Balliol College | University of Oxford
Balliol College
The Bursary and Porters Lodge in the Front Quad of Balliol College
(Image Credit: Greg Smolonski / Oxford University Images)

Balliol College

About the college

Balliol is one of the oldest and most centrally situated of the Oxford colleges, well-known for its high academic standards, diverse community, friendly atmosphere and lively spirit of intellectual debate.

Balliol graduate students (members of the Middle Common Room) enjoy the advantages of being part of a large, established college and of forming an independent and active graduate community. The Graduate Centre, with the beautiful medieval building of Holywell Manor at its heart, has a thriving academic and social life, and the college is proud of its large, lively and international graduate community.

Students come from over 40 different countries and study an even greater variety of subjects. There is a programme of interdisciplinary seminars with distinguished outside speakers of many varieties and the Middle Common Room organises excellent internal research seminars. 

Balliol College also offers a wide range of generous graduate scholarships, and there is financial support in the form of bursaries, conference and research project grants, and additional funding for college activities.

Accommodation and meals


Balliol's graduate housing is located around the college's Graduate Centre at Holywell Manor, some ten minutes' walk from the main college site. It consists of Holywell Manor itself, which dates from 1516, and several modern buildings including James Fairfax Yard, an annexe attached to the Manor. 

The college is in the process of constructing new buildings to house graduates and the scheme is expected to be completed in 2021. 

Holywell Manor is situated in a large and elegant garden and the building comprises three wings as well as communal areas such as the lounge, music room, gym, TV room, bar, laundry room and Middle Common Room.

All rooms within the Graduate Centre are for single occupancy only. Unfortunately, Balliol College is unable to offer suitable accommodation for couples or families. The rooms vary in size, age and furnishings; the rent also varies accordingly. Toilets and shower rooms are communal and there are kitchens available on most floors. Most rooms contain their own wash-basin, and there are a small number of en-suite rooms.

Balliol is able to offer accommodation to most new, single first-year graduate students, usually in the Graduate Centre. First-year students who cannot be initially accommodated are placed on a waiting list and allocated rooms if they become available. Accommodation in later years is allocated by ballot.

Balliol has a number of ground-floor rooms designed and adapted for disabled use, to include accessible bathroom and kitchen facilities. To discuss individual requirements please contact the Graduate Administrator.

Further information about accommodation at Balliol College is available on the college website.


Balliol has an excellent kitchen, managed by its award-winning Executive Head Chef, Bertrand Faucheux. The dining hall on the main site serves a buffet-style lunch and dinner seven days a week during term time. Hall meals are subsidised by the college and provide healthy and varied menus, including vegetarian and vegan options.

The cheapest and most convenient way to eat in the college's dining hall is by pre-payment (NB the accommodation charge at Balliol does not cover meals in the dining hall).

There are kitchens for self-catering on most floors of the Graduate Centre. The facilities vary greatly in size, equipment and quality, but most are equipped with a cooktop, oven, and at least nominal cold storage. In many cases, a kitchen becomes the social hub for nearby residents. The kitchens also play an integral role in the Balliol MCR's large student cooking events.

Further information on Balliol College's catering services is available on the college website.

Library and IT services

The large and well-stocked Balliol College Library on the main college site is open 24 hours, seven days a week. The library houses important collections of medieval and modern manuscripts, early printed books and books by former and current college members. There is a specialised law library and extensive college archives.

There are two networked computers along with a multifunction printer, scanner and copier available for student use at the Holywell Graduate Centre.

Network broadband connections are available in all study bedrooms and wireless internet access is available throughout the Graduate Centre.

Sport, music and college facilities

The college has sports fields with a basketball court, tennis and squash courts, table tennis facilities, a croquet lawn, football and cricket pitches.

There is a well-equipped college boathouse on the Thames with an excellent boat club. There are multi-gyms in college and in the Graduate Centre in Holywell Manor.

There are music practice rooms in the college's main site on Broad Street, including a Steinway grand piano available for concerts, and in Holywell Manor. There is also a studio theatre available for rehearsal and performances.

The college operates a full-time year-round day nursery for the pre-school children of Balliol students and staff. A limited number of childcare bursaries are available.

Balliol Chapel is a centre of worship for all denominations to which those of all faiths and none are welcomed.

Facilities for students with disabilities

Specially adapted facilities are available in the Graduate Centre in Holywell Manor.

Arrangements are made on an individual basis; please contact the College to discuss any requirements before submitting an application.


The Balliol Middle Common Room (MCR) has an active committee involved in many aspects of student life and deals with everything from organising a variety of social events to representing Balliol graduates.


This college accepts graduate students for the following courses:

Please note that not all subjects areas or streams of a particular course may be offered by this college. Please see the college information on the relevant course page for further details. For a comprehensive list of all graduate courses available at the University of Oxford, please refer to our courses A-Z listing

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