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

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The position of Laudian Professor of Arabic was established at Oxford in 1636 by William Laud (pictured), who at the time was Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Archbishop of Canterbury. The first professor was Edward Pococke, who was working as a chaplain in Aleppo in what is now Syria when Laud asked him to return to Oxford to take up the position. Laud's university regulations provided that the professor's lectures were to be attended by all medical students and bachelors of arts at the university, although this seems not to have happened since Pococke had few students. In 1881, a university statute provided that the professor was to lecture in "the Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldee Languages", and attached the professorship to a fellowship at St John's College. Successive professors had few students until after the Second World War, when numbers increased because of the reputation of Sir Hamilton Gibb and because some British students became interested in Arabic culture while serving in the Middle East during the war. Julia Bray, the Laudian Professor as of 2015, was appointed in 2012 and is the first woman to hold the position. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Izzy Westbury

Izzy Westbury (born 1990) is an international cricketer who has represented the Netherlands national women's cricket team in one One Day International (ODI) in 2005. She has also been part of the England women's academy. A right-handed batsman and off break bowler, she has played for Somerset women since 2007. Beginning her career in the Netherlands, Westbury progressed quickly within the national side, appearing at both the 2004 and 2006 Women's European Under-21 Championships, and made her senior international debut at the 2005 Women's European Championship. During this tournament, she also made her only ODI appearance, playing for the Netherlands against Ireland. She moved to England in 2006 to study, reading physiology at Hertford College, Oxford. She joined Somerset for the 2007 season, where she has played ever since. In 2010, she was selected as part of the England women's academy, travelling to India for the High Performance Camp. She won her blue for hockey by playing in the varsity match against Cambridge University in 2010, and was President of the Oxford Union in 2011. (Full article...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of St John's College

St John's College was established in 1555 by Sir Thomas White, who was later Lord Mayor of London. He was Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company and also established other educational foundations including Merchant Taylors' School. St John's was established as a Roman Catholic foundation in the time of Queen Mary, on the site of St Bernard's College, a monastery and house of study of the Cistercian order that had been closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The site, on the east side of St Giles', is to the north of Balliol College and Trinity College. The buildings include Canterbury Quad, the first example of Italian Renaissance architecture in Oxford, and 20th-century additions such as the neo-Italianate Garden Quad, built in 1993. It is one of the larger Oxford colleges, with about 370 undergraduates and 280 postgraduates. Former students include Edmund Campion (Roman Catholic martyr), William Laud (Archbishop of Canterbury), Tony Blair (former British prime minister) and the author Kingsley Amis. The President of St John's is the psychologist Margaret Snowling. (Full article...)

Selected picture

The Clarendon Building, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, was built between 1711 and 1715 to house the Oxford University Press. It is now part of the Bodleian Library.
Credit: David Iliff
The Clarendon Building, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, was built between 1711 and 1715 to house the Oxford University Press. It is now part of the Bodleian Library.

Did you know...

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

John Weston

Selected quotation

Geoffrey Chaucer, the opening lines of "The Miller's Tale", one of The Canterbury Tales

Selected panorama

Some of the college boathouses on The Isis (as the River Thames is known in Oxford)
Credit: David Iliff
Some of the college boathouses on The Isis (as the River Thames is known in Oxford)


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