The grounds of Somerville College
The grounds of Somerville College.

Somerville College

About the college

Somerville is a warm, forward-looking and inclusive college with a streak of radicalism at its heart.

Founded in 1879 to give women access to university education when many others wouldn’t, famous alumni include two former prime ministers, the only British woman to win a Nobel prize for science and pioneers in literature and activism.

Nestled in beautiful grounds at the top of St Giles, Somerville offers a diverse range of subjects and support to students from all over the world. 

Somerville is one of the few Oxford colleges able to house all its undergraduates in on-site college accommodation for every single year of their degrees. 

Somerville is known for its good food, excellent formals and beautiful central gardens, where students get together to study and socialise in the summer months. The college has one of the best undergraduate libraries in Oxford, containing more than 120,000 items, available to our students 24/7. 

Somerville is also one of Oxford’s most financially supportive colleges, with 1 in 5 students receiving some form of financial support. Generous travel and special project grants are available to help students widen their experience during vacations and finance volunteering or community-building projects. 

The college has an excellent choir, an active drama scene, an annual arts week and a huge choice of societies across everything from baking to board games. For sports-people, the College also offers a wide range of team sports including rugby, football, netball, rowing, cricket and hockey.

Read more on the college website.

Somerville is...

'…the right balance of academia, fun and friendliness.'

'…the smiles, waves, and impromptu conversations you have crossing the Quad on the way to a class.'

'…Going to hall for Saturday brunch to have four of those perfect hash browns.'

'…a feeling of home, regardless of who you are, where you're from, your gender, or race, or sexuality.'

'…a place where you can be yourself and feel at home.'

'…the place I look forward to returning to after every vacation.'

'…a community where freedom of expression is accepted and valued.'

'…less like a castle and more like a home.'

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


Facility type

College availability

Gym on siteYes
Library open 24/7Yes
Computer rooms/stationsNo
Wi-Fi throughout collegeYes
Music roomYes
Theatre/performance spaceNo
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.
Somerville College is part of Oxford for South East.

Outreach programmes

Somerville’s Access and Outreach team helps students from under-represented backgrounds make decisions about their future options, equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfil their potential.

We host multiple school visits for our link schools within term time, as well as participating in University-wide Open Days, which provide a change to meet tutors, current students and have a college tour.

We also participate in the University Remote Interview Workshops in November for state school applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as running various other outreach events throughout the year.

Future Focus Programme

Our school visit programme aims to provide informative and engaging activities to school students in Years 8-12, either in their own schools or as part of a day visit to Somerville. These include virtual and in person offerings, and cover sessions demystifying Oxford as well as providing support with admissions.

Find out more about our offering from our brochure.

Year 12 Virtual Study Days

An annual series of four virtual study days held in February half term, offering a range of academic taster sessions in STEM and humanities subjects for Year 12 students from state schools. The series is aimed at students wanting to find out more about university level study and explore their subject options.

The days also include information and guidance on applying to Oxford and Q&As with current students and tutors.

Year 10 High Achievers’ Residential

In collaboration with the Uni Connect Higher Horizons, we support a sustained contact programme for high achieving Year 10 students. The programme is held at Stoke Sixth Form College, and is designed to introduce students to university.

The programme culminates in a 2-day Easter residential to Somerville, where students attend a range of academic taster sessions and workshops to improve their critical thinking skills. Students also experience a taster of life as a student at Oxford.

Year 12 BAME Study Day

A study day for Year 12 BAME students from our link regions. The study day is held in May half term, providing an opportunity to find out more about life as a student at Oxford.

The day includes Q&As with current students and admissions support.

Other Outreach Programmes

As well as supporting several Oxford University Outreach projects such as the Astrophoria Foundation Year, UNIQ and Opportunity Oxford, we also work with several external organisations, including:

More locally, we also support St Frideswide Primary School in Cowley through our work with the Oxford Hub’s Schools Plus Twinning Programme.

You can find out more about our work on our website or you can book a visit to/from us.

Link Local Authorities

Isle of Wight
Forest of Dean
Kingston upon Thames


Access and Outreach Officer: Hannah Pack
Access and Outreach Support Officer: Eren Slate

 [email protected]
 +44 (0) 1865 280632

Postal address:
Somerville College
Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HD

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.