Sport, music and recreation | University of Oxford
Cuppers football match
A Cuppers football match in progress
(Image Credit: Liam Peck / Graduate Photography Competition)

Sport, music and recreation

Oxford’s student groups and societies cover music, literature, sport, politics, performing arts, media, faiths, cultural groups, science, opportunities for volunteering and much more. With over 400 societies, the annual Freshers’ Fair at the start of the autumn term is an ideal opportunity to find out what is available.


Oxford's tradition of academic excellence has historically gone hand in hand with a reputation for sporting excellence. You don't have to be a world-class rower or rugby player to enjoy sport at Oxford - over 85 sports clubs help to cater for everyone. Over the years 283 Oxford students have taken place in the Olympic games, winning 167 medals - 84 of which were gold.

We have outstanding sports facilities across the colleges and our Iffley Road sports complex, which is partway through a  transformation into a world-class multi-sports complex to complement the competition-standard Rosenblatt Pool and Roger Bannister Running Track where the 4 minute mile record was broken. It is also home to a gym, dojo, rowing tank, plus football pitches, tennis courts and the recently opened Acer Nethercott sports centre with LED lined sports hall.

Many of Oxford's colleges also have sports facilities of their own, from squash courts and fitness suites to boathouses, cricket pitches and lively clubhouses.

Music and drama

There are many opportunities to hear and get involved with world-famous choirs including those of New College and Christ Church, or you can get involved with one of the many music societies in Oxford, which include the Oxford Chamber Choir, the University Orchestra and the Oxford Philharmonia. Venues across the city often host open mic-nights covering jazz, poetry and more for those with a passion to perform.

Around 30 student drama productions are staged each year in Oxford and the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) is large and very popular. Every year OUDS mounts an international tour of a production directed, performed and produced by students. It also hosts a national tour every summer, culminating in a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Other societies and interests

Student representation and OUSU

As a graduate student you will automatically become a member of the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU). OUSU represents Oxford students’ in the University's decision making, to act as the voice for students in higher education policy debates, and to help students get the most out of their time at the University. A Vice-President for Graduates is elected each year to act as a spokesperson for the graduate student body.

The Middle Common Room (MCR) or the Graduate Common Room (GCR) or simply the Common Room in graduate colleges, is the hub of graduate life within every college. The term refers both to a physical space for socialising within college and also to an active graduate community. Each MCR elects a committee every year, dedicated to organising social events in college and representing student views to the college and OUSU.

Charity and social enterprise

The student-run Oxford Hub helps students find out about and get involved with charities and social enterprises. The Oxford Hub's community volunteering programme has started up 20 student-led projects and sent out more than 800 student volunteers into the local community.

Raise and Give (RAG), OUSU's fundraising organisation, offers a way for students to raise money for charity while having fun, such as hosting charity football tournaments, comedy nights and the first ever University-wide charity ball.

National, cultural and faith-based societies

Oxford also has a large number of national, regional and religious societies set up and run by students to help you meet others who share your interests, background, views or beliefs.

Media and journalism

Students interested in journalism and broadcasting have a wealth of opportunities at Oxford, including student-run newspapers, such as The Cherwell, The Oxford Student and the Isis Magazine, and a student-run radio station called Oxide.

Oxford Union

The Oxford Union is the world’s most famous debating society and has an outstanding reputation for bringing  internationally known guests and speakers to Oxford, including Malcolm X, Stephen Hawking and Benazir Bhutto.


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