Portal:University of Oxford

Main page   Indices   Projects

The University of Oxford portal

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 English ancient universities share many common features and are jointly referred to as Oxbridge.

The University of Oxford is made up of thirty-nine semi-autonomous constituent colleges, four permanent private halls, and a range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions. Each college is a self-governing institution within the university, controlling its own membership and having its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. Traditionally, each of Oxford's constituent colleges is associated with another of the colleges in the University of Cambridge, with the only exceptional addition of Trinity College, Dublin. It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford consists of lectures, small-group tutorials at the colleges and halls, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further tutorials provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided in a predominantly centralised fashion.

Oxford operates the Ashmolean Museum, the world's oldest university museum; Oxford University Press, the largest university press in the world; and the largest academic library system nationwide. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2023, the university had a total consolidated income of £2.92 billion, of which £789 million was from research grants and contracts.

Oxford has educated a wide range of notable alumni, including 30 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. 73 Nobel Prize laureates, 4 Fields Medalists, and 6 Turing Award winners have matriculated, 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, one of the oldest international graduate scholarship programmes. (Full article...)

Selected article

Thomas Bodley

Bodley's Librarian is the head of the Bodleian Library, the main library at the University of Oxford. Both are named after the founder, Sir Thomas Bodley (pictured). The university's library was established in about 1320 but had declined by the end of the 16th century, so in 1598 Bodley offered to restore it. The first librarian, Thomas James, was selected in 1599, and the Bodleian opened in 1602. Bodley wanted the librarian to be diligent, a linguist, unmarried, and not a parish priest, although James persuaded him to dispense with the last two requirements. In all, 25 people have served as Bodley's Librarian, some less well than others: John Price (who held the post from 1768 to 1813) was accused of "a regular and constant neglect of his duty". The first woman, and the first foreign librarian, to run the Bodleian was Sarah Thomas (2007–13). The current librarian is Richard Ovenden. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Part of the Bodleian Library

Brian Twyne (1581–1644) was an antiquarian and an academic at Oxford. After being educated at Corpus Christi College, and becoming a Fellow of the college in 1606, he published his one main work, a history of the university, in 1608. This was designed to prove that Oxford was older than Cambridge University, and has been described by a modern writer as a "remarkable achievement for a young scholar of twenty-eight." His main accomplishment was to play a leading role in the revision of the university statutes under William Laud (Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Archbishop of Canterbury). He was rewarded by appointment in 1634 to the new position of Keeper of the Archives. In this role, he obtained a new royal charter for Oxford University to confirm its rights and privileges, and helped the university in its disputes with the city authorities. He also moved the archives into the Tower of the Five Orders (pictured) at the Bodleian Library, where they are still kept. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Pembroke College coat of arms

Pembroke College was founded in 1624 and named after William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, who was Chancellor of the University at the time. Pembroke's coat of arms contains the English rose and Scottish thistle to represent King James I, in whose reign the college was founded, and three lions rampant from the arms of the Earl of Pembroke. The college was established on the site of a university hostel for law students dating from the 15th century, called Broadgates Hall, with money provided by Thomas Tesdale (a merchant from Abingdon) and Richard Wightwick (a Berkshire clergyman). It is located just to the south of the city centre, opposite Christ Church. It has gradually expanded in size, with further buildings added in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. There are about 400 undergraduates and about 120 postgraduates. Alumni include the lexicographer Samuel Johnson (although he did not complete his degree because of lack of funds) and James Smithson (whose bequest founded the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.). J. R. R. Tolkien was a Fellow of Pembroke for twenty years, writing The Hobbit and the first two books of The Lord of the Rings during this time. Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in under four minutes, is a former Master of the college. (Full article...)

Selected image

The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.
The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.
Credit: Harshil Shah
The tower of Magdalen College seen from the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Established in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research, it contains over 8,000 different plant species.

Did you know

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

Howard D. Graves

Selected quotation

George Farquhar, from Sir Harry Wildair

Selected panorama

The main quadrangle of Worcester College; on the left are the medieval buildings known as "the cottages", the most substantial surviving part of Gloucester College, Worcester's predecessor on the same site.
The main quadrangle of Worcester College; on the left are the medieval buildings known as "the cottages", the most substantial surviving part of Gloucester College, Worcester's predecessor on the same site.
Credit: Dbmag9
The main quadrangle of Worcester College; on the left are the medieval buildings known as "the cottages", the most substantial surviving part of Gloucester College, Worcester's predecessor on the same site.

Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject: