Oxford University

A Brief History of the Oxford University
Oxford is a unique and historic institution. As the oldest English-speaking
university in the world, it lays claim to eight centuries of continuous
existence. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at
Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II
banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
In 1188, the historian, Gerald of Wales, gave a public reading to the
assembled Oxford dons and in 1190 the arrival of Emo of Friesland, the
first known overseas student, initiated the University's tradition of
international scholarship. By 1201, the University was headed by a magister
scolarum Oxonie, on whom the title of Chancellor was conferred in 1214, and
in 1231 the masters were recognized as a universitas or corporation.
In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (students and
townspeople) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence.
These were succeeded by the first of Oxford's colleges, which began as
medieval 'halls of residence' or endowed houses under the supervision of a
Master. University, Balliol and Merton Colleges, established between 1249
and 1264, were the oldest.
Less than a century later, Oxford had achieved eminence above every other
seat of learning, and won the praises of popes, kings and sages by virtue
of its antiquity, curriculum, doctrine and privileges. In 1355, Edward III
paid tribute to the University for its invaluable contribution to learning;
he also commented on the services rendered to the state by distinguished
Oxford graduates.

Oxford early on became a centre for lively controversy, with scholars
involved in religious and political disputes. John Wyclif, a 14th-century
Master of Balliol, campaigned for a bible in the vernacular, against the
wishes of the papacy. In 1530, Henry VIII forced the University to accept
his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. During the Reformation in the 16th
century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were tried for
heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford. The University was Royalist in the
Civil War, and Charles I held a counter-Parliament in Convocation House.
In the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected of
treason, was forced to flee the country. The 18th century, when Oxford was
said to have forsaken port for politics, was also an era of scientific
discovery and religious revival. Edmund Halley, Professor of Geometry,
predicted the return of the comet that bears his name; John and Charles
Wesley's prayer meetings laid the foundations of the Methodist Society.
The University assumed a leading role in the Victorian era, especially in
religious controversy. From 1811 onwards The Oxford Movement sought to
revitalise the Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church. One of its leaders,
John Henry Newman, became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and was later made a
Cardinal. In 1860 the new University Museum was the site of a famous debate
between Thomas Huxley, the champion of evolution, and Bishop Wilberforce.
From 1878, academic halls were established for women, who became members of
the University in 1920. Since 1974, all but one of Oxford's 39 colleges
have changed their statutes to admit both men and women. St Hilda's remains
the only women's college.
In the years since the war, Oxford has added to its humanistic core a major
new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including
medicine. In so doing, it has enhanced and strengthened its traditional
role as a focus for learning and a forum for intellectual debate.
                         Structure of the University
Oxford is an independent and self-governing institution, consisting of the
central University and the Colleges.
The Vice-Chancellor, who holds office for seven years, is effectively the
'Chief Executive' of the University. Three Pro-Vice-Chancellors have
specific, functional responsibility for Academic Matters, Academic Services
and University Collections, and Planning and Resource Allocation. The
Chancellor, who is usually an eminent public figure elected for life,
serves as the titular head of the University, presiding over all major
The principal policy-making body is the Council of the University, which
has 26 members, including those elected by Congregation, representatives of
the Colleges and two members from outside the University. Council is
responsible for the academic policy and strategic direction of the
University, and operates through four major committees: Educational Policy
and Standards, General Purposes, Personnel, and Planning and Resource
Final responsibility for legislative matters rests with Congregation, which
comprises over 3600 members of the academic, senior research, library,
museum and administrative staff.
Day-to-day decision-making in matters such as finance and planning is
devolved to the University's five Academic Divisions - Humanities, Life and
Environmental Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Medical
Sciences and Social Sciences. Each division has a full-time divisional head
and an elected divisional board. Continuing Education is the responsibility
of a separate board.
The Colleges, though independent and self-governing, form a core element of
the University, to which they are related in a federal system, not unlike
the United States. In time, each college is granted a charter approved by
the Privy Council, under which it is governed by a Head of House and a
Governing Body comprising of a number of Fellows, most of whom also hold
University posts. There are also six Permanent Private Halls, which were
founded by different Christian denominations, and which still retain their
religious character. Thirty colleges and all six halls admit students for
both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Seven other colleges are for
graduates only; one, All Souls, has fellows only, and one, Kellogg College,
specialises in part-time graduate and continuing education.
Oxford's current academic community includes 78 Fellows of the Royal
Society and 112 Fellows of the British Academy. A further 100 Emeritus and
Honorary College Fellows are Fellows of the Royal Society and 145 Emeritus
and Honorary College Fellows are also Fellows of the British Academy.
The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class
research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK
Oxford's current academic community includes 78 Fellows of the Royal
Society and 112 Fellows of the British Academy. A further 100 Emeritus and
Honorary College Fellows are Fellows of the Royal Society and 145 Emeritus
and Honorary College Fellows are also Fellows of the British Academy.
The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class
research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK
The University of Oxford's total student population numbers just over
16,500 (students in residence, 2000-2001).
Almost a quarter of these students are from overseas.
More than 130 nationalities are represented among our student body.
Almost 5,000 students are engaged in postgraduate work. Of these, around
3,000 are working in the arts and humanities.
Every year more than 16,500 people take part in courses offered by the
University's Department for Continuing Education.
Latest figures show that only 5.5 per cent of Oxford graduates were
unemployed six months after graduation, compared with the national sector
average of over 6 per cent.
Oxford has a higher number of first degree graduates (36%) entering further
training than the national average (20%).
Our students and staff are currently involved in over 55 initiatives,
including visits to more than 3,700 schools and colleges, to encourage the
brightest and best students to apply to Oxford, whatever their background.
                             Studying at Oxford
                          Graduate study at Oxford
Across both the Arts and the Sciences, Oxford research is consistently in
the top rank both nationally and internationally. As well as being in the
forefront of scientific, medical and technological achievement, the
University has strong links with research institutions and industrial
concerns both in the United Kingdom and overseas. The University's income
from externally funded research grants and contracts in 2000-1 totalled
over Ј142-4 million. The University's great age also allows its teaching
staff and research students to draw on a heritage of magnificent library
and museum collections.
In all these fields, Oxford attracts scholars from many parts of the world
to join its teaching and research staff, and values also the important role
of overseas graduate students (approximately one quarter of the total
graduate body) in providing intellectual stimulation and creating and
maintaining academic links with colleagues abroad. A hundred countries are
at present represented in this way.
The development of graduate studies has largely taken place in the 20th
century and in the last 30 years seven new graduate colleges have been set
up. However, most graduate students still belong to a traditional
undergraduate college where their presence is valuable to teachers and
undergraduates alike.
                              Graduate courses
The University offers a wide range of taught graduate courses and research
degrees, ranging from one to three or more years in length. While the
Master of Studies (MSt) degree is awarded after examination at the end of
three terms' work, three or more years are normally required to complete a
thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
For all diplomas and degrees, except the few offered as part-time courses,
students must spend a period in residence - which means postgraduate
students live in term time within 25 miles of Oxford. There are no external
degrees and there are only a few part-time courses in specific subjects.
The minimum period of residence for most diplomas or the degrees of MSc or
MSt is three terms. The minimum period of residence for the degrees of
MPhil (BPhil in Philosophy), MLitt, or DPhil is normally six terms.
The academic year runs from October to September and is divided into three
terms, Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity, and three vacations. The dates of
Full Terms, eight-week periods during which lectures and other instruction
are given, are as follows for the next two years:
|                   |Academic year 2003-4     |Academic year 2004-5     |
|Michaelmas Term    |12 Oct to 6 Dec          |10 Oct to 4 Dec          |
|Hilary Term        |18 Jan to 13 Mar         |16 Jan to 12 Mar         |
|Trinity Term       |25 Apr to 19 June        |24 Apr to 18 June        |

The graduate, however, unlike the undergraduate, will normally be in
residence for most of the year. In many departments formal lectures,
seminars and classes for graduates continue into the vacations.
                             Teaching & Research
In 2002, Oxford University claimed first place in the annual Times Good
University Guide, which ranks universities according to the quality of
teaching and research, as well as indicators including staffing levels,
facilities spending and graduate destinations.
In the Financial Times 2002 MBA ranking, the Saпd Business School's one-
year MBA course received the highest rating for value for money of all the
international schools surveyed.
In 2002, Oxford University topped the annual league table of teacher
training providers for the fifth successive year.
Oxford University was named the UK's most innovative University in the
Launchit2001 competition, in recognition of the greatest achievements in
innovation and enterprise across the broadest range of activity.
In the academic year 2000-2001, Oxford's overall research income from
external sponsors rose by 10 per cent for the second successive year,
reaching Ј142.4 million.
In the most recent national Teaching Quality Assessment exercises for 2000,
Oxford was awarded top marks in six out of ten subjects assessed.
Oxford, Stanford and Yale Universities have recently become partners in a
joint 'distance learning' venture, the Alliance for Lifelong Learning,
which will provide on-line courses in the arts and sciences initially to
their combined 500,000 alumni.
The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class
research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK
Oxford has recently received its fourth Queen's Anniversary Prize, in
recognition of the Refugee Studies Centre's contribution to the study of
forced migration and refugees.
Isis Innovation, the University's technology transfer company, files on
average one new patent application a week and spins out a new company from
University research every two months.
Oxford has spun out more companies than any other UK university. Our spin-
out companies are collectively worth around Ј2 billion, and have helped
produce some 30 multi-millionaires.
Oxford is the UK pioneer in developing a university intellectual property
   Latest research: Revolutionary new test to help eliminate tuberculosis
3 December 2002
A revolutionary new test for identifying people infected with tuberculosis
(TB), one of the leading causes of death worldwide, will shortly be
launched by Oxford Immunotec Ltd, a new Oxford University spin-off company.
The test radically improves the speed and accuracy with which the disease
can be identified. It has been developed to replace the existing skin test
for TB, which is given to 600,000 UK schoolchildren every year.
Oxford Immunotec's test has come from discoveries made over the last seven
years at the University of Oxford by Dr Ajit Lalvani and collaborators at
the Nuffield Department of Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital. A replacement
for the 100-year-old skin test is long overdue but, until now, there has
not been a better way of diagnosing infection.
The Oxford Immunotec test is based on patented technology which provides a
simple and extremely accurate way of studying a person's cellular immune
response to an infection. Every time someone becomes infected with a
disease, the body produces specific cells (white blood cells) to fight the
infection. The new test looks to see if the body has produced these cells
in response to TB and monitors how their numbers change over time. In this
way, it is possible to determine if a person is infected and whether they
are effectively fighting the infection. This powerful technique can be used
not only for diagnosis of infections, but also for prognosis of disease and
monitoring of treatment.
Crucially, the Oxford Immunotec test will also make it possible to
accurately identify people who are carrying TB infection, but who have not
yet gone on to develop disease. Diagnosing and treating infected people
before they go on to develop severe disease and infect others is essential
to prevent the spread of TB and save lives. TB kills between two and three
million people each year, and the death toll is increasing. TB in the UK
has risen almost every year for the last 15 years, with 6,500 newly
diagnosed cases each year.
Since 1998, Dr Lalvani has used this rapid blood test in double blinded,
randomised studies to prove its effectiveness in over 2,000 TB patients and
healthy controls in eight different countries. These studies demonstrate
that the new test is a radical improvement on the current skin test, and
that, unlike the skin test, it works well in people with weaker immune
systems, such as children, the elderly and those immunosuppressed with
diseases like HIV.
Dr Peter Wrighton-Smith, CEO of Oxford Immunotec, said: 'We are extremely
excited about this new test which we believe will revolutionise TB control.
This test is needed as never before because TB is resurging in the
developed world and already parts of the UK have TB rates as high as India.
The huge amount of clinical data gathered to date proves this technology
works and we are already looking to apply it to other diseases where the
cellular immune response is critical, such as HIV, Hepatitis C and Cancer.'
                               Life in Oxford
                             The city of Oxford
Oxford lies about 57 miles (90km) north-west of London. A medium-sized city
with a large student population, Oxford has a lively and cosmopolitan
atmosphere, with excellent cultural, leisure, sport and retail amenities.
Oxford's historic architecture is well renowned. Amongst its beautiful
buildings and modern facilities are parks, gardens and waterways. In
addition to those offered by the University, the city of Oxford has its own
cultural facilities, including the Museum of Oxford and the Museum of
Modern Art. Drama productions are performed at, amongst others, the Oxford
Playhouse, and the Apollo Theatre, and there are several cinemas. Sports
fans enjoy county cricket in the University Parks and third-division
football at Oxford United, as well as punting, swimming, and ice-skating in
the city centre.
There is heavy traffic in Oxford, and much of the city centre is now closed
to private traffic. Fortunately, most of the University area can be
comfortably covered on foot or bicycle. Secondhand bicycles can be hired or
bought and local bus services are excellent.
Oxford is also well served by national road and rail links. A direct 24-
hour coach service connects the city with London, and with Heathrow and
Gatwick airports.
The city and surrounding area are home to various industries including a
growing number of high-technology companies in areas such as IT and
biosciences, which have developed from University research or are attracted
by the proximity of the University. Oxford is also a major tourist centre.
Students at Oxford enjoy a wealth of opportunity to involve themselves in
music, as listeners and performers, and at all levels. At the top end the
University boasts student orchestras of professional calibre (notably the
Oxford University Orchestra and the Philharmonia), and choirs of renown
(Christ Church, Magdalen and New College, along with the Schola Cantorum).
Other levels of accomplishment are catered for by college music societies,
many of which run ambitious programmes of chamber, orchestral and vocal
music. Opera is represented by at least two University-based organizations.
Other organizations within the University cater for almost every other
conceivable interest, from Soul to Jazz, from Indian to contemporary.
Oxford plays host to musicians from far and wide, including opera companies
from Glynbourne and Cardiff, and orchestras of distinction such as the CBSO
and the orchestra of St John's Smith Square. And if you feel there is
something missing, Oxford is the ideal place to do your own thing with the
unlimited musical talent the University has at its disposal.
The University provides a spring-board for sportsmen and women to achieve
at county, national and international level, partly because of excellent
sporting facilities at college and University level. The majority of
colleges provide sports grounds, squash courts and boat houses on the river
Isis for the annual inter-college rowing competition, 'Eights'.
The University provides generous sporting facilities in all areas including
sports not normally available at college level, such as volleyball,
athletics, fencing and judo. Many of these facilities are located at the
Iffley Road Sports Complex, which also boasts a modern multi-gym, an all-
weather track, and a newly-opened artificial hockey pitch. Association
football, lawn tennis and rugby are also catered for at this site, along
with a rowing tank and gymnasium. A 25-metre swimming pool should be
completed soon.
                            Sources of Knowledge
                              Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library is the principal library of the University, taking its
name from Sir Thomas Bodley who refounded it on the site of an earlier
library. It was opened in 1602 and has an unbroken history from that time.
When publishing and copyright became subject to statute the Bodleian
became, and remains, one of the libraries of legal deposit. Material
published elsewhere than in Great Britain and Ireland is extensively
acquired, mainly by purchase.
The Library's collections are housed in several buildings. The central
group consists of the Old Library, the Radcliffe Camera, the New Library,
and the Clarendon Building. A large part of the Library's holdings of some
seven million volumes is housed in the bookstacks of the New Library.
Reading rooms on the central site contain on open access selected material
on English language and literature, history, theology, classics,
bibliography, education, music, geography, philosophy, politics and
economics, management studies, Latin American studies and Slavonic and East
European studies. Western manuscripts and early printed books are normally
consulted in Duke Humfrey's Library within the Old Library, and the Modern
Papers reading room in the New Library. Oriental books and manuscripts are
consulted in the Oriental Reading Room.
Books on science and medicine, law, South Asian studies, Japanese studies,
the Middle East and China (teaching and loan collection) and Eastern Art,
and American and Commonwealth history, are kept in other libraries within
the group, described separately below.
The majority of printed accessions are listed in the OLIS online catalogue,
which may be consulted on terminals throughout the Bodleian. Terminals in
all reading rooms in the Bodleian may be used to connect to OxLIP, a range
of electronic resources, bibliographic and full-text, in all subject areas,
mounted both on the local network and on remote computers. These resources
are also available from other workstations connected to the University
network in colleges, faculties and departments. Workstations also give
access to the Bodleian catalogue of pre-1920 books, both via OLIS and on CD
ROM. The Chinese and Japanese catalogues are partially recorded in original
script on the Allegro system and may be accessed via the network or the
Internet. Work on converting the card catalogues is well advanced.
Students formally registered with the University are entitled to readership
upon complying with certain formalities; arrangements will be made through
their colleges. The central Bodleian is not a lending library, nor are
readers in general admitted to the bookstacks. There are facilities for
reading microform material, and photographic and photocopying services.
Readers may use their own laptop computers.
More detailed information about the Library as a whole may be found in A
general guide to the Bodleian Library and its dependent libraries, and
about the Central Bodleian in Guide to the Central Bodleian Library. Both
are obtainable free at the Library and in PDF format from the Library's web
                      Museum of the History of Science
The Museum of the History of Science, housed in the Old Ashmolean Building
in Broad Street, is primarily a museum of scientific instruments of
historical interest. The very fine building was erected by the University
to house the collections of Elias Ashmole (1617-92), and to serve for
lectures in natural philosophy and as a chemical laboratory; it was opened
in 1683. The Ashmolean Museum (now in Beaumont Street) remained in the
building until the end of the 19th century. The building became a museum
again in 1925, after the Lewis Evans Collection was accepted by the
University and placed in the upper gallery; in 1935 the scientific
collections had so increased in size and scope that the name was changed to
the Museum of the History of Science.
Substantial donations, loans, and purchases have continued to augment the
collections, which comprise:
1. The Lewis Evans and Billmeir collections of mathematical, time-telling,
and surveying instruments, including a remarkable collection of armillary
spheres, astrolabes, quadrants, and sundials, dating from the medieval
period to the 19th century

2. The Barnett and Beeson collections of clocks and watches, especially
rich in clocks and watches made by Oxfordshire craftsmen

3. Astronomical instruments derived from the Savilian and Radcliffe
Observatories, from the Royal Astronomical Society, and other sources,
including exceptionally interesting instruments from the 17th and 18th

4. The Clay collection of optical instruments, which includes many early
microscopes, the Royal Microscopical Society's collection of early
microscopes, and a large collection of telescopes and other optical
Beyond these discrete collections, the Museum contains a wealth of
apparatus and instruments covering a broad spectrum of the history of
science. Its collections are especially strong from the medieval period
until the early 19th century.
The Museum has recently undergone major refurbishment, with new displays,
and, in the basement, a special exhibitions gallery, education room, public
toilets, and library. The basement area is entirely accessible for
wheelchair users, and is reached by a lift in the Sheldonian Yard. An MSc
course in History of Science: Instruments, Museums, Science, Technology is
taught within the Museum by the curatorial staff.
The Museum is open to the public, from 12 noon to 4.00 pm, Tuesday to
Saturday, throughout the year, except for Bank Holidays, and for about a
week after Christmas. The library may be used, on application, by students
and others engaged in research. It is open regularly to the Museum's own
graduate students.

    All information was taken from the Official University of Oxford Site

Table of Contents:
1. A Brief History of the Oxford University
2. Structure of the University
      2.1 Staff
      2.2 Students
3. Studying at Oxford
      3.1 Graduate study at Oxford
      3.2 Graduate courses
4. Teaching & Research
      4.1 Latest research
5. Life in Oxford
      5.1 The city of Oxford
      5.2 Music
      5.3 Sports
6. Sources of Knowledge
      6.1 Bodleian Library
      6.2 Museum of the History of Science

                          Map of Oxford dated 1644

                        The University Church in 1726