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 is known for its friendly atmosphere, welcoming students from around the world to engage in research across all of the University’s academic divisions. The college values its informal, progressive 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 have a diverse student community. 

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

The Middle Common Room, or MCR, offers a welcoming community of over 200 fellow students, and every graduate student at Hertford benefits from having a personal College Advisor whose academic interests are related to the student’s own research area.

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 the award is made by agreement between the college and the faculty, or faculties, after each has reviewed all the 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.

Accommodation and meals

Single accommodation is offered to graduate students at college-owned houses located in three popular residential areas of north Oxford – Jericho, Park Town and Summertown. All are within a short distance of the main college site and can be easily accessed by foot, bicycle or public transport. These townhouses provide single bedrooms with access to shared kitchens, bathrooms and laundry facilities.

Hertford houses about half of its students in their first year of graduate study. In allocating accommodation, the college gives priority to incoming graduates new to the UK and to those who have disabilities or other special requirements. Graduates who are interested in college accommodation for subsequent years are entered in a ballot run by students in the MCR. Further information about accommodation at Hertford is available on the college website.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available on weekdays in and out of term on a ‘pay as you go’ basis and spending can be tracked on an app. At weekends, the college only serves brunch, but there is a regular optional formal dinner on Sunday evenings (as well as one during the week). This is a special candle-lit experience when students dress smartly and wear their academic gowns.

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, excellent Wi-Fi access and a computer room with printing facilities. The Librarian is always happy to help and regularly offers employment opportunities for graduate library assistants. In addition, the MCR boasts a computer room with facilities exclusively for graduate use.

Sport, music and college facilities

Graduate students enjoy access to a wide range of intellectual, musical and sporting activities at Hertford. The college’s sports ground provides rugby, cricket, soccer and hockey pitches as well as squash courts and grass tennis courts. The college also has its own boathouse and Boat Club, as well as a gym on the main college site which is free for students to use.

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 chamber ensemble to choose from. There is also the non-auditioning chapel choir which welcomes all and sings once a week during term.

Facilities for students with disabilities

Hertford welcomes students with disabilities and benefits from the expertise of an academic Disability Lead, Welfare & Wellbeing Coordinator and Tutor for Equality & Diversity. Although the college does not have any dedicated graduate accommodation which is accessible, they work closely with the University’s Disability Advisory Service and endeavour to make suitable arrangements for individuals. While there is a ramp into the library and height-adjustable desks, due to their historic nature the Hall and MCR Octagon common room are currently accessible only via stairs.


At Oxford, the term ‘Middle Common Room’ refers to both the group of students studying for advanced degrees as members of a college and the premises in which they meet and socialise.

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 sixteenth-century chapel; today it is one of the most distinctive spaces in the college and commands amazing views down Catte Street to the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera beyond. In addition to the cosy common room, there is a computer room and a tea room.

As an association of graduate students, Hertford’s MCR is a warm and friendly graduate community. It is a welcoming home away from home with a wide range of academic and social activities to get involved in. The MCR hosts regular academic soirées which are a great opportunity to meet other graduates and take part 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.


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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