About the college
Originally founded so that monks of Ampleforth Abbey could take degrees at Oxford, St Benet’s today comprises mostly lay students, but retains a small number of monks at its core. St Benet's Hall welcomes male and female students of all faith traditions and none, inviting them to engage in rigorous scholarship within a community of learning inspired by the Rule of St Benedict.
St Benet’s is distinctive for its close-knit and egalitarian community, fostered by its small numbers. In St Benet’s, monks, tutors, graduates and undergraduates all share the same common room and facilities, and eat together at one shared table. Graduates often appreciate this close integration into the general life of St Benet's.
The college concentrates on a small number of closely related subjects in the humanities and social sciences, at both graduate and undergraduate level, thus enabling all its members to talk to each other about their interests.
There are usually about 70 undergraduates, 35 graduates and two monks at any one time. Being part of a small, supportive community is particularly valuable for graduate students who can sometimes feel a bit isolated.
Accommodation and meals
The main building at 38 St Giles is a fine Grade II listed Georgian house containing a chapel, a library, a dining hall and student bedrooms, and an enclosed garden.
St Benet’s also has another building at 11 Norham Gardens, about ten minutes’ walk away from the main site. This contains further facilities, such as more library space, teaching rooms, accommodation for the Master and his family, and more student bedrooms. It also includes a dedicated graduate workspace and a relaxing area.
St Benet's Hall also has an allocation of rooms in the University's graduate accommodation block in Wellington Square, and in a University graduate house in Walton Street, both only two minutes’ walk from St Benet’s, and at Castle Mill, about 20 minutes' walk. St Benet's Hall aims to house graduates in 38 St Giles', 11 Norham Gardens, Wellington Square, Walton Street and Castle Mill as far as possible, but graduates are free to find their own accommodation if they wish.
All St Benet's accommodation locations are in central Oxford and therefore amongst the most conveniently situated graduate accommodation in the University. In 38 St Giles’ and 11 Norham Gardens the rooms are en-suite and are catered for. In Wellington Square, each room has a wash-basin, are self-catered with a common kitchen, and have shower-rooms shared between groups of four to six rooms; some accommodation is also available for couples. In Walton Street, the rooms are all en-suite but of varying sizes and rents. At 38 St Giles', rooms have telephones and Ethernet points, and a few are en-suite. In Walton Street and Castle Mill, the rooms are all en-suite and have self-catering facilities.
Wherever they are housed, all students at St Benet’s are strongly encouraged to eat as frequently as possible in the dining hall in the main building at 38 St Giles. The dining hall provides all meals, seven days a week, for a flat charge per term, which is separate from the accommodation charge. The meal charge includes payment for formal meals (three a week) and special Guest Nights, as well as the termly Hall Party.
Library and IT services
The libraries in the main building and in Norham Gardens are open 24/7 and principally provide an undergraduate library of about 10,000 volumes, a pleasant workspace with internet points and computers linked to the University’s library network.
There is a small, much-used computer room in the main building, with an efficient printer/photocopier/scanner. A printer is also available in 11 Norham Gardens. There is wireless internet access throughout all the buildings and accommodation.
Sport, music and college facilities
St Benet’s has its own rowing, rugby 7s and football teams. For all sports, students may participate in the teams of other colleges, as well playing for the University teams if selected.
St Benet's has a tradition of involvement in drama, aiming to put on a Christmas pantomime and a garden play each year and a regular 'Smoker' at which members entertain each other with music and sketches.
Students also sing in University choirs, participate in the Oxford Union, and in general are encouraged to take a full part in Oxford life, its societies and activities.
Facilities for students with disabilities
There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor of 38 St Giles and portable ramps for access into St Benet's Hall. There are ground-floor bedrooms available at 11 Norham Gardens. However, apart from the dining hall, the common rooms and libraries are not wheelchair accessible at present.
St Benet’s has a joint MCR and JCR, with MCR representation on the JCR committee. The MCR also participates in social events with other college MCRs across the University. The main common room is a large, pleasant sitting room, with newspapers, magazines and a piano.
The MCR and JCR also share a spacious, more informal room with flat-screen TV/DVD, kitchenette and fridge. The enclosed garden includes a croquet lawn and a walled, private garden area.
There are laundry machines on site, free to members.
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.