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.
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 videoto 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 Prospectusand via theMerton 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.
'…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!'
Visit our College Facilities page to compare facilities across different colleges.
|All first years on site
|Usually offered for all years
|Usually offered for three years
|Usually offered for first year and one other year
|Some vacation storage for international students
|Gym on site
|Library open 24/7
|Wi-Fi throughout college
|Multi-faith prayer room
Clubs and societies
Club / society
|College student magazine/paper
|Some subject societies
- Biochemistry (Molecular and Cellular)
- Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
- Classics and Modern Languages
- Computer Science
- Computer Science and Philosophy
- Economics and Management
- English Language and Literature
- English and Modern Languages
- History (Ancient and Modern)
- History and English
- History and Modern Languages
- History and Politics
- Law (Jurisprudence)
- Law with Law Studies in Europe
- Mathematics and Computer Science
- Mathematics and Philosophy
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Modern Languages
- Modern Languages and Linguistics
- Philosophy and Modern Languages
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
- Physics and Philosophy
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Merton Street, Oxford OX1 4JD