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, the Hall was refounded 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, which researches faith and public life, especially poverty, migration, and human rights; students enjoy privileged access to special lectures by distinguished visitors and to conferences offered by the institutes.
True to the Dominican tradition of impartial scholarship, the hall welcomes applications from men and women, clerical and lay, Christian or otherwise, aged 21 or above who wish to undertake studies in philosophy, theology, or other complementary areas of the social sciences. The hall’s undergraduate 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.
If you are considering applying to Blackfriars, we encourage you to contact the Regent, Fr Simon Gaine, in order to find out more.
Blackfriars is in St Giles’, between the Ashmolean Museum and Pusey House, a few minutes’ walk from the Theology Faculty, Bodleian and Sackler Classics libraries, and the Oriental Institute.
Accommodation and meals
Blackfriars has rooms for two thirds of its students. Friars are accommodated in the Priory; other students live mainly in properties with self-catering facilities in St John’s Street, immediately behind the hall. Arrangements are made for students to eat meals at another nearby college.
Blackfriars normally accepts undergraduate students for Theology, Theology and Philosophy, Theology and Oriental Studies and PPE only. Each year, the hall offers the Blackwell Scholarship to one student, based on academic merit. There is also a scholarship available to female students studying philosophy and theology, and other bursaries which vary from year to year.
The hall contains an outstanding library in theology and philosophy of more than 35,000 volumes, open daily from 8.30am to 10pm. A computerised self-issue system enables students to borrow some books, while others are retained as an extensive reference collection. There is a wifi network, computer suite and additional computers in the library. The Junior Common Room (JCR) offers a comfortable place to relax and meet other students.
Blackfriars offers free membership to the university gym. There is an active Wine Society, and the Women’s Group hosts speaker events with international academics and other notable women. The JCR organises frequent social events. Highlights in Blackfriars’ social calendar include Thanksgiving Dinner, a reading week in the country, the Advent party, JCR/MCR Dinner and summer garden party. Blackfriars students regularly combine with students of other colleges and members of the religious community for musical and sporting events.
Dr George Bitsakakis
Val Dodd BLitt
Dr Brian King
Dr Scot Peterson
The Revd Dr Richard Conrad OP
The Revd David Sanders OP
Dr Santha Bhattacharji
Tutor for Women
Dr Frances Reynolds
Visiting Student Programme:
Ms Elizabeth Mullard