Somerville College | University of Oxford
Somerville College
Somerville College.
(Image credit: Greg Smolonski).

Somerville College

From its foundation in 1879 Somerville’s graduates have been changing the world. Our former students include two prime ministers; the only British woman to win a Nobel Prize for science; generations of distinguished novelists; pioneers in social and public service; and people of distinction in countless other fields. Somerville continues to expect the best from its students, and provides comprehensive support to help them reach their full academic potential.

Somerville CollegeA student studying at Somerville College.
The college was named after the eminent scientist and mathematician Mary Somerville (1780–1872). The college was founded as a women’s college and was also non-denominational; two features previously unknown in Oxford colleges. The college has admitted men since 1994, but its groundbreaking origins inspire an ethos of openness and a willingness to question accepted orthodoxies, both of which characterise Somerville today.


Somerville’s position on the Woodstock Road, alongside St Giles’ and the vibrant Jericho area of the city, is convenient for almost everything in Oxford. The college is next door to the Mathematics and Humanities facilities and Jericho Health Centre in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, and a 5-minute walk from the Science Area. It is easy to walk or cycle to anywhere else in the University.

Accommodation and meals

Accommodation in college is guaranteed for all students in their first, third and fourth years and is available for most second years, with Oxford bursary recipients guaranteed accommodation in this year as well. Somerville is known for its good food serving all tastes, with three meals a day available at very reasonable cost and a bar serving food and drink throughout the day. Vacation residence is available for academic purposes outside term time, with financial support for those who need it.

Read more on the college website.


Somerville has one of the best undergraduate libraries in Oxford, containing more than 120,000 books and open 24 hours a day. Wi-Fi is available throughout the college and there are well-equipped computer rooms. Sports facilities include an on-site fitness suite, as well as playing fields and a boathouse (the college has five boats), which are shared with other colleges. Generous travel and special project grants are offered to help students widen their experience during vacations and to help with volunteering.

Student societies

One of Somerville’s greatest assets is its students’ enthusiasm for college life. There is an active music society and the excellent choir has embarked on several national and international tours, with two commercial CDs released so far. Arts Week is an annual highlight.

Undergraduates from Somerville are much involved in University societies, from every kind of sport to drama, debating and many other activities.

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