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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. 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 38 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 ranked first globally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings as of 2019 and is consistently ranked as among the world's top ten universities. It is currently ranked second in all major national league tables, behind Cambridge.

Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 27 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

Keble College

The Council of Keble College, Oxford ran the college (in conjunction with the Warden) from its foundation in 1868 until 1952. The council – a group of between nine and twelve men – has been described as "an external Council of ecclesiastical worthies", as most of the members came from outside the college, and many were not otherwise linked to the university. Keble was established by public subscription as a memorial to the clergyman John Keble. The first council members were drawn from the committee whose work had raised the money to build the college. By keeping matters relating to religion and the college's internal affairs in the hands of the council, the founders hoped to maintain Keble's religious position as "a bastion of 'orthodox' Anglican teaching" against the opponents of Tractarianism. In total, 54 men served on the Council, 11 of whom were college alumni; in 1903, Arthur Winnington-Ingram (Bishop of London) became the first former Keble student to join the council. It ceased to exist after 9 April 1952, when new statutes of the college placed full management in the hands of the Warden and Fellows. (Full article...)

Selected biography

John Brooke-Little (1943)
John Brooke-Little (1927–2006) was an influential and popular writer on heraldic subjects and a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London, England. In 1947, while still a student, Brooke-Little founded the "Society of Heraldic Antiquaries", now known as The Heraldry Society and recognized as one of the leading learned societies in its field. He served as the society's chairman for 50 years and then as its President from 1997 until his death in 2006. He also refounded the Oxford University Heraldry Society during his time at New College, Oxford. Brooke-Little was involved in other heraldic groups and societies and worked for many years as an officer of arms, writing at least ten books on heraldry and related topics. After serving on the Earl Marshall's staff for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, he started his heraldic career as Bluemantle Pursuivant, and worked his way up to the second-highest heraldic office in England–Clarenceux King of Arms. He ended his heraldic career without ever having attained the highest office, Garter King of Arms, or being honoured with a knighthood. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Mansfield College coat of arms

Mansfield College, to the north-east of the city centre near the University Parks, is one of the smaller colleges, with about 210 undergraduates and 80 postgraduates. It was originally founded in 1838 as "Spring Hill College" in Birmingham, as a college for non-conformist students; at that time, only members of the Church of England could obtain degrees at the universities. The Universities Tests Act 1871 abolished religious tests for non-theological degrees at Oxford. Spring Hill moved to Oxford in 1886 and was renamed in honour of two donors, George and Elizabeth Mansfield. Women were first admitted in 1913. It became a Permanent Private Hall in 1955 and acquired full college status in 1995; its non-conformist aspects have gradually diminished but still remain in the chapel, where services are conducted in that tradition. The principal is the lawyer Helena Kennedy, a former chair of the Human Genetics Commission. Former students include the theologians G. B. Caird and C. H. Dodd, the journalist Stephen Pollard and the German resistance member Adam von Trott zu Solz, executed for his part in the plot to kill Hitler. (Full article...)

Selected image

The interior of the college chapel of Merton College. The chapel replaced an earlier church on the site, with construction beginning in about 1290 and continuing into the 15th century.
Credit: Kunal Mehta
The interior of the college chapel of Merton College. The chapel replaced an earlier church on the site, with construction beginning in about 1290 and continuing into the 15th century.

Did you know...

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

David Lloyd George in 1911

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

Oxford seen from Boars Hill, to the south-west of the city
Credit: Andrew Gray
Oxford seen from Boars Hill, to the south-west of the city


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