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The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. 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’ are frequently jointly called ’Oxbridge’. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The university is made up of 39 constituent colleges, and a range of academic departments, which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly tutorials at the colleges and halls, supported by classes, lectures, seminars, and laboratory work provided by university faculties and departments; some postgraduate teaching includes tutorials organised by faculties and departments. It operates the world's oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2018, the university had a total income of £2.237 billion, of which £579.1 million was from research grants and contracts. The university is quoted as among the best higher learning institutions by most international and major national league tables.

Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 28 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of 2019, 69 Nobel Prize winners, 3 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have studied, worked, or held visiting fellowships at the University of Oxford, while its alumni have won 160 Olympic medals. Oxford is the home of numerous scholarships, including the Rhodes Scholarship, which is one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes.

Selected article

Balliol College

The position of Boden Professor of Sanskrit was established in 1832 with money bequeathed to the university by Joseph Boden, a retired soldier who had worked for the East India Company. He wanted a Sanskrit professor to assist in converting British India to Christianity. The first two professors were elected by Oxford graduates; the 1860 election, in particular, was hotly contested. Reforms of Oxford implemented in 1882 removed all mention of Boden's original purpose, removed the power to elect the professor from graduates, and gave the holder of the professorship a fellowship at Balliol College (pictured). To date, Sir Monier Monier-Williams (professor 1860–99) has held the chair for the longest, although a deputy carried out his teaching duties for the last 11 years of his life. The current holder (as of 2014), Christopher Minkowski, was appointed in 2005 and is the eighth Boden professor. It is the only remaining Sanskrit professorship in the United Kingdom. (Full article...)

Selected biography

David Lewis
David Lewis (1909–1981) was a Russian-born Canadian labour lawyer and social democratic politician. He was national secretary of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from 1936 to 1950, and was one of the key architects of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in 1961. He was the NDP's national leader from 1971 to 1975. Lewis's politics were heavily influenced by the Jewish Labour Bund, which contributed to his support of parliamentary democracy. He was an avowed anti-communist, and while a Rhodes Scholar at Lincoln College, Oxford, prevented communist domination of the university's Labour Club. He helped draft the Winnipeg Declaration, which modernized the CCF's economic policies to include an acceptance of capitalism, though under the eye of government regulators. He had a central role in uniting the labour movement with the creation of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1956. When his eldest son, Stephen Lewis, became the NDP's Province of Ontario leader, in 1970, they became one of the first father and son teams to simultaneously head Canadian political parties. In retirement, he was named to the Order of Canada for his political service. After a lengthy battle with cancer, he died in Ottawa in 1981. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Linacre College coat of arms

Linacre College is a college for graduate students on St Cross Road, near the University Parks to the north-east of the city centre, and close to the university's science area. It was founded in 1962, originally as a non-residental and non-collegiate body called "Linacre House" to provide a base for graduates in Oxford. It moved to its present site in 1977, became financially independent of the university in 1980 and acquired full college status in 1986. The college is named after Thomas Linacre (1460–1524), a distinguished humanist, medical scientist and classicist. There are about 300 students in a range of subjects; many are from overseas, with over fifty different countries represented. Linacre was the first Oxford college to admit men and women on an equal basis. The principal is the botanist Nick Brown, appointed in 2009. There are about 50 Fellows, with former Fellows including the Nobel Prize winner Paul Nurse and the biologist Chris Dobson. Former students include the journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the literary critic Terry Eagleton and the Christian writer and academic Alister McGrath. (Full article...)

Selected image

A statue by Barbara Hepworth at St Catherine's College. Built in the 1960s to the design of the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, the college's architecture has been highly praised.
Credit: Steve Cadman
A statue by Barbara Hepworth at St Catherine's College. Built in the 1960s to the design of the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, the college's architecture has been highly praised.

Did you know...

Articles from Wikipedia's "Did You Know" archives about the university and people associated with it:

Barbara Ward

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

Oxford from Magdalen College, looking west up the High Street
Credit: Oliver Woodford
Oxford from Magdalen College, looking west up the High Street

On this day...

Events for 23 August relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

More anniversaries in August and the rest of the year...


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