Run by the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, a Roman Catholic religious order, Blackfriars Hall is heir to one of Oxford's oldest academic traditions. The first Dominicans arrived in Oxford in 1221, shortly after the foundation of the Order, at the direct instructions of St Dominic. Suppressed at the Reformation, Blackfriars was re-founded in 1921, and became a Permanent Private Hall in 1994.
Located in the city centre, Blackfriars is home to a community of Dominican friars, as well as the Aquinas Institute and the Las Casas Institute for Faith in Public Life. True to the Dominican tradition of impartial scholarship, applications to Blackfriars are welcomed from men and women, clerical and lay, Christian or otherwise, who wish to undertake studies in philosophy, theology, or other complementary areas of the social sciences.
Blackfriars' graduate intake is among the smallest in the University, which enables students to have a closer and more supportive engagement with friars, tutors and the rest of the community than is normal in larger colleges.
Accommodation and meals
Blackfriars Hall provides up to 10 high-quality, good size rooms for graduate students, depending on first year undergraduate and visiting student numbers. This is approximately 25% of the graduate student body. The accommodation is located in two adjacent houses in St John Street, a two-minute walk away from the Blackfriars site. Both properties have a good size garden in which students can relax.
The accommodation is ideally located in a well-lit street right in the heart of the city, close to the main sights and attractions, and convenient for University facilities, rail and bus stations. However, it is isolated from the main bustle and city noise: perfect for balancing the need for study and recreation.
Blackfriars' accommodation is not en-suite and does not cater for families or couples. Currently, most rooms are not suitable for students with mobility issues. All rooms are available through the Christmas and Easter vacations. Accommodation is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Further information about accommodation at Blackfriars is available on the college website.
The accommodation provided by Blackfriars Hall has self-catering facilities. Arrangements are also made at other nearby halls for students of Blackfriars to having dining rights, subject to the agreement and charges of those halls.
Library and IT services
The Hall's library specialises in theology and philosophy with over 35,000 volumes and takes a number of periodicals that are not available elsewhere in Oxford. There is a strong holding in Patristic literature, scripture, and books and journals on the thought of St Thomas Aquinas.
A computer catalogue allows one-stop searches for works in this and libraries of the central University, including the Bodleian Library. There are computers linked to the electronic databases and resources of Blackfriars and the University, and wireless internet access.
All study bedrooms are equipped with networked connections and WiFi access. WiFi access is also available in the ground-floor rooms, including the library and teaching rooms. A computer suite provides printers and PCs for student use, and the library contains additional terminals.
Sport, music and college facilities
Students, fellows and staff organise frequent social events. Highlights in Blackfriars’ social calendar include the Thanksgiving Dinner, Advent Party, a reading week in the country, the Priory Dinner, and summer garden party. Students regularly combine with members of other colleges for sporting activities. A grant is available towards university gym facilities.
Facilities for students with disabilities
There is wheelchair access to the Junior Common Room (JCR)/Middle Common Room (MCR), lecture room, tutorial rooms and ground floor of the library. Blackfriars arranges accommodation in housing belonging to another college close by, please contact Blackfriars directly to discuss any specific needs.
Graduate students are members both of the joint JCR/MCR and of the joint MCR/SCR. The former organises regular meals and social events. The latter holds several social evenings each term so that fellows, tutors, friars, visiting scholars and graduate students may mix informally.
All rooms are available through the Christmas and Easter vacations.