Merton College
Merton College Quad.

Merton College

About the college

Merton is one of the oldest and most beautiful colleges in Oxford with medieval and 17th-century buildings – including our 13th-century chapel – and glorious, extensive gardens protected by the city wall. Modern facilities include a lecture theatre, five music practice rooms and a multi-faith prayer room.

Students at Merton College

Ours is a close-knit community with a friendly and stimulating atmosphere, superb educational and welfare support, and a well-earned reputation for academic excellence and success. We have a strong ethos of widening participation and are keen to attract talented applicants, whatever their background.

View our short video to hear our students’ views about what it’s like to live and study at Merton. You can also find further insights into life at Merton in the Alternative Prospectus, and via the Merton JCR Access Instagram account.

Undergraduates live in college-owned accommodation for their whole course in either standard or ensuite rooms. There are also two fully accessible flat-access rooms on the main college site. Merton’s hall food is among the tastiest and best value in the University, charged on a pay-as-you-go basis. Student kitchens are also provided.

Numerous extra-curricular and subject opportunities are available for Merton students, including a wide range of societies, sports, music, and diverse reading groups.

Merton offers generous financial support including grants for buying books, language learning, academic prizes, course-related expenses and projects, and travel.

Notable alumni from Merton include the current Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Irene Tracey, as well as famous writers such as T.S. Eliot and JRR Tolkien. Several Nobel laureates in the sciences are also alumni of Merton, including Anthony Leggett and Nikolaas Tinbergen.

Read more on the college website.

Merton is...

'…a pretty place, but it is made by the people – the thriving, friendly and supportive community is what sets us apart.'

'…where I’ve found friends for life.'

'...such a friendly place…it is a really inclusive and welcoming community.'

'…an inclusive community with the perfect balance of fun and academia.'

'…a wonderfully welcoming place, with a thriving LGBTQ+ community.'

'…such a mix of people from different backgrounds and who have different interests…you will find people who are like you.'

'…full of amazing opportunities you didn’t even know you needed!'


College facilities

Visit our College Facilities page to compare facilities across different colleges.

College accommodation


College availability

All first years on siteYes
Usually offered for all yearsYes
Usually offered for three yearsNot applicable
Usually offered for first year and one other yearNot applicable
Some vacation storage for international studentsYes


Catering type

College availability

Dining hallYes



College availability

Gym on siteYes
Library open 24/7No
Computer rooms/stationsYes
Wi-Fi throughout collegeYes
Music roomYes
Theatre/performance spaceYes
Multi-faith prayer roomYes

Clubs and societies

Club / society

College availability

Music societyYes
Dramatic societyYes
College student magazine/paperYes
Some subject societiesYes
Other societiesYes

College outreach

Link areas

In order to ensure that all areas of the UK are fully supported by the University of Oxford, our colleges are working together to establish Oxford for UK, a series of regional outreach programmes offering tailored and local support to students of mixed ages, their parents and teachers.

Getting in touch with the college linked to your region has no influence on your chances of being accepted to this or any other particular college. You are also very welcome to get in touch with any other college for advice about applying or studying here.

Merton College is part of Oxford for South West.

Link Local Authorities

Bath and North East Somerset

Outreach programmes

Under the University’s Regionalisation Scheme, Merton College works with Exeter College and Lady Margaret Hall in the South West. Our link regions are Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole, Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset and Bristol.

The Social Mobility Foundation

Merton is partnered with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) to provide access and outreach events for the pupils it works with. In recent years we have expanded our residentials and in June 2023 we welcomed 36 students and 4 members of staff to Merton for a residential. The programme for the June 2023 residential gave pupils a chance to learn about fees and funding and hear from the university careers service.

They also took part in a personal statement workshop, a confidence building/storytelling workshop by Merton’s Visiting Research Fellow in the Creative Arts, a museum trip and a theatre trip. Feedback from the trip was very positive and we look forward to welcoming the SMF again next year.

Throughout the year we also work with the SMF to workshops for and visit days for students on SMF programmes.

The Brilliant Club

Merton also works with The Brilliant Club, which works with the PhD community to support students who are less advantaged to access the most competitive universities and succeed when they get there.

Merton supports The Brilliant Club’s graduation days by running a programme of events to equip students with information about Oxbridge and the application process. This helps them to feel at home within the college environment.

Other outreach activities

Merton welcomes up to 9 schools per term to Oxford with a varied programme of events which include a tour of the College, opportunities to speak to student ambassadors, experience eating in our dining hall and learn more about university life.

Merton’s Schools Liaison and Access Officer also visits the South West several times during the year to complete individual school visits, attend UCAS fairs and participate in tours of target areas.

Please contact our access team at [email protected] to arrange a visit to Merton for your school or if you would like our staff to visit you.


Access and Outreach at Merton
Schools Liaison & Access Officer: Jenny Shaw

 +44 (0) 1865 286343
 [email protected]

Postal address:
Merton College
Merton Street, Oxford OX1 4JD

Outreach events

Visit the University's Outreach event calendar to view upcoming outreach events. Please note that some events may require advance booking or have specific eligibility criteria.