Europe region | University of Oxford
Europe region
Students walking to lectures, Oxford.
(Image credit: Oxford University Images / John Cairns Photography).

Europe region


The European Studies Centre at St Antony’s College is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of Europe, particularly in politics, history and international relations. The Centre’s research projects include investigations into the political economy of financial markets, welfare reform, civil resistance, media and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, and a programme directing and coordinating the study and discussion of modern Poland to name just a few. Within the Centre, South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX) focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between European integration and the politics, economics and societies of the Balkans, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

St Antony's is also home to the Russian and East European Studies Centre in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies which is home to graduate studies and research into the region, including the MSc in Russian and East European Studies and the MPhil in Russian and East European Studies. Research includes a project on understanding the political impacts of migration, studying the effect of economic change and state priorities in Russia on the wellbeing of vulnerable groups and a multi-region project looking at coalitional presidentialism.

Oxford is a leading centre for the study of European history. Its History Faculty hosts several centres and programmes exclusively on the study of Europe, including four modules on European and World History from 370 to 1914.

The Britain and Europe Group brings together Oxford historians working on the cultural and intellectual relationship between Britain and the rest of Europe since the eighteenth century.

The Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research (OCBR), based at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies is a research hub which brings together experts from several disciplines including history, archaeology and classics. It hosts seventy scholars, including 19 professors - an unusually high number - of which 13 are Fellows of the Royal Academy.

The Oxford Centre for European History  (OCEH) within the History Faculty has consolidated Oxford’s position as the largest and foremost centre in the world for research on European history since the Renaissance. The OCEH has research programmes with partner institutions in the USA, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany and others.

The Faculty of Modern Languages undertakes teaching and research in many European languages. Research projects range from investigating voices in Medieval French Narrative, through representing migration in contemporary media and narrative in Italy, to a project devoted to extending and developing the corpus of Brecht's works in English. Themes studied include the History of Ideas and Cultural History, Prose Fiction, Drama and Performance, and Translation.

In the social sciences, the Department of Politics and International Relations offers studies focused on Europe through its MPhil in European Politics and Society. Europe-focused research projects within the Department include a project led by Professor Jan Zielonka on Europe Unbound: geopolitics, economics and communication, a Leverhulme Trust-sponsored project on Responses to Neo-Fascism in Europe led by Professor Giovanni Capoccia, and a project on the Economy, Constitutional Variation and Cabinet Survival in Europe led by Professor Petra Schleiter.

The Institute of European and Comparative Law aims to enhance the European dimension of the Law Faculty’s teaching and research activities. It works to strengthen links with other major European institutions, to expose Oxford students to other legal jurisdictions in Europe, and to deepen inter-disciplinary collaboration within Oxford. 


Beyond specialist centres, teams of researchers from all over the University’s departments focus their research on all corners of Europe.

In Western Europe, researchers at the Health Economics Research Centre have conducted studies looking at the cost of dementia care provided by family and carers in western European countries. The Centre is also looking at the economic burden of cardiovascular disease in the enlarged European Union. In Eastern Europe, the Oxford Institute of Ageing has set up one of its three regional networks on ageing named EAST, the Eastern-European Ageing Societies in Transition network. In Southern Europe, a team from the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit have been carbon dating a knucklebone found under a church floor in Bulgaria which is suspected to have belonged to John the Baptist. In Northern Europe, Oxford zoologists have looked at the spread of blue tongue cattle disease.

These are only a few examples of the multitude of projects being undertaken throughout Oxford.

Opportunities to Study and Work

As well as research links with other institutions across the continent, Oxford has student exchange agreements in place with nearly 30 universities in seven countries. These include Erasmus exchanges for students studying, for instance, Modern Languages, Biochemistry or Law, and exchanges supported by other funders, for instance the Michael Foster Memorial Scholarship, established to promote closer Anglo-German links within a European context.

Libraries and Museums

The University’s libraries and museum also house an exceptional collection of European artefacts and resources. The Bodleian Library holds extensive books and manuscripts relating to and written by Europeans, including some incredibly rare and unique items. It has a collection of over 7,000 books printed before 1500 AD (known as incunabula) mainly sourced from Western Europe including: The Elements of Euclid, AD 888, the oldest surviving manuscript of what would become Euclid's Elements; a manuscript of Marco Polo's Travels from the 14th century; and one of only five Kennicott illuminated Hebrew Bibles, made in 1476 at Corunna in north-west Spain.

The Taylor Bodleian Slavonic and Modern Greek Library holds an extensive range of materials for East European literary and linguistic studies and has one of the country’s leading collections in this field.

In the University’s Bate Collection, one of the most magnificent collections of musical instruments in the world, there are over 2,000 instruments from the Western orchestral music traditions from the renaissance, through the baroque, classical, romantic and up to modern times.

Amongst its digital collections in the Oxford Digital Library, the University holds an archive of the archaeological records and papers of Sir Arthur Evans (Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, 1884-1908), which in the most part relate to his excavations at the Bronze Age site of Knossos on Crete, carried out between 1900 and 1931.

Oxford also receives a significant proportion of its research funding from European sources, and collaborates on a number of high-profile pan-European research projects.


Transnational Resistance, 1936-1948 is an international research network which questions some of the basic assumptions about the history of resistance in Europe, exploring the lives of transnational resisters. The international network, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Trust, and comprising seven partners across Western and Eastern Europe, studies the phenomenon of transnational resistance – defined as resisting outside one’s country of origin – how it emerged from economic migration, political and religious exile, flight and deportation; how encounters, exchanges and misunderstandings took place between transnational resisters in camps, prisons and ghettoes, selected resistance networks and key resistance events; and how the afterlives and memories of these resisters evolved in relation to dominant post-war narratives of national liberation, the Cold War and the Holocaust.

The Cult of Saints is a major five-year project, led by the Faculty of History with researchers from the University of Warsaw and funded by an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, which is investigating the origins and development of the cult of Christian saints in Late Antiquity. The project, which launched in January 2014, is mapping the cult of saints as a system of beliefs and practices in its earliest and most fluid form, from its origins until around AD 700. Central to the project is a searchable database, on which all the evidence for the cult of saints will be collected, presented (in its original languages and English translation), and succinctly discussed, whether in Armenian, Coptic, Georgian, Greek, Latin or Syriac. Towards the end of the project this database will be made freely available on line.

Collective Rituals and the Construction of Social Identity in Early Iron Age and Archaic Greece is a research project based at the Faculty of Classics, Oxford and the CReA-Patrimoine at the Université libre de Bruxelles, ULB. The aim is to study distinctive collective rituals from the Early Iron Age to the Archaic period. Four significant study cases have been taken as a starting point: the earliest is the 'Ritual Zone' on Xeropolis at Lefkandi, excavated by the Oxford team under the direction of I. S. Lemos, while the latest is the Archaic Building Complex at Itanos in Crete, excavated by ULB under the direction of A. Tsingarida. At present two more case studies are included: the Early Iron Age Amyklaion in Laconia and the Sacred House at the Academy in Athens. The project will address several important issues that can also be applied to other sites over a wide span of geographical regions.

COURAGE: Cultural Opposition - Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in the Former Socialist Countries is a project to create an electronic registry of private and public collections of cultural opposition in all former socialist countries in Europe and to study the origins, uses and changing roles of these collections in their social, political and cultural contexts. The consortium of twelve European academic institutions seeks to further an understanding of how these (private and public, alternative and mainstream) collections work, what functions they serve in their respective societies, and how they represent their holdings to the public. The project will examine the legal and political circumstances that determined the collections before 1989 and the conditions that shape them in the post-socialist period. The analyses of the collections will identify various types of cultural opposition to Communist authoritarianism and the party state. 

Social Sciences

The world’s security landscape is constantly changing. Each armed conflict embedded in it evolves in distinct ways. These changes range from the groups involved, the means used to the places affected. The Changing Character of Conflict Platform is a collaboration that seeks to develop a comprehensive knowledge base focused on the questions of how, when and in which direction conflict changes. Seeking to challenge unidimensional understandings of conflict that derive from adopting single disciplinary and epistemological approaches, they trace trends and directions of change in five dimensions of armed conflict. By focusing on change rather than magnitude this project goes beyond current conflict indices which create country rankings and stigmatise those countries that are ranked least. It is a collaboration between the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Leuven, the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, Graduate Institute, Geneva, the Computational and Data Sciences Department, George Mason University, and the Program in Environmental Design, University of Colorado Boulder.

CUISINE aims to develop an innovative methodology for the study of culinary practices (cuisine) in past societies integrating the morpho-typological analysis of cooking pots, the analysis of their lipid content and the analysis of microbotanical remains (phytoliths and starch grains). The development of these integrated analyses on Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements will allow for the study of the emergence of new social practices and cultural identities linked to the origins of food production and the development of complex, urban societies.

Led by Oxford with collaborators from the Universities of Hamburg and Copenhagen, Skeletal Evidence for Interpersonal violence in the Neolithic of Northwest Europe looks at the role of violence in Neolithic Europe through the examination of selected skeletal collections in northwest Europe. Individual examples of interpersonal violence are of great interest in themselves, particularly in what they can tell us about the contexts of violence and the roles it may have played.

The Transmedia Literacy project aims to understand how children learn cultural and social skills outside the school environment. The team is identifying informal learning strategies and practices applied by young people outside formal institutions and ‘translating’ them into a series of activities and proposals to be implemented inside school settings.  Partners include the Open University of Catalonia and Pompeu Fabra University in Spain, the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, the University of Minho, Portugal, and the University of Turin, Ars Media and Indire in Italy.

The research project Governing ‘new social risks’: The case of recent child policies in European welfare states (PolChi) is an international collaboration between researchers from Oxford's Department of Social Policy and Intervention, the University of Rennes, the University of Göttingen and Utrecht University. It looks at the new focus of both science and politics on parental practices, and in particular the welfare state’s role in these developments.

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

Oxford’s department of Physics has been deeply involved for over a decade in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland. As one of the founding members of the ATLAS experiment, Oxford scientists have contributed to one of the two major experiments in particle physics being run at the collider. Key parts of the collider and its particle detectors were engineered in Oxford laboratories.  Now that the collider is running, the Oxford ATLAS Group continues to work on a number of aspects of the project, including hardware, computing and physics analysis.  

Personalized health is a European priority and one of the strategic research areas for Horizon 2020. The Department of Computer Science, in collaboration with 11 European institutions, is involved in AFFECTech: Personal Technologies for Affective HealthTech, researching advances in state-of-the-art personal health technologies for affective disorders, estimated to become the highest ranking cause of disease by 2020. It marks a significant shift from the current wearable technologies capturing emotional responses whose understanding usually requires physicians' input, to low-cost self-help technologies for visualising, exploring and regulating emotions.

Oxford’s Mathematical Institute is one of 12 European institutions participating in the EU funded Stochastic Analysis and Its Applications project. This collaborative project aims to develop an improved mathematical understanding of random systems and at the same time provide training and research opportunities for young researchers.  It draws on the expertise of scientists in 6 European countries and has employed at least 20 young researchers.

In the field of astrophysics, Oxford is a key collaborator of a number of cutting edge European projects of space exploration, both those based on earth and those journeying into space.  Oxford University scientists are taking a lead role in creating the instrumentation for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) based in Chile. 

Oxford’s expertise in astrophysics is not just confined to ground based projects like the E-ELT. Oxford has a strong history of contributing instrumentation and data analysis techniques for outer solar system missions. This tradition of excellence is being continued with Oxford’s participation in the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), a space mission to explore Jupiter and its moons which is due to launch in 2022 and reach Jupiter in 2030. Oxford will contribute instrumentation needed for the flight to Jupiter and the proposed experiments to be carried out by the mission. The project involves collaborators from top universities in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain.

The Oxford-Humboldt Group holds a a biennial two-day summit meeting bringing together the Humboldt and Oxford mathematical physics groups with a focus on scattering amplitudes, correlation functions via integrability and twistor methods.

Medical Sciences

Closing the Leadership Pay Gap is a multi-centre cross-country comparison of women in management and leadership in academic health centres in the European Union. Women’s participation in medicine and the need for gender equality in healthcare are increasingly recognised, yet little attention is paid to leadership and management positions in large publicly funded academic health centres. This study illustrates such a need, taking the case of four large European centres: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Germany), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Medizinische Universität Wien (Austria), and Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (United Kingdom).


Recent studies from the IPCC indicate that Europe is particularly prone to increased risks of river and coastal floods, droughts resulting in water restrictions, and damages from extreme weather such as heat events and wildfires. Evaluations also show a huge potential to reduce these risks with novel adaptation strategies. Researchers, innovators, and incubators develop innovative products and services to reduce the increased climate change risks. Many of these innovations, however, hardly arrive at the markets. BRIGAID (BRIdging the GAp for Innovations in Disaster resilience), funded as part of the European Union Horizon 2020 programme, aims to provide structural and ongoing support for innovations in climate adaption by developing an innovative mix of methods and tools that should become a standard for climate adaption innovations. BRIGAID is led by Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands and brings together researchers from over 20 research organisations across Europe.

The Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms (REMINDER) project explores the economic, social, institutional and policy factors that have shaped the impacts of free movement in the EU and public debates about it. The project has three goals: to generate a deeper understanding of the nature and impacts of intra-EU mobility, focusing in particular on how countries’ institutional and policy environments shape the impacts of free movement on individuals, households, labour markets, public services and public finances; to assess how political and media narratives about intra-EU mobility are formed, focusing on the role of traditional and social media, political discourse, and influential participants in public debates; and to evaluate the relationship between real and perceived impacts, examining the factors that drive realities and perceptions about free movement and why these debates have unfolded in different ways across the EU. Research methods range from content analysis based on machine-learning techniques to multi-wave panel and survey experiments to theoretical and empirical analysis of the role of institutions and norms in shaping free movement and public debates about it.

All Rights Reserved: Barriers towards EUropean CITIZENship (bEUcitizen), is a European research project involving a consortium of 26 universities coordinated by Utrecht University. Researchers from Oxford co-ordinate Work Package 10 (WP10), which explores how ‘citizenship’ is both a legal and a normative status through focussing on the intersections between EU mobility, naturalisation and welfare benefits. It aims to develop a framework for comparing rights and obligations of citizens/non-citizens, highlighting formal and informal processes of inclusion/exclusion, and formal and normative status of citizenship. It examines the increasingly complex institutional framework through which rights (and obligations) within welfare states and labour markets are stratified among formal citizens, as well as between citizens and non-citizens. It also looks to provide a comparative analysis of the interactions between the restructuring of labour markets and welfare states, citizenship and immigration, across and within the five European countries (UK, Croatia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain) and one non-EU country (Israel) involved in the project.

International Alliances

The League of European Research Universities (LERU) is an association of 23 leading research-intensive universities that share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research.  Recent initiatives have focused on the role of universities, research careers, doctoral studies, research-based teaching, research assessment and on EU research policy, general as well as sectoral (environment, energy, climate, food, nano, mobility).

The Europaeum was set up as a European consortium by the universities of Oxford, Leiden and Bologna 20 years ago, and now has ten leading European university institutions as members. The consortium was designed to serve as an 'international university without walls' in which future scholars and leaders of our new Europe have an opportunity to share common learning and confront common concerns together. Europaeum offers opportunities for scholars, leaders, academics and graduates through international conferences, summer schools and colloquia, and enables leading figures from the worlds of business, politics and culture to take part in transnational and interdisciplinary dialogue with the world of scholarship.


At Oxford there are over 4,400 students from 45 countries across Europe. The largest source of students is Germany, followed by Italy, France, Poland and Ireland. Nearly a third study subjects in the Social Sciences, and a third are in the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences division.


European students are eligible for a variety of scholarships including the Clarendon Scholarships, Scatcherd European Scholarships, Marie Curie Research Training Grants and several national scholarships such as Rhodes Scholarships for Germany, the Lady Allen and Linares-Rivas Scholarships for Spain, and Dulverton Scholarships and the Weidenfeld-Hoffman Scholarships and Leadership Programme for a range of Eastern European countries. In addition, European undergraduate students from outside of the EU can apply for country specific scholarships including the Ahmet Ertegun Memorial Scholarship (Turkey) and the Hill Foundation Scholarship (Russian Federation).


Once students arrive at the University, there is a vibrant European community for them to participate in. The Oxford University European Affairs Society is a student-run non-partisan forum for the discussion of European issues and problems. The Society aims to foster an understanding of political, social and cultural issues relating to the whole continent of Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals. The Society provides an independent forum for debate and discussion by members and guests and has welcomed heads of European states, foreign ministers, and other senior politicians, civil servants, military officials, and opinion leaders from across Europe. In addition, country specific societies exist for many European countries.


Oxford has over 1,900 European academics from 41 countries. Germany provides the most with nearly 20%, and is followed by Italy, France and Spain.

Professor Anna Sapir Abulafia (Netherlands)

Professor Anna Sapir Abulafia is Chair of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions and Director of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Theology and Religion and a member of the Oxford Medieval Studies Steering Committee. Her research interests are in Medieval Christian-Jewish relations within the broad context of twelfth and thirteenth-century theological and ecclesiastical developments. At the moment she is engaged in a project examining the place of Jews and Muslims in Gratian’s Decretum and its glosses. 

Professor Mary Daly (Republic of Ireland)

Professor Mary Daly is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, Course Director of Comparative Social Policy and Governing Body Fellow and Academic Tutor at Green Templeton College. Mary Daly received her PhD in social and political sciences from the European University Institute and taught at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany and Queen’s University Belfast before joining Oxford in 2012. Her research interests and expertise are primarily focused on the analysis of social policy in advanced OECD countries. Most of her work is comparative, in a European and international context, and interdisciplinary. Mary Daly’s research has been supported by a wide range of funders, including the Economic and Social Research Council, the EU, Council of Europe, the ILO, UN, UN Women and UNICEF. She has been a visiting scholar at a number of universities, including Harvard University (Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies) and Brown University (Population Studies and Training Center). In July 2017 Professor Daly was elected as fellow to the British Academy.


Europe has the largest concentration of Oxford alumni outside the UK and North America, with more than 25,000 graduates based in the region, from Norway to Serbia. There are around 60 alumni groups in the region (some of them joint with Cambridge) across more than 40 countries. Famous European alumni include:

  • Sir Isaiah Berlin, British-Russian philosopher
  • Edward de Bono, Maltese philosopher
  • Harald V, King of Norway
  • Dom Mintoff, former Prime Minister of Malta
  • Dame Iris Murdoch, Irish-British philosopher and author
  • Dr Olli Rehn, Finnish former EU commissioner
  • Ernst Schumacher, German economist

Oxford European Reunion

Every two years the University Alumni Office organises a series of events over the course of a long weekend for Oxford alumni living in Europe. The host city changes each time and the purpose of the event is to bring together Oxonians who are European residents for a lively programme of academic and social engagements. In April 2015, the weekend was held in Vienna and brought together nearly 450 Oxford alumni for a bustling programme including panel discussions, tours of the city, as well as receptions and dinners.  The last weekend was held in March 2018 in Rome.

Was this page useful?*