Living costs | University of Oxford
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Living costs

How much will it cost to live in Oxford?

The likely living costs for 2020-21 are published below. These costs are based on a single, full-time graduate student, with no dependants, living in Oxford. We provide the cost per month  so you can multiply up by the number of months you expect to live in Oxford. 

 Likely living costs for 1 monthLikely living costs for 9 monthsLikely living costs for 12 months
Lower rangeUpper rangeLower rangeUpper rangeLower rangeUpper range
Food£270£385£2,430£3,465£3,240£4,620
Accommodation£630£760£5,670£6,840£7,560£9,120
Personal items£130£245£1,170£2,205£1,560£2,940
Social activities£45£110£405£990£540£1,320
Study costs£40£95£360£855£480£1,140
Other£20£55£180£495£240£660
Total£1,135£1,650£10,215£14,850£13,620£19,800

Further information about these costs

This information is provided to ensure that you are fully aware of and consider very carefully the likely living costs associated with your chosen course of study at Oxford.

In addition to reviewing the information on this page, you should fully consider and research your personal likely living costs. As part of the Financial Declaration process, you will need to confirm that you are willing and able to fund your living expenses at least at the lower amount in the range shown above, for the duration of your course (for courses longer than one year, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year).

Please note that the University sets its maintenance stipend level for graduate scholarships at the competitive RCUK minimum doctoral stipend rate, which as a guide equates to £15,009 for the 2019-20 academic year.

How are these likely living costs calculated?

In order to provide these likely living costs (which are rounded to the nearest £5), the University and the Oxford University Student Union conducted a living costs survey to complement existing student expenditure data from a variety of sources, including the UK government's Student Income and Expenditure Survey and the National Union of Students (NUS).

Food

These likely food costs would enable you to eat in your college for each of your three meals each day but food costs may be lower or higher, depending on your personal choice about where and what you eat.

Accommodation

These likely accommodation costs include related bills (for example, utilities such as electricity and heating) and are based on college accommodation figures. Private sector rental costs may vary. You can find more information about renting in the private sector through the Oxford Student Pad and University Accommodation Office.

Study costs

These are likely costs directly related to your studies, such as text books, stationery, printing and photocopying, course-related equipment and materials.

Other

These are small, miscellaneous costs which do not fall under the other categories above.

What additional costs might I need to budget for?

You may need to make additional provision for costs such as a student visa, travel to and from Oxford and fieldwork. Any additional course-related costs will be outlined in the individual graduate course pages, accessible via the Courses page. These costs are not included in the figures above.

Students with dependants, for example, a partner or child, will also need to consider separate costs related to their family. More information and advice is available in the Living costs for dependants section of this page.

What might my likely living costs be in future years?

When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year. 

What advice is there about living costs for part-time students?

The living costs above are based on single, full-time students living in Oxford. While it may be the case that, as a part-time student, you will not be based in Oxford during your studies, you will still need to cover your cost of living on a full-time basis. If this applies to you, you should calculate your living costs to be sure that you have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course. In particular, part-time students who are not based in Oxford will need to calculate travel and accommodation costs carefully. Please note that living costs outside Oxford may be different from those shown above.

Living costs profiles from our graduate students

To help in planning your living costs, we asked a number of our graduate students to share their experiences on the cost of living and studying in Oxford. You can read their stories in the Living costs profiles section of this page.

Living costs for dependants

The costs quoted in the Living costs for 2020-21 section of this page are for single students. If you are planning to bring family members or other dependants to Oxford, you will need to budget for additional costs. Please be aware that family members can only apply for visas as your dependants if your course is of at least 12 months duration and at postgraduate level, or you are a government-sponsored student and your course is of at least 6 months duration. Our Visas for your family page has further information.

Please see our Visas for your family page for further details of funds you may need to show to support your dependants.

When considering your budget, please take into account the following information:

  • Accommodation and utilities: There is some University accommodation available for couples and families. The Accommodation Office's Rents page provides details of the relevant costs. Local websites will also give some idea of what you can expect to pay in the private sector. Please check whether any utility bills are included in your rent, and consider how the size of your property and the number of people living there will affect your bills.
  • Council tax: A student living with non-students, whether they are family members or not, may need to pay council tax. More information is available on the Gov.uk website and Oxford City Council's website gives further information specifically for Oxford residents.
  • Food: Self-catering for a family can reduce the cost of food per person. Comparing food prices at some major supermarkets may help you plan and there are various price comparison websites which will assist you in doing this.
  • Childcare (up to age four): Childcare in Oxford is likely to be expensive and there may be high demand for places. For more information about the University's subsidised nurseries, see the Childcare Services page. Some UK government and limited University support may be available for (mainly British) student parents. You can find out more about free early learning opportunities on the Gov.uk website.
  • Education (for children aged four and over): Once children are of school age (the term after they turn four in Oxfordshire), they can attend a state school at no cost.
  • Health: If you require a visa to study at Oxford, then for information about health costs relating to you and your dependants, please see the Tier 4 Student Visa page.  
  • Other living costs: Please consider expenditure you may incur on other items such as clothes, books and entertainment for your dependants.

In working out the income that will be available to you, please consider the following:

  • If your partner is planning to work to help fund themselves whilst you study, check that they have the right to do so (ie that their UK visa permits it). Unless your partner has made arrangements in advance, it may take them some time to find a job in Oxford and you will need to budget for this period. Local websites advertise a number of short-term, part-time and casual jobs in Oxford.
  • If you are unfamiliar with tax arrangements in the UK, please check the information provided on the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Living cost profiles

To help in planning your living costs, we asked a number of our graduate students to share their experiences on the cost of living and studying in Oxford.

Below are a range of case studies from current students at Oxford showing how their living costs vary depending on how they choose to spend their money.

Garlen, MSc in Social Anthropology

I found it easy to save money at Oxford mainly by cooking my own meals. The college and societies hold many free events so saving money doesn’t mean not going out. Books are borrowed from the library and many articles can be downloaded online, so no need to purchase course materials. You can also request the cheapest room from your college, which I did, and saved £3000 (for the year) compared to the most expensive rooms.

Améline, MSc in Comparative and International Education

I live in a single en-suite college room (with a double bed!) in a house with 10 other students. I have a few meals in college every term to make the most of my allowance (included in the college accommodation fee), but otherwise I cook with my housemates as it’s much cheaper. I bought stationery and a laptop at the start of my degree and haven’t had to spend much since, as I borrow books from libraries instead of buying them. Most of my social and sport activities are free, but I go to London or visit friends every weekend. My main and regular expenses include food shops, train tickets and phone contract, with occasional additional costs such as social outings (and sometimes a ball after exams - start saving up early if you want to go, they can be pretty expensive!).

Sam, MSt in Music

My living costs are probably towards the high end of the range. I opted to live in a large en-suite room in college, and in addition to eating at hall I also tend to go out at least a couple of nights each week with friends to pubs or restaurants. I use the University gym regularly and play football and rugby each week which means I spend quite a bit on kit and getting to games. Also I tend to go into London at least once a month on a weekend.

Alexei, DPhil in Ion Channels and Disease

I am currently living in North Oxford in college owned couples accommodation with my girlfriend. We share a one bedroom flat, which is small and quite basic but good value for such a lovely part of Oxford. One of the best things is that bills are included in the rent, and parking for two cars is available outside the flat. Living close to the city centre and my department is great as it means I can cycle to work in less than 10 minutes, so I don’t spend any money on commuting. As we enjoy cooking ourselves we rarely spend money eating at college other than for the odd formal and guest night dinner.

Samantha, DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry

I live out of college in a house with four other people. Usually I cook for myself, but sometimes we share meals, and if I've got time I like to have friends over and cook for a crowd. My college's MCR put on lots of events that are free to go to and I'll go to formal hall probably three or four times a term, and a couple of bar nights, as well as socials with my lab group. I have enough to travel home or visit friends most weekends easily, and to buy presents or buy new clothes without living beyond my means.

Ayesha, DPhil in Pharmacology

I live in a shared house that is quite far from the city centre, and usually eat at home, though I like to eat out with friends a few times a week. My social life is quite busy as I like to meet friends at some point each day, and this often means going out somewhere and spending some money. I like to buy clothes sometimes, and I spend quite a bit of money on groceries and household supplies, though this was a more significant cost when we first moved in. I don’t have much extra expenditure for my studies or for travel.

Tatiana, DPhil in Education

I live in an en-suite college room and share a kitchen with three more students. I work as Assistant Junior Dean at my college and because of this my accommodation is free of charge. Being a DPhil student I spend most of the year in Oxford. I usually cook in the flat or go for meals to college. On occasions I eat out. My social life is somewhat active and I like to go to the movies, concerts, theatre and to have coffee and catch up with friends. I try to attend free events around University or take advantage of student discounts. This year I’ve had to invest some money in equipment for fieldwork and data analysis, for example a voice recorder, some software licenses and a laptop. I often commute by train or bus to do interviews outside of Oxford for my research. I’ve also spent some money on sports equipment and club memberships. I go to Colombia, my home country, once a year, usually during Christmas break.

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