can.
- Oxford is a good fit for students who have a very clear idea what they want to study and a deep passion for their academic area
- Each academic year consists of three very intensive 8-week terms. The pace of learning is very fast.
- Students are expected to be self-directed and independent when it comes to managing their studies. 42-46 hours per week is the average students are expected to spend on their academic work – including class time.
- Students are also expected to prepare heavily during the holidays – students vacate the university premises but are still engaged in studies and assignments. Hence they are called ‘vacations’ rather than ‘holidays’
- Teaching is delivered through tutorials, seminars, lectures and lab work
- Small tutorials are a hallmark of the Oxbridge system and provide regular small group tuition (1-4 students) for students with leading academics in their field. Students are expected to prepare assignments for these tutorials which they will then discuss.
- Students generally receive between one and four tutorials per week.
- Written exams are the main form of summative assessment. Science students will often have practical work that is assessed, and most courses include a research project or dissertation.
- There usually aren’t any opportunities to resit exams at Oxford
- All students are allocated a Director of Studies who is an expert in their subject area and responsible for their academic welfare
- It is typically very difficult to change your course once at Oxford
- Students cannot apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same year – except if applying for organ scholarships or a second degree
- The admissions process for international and UK students is the same – only medicine has an international quota
- Admission is highly selective but rates vary considerably between subjects depending on the popularity. On average there are around 6 applicants per place.
- Applicants should check that their international qualifications are accepted and that they are taking the required subjects for their chosen course.
- You will need to have predicted grades for the high school exams you have still to sit – these will be entered on the UCAS application by your referee
- In most subjects students are required to sit additional tests. These tests must be registered for by the relevant deadlines – many occur in September.
- All students are interviewed before an offer is made – interviews normally take place during the first three weeks of December.
- You can choose whether to apply for a specific Oxford college or make an ‘open application’. Usually over 25% of students receive an offer from a college other than the one they applied to.
- All applications are submitted via UCAS – deadline 15th October.
- Students are required to submit a 4000 character personal statement, one academic reference and predicted grades. Students self report qualifications, standardised test scores and grades. You only need to send transcripts and official certificates if you are offered a place.
- Typical A level offers are A*AA or A*A*A for sciences
- IB 38, 39, or 40 with 6s and 7s in higher level courses
- Qualifications are expected to be taken in a single sitting to demonstrate the ability to cope with academic rigour and the potential to succeed within Oxford’s heavily exam based assessment system.
- Applicants are assessed individually so account is taken of a student’s circumstances – offers may be modified on this basis.
- Extra curricular activities are not taken into account unless they are highly relevant for the course applied for
- Decisions are normally sent out in mid January
- Students should take into account course fees and living costs
- Annual overseas student fees vary between £28,950 and £44,240 (clinical fees for medical students will be higher)
- Living costs will vary depending on your lifestyle, but are currently estimated to be between £1,290 and £1,840 per month. Lots of advice on living costs can be found here.
- Scholarships for overseas students are very limited so ensure you explore your funding options thoroughly, including those from your home country.
- The Jardine Scholarship is a comprehensive award available for students from Cambodia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam applying to certain colleges at Oxford and Cambridge.
- There are various other scholarships available to students from specific countries and details can be found here on the university website.
- College-owned accommodation is guaranteed for most students for 3 years
- Each college has a team of Porters who are responsible for the safety and security of staff and students. They are often a student’s first point of contact for information or help around the college.
- Costs for room and board vary considerably across the colleges – check prices before deciding which college to apply for to ensure there are options within your budget
- Colleges offer shorter annual accommodation contracts (26-39 weeks), so you don’t pay rent during the vacations unless you choose to stay in Cambridge.
- Each college will have a library and computer facilities
- A lot of social activities are organised within the colleges, such as film night and discos – these are often open to members of other colleges as well.
- Each college will have a common room for students to socialise and many also have their own gym and sports facilities.
- Some have music practice rooms and performance spaces. Most colleges have a choir and an orchestra, and often a range of other musical groups – to suit all tastes and levels of experience.
- The Oxford Union holds weekly debates and hosts high profile speakers
- There are many music, art and dramatic societies – including the Oxford University Dramatic Society and the Oxford Revue
- Many colleges hold regular formal dinners at which students are often expected to wear their gowns – called Formal Halls. Special Formal Halls are held at Christmas and for other notable occasions. The number of formal meals and dress requirements varies between colleges
- The first day of May Week is also a popular date for college garden parties.
- JCR (Junior Common Room) is an opportunity for students to participate in their own college student union. Student officers are elected annually by their peers.
- Rowing is one of the most popular sports and the annual Boat Race with Cambridge is televised globally. There are also termly intercollegiate rowing regattas
- A ‘blue’ is awarded to students who complete at university level in certain sports
- Graduate employment prospects are excellent – one of the top universities in the UK targeted by Britain’s leading graduate employers
- Students are required to wear academic dress for examinations, matriculation, disciplinary hearings and when going to meet with university officers