New College Lane and the Bridge of Sighs at night
Hertford College's Bridge of Sighs
(Image credit: Edmund Block)

Hertford College

About the college

Hertford welcomes students from around the world to engage in study and research across all of the University’s academic divisions.

The college values its informal and inclusive climate, which is key in fostering positive working relationships between students, tutors and peers. It’s a college which is small enough to be friendly and offer a personalised experience, while being large enough to have a diverse student community.

Every graduate student at Hertford is assigned a college academic as their College Adviser whose academic interests usually relate to the student’s area of study and research.

Hertford works with University faculties and departments to offer a number of co-funded scholarships every year. In most cases no separate application is required, since awards are made by agreement between the college and a faculty, or faculties, after each has reviewed eligible offer-holders.

The college also awards travel grants so that graduate students can travel for research purposes or to present conference papers. Further information about scholarships and financial support for graduates can be found on the college website. 

College tour

College facilities

Library and IT services

The college library is open 24/7, operating on a self-service basis. Across three floors, the library offers quiet study spaces and a computer room with printing facilities. The librarian is always happy to help with locating and procuring books and other materials. Please note that the college library will be closed for redevelopment from autumn 2023 and alternative facilities will be provided. Free Wi-Fi access is available across the college.

Sport, music and college facilities

Graduate students can enjoy a wide range of musical and sporting activities at Hertford. The college has its own boathouse and active Boat Club, as well as a small gym on the main college site. The Hertford College Music Society is one of the University's largest student-run music societies. Their ensembles rehearse and perform regularly during term and there is an orchestra, jazz band and choir to choose from. The choir welcomes all and sings at chapel services once a week during term.

Facilities for disabled students

Hertford has a dedicated welfare and wellbeing team which offers advice and support to disabled students and students with health conditions. Staff are flexible and responsive to the needs of individuals and work closely with the University’s Disability Advisory Service. Although the library has a level entrance and height-adjustable desks, due to their historic nature, the dining hall and middle common room (MCR) are accessible only via stairs. Please feel free to contact the college about any accessibility requirements or adjustments you may need.


At Oxford, the term ‘Middle Common Room’ refers both to the group of students studying for graduate degrees in a college and to the rooms in a college where its graduate students meet and socialise. The Middle Common Room, or MCR, is a welcoming community of over 200 graduates.

The rooms used exclusively by the Hertford MCR are located in the college’s historic Octagon building. So called for its eight sides, the Octagon was once a chapel, dating back to the sixteenth century; today it is one of the most attractive spaces in the college with impressive views down Catte Street to the Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera beyond. In addition to the cosy common room, the Octagon building also houses a study room and a tea room, which graduates are always welcome to use.

As an association of graduate students, Hertford’s MCR is a warm and friendly graduate community. With a dedicated team of elected representatives, the MCR is a welcoming home away from home. There are a wide range of academic and social activities to get involved in, including regular academic soirées which are a great opportunity to meet other graduates and participate in the intellectual life of the college. Less intellectual, but no less fun, are the MCR bops (‘big organised parties’) which take place in the Octagon common room.

Accommodation and meals


Hertford can provide accommodation for graduate students at sites across the city. All are within a short distance of the main college and can be easily accessed by foot, bicycle or bus. Converted townhouses and purpose-built halls provide single bedrooms with access to shared kitchens, bathrooms and laundry facilities. There is also limited accommodation available for couples. 

All applicants offered a place at Hertford will be asked if they wish to be considered for accommodation. The college tries to accommodate all incoming first year graduate students, but this cannot always be guaranteed. Priority is given to incoming graduates new to the UK, or to Oxford, and to those who have disabilities, chronic health conditions, or other special requirements. Graduates who are interested in college accommodation for subsequent years are able to enter a ballot for housing. Further information about accommodation at Hertford is available on the college website.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available in college on weekdays in and out of term on a ‘pay as you go’ basis and spending can be tracked on an app. At weekends, only brunch is served in this way, but on Sunday evenings (as well as once during the week) there is a regular optional formal dinner for which students dress smartly and wear their academic gowns.


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


Hertford’s central position in Oxford has all the University’s faculties, departments and libraries within easy reach, and plenty of shops, cafés and bars close by. The Bodleian Library is directly opposite the main entrance to the college, and many of the science laboratories are no more than a ten-minute walk away.

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