Balliol is one of the oldest and largest colleges. In the 19th century it led the University reforms that resulted in the selection of students solely on academic ability. This remains the cornerstone of the University’s admissions policy: we are committed to attracting women and men of exceptional potential regardless of their social, cultural or educational background.
College life is subsidised in many ways but, in addition, eligible students can apply for a wide range of maintenance and hardship grants as well as special funds for research and travel.
Many prominent figures in public life have graduated from Balliol. The college has a reputation for academic excellence alongside a friendly atmosphere and lively spirit of intellectual debate.
Balliol stands on Broad Street in the city centre, just metres from the Bodleian Library and a short walk or cycle ride from University academic departments. Its modern annexe is five minutes away on Jowett Walk.
Accommodation and meals
The majority of undergraduates can be housed in college rooms for the duration of their course, though many choose to live in private rented accommodation elsewhere in Oxford for their second year.
Student meals are served in hall and there is an optional pre-payment scheme which is very economical. There is also the Pantry in the Junior Common Room (JCR), a café serving food and drink at subsidised rates. There are some kitchenettes on the main site and in the new buildings.
Read more on the college website.
Balliol has a large and well-stocked library (open 24/7), a law library and the Balliol Historic Collections Centre.
The college also has a music room, a computer room and a purpose-built theatre, the Michael Pilch Studio, as well as a gym and a range of sports facilities including a boathouse.
The chapel offers weekly services and a place for reflection to all.
Balliol has one of the largest and arguably most active student bodies in the University, with a reputation for political and altruistic activism.
The centre of undergraduate life is the JCR, which organises lots of social events as well as offering a student-run bar and the Pantry.
Students can get involved in many activities, including our non-auditioning choir, the annual charity musical, subject societies and other societies – such as the A&B, a light-hearted debating club – and a number of sports, from football and rowing to mixed lacrosse and ultimate frisbee.