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- About the University
Somerville College prides itself on its pioneering traditions, its intellectual openness and the stellar achievements of its alumni. Two prime ministers, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, Nobel prize-winner Dorothy Hodgkin and a long line of novelists from Rose Macaulay and Dorothy L. Sayers to Iris Murdoch, Michel Roberts and AS Byatt have studied here. Fellows and relatively recent graduates include prize-winning scientists, successful entrepreneurs, five MPs and several peers. Founded in 1879 as one of the first women's colleges, Somerville now has approximately equal numbers of men and women among its students and Fellows. It attracts students from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds, and from all over the world.
With its wide lawns and lovely gardens, the college is close to the city centre, bordered by the vibrant neighbourhoods of Little Clarendon Street and Jericho, with the fast-developing new facilities of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter on its northern edge, and within a few minutes of the science areas and several humanities departments. Only a short bike ride from Oxford’s main libraries, it also boasts one of the largest college libraries in Oxford; and it was the first college to introduce site-wide wi-fi. Its newest accommodation blocks provide en-suite bedrooms, and the college accommodates most students for the duration of their courses (though nearly half live in rented accommodation nearby in their second year). It also offers fine food, a gym, excellent choir and music facilities, and beautiful spaces for student meetings and social events, including a terrace bar and common rooms. Surveys of student opinion regularly place Somerville at or near the top of the list for the whole student experience, with particularly high scores for the quality of teaching and for its library facilities.