Oxford University

Contrary to what most tourists believe...

Oxford University is not just one central college with a campus. Many a tourist has been spotted tugging on a local's sleeve and asking, very perplexed, "but where exactly IS the campus???" Oxford University consists of 39 colleges, dotted around the city, each an independent entity, but also a part of Oxford University. Some colleges are large and visible, while others are small and tucked away on a side street. The colleges range from 50 to 750 years old. Many of them are open to tourists, and some are definitely worth seeing (see Visit the Colleges below). But it is essential to check the opening times before venturing out, or the most you'll see is a glimpse of a quad behind a 'college closed' sign. We do our best to be accurate here at Oxford City Guide, but unforeseen changes do occur.

Famous Oxford Graduates

Oxford has produced four British kings and at least eight foreign kings, 47 Nobel prize-winners, three Fields medalists, 25 British Prime Ministers, 28 foreign presidents and prime ministers, seven saints, 86 archbishops, 18 cardinals, and one pope. Seven of the last eleven British Prime Ministers have been Oxford graduates. Amongst Oxford students and faculty are many widely influential scientists, artists and prominent figures in nearly every profession. Contemporary scientists include Stephen Hawking, Nobel prize-winner Anthony James Leggett, and Tim Berners Lee, co-inventor of the world wide web; actors Hugh Grant, Kate Beckinsale, Dudley Moore and Richard Burton studied at the University, as did film-maker Ken Loach; Evelyn Waugh, Lewis Carroll, Aldous Huxley, Oscar Wilde, Vikram Seth and the poets Shelley, Donne, Auden and Philip Larkin are amongst the long list of writers associated with Oxford. Explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Walter Raleigh, along with modern media magnate Rupert Murdoch were also former students.

Other Interesting Information

Oxford University has existed for more than 800 years. They began as medieval halls of residence for students under the supervision of a Master. The oldest colleges, University, Balliol and Merton, were founded in the late 13th century. Kellogg College is the newest and was established in 1990. All colleges except St Hilda's, which is for women only, are mixed. There was recently a vote to allow male students into St. Hilda's, but that won't occur for another few years. All Souls is primarily an academic research institution and traditionally has no undergraduates. Harris Manchester recruits mature students. Linacre, Nuffield, St Antony's, St Cross, Wolfson, Green and Templeton admit only graduate students. Templeton College is a postgraduate college dedicated to management studies. Kellogg College specialises in part-time, graduate and continuing education.

Ten Most Visited

We have chosen to focus on the ten most prominent colleges in the city center, as these are what we consider to be the most interesting and beautiful.

Click here for a complete list of all the colleges of Oxford

Oxford Brookes

Oxford Brookes University, located in the Headington suburb of Oxford, is not part of Oxford University. For more information about Oxford Brookes University, please visit their official website.