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

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

Cosmo Gordon Lang (1864–1945) was an Anglican clergyman who served as Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury. He studied at Balliol College, Oxford from 1882 to 1886, was President of the Oxford Union and co-founder of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. As Archbishop of Canterbury during the abdication crisis of 1936 he took a strong moral stance, and comments he made in a subsequent broadcast were widely condemned as uncharitable towards the departed king. In his early ministry Lang served in slum parishes in Leeds and Portsmouth before his appointment in 1901 as Bishop of Stepney in London. In 1908 Lang was nominated Archbishop of York, despite his relatively junior status as a suffragan bishop. At the start of World War I, Lang was heavily criticised for a speech in which he spoke sympathetically of Kaiser Wilhelm II. After the war he supported controversial proposals for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer, but after acceding to Canterbury he took no practical steps to resolve this issue. As Archbishop of Canterbury he presided over the 1930 Lambeth Conference, which gave limited church approval to the use of contraception. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of Worcester College

Worcester College, to the west of the city centre, dates back to 1283 as Gloucester College, a college for Benedictine monks which was closed in about 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Some of the buildings, known as "the cottages", are from the time of Gloucester College and are among the oldest residential buildings in Oxford. After a gap of about 20 years, Gloucester Hall was established, which became Worcester College in 1714 following a benefaction from Sir Thomas Cookes of Worcestershire. The chapel (which Oscar Wilde called a "perfect" piece of "simple decorative and beautiful art"), hall, and library were rebuilt in the 18th century; some of the designs were by George Clarke, who left his collection of books and manuscripts to the college. Further buildings have been constructed on the main college site, which has extensive grounds, and elsewhere in Oxford. Worcester College has about 400 undergraduates and 170 graduate students. Professor Jonathan Bate was appointed as the college's Provost in 2011. Alumni include the author Richard Adams, the composer Rachel Portman, the actress Emma Watson and the businessman Rupert Murdoch. (Full article...)

Selected picture

Oscar Wilde was a scholar at Magdalen College from 1874 to 1878, obtaining a first-class honours degree in Literae Humaniores (classics).
Credit: Napoleon Sarony
Oscar Wilde was a scholar at Magdalen College from 1874 to 1878, obtaining a first-class honours degree in Literae Humaniores (classics).

Did you know...

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

Evelyn Waugh

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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