Portal:University of Oxford

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Coat of arms of the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University" or "Oxford"), located in the English city of Oxford, is the oldest surviving university in the English-speaking world and is regarded as one of the world's leading academic institutions. Although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century. 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" have many common features and are sometimes collectively and colloquially referred to as "Oxbridge". For more than a century, Oxford has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates. (more about the university...)

The colleges of the university, of which there are 38, are autonomous self-governing institutions. All students and teaching staff belong to one of the colleges, or to one of the six Permanent Private Halls (religious foundations that admit students to study at Oxford). The colleges provide tutorials and classes for students, while the university provides lectures and laboratories, and sets the degree examinations. Most colleges accept undergraduate and postgraduate students, although some are for graduate students only; All Souls does not have students, only Fellows, while Harris Manchester is for students over the age of 21. All the colleges now admit both men and women: the last single-sex college, St Hilda's, began to admit men in 2008. The oldest colleges are University, Balliol, and Merton, established between 1249 and 1264, although there is dispute over when each began teaching. The most recent new foundation is Kellogg College, founded in 1990, while the most recent overall is Green Templeton College, formed in 2008 as the result of a merger of two existing colleges. (more about the colleges...)

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Selected article

Map of the course

The Boat Race, also known as the "University Boat Race" and "The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race", is a rowing race between Oxford University Boat Club and Cambridge University Boat Club each spring on the River Thames in London. The course (map pictured), which is 4 miles 374 yards long (6,779 metres), runs from Putney to Mortlake, passing Hammersmith and Barnes. The clubs' presidents toss a coin before the race for the right to choose which side of the river (station) they will row on: the north station ("Middlesex") has the advantage of the first and last bends, and the south ("Surrey") station the longer middle bend. Members of both teams are traditionally known as "blues" and each boat as a "Blue Boat", with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue. The first race was in 1829 and it has been held annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars. The 2012 race was won by Cambridge, after an interruption by a protestor swimming across the river into the path of the boats. As of 2014 Cambridge have won the race 81 times and Oxford 78 times, with one dead heat. The event is a popular one, not only with the alumni of the universities, but also with rowers in general and the public. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) often referred to as "Dr Johnson", was a British author who has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature": James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. Johnson attended Pembroke College, Oxford for just over a year, before his lack of funds forced him to leave. After working as a teacher he moved to London, where he began to write miscellaneous pieces for The Gentleman's Magazine. After nine years of work, Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755; it had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship." In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a condition not defined in the 18th century. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of Campion Hall

Campion Hall is one of the Permanent Private Halls (PPHs) of the University of Oxford. Unlike the colleges, which are run by their Fellows, PPHs are run by an outside institution – in the case of Campion Hall, the Society of Jesus. One of the smallest constituent institutions of the university, it named after the martyr St. Edmund Campion, who was a Fellow of St John's. Established in 1896 as "Clarke's Hall" as a hall for Jesuit undergraduates, it went through various changes of name as the Master in charge changed, until it achieved permanent status in 1918 and took its current name. Its building on Brewer Street, completed in 1936, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens – his only Oxford building. The exterior has been compared to 17th-century Cotswold architecture, and the chapel light fittings have red tassels like those on a cardinal's hat. Jesuit clergy, and priests of other Roman Catholic orders, are admitted to study; laymen are sometimes admitted. Alumni include the poet and writer Peter Levi, the priest and English literature scholar Peter Milward, and the priest and historian Peter L'Estrange (who later became Master of Campion Hall). (Full article...)

Selected picture

Thomas More, who studied at Canterbury College, Oxford, was a leading counsellor to Henry VIII and served as High Steward of the University. He was imprisoned and beheaded in 1535 after he had fallen out of favour with the king over his refusal to sign the Act of Supremacy 1534.
Credit: Hans Holbein the Younger
Thomas More, who studied at Canterbury College, Oxford, was a leading counsellor to Henry VIII and served as High Steward of the University. He was imprisoned and beheaded in 1535 after he had fallen out of favour with the king over his refusal to sign the Act of Supremacy 1534.

Did you know...

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

Tate Britain

Selected quotation

John Cecil Masterman, Provost of Worcester College 1947–61

Selected panorama

An aerial view of Oxford, looking north. Merton College is at the bottom centre with Christ Church to the left (west). On the right-hand side lies University of Oxford Botanic Garden and, beyond that, Magdalen College.
Credit: Chensiyuan
An aerial view of Oxford, looking north. Merton College is at the bottom centre with Christ Church to the left (west). On the right-hand side lies University of Oxford Botanic Garden and, beyond that, Magdalen College.


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