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University of Oxford

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Coordinates: 51°45′40″N 1°15′12″W / 51.7611°N 1.2534°W / 51.7611; -1.2534

University of Oxford
Latin: Universitas Oxoniensis
Motto Dominus Illuminatio Mea (Latin)
Motto in English The Lord is my Light
Established Unknown, teaching existed since 1096 (age 923–924)[1]
Endowment £3.3 billion (inc. colleges)[2]
Chancellor The Rt. Hon. Lord Patten of Barnes
Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton
Students 20,330[3][4]
Undergraduates 11,766[3]
Postgraduates 8,701[3]
Other students 461[4]
Location Oxford, England, UK
Colours       Oxford Blue[5]
Affiliations IARU
Russell Group
Coimbra Group

The University of Oxford is a university in Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is the oldest university in countries where English is the people's first language. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings said it is the 2nd best university in the world with Harvard University.

The university consists of 38 colleges and another 6 private halls. All of these colleges have their own buildings and their own staff, making Oxford quite different from most modern universities where all the students live on a campus. Oxford does not have a campus, although it does have some central places where students from different colleges can come together either to study (for example, libraries) or to enjoy themselves (for example, the Oxford Union). It is the world's second-oldest university after the University of Bologna.[6]


Many people who study history think that there was a university in Oxford in the 11th century, and the University of Oxford grew bigger in 1167, after English students studying in Paris, France were not allowed to continue studying after St Thomas Becket was murdered on the orders of King Henry II of England. There were fights between the students in Oxford and the people who lived there in the early 13th century. Some students and teachers left the university in 1209, and made a new university in Cambridge. These two universities are now great rivals, and together are sometimes known as "Oxbridge".

Until 1920, women were not allowed to take degrees at Oxford, although some women studied at Oxford before that time. Nowadays, all the colleges allow both men and women as students, and the number of male and female students is roughly equal.

One of the most famous teachers at the university was Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, nonsense stories for children.

Colleges and halls

There are 38 colleges at Oxford and 6 permanent private halls.

A college will normally offer the students accommodation (a room to sleep and study in) for the first and last years of their time at University. Many also offer accommodation for other years. A college will also have space for teaching and socializing. When most of the older colleges started they were only for people of one sex, but St Hilda's College, the last college to allow only women to study there, recently allowed men as well.

A permanent private hall is slightly different to a college. They were normally started by religious groups to educate their members in philosophy and theology, but some have since grown and offer a broader range of subjects. Some halls are run by monks, and one of them – St Benet's Hall – will only accept male students.

Most colleges will teach at both undergraduate (the more basic first degree that a student takes) and postgraduate (a higher level of study) level. There are also some special colleges that are more restrictive. Five colleges only offer space to postgraduate students. Harris Manchester College is only for "mature students" (those who are over 21 when they start their degree). All Souls College does not take students – all of its members teach students or do research.

Getting into Oxford

Oxford, like Cambridge, is very popular with students, and therefore it is harder for students to get into these universities. The colleges look for the students with the best school results in the subjects for which they are applying.


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