The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University or simply Oxford) is a collegiate research university located in Oxford, England. While having no known date of foundation, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world's second-oldest surviving university. 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 northeast to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge.] The two "ancient universities" are frequently jointly referred to as "Oxbridge".
The University is made up from a variety of institutions, including 38 constituent colleges and a full range of academic departments which are organised into four Divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions as part of the University, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. Being a city university, it does not have a main campus; instead, all the buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the metropolitan centre.
Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 27 Nobel laureates (58 total affiliations), 26 British Prime Ministers (most recently David Cameron) and many foreign heads of state.
Moto in English : The Lord is my light
The University of Oxford has no known foundation date. Teaching at Oxford existed in some form in 1096, but it is unclear at what point a university came into being. It grew quickly in 1167 when English students returned from the University of Paris. The historian Gerald of Wales lectured to such scholars in 1188, and the first known foreign scholar, Emo of Friesland, arrived in 1190. The head of the University was named a chancellor from at least 1201, and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231. The university was granted a royal charter in 1248 during the reign of King Henry III. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled from the violence to Cambridge, later forming the University of Cambridge
The University passed a Statute in 1875 allowing its delegates to create examinations for women at roughly undergraduate level.The first four women's colleges were established due to the activism of the Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women (AEW). Lady Margaret Hall (1878) was followed by Somerville College in 1879; the first 21 students from Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall attended lectures in rooms above an Oxford baker's shop. The first two colleges for women were followed by St Hugh's (1886), St Hilda's (1893) and St Anne's College (1952). In the early 20th century, Oxford and Cambridge were widely perceived to be bastions of male privilege, and it was not until 7 October 1920 that women became eligible for admission as full members of the university and were given the right to take degrees.] In 1927 the University's dons created a quota that limited the number of female students to a quarter that of men, a ruling which was not abolished until 1957. However, before the 1970s all Oxford colleges were for men or women only, so that the number of women was limited by the capacity of the women's colleges to admit students. It was not until 1959 that the women's colleges were given full collegiate status.
In 1974, Brasenose, Jesus, Wadham, Hertford and St Catherine's became the first previously all-male colleges to admit women.
In 2008, the last single-sex college, St Hilda's, admitted its first men, so that all colleges are now co-residential. By 1988, 40% of undergraduates at Oxford were female; the ratio was about 46%:54% in men's favour for the 2012 undergraduate admission
The University is a "city university" in that it does not have a main campus; instead, colleges, departments, accommodation, and other facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. The Science Area, in which most science departments are located, is the area that bears closest resemblance to a campus. The ten-acre (4 hectare) Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in the northwest of the city is currently under development. However, the larger colleges' sites are of similar size to these areas.
Iconic university buildings include the Sheldonian Theatre used for music concerts, lectures, and university ceremonies; and the Examination Schools, where examinations and some lectures take place. The University Church of St Mary the Virgin was used for university ceremonies before the construction of the Sheldonian. Christ Church Cathedral uniquely serves as both a college chapel and as a cathedral.
In 2012–13, the University built the controversial one-hectare (400m × 25m) Castle Mill development of 4–5 storey blocks of student flats overlooking Cripley Meadow and the historic Port Meadow, blocking views of the spires in the city centre. The development has been likened to building a "skyscraper beside Stonehenge"
To be a member of the university, all students, and most academic staff, must also be a member of a college or hall. There are 38 colleges of the University of Oxford and six Permanent Private Halls, each controlling its membership and with its own internal structure and activities. Not all colleges offer all courses, but they generally cover a broad range of subjects.
The colleges are:
Undergraduate teaching is centred on the tutorial, where 1–4 students spend an hour with an academic discussing their week’s work, usually an essay (humanities, most social sciences, some mathematical, physical, and life sciences) or problem sheet (most mathematical, physical, and life sciences, and some social sciences). The university itself is responsible for conducting examinations and conferring degrees. Undergraduate teaching takes place during three eight week terms: Michaelmas Term, Hilary Term and Trinity Term. (These are officially known as 'Full Term', 'Term' is an lengthier period with little practical significance.) Internally, the weeks in a term begin on Sundays, and are referred to numerically, with the initial week known as "first week", the last as "eighth week" and with the numbering extended to refer to weeks before and after term (for example "-1st week" and "0th week" precede term). Undergraduates must be in residence from Thursday of 0th week. These teaching terms are shorter than those of most other British universities, and their total duration amounts to less than half the year. However, undergraduates are also expected to do some academic work during the three holidays (known as the Christmas, Easter, and Long Vacations).
Research degrees at the master's and doctoral level are conferred in all subjects studied at graduate level at the university.
There are many opportunities for students at Oxford to receive financial help during their studies. The Oxford Opportunity Bursaries, introduced in 2006, are university-wide means-based bursaries available to any British undergraduate. With a total possible grant of £10,235 over a 3-year degree, it is the most generous bursary scheme offered by any British university. In addition, individual colleges also offer bursaries and funds to help their students. For graduate study, there are many scholarships attached to the university, available to students from all sorts of backgrounds, from Rhodes Scholarships to the relatively new Weidenfeld Scholarships. Oxford also offers the Clarendon Scholarship which is eligible for graduate applicants of all nationalities. Clarendon Scholarship is majorly funded by Oxford University Press in association with colleges and other partnership awards.
Students successful in early examinations are rewarded by their colleges with scholarships and exhibitions, normally the result of a long-standing endowment, although since the introduction of tuition fees the amounts of money available are purely nominal. Scholars, and exhibitioners in some colleges, are entitled to wear a more voluminous undergraduate gown; "commoners" (originally those who had to pay for their "commons", or food and lodging) being restricted to a short, sleeveless garment.
The University maintains the largest university library system in the UK; and, with over 11 million volumes housed on 120 miles (190 km) of shelving, the Bodleian group is the second-largest library in the UK, after the British Library. The Bodleian is a legal deposit library, which means that it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK. As such, its collection is growing at a rate of over three miles (five kilometres) of shelving every year.
The buildings referred to as the University's main research library, The Bodleian, consist of the original Bodleian Library in the Old Schools Quadrangle, founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1598 and opened in 1602, the Radcliffe Camera, the Clarendon Building, and the New Bodleian Building. A tunnel underneath Broad Street connects these buildings, with the Gladstone Link connecting the Old Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera opening to readers in 2011.
The Clarendon Building is home to many senior Bodleian Library staff and previously housed the university's own central administration.
The Bodleian Libraries group was formed in 2000, bringing the Bodleian Library and some of the subject libraries together. It now comprises 28 libraries, a number of which have been created by bringing previously separate collections together, including the Sackler Library, Social Science Library and Radcliffe Science Library.] Another major product of this collaboration has been a joint integrated library system, OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information System), and its public interface, SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online), which provides an electronic catalogue covering all member libraries, as well as the libraries of individual colleges and other faculty libraries, which are not members of the group but do share cataloguing information
Oxford has been among the world's top ten universities in different league tables, and regularly competes with Cambridge for the first place in UK. In particular, it had held the number one position in the Times Good University Guide for eleven consecutive years, and has also maintained its 1st place in "Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health" of the THE World University Rankings for three consecutive years. In 2014, Oxford's Saïd Business School came 23rd in the world in Financial Times Global MBA Ranking. Oxford ranked 10th in the world and 2nd in Europe in Best World Universities 2012 compiled by Human Resources & Labor Review (HRLR) using Measurements of World's Top 300 Universities Graduates' Performance.
Moreover, the University has been recognised as among the world's "six super brands" by the Times World Reputation Rankings since 2011 when the first time such a league table was released.