University of Oxford

Oxford, United Kingdom

No. Students: 21,000
Funding type: Public
Listed programmes:
Type of education:
University ranking:

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Why should I study here?

Discover the top reasons to study at University of Oxford

  • Oxford is at the forefront in studying topics of worldwide interest, from the dawn of the universe to the challenges of globalisation.
  • Oxford academics have built untold numbers of research collaborations with international partners.
  • Our Tropical Medicine laboratories are probably the most substantial overseas research presence of any university, employing some 1,500 staff in Asia and Africa to increase our understanding of how to treat tropical infectious diseases.
  • Oxford has defined the English language for many people around the world through the dictionaries and other books of Oxford University Press (OUP). OUP is the world’s largest university press, with a presence in 50 countries.
  • Our international alumni are 60,000 strong and spread across almost every country on earth.
  • Today’s Oxford students, whether British or international, also enjoy access to a range of international experiences while studying here, including internships around the world, courses with study abroad components, and substantial support from the collegiate university for independent research abroad.


The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University, or simply Oxford) is a public university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century.The University grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. In post-nominals the University of Oxford was historically abbreviated as Oxon. (from the Latin Oxoniensis), although Oxf is nowadays used in official University publications.

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 ancient universities have many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge. In addition to cultural and practical associations as a historic part of British society, the two universities have a long history of rivalry with each other.

Most undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly essay-based tutorials at self-governing colleges and halls, supported by lectures and laboratory classes organised by University faculties and departments. League tables consistently list Oxford as one of the UK's best universities, and Oxford consistently ranks in the world's top 10.For more than a century, it has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates or for a second bachelor's degree.

Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the Coimbra Group, the G5, the League of European Research Universities, the International Alliance of Research Universities and is also a core member of the Europaeum. It forms part of the 'Golden Triangle' of British universities.


  • Oxford has the largest university library system in the UK, with over 100 libraries.
  • The Bodleian Libraries, which manage most of the main University libraries, hold more than 9 million printed items, in addition to more than 30,000 e-journals and vast quantities of manuscripts, maps, music and other materials.
  • The new Book Storage Facility in Swindon can hold 8 million items on the equivalent of 153 miles of shelving.
  • The Bodleian Library, the Universitys main research library, dates from 1602 and is globally acknowledged to be one of the greatest libraries in the world. Its priceless collections include the papers of six British Prime Ministers; a Gutenberg Bible; the earliest surviving book written wholly in English; a quarter of the worlds original copies of the Magna Carta; and almost 10,000 western medieval and renaissance manuscripts.
  • Over 40 per cent of users of the Bodleian Libraries are people from outside the University.
  • Over 2 million people visit the Universitys six museums and collections every year, including a significant number of children on school visits.
  • The Ashmolean Museum, established in 1683, is the oldest museum in the UK and one of the oldest in the world. It houses the Universitys extensive collections of art and antiquities, ranging back over four millennia.
  • The Museum of the History of Science is housed in the worlds oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. It contains the worlds finest collection of historic scientific instruments.
  • The University Museum of Natural History houses the University's collections of zoological, entomological, palaeontological and mineral specimens. With 4.5 million specimens it is the largest collection of its type outside of the national collections.
  • The Pitt Rivers Museum holds one of the worlds finest collections of anthropology and archaeology, with objects from every continent and from throughout human history.
  • The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Britain, and forms the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world.
  • The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments celebrates the history and development of the musical instruments of the Western Classical tradition, from the medieval period to present day.
  • Christ Church Picture Gallery houses an important collection of 300 Old Master paintings and almost 2,000 drawings in a purpose-built gallery of considerable architectural interest.

Student life

  • There are over 21,000 students at Oxford, including 11,723 undergraduates and 9,327 postgraduates.
  • Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK: figures published in Spring 2010 by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that only 1.1 per cent of Oxford students dropped out, compared with the national average of 8.6 per cent.
  • In the National Student Survey 2010, Oxford had an overall satisfaction rating of 93 per cent the second-highest in the UK and well above the national average of 81 per cent. Students satisfaction ratings in individual categories are also excellent compared to the national average.
  • 53 per cent of undergraduates are studying for degrees in the humanities and social sciences, and 44 per cent in the medical, mathematical, physical and life sciences. The remaining 3 per cent are studying for undergraduate level diplomas and certificates offered by the Department for Continuing Education.
  • The tutorial is at the core of undergraduate teaching and learning at Oxford. It offers students a unique learning experience in which they meet regularly with their tutor, either on a one-to-one basis or with one or two other students.
  • Undergraduates attend, on average, one hour-long tutorial every week and undertake a considerable number of hours preparatory work for each tutorial, including background reading, essay-writing and problem-solving.
  • At graduate level, 39 per cent of students are studying for higher degrees in the medical, mathematical, physical and life sciences and 55 per cent in the humanities and social sciences. The remaining 6 per cent are studying for postgraduate certificates and diplomas offered by the Department for Continuing Education.
  • Six months after graduation 93 per cent of students who graduated in the year ending July 2009 were employed or engaged in further study.
  • Every year more than 15,000 people take part in courses offered by the Department for Continuing Education, making Oxford University one of the largest providers of continuing education in the UK.

Master's Programmes at University of Oxford

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