University of Oxford

University Information, Campus and History
(Oxford, Oxfordshire, England)

The University of Oxford is located in the city of Oxford in Southeast England. It is one of the most respected universities in the world, recently ranking fourth in the Times Higher World University Rankings.

The history of the university traces back to the 11th century, although it was not officially established at that time. Its growth into a formal university began in 1167 when King Henry II forbade English students from studying at the University of Paris. This led to a dramatic increase in Oxford's student population and other English centers of learning that hastened the establishment of formal institutions. The university received a charter from the papal legate Nicholas de Romanis, which approved the appointment of a university chancellor. This officially established the university as an institution of higher learning. It received legitimacy from the King through the Act for the Incorporation of Both Universities passed in 1571. It gave the university the official title of 'The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford.'

Today, the university has over 18,000 students. It operates 39 academic colleges and seven Permanent Private Houses (PPH). It has a long list of alumni and alumnae who have made significant contributions in literature, art, science, and medicine. It has long been regarded as a bastion for the humanities. The university is known to have a long-standing rivalry with the University of Cambridge, with each university trying to outdo the other in research, scholarship, and sports.

The University of Oxford has four academic divisions:
  • Humanities Division
  • Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences Division
  • Social Sciences Division
  • Medical Sciences Division


The university is host to many facilities including the oldest university museum in the world, a staggering collection of musical instruments, and a theatre dating back to the 17th century.

Located on Beaumont Street, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology is the world's oldest university-based museum. The building was designed by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren and was erected in 1683 to house the various curios Elias Ashmole had donated to the university. Aside from the original Ashmole collection, the museum's artifacts now a large stuffed dodo bird, a violin by master violin craftsman Antonio Stradivari, and a collection of Posie rings that supposedly inspired the One Ring of J. R. R. Tolkien's epic 'The Lord of the Rings.'

The Bate Collection, named after Phillip Bate, is an impressive presentation of the progress of musical instrument design found in the university's Faculty Music. It features instruments dating back to the medieval period including a series of bows and an entire workshop by bow designer William Retford. Performances are occasionally held using the instruments from this collection.

The Sheldonian Theatre, built in 1668 by Sir Christopher Wren, is located on Broad Street. It is named after Gilbert Sheldon, who was the university's chancellor at that time and the main financial backer of the theatre. With a seating capacity of 800, it is commonly used for recitals, stage performances, operas, commencement exercises, the annual Romanes Lecture, and other university events.

Famous Students

With a history spanning almost an entire millennium, the University of Oxford boasts of an impressive alumni roster including Lewis Carroll, the pen name of Charles Dodgson who authored the Alice series of books; J. R. R. Tolkien, author of 'The Lord of the Rings;' and C. S. Lewis, author of 'The Space Trilogy' and noted Christian novelist. It has produced 47 Nobel Prize winners, seven Catholic saints, 12 kings, 25 British Prime Ministers, and a pope.

The University of Oxford accepts foreign scholars and students. It does not have any quota on the number of foreign students it can accept except in Medicine. Depending on your country of origin or where you are studying, the university requires different application forms, processes, and applications. Foreign students can e-mail their application enquiries at Kingdom. The complete undergraduate prospectus can be downloaded at Kingdom/prospectus/.

Contact University of Oxford:
Address: Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD, England, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1865 270 000
Fax: +44 1865 270 708
Email: use website enquiry form
Oxford University

Oxford University

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