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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The portrait of Elizabeth I in the hall of Jesus College

The founding Fellows, Scholars and Commissioners of Jesus College were appointed in 1571 by Elizabeth I (college's portrait of her shown). She founded the college at the instigation of a Welsh clergyman, Hugh Price. Her royal charter appointed a Principal, Fellows to educate the Scholars and to run the college (under the overall direction of the Principal) and Commissioners to draw up statutes for the governance of the college. Jesus College was founded to help with the increased numbers of Welsh students at Oxford, and the founding Fellows included a number of individuals with links to Wales. The Commissioners included prominent individuals such as William Cecil, Lord Burghley, the Principal Secretary of State. Whilst the foundation process of the college started in 1571, it took more than fifty years and a further two charters, one in 1589 from Elizabeth and one in 1622 from her successor, James I, to complete the process. One Principal lost a draft copy of the statutes; the next kept the next draft in his study for several years without taking steps to have them confirmed by the Commissioners. It was not until after the 1622 charter that statutes were approved by the Commissioners and the college was fully constituted. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Hakluyt depicted in stained glass at Bristol Cathedral
Richard Hakluyt (c. 1552 or 1553 – 1616) was an English writer. He is principally remembered for his efforts in promoting and supporting the settlement of North America by the English through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America (1582) and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation (1598–1600). Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, between 1583 and 1588 Hakluyt was chaplain and secretary to Sir Edward Stafford, English ambassador at the French court. An ordained priest, Hakluyt held important positions at Bristol Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and was personal chaplain to Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, principal Secretary of State to Elizabeth I and James I. He was the chief promoter of a petition to James I for letters patent to colonize Virginia, which were granted to the London Company and Plymouth Company (referred to collectively as the Virginia Company) in 1606. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of Arms of Blackfriars Hall

Blackfriars Hall, established in 1994, 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 Blackfriars Hall, the English Province of the Dominican friars. The hall is on the same site as the Priory of the Holy Spirit (the friars' religious house) and Blackfriars Studium, the Province's centre of theological studies. Dominicans arrived in Oxford in 1221 at the instruction of Saint Dominic himself, little more than a week after the friar's death. Like all the monastic houses in Oxford, Blackfriars came into conflict with the university authorities, and all of them were suppressed during the Reformation. Blackfriars was refounded in 1921 on St Giles', within 600 metres of the original site. One of the smaller academic communities in Oxford, it admits men and women (over the age of 21) of any faith for undergraduate degrees in theology, philosophy, and PPE and for postgraduate degrees. Former students include Anthony Fisher OP, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney; Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool; and the American journalist Delia Gallagher. (Full article...)

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Tom Tower, the bell tower over the main entrance of Christ Church, was designed by Christopher Wren. It houses "Great Tom", which rings 101 times every night at 9pm Oxford time.
Credit: Bob Collowan
Tom Tower, the bell tower over the main entrance of Christ Church, was designed by Christopher Wren. It houses "Great Tom", which rings 101 times every night at 9pm Oxford time.

Did you know...

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

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Selected panorama

Green Templeton College in the snow; the building in the centre is the Radcliffe Observatory, now part of the college.
Credit: Craig Webber
Green Templeton College in the snow; the building in the centre is the Radcliffe Observatory, now part of the college.


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