Oxford University is the oldest
English-speaking university in the world. There is no
clear date of foundation but teaching has existed in
some form since 1096. Its ancient and beautiful
buildings still dominate the city, many of them owned by
Colleges. The first three Colleges, University, Merton
and Balliol, were formed in the late 13th century and
today, 39 independent, self-governing Colleges are the
basis of the University. The city is compact and you can
get between most university and college buildings on
foot or by bicycle.
All students belong to a College. Undergraduates are admitted by Colleges which also form the focus of their academic and social life. Weekly meetings with an academic tutor (tutorials) on a one-to-one basis or with one or two other students are a distinctive feature of undergraduate teaching. The University sets course syllabi and examinations, provides lectures, group teaching and laboratories, admits and supervises postgraduates and awards degrees. Over a quarter of Oxford's student population of 18,431 is made up of international students with more than 130 nationalities represented.
At Oxford, students benefit from studying in a large, international university, whilst living in a smaller supportive college community. The University welcomes students from all backgrounds. Candidates are considered on individual merit and potential. Entry requirements are very high but tutors also look beyond grades to examine motivation and commitment to a subject.
In both the arts and sciences, Oxford research is consistently in the top rank, nationally and internationally, and there are strong links with research institutions and industrial companies.
There are around 80 libraries in Oxford. The world-famous Bodleian Library has a stock of over 6.5 million items. There are also major research libraries, college, faculty and departmental libraries.
Colleges offer computing facilities and support for their students, including internet and ethernet connections in most rooms. The University’s computer service offers additional facilities and training in aspects of academic computing.
Within the college system, opportunities exist for all levels of sporting ability. Most colleges provide sports grounds, squash courts and boat houses on the river for annual inter-college rowing competitions. The Iffley Road sports complex caters for the major sports of athletics, football, swimming, rugby, hockey and tennis.
College accommodation is provided for most international students for at least their first year.
The city of Oxford has a youthful and cosmopolitan atmosphere with all the main shops and amenities that can be expected of a town of its size. There is a wide range of restaurants including Lebanese, Thai, Jamaican and French. Oxford’s historic architecture is world renowned; less well known is the large amount of green space in and around the centre, including parks, gardens and meadows.
There are more than 300 student clubs and societies including sports ranging from aikido to water polo, music, drama and media, including two student newspapers and a radio station. The Oxford Union is the largest student society in Oxford and is the place where high-profile speakers take part in debates or address students. Most colleges have an Anglican chapel and there is a Roman Catholic Chaplaincy. Within the city there is an Orthodox Church, United Reform, Methodist and Baptist churches, a Jewish Centre, a prayer room in the Islamic Studies Centre, a Mosque and an active Buddhist Society.
For undergraduate study:
Oxford admissions staff have a lot of experience of assessing a range of international qualifications. As a minimum, candidates would normally be required to achieve the qualification from their home country which is considered equivalent to UK A-levels. We follow the British Council guidelines on the equivalence of international qualifications. All candidates are considered on their merits but in general we look to admit candidates who are among the top two per cent of school leavers. Further guidance on specific qualifications may be obtained from the Oxford Colleges Admissions Office.
The closing date for applications for entry to undergraduate programmes is 15 October of the year before that in which you would start your course (i.e. 15 October 2007 for entry in October 2008).
For graduate study:
Candidates are expected to have a bachelor's degree with a first or upper second class honours or the international equivalent. An applicant with less is very unlikely to be accepted. Again, we consult the British Council guidelines on the equivalence of qualifications. If you are unsure how your degree compares to those of UK universities, you may find useful information on the web at www.naric.org.uk English language test requirements for candidates whose first language is not English are set out in the Graduate Studies Prospectus.