A researcher in the Jenner Institute
Credit: John Cairns
Oxford at a glance
- There are more than 26,000 students at Oxford, including 12,579 undergraduates and 13,445 postgraduates (data correct as of 1 December 2021).
- Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK: figures published for 2019/20 academic year of entry by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that only 0.9% of Oxford students dropped out, compared with a UK average of 5.3%.
- Over 91% of Oxford leavers are employed or in further study six months after graduating.
- Every year more than 15,000 students enrol on courses at the Department for Continuing Education, making Oxford University one of the largest providers of continuing education in the UK.
- The University of Oxford contributes around £15.7 billion to the UK economy, and supports more than 28,000 full time jobs. £611 million is generated by the University’s contribution to tourism, and £6 billion from the impact generated by the spending of the University and its colleges (2018/19). Find out more here.
Undergraduate admissions and access
- Entry to undergraduate courses at Oxford continues to be very competitive: there are usually only around 3,300 places, and over 24,000 people applied to start in 2021.
- That means Oxford receives, on average, over seven applications for each available place.
- The majority of Oxford’s UK undergraduates come from state schools. Over 68% of UK students admitted in 2021 were from the state sector.
- The University conducts over 20,000 interviews with around 10,000 applicants over the two-week interview period in December.
- Oxford spends more than £7 million each year on outreach activities, in addition to the £8 million it spends on financial support.
- Oxford, through its outreach work, reaches more than 75% of UK schools with post-16 provision - that's almost every school that fields candidates capable of making a competitive application to Oxford.
- Oxford typically holds more than 3,000 outreach activities each year with groups from primary age upwards in Oxford, in local regions and online.
- Oxford’s flagship access programme UNIQ is a free mentoring programme for academically talented UK state school students from under-represented groups. Since its launch in 2010, just over 10,000 UK state school students have taken part and nearly 2,000 have gone on to be offered a place at Oxford.
- 36% of UNIQ students who apply to Oxford are offered a place, compared to an average 22% for all candidates.
Financial support for undergraduates
- Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages for UK undergraduates from the lowest-income backgrounds.
- Oxford Bursaries of between £3,200 and £500 are provided to eligible undergraduates from the lowest income families every year.
- Oxford offers non-repayable bursaries of up to £5,000 p.a. to eligible UK students as part of its Crankstart Scholarship programme.
- Non-repayable bursaries of up to £7,200 p.a. will be available to support eligible UK students who are care leavers or estranged (studying without family support).
- The Oxford-Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims Scholarship is a full scholarship of fees and living costs for a UK resident of Black African or Black Caribbean heritage from a disadvantaged background.
- Oxford centrally spends around £8 million annually on financial support for undergraduates.
Postgraduate admissions and support
- Graduate students make up more than 50% of the total student body at Oxford.
- Oxford offers more than 350 different graduate courses.
- For 2021/22 entry, over 40,000 applications were received for some 6,500 postgraduate places.
- More than 36,000 applications were for full-time courses and just over 4,000 for part-time study.
- Up to 1,000 full and partial scholarships were available for new postgraduate students in 2021.
- International students make up 45% of our total student body - almost 11,500 students - including 23% of undergraduates and 65% of graduate students.
- Students come to Oxford from more than 160 countries and territories. The largest groups of international students come from the USA, China, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Australia, Italy, France, and Poland.
- Oxford University Press (OUP) is the largest and most successful university press in the world. It has offices in more than 50 countries and publishes works in some 100 languages.
- Every year millions of students use OUP's English Language Teaching materials to learn English.
- The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions. When the UK Funding Bodies published the outcomes of REF 2021 in May 2022, results showed Oxford’s submission had the highest volume of world-leading research. Highlights of the submission can be found on the Oxford REF 2021 webpages.
- Oxford's research activity involves more than 1,900 academic staff, more than 5,800 research and research support staff, and more than 7,000 graduate research students.
- At postgraduate level, 52% of students are studying for a higher degree by research.
- Oxford’s total research income is consistently the highest of any UK university. In 2020/21 the University earned £653.3 million in external research funding. When the block grant for research from Research England is added, the University’s research income totals £809.4 million.
- Oxford University through Oxford University Innovation (OUI) is the UK leader in generating spinout companies, creating 22 for the academic year 2020/21, plus many more startups and social enterprises. Overall, it has created 233 spinouts and 281 companies, more than any other UK institution.
- OUI is also the most prolific university filer of patent in the UK and receives more income from intellectual property than UK peers.
- During 2020, OUI completed 846 commercial deals, signed 529 academic consultancy deals, and returned £16.6 million to researchers and the University.
- Oxfordshire is one of Europe’s leading centres of enterprise and innovation, with particular strengths in biosciences and new technologies, and many of the region’s high-tech companies have links with the University.
Oxford awards and rankings
- Oxford’s academic community includes more than 90 Fellows of the Royal Society and around 100 Fellows of the British Academy.
- Oxford mathematician Professor James Maynard was named as one of four recipients of the 2022 Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics for those under 40.
- In 2021, six Oxford professors were elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.
- Oxford was ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
- Professors Dame Sarah Gilbert, Teresa Lambe, Sir Andrew Pollard and Fiona Powrie were recognised in 2021 for their outstanding contributions to immunology with Honorary Lifetime Membership of the British Society for Immunology.
- Her Majesty The Queen approved the award of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes to 21 higher and further education institutions in 2021, including Oxford University for 'Life-saving rapid response to COVID-19'. The University has now won 12 Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
- The Faculty of Public Health awarded its prestigious Alwyn Smith Prize to Professor Sir Peter Horby for 2020/2021 in recognition of his longstanding contribution to improving the treatment and control of epidemic infections and his more recent contribution to improving the treatment of COVID-19 through the RECOVERY trial.
- In the Times Higher Education subject rankings for 2022, Oxford was, for the 11th year running, ranked first in the world for Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health subjects. It was also ranked first in the world for Computer Science and for Social Sciences.
- Oxford is ranked first in the world in Arts and Humanities and second in the world in Life Sciences and Medicine in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021.
- Oxford is ranked number two in the QS World University Rankings 2022. With an overall score of 99.5.
- Oxford University topped The Best UK Universities 2022 league table in The Guardian with a score of 100/100.
- Oxford University is ranked number one university in the UK in the Complete University Guide, University League Tables 2022 with a score of 100%.
- The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was jointly awarded to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their work on black holes. Roger Penrose is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, and emeritus fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.