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Virtual Open Day: Colleges
In this video
In the graduate prospectus
Our College Guide provides helpful advice on the role of colleges in the University and how to come to a decision on whether you want to a state college preference, and if so, how to choose one.
The College Guide includes a page for each college giving details of the particular characteristics of each, including:
- the number of students at the college,
- the provision of catering and accommodation – whether accommodation for couples or families may be available, for example, and when formal dinners are given by the college,
- the average cost of accommodation and the college fee,
- the library and IT resources available,
- links and a brief summary of funding available through the college,
- a map of the college’s location in Oxford,
- contact details, in case you have any further questions.
This custom Google Map indicates the physical location of departments and colleges in Oxford, and allows you to get a sense of the scale of the University's presence in the city. You may wish to look into colleges located close to your department, although please note that some teaching and supervision may be located at sites other than those indicated on the map.
For ease of use, we would recommend that you launch the full-size version of this map, which will give you access to an alphabetical list of all the colleges and departments represented on the map.
Q. Do I need to be member of a college?
A. All full-time matriculated students, a category constituting the great majority of graduate students, must be members of a college.
Part-time students should check the department’s information on their website and in our prospectus for advice on college arrangements specific to their course. Colleges have a vital role in the University and full-time students cannot be administrated outside the collegiate system.
Q. Is there a particular college that I should consider that specialises in or is otherwise particularly supportive of my subject?
A. The short answer is no – as long as a college has indicated that it will accept students to your subject, it will provide support equal to any other of Oxford’s colleges.
Students from a wide range of academic backgrounds and disciplines are represented in each college. It is important to remember that academic teaching and seminars are arranged centrally through the department at graduate level, rather than in colleges, and your access to the most appropriate academic support and supervision will not be determined by your college.
However, there are a certain exceptions, the most significant of which are Oxford’s Permanent Private Halls. Whilst the PPHs take on the role of colleges in Oxford, and several do accept students who are not religious and/or are studying in non-Theological subjects, it is certainly true that there is a very high concentration of students and staff specialising in both academic and applied Theology at PPHs and that personally religious students of Theology may wish to look into the option of applying specifically to a PPH.
Some colleges may offer specific financial awards or scholarships for students in particular areas or following a certain course, and it is essential to check the Oxford Funding Search for any opportunities that you may be eligible for. Your department may also have some suggestions on their website for colleges you may wish to consider.
Q. How do I choose a college?
A. Once you have established which colleges accept students for your course, either via the list in the online application form or via our College Search, you may want to have a look through their respective pages in the College Guide.
The first significant element of your decision may be the availability of funding specific to your course or to students of your particular nationality; you can find any substantial college awards for which you are eligible using the Oxford Funding Search.
If you have any particular accommodation needs, such as housing for an established couple or a family with a small child, some colleges may be able to provide this; details of the accommodation at each college are available via the individual pages of the College Guide.
If you have a strong preference as to whether you attend a college which is open to both undergraduate and graduate students or one which caters solely for graduates – there are seven graduate colleges, as detailed in the College Guide – you could select a college preference accordingly.
However, if these considerations do not restrict the list of suitable options you are considering, you may wish to consider colleges which are geographically close to your department or to make an open application in which you do not state any college preference. If you specify that you have no college preference, you will be randomly assigned a college to consider your application if you are made an offer by a department. You will be entitled to apply for, or be automatically considered for, funding available at the college you are assigned to if you are accepted.
Q. What happens if the first college I am considered by does not accept my application?
A. If the college preference you state on the form - or the college you are assigned to if you do not state a preference - is not able to accept you, your application will be sent to another college for assessment.
This process will continue until you are found a place, and you will only be considered by one college at a time. Whilst this can take time, it is important to remember that if you have been made an offer by your department you are guaranteed a college place. You are not able to specify any preference as to which colleges your application is considered by, other than the single choice you may state in your application.
Do you have any questions about the collegiate system at Oxford?
You can submit your questions to us via our online form. We will get back to you in every case, and if the answer to your question might be helpful to other applicants we may publish the question and answer here in our Virtual Open Day.