Portal:University of Oxford

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The University of Oxford Portal

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 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

Douglas Jardine
Douglas Jardine (1900–1958) was an English cricketer and captain of the England cricket team from 1931 to 1933–34. A right-handed batsman, he played 22 Test matches for England, captaining the side in 15 of those matches, winning nine, losing one and drawing five. After establishing an early reputation as a prolific schoolboy batsman, Jardine attended New College, Oxford, and played for the university's cricket team. Jardine is best known for captaining the English team during the 1932–33 Ashes tour of Australia, in which his team employed Bodyline tactics against Donald Bradman and other opposing Australian batsmen. This tactic was considered by many to be intimidatory and physically threatening and Jardine is widely regarded by commentators and writers as the person responsible for the English strategy on that tour. A controversial figure among cricketers, Jardine was well known for his dislike of Australian players and crowds and was unpopular in Australia, particularly for his manner and especially so after the Bodyline tour. On the other hand, many players captained by him regarded him as an excellent captain; not all regarded him as good at managing people. (more...)

Selected college or hall

The college coat of arms

Corpus Christi College, founded in 1517, is one of the smallest Oxford colleges in terms of student numbers. It is located on Merton Street, between Oriel College and Merton College, in the centre of the city. It was founded by Richard Foxe, the Bishop of Winchester, who intended the college as lodgings for monks from St Swythun's Priory in Winchester; however, the college moved away from this initial plan and became dedicated to the study of the classics, a subject in which it still has a strong reputation. The pelican sundial in the main quadrangle was added in 1581. John Rainolds, Corpus's seventh President, was involved in the inception and translation of the King James Bible, published in 1611. Former students include John Keble (a leader of the Oxford Movement, later to be commemorated by the foundation of Keble College), the philosopher Isaiah Berlin and the British Labour Party brothers and politicians Ed and David Miliband. The college won the 2009 series of the BBC television quiz programme University Challenge, under the leadership of Gail Trimble, but were later disqualified for fielding an ineligible player. (Full article...)

Selected picture

Wadham College was founded in 1610 by Dorothy Wadham using money bequeathed for this purpose by her husband Nicholas Wadham. The main quadrangle, seen here, was built 1610–13 to designs by William Arnold.
Credit: Ukexpat
Wadham College was founded in 1610 by Dorothy Wadham using money bequeathed for this purpose by her husband Nicholas Wadham. The main quadrangle, seen here, was built 1610–13 to designs by William Arnold.

Did you know...

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

Oxford Union

Selected quotation

John Ruskin, Professor of Art, refusing to admit women to his lectures in 1871

Selected panorama

As dawn breaks, those attending the 2010 Ball at The Queen's College celebrate the end of another Oxford year.
Credit: Queens Ball
As dawn breaks, those attending the 2010 Ball at The Queen's College celebrate the end of another Oxford year.

On this day...

Events for 22 May relating to the university, its colleges, academics and alumni. College affiliations are marked in brackets.

More anniversaries in May and the rest of the year...