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

The Queen's College, Oxford

The Neda Agha-Soltan Graduate Scholarship is a scholarship for post-graduate philosophy students at The Queen's College (pictured), with preference given to students of Iranian citizenship or heritage. It was established in 2009 following the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, an Iranian philosophy student, in the street protests that followed the disputed Iranian presidential election. The college received offers from two anonymous donors to establish a scholarship, followed by many individual donations from members of the public and former students of Queen's. The Iranian embassy in London told the college that the university was involved in a "politically motivated campaign... in sharp contract with its academic objectives". In response, The Times praised the scholarship, saying that the establishment of the scholarship was indeed politically motivated, "and admirably so", given the regime's reaction to her death and continuing problems in Iran. The college has denied that it took a political decision in establishing the scholarship, arguing that refusing the donations would itself have been a political act. Anonymous British diplomatic sources were reported as saying that the scholarship put "another nail into the coffin" of relations between Britain and Iran. (Full article...)

Selected biography

William Morris by George Frederic Watts, 1870

William Morris (1834–1896) was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. His best-known works include The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthly Paradise (1868–70), A Dream of John Ball and the utopian News from Nowhere. He was an important figure in the emergence of socialism in Britain, founding the Socialist League in 1884, but breaking with the movement over goals and methods by the end of that decade. Born in Walthamstow in east London, Morris was educated at Marlborough and Exeter College, Oxford. In 1856, he became an apprentice to Gothic revival architect G. E. Street. That same year he founded the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, an outlet for his poetry and a forum for development of his theories of hand-craftsmanship in the decorative arts. In 1861, Morris founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century. His chief contribution to the arts was as a designer of repeating patterns for wallpapers and textiles, many based on a close observation of nature. (more...)

Selected college or hall

Coat of arms of Balliol College, Oxford

Balliol College is one of the oldest colleges at Oxford, founded in 1263 (according to tradition) by the Scottish nobleman John I de Balliol and supported by his widow Dervorguilla of Galloway. It is one of the largest colleges, with about 800 undergraduates and graduate students in total, and is located on Broad Street in the centre of the city. Balliol rose to prominence within the university during the 19th century under the leadership of Benjamin Jowett, Master from 1870 to 1893, although his predecessors at the beginning of the century had begun the process by insisting that Fellowships and scholarships were to be awarded only on academic merit. Much of the college was rebuilt in the 19th century, including the present chapel (the third on the site) and only a few parts of the buildings predate 1700. Alumni of the college include three British Prime Ministers (H. H. Asquith, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath), the scientist Richard Dawkins and the economist Adam Smith. Links with Scotland are maintained in various ways, including the Snell Exhibition founded in the 17th century which allows students from the University of Glasgow to carry out research at Oxford as a member of Balliol. (Full article...)

Selected picture

Part of the ceiling of the Divinity School. Built between 1427 and 1483 in the Perpendicular style, the Divinity School is Oxford's oldest surviving purpose-built building for university use.
Credit: Tim Regan
Part of the ceiling of the Divinity School. Built between 1427 and 1483 in the Perpendicular style, the Divinity School is Oxford's oldest surviving purpose-built building for university use.

Did you know...

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

Oxford Union

Selected quotation

Selected panorama

A panoramic view of the First Quadrangle of Jesus College. The hall is in the centre (at the west of the quadrangle), on the right-hand of the passageway leading through into the Second Quadrangle, and lit by three large windows. The Principal's Lodgings are on the north side of the quadrangle, between the hall and the chapel.
Credit: Bencherlite
A panoramic view of the First Quadrangle of Jesus College. The hall is in the centre (at the west of the quadrangle), on the right-hand of the passageway leading through into the Second Quadrangle, and lit by three large windows. The Principal's Lodgings are on the north side of the quadrangle, between the hall and the chapel.