Colleges and accommodation | University of Oxford
Student accommodation
Student accommodation

Colleges and accommodation

Last updated: Friday 16 April 2021



In colleges and University graduate accommodation, we are grouping students into ‘households', consisting of a group of people, typically between six and eight (but could be as small as one or as large as twelve), living in close proximity, for example on the same staircase, and/or with shared kitchen or bathroom facilities. You do not have to socially distance from people in your household. However, you will all need to self-isolate if one of you tests positive for COVID-19, and in some other circumstances. See the keeping you safe and well page for more information about testing and self-isolation. 

For more information about households, refer to the FAQs on this page– or download this PDF

Speak to your College for more information, of if you are living in University graduate accommodation, visit the Graduate Accommodation Office website.

Students looking for private accommodation should refer to the Oxford SU Living Out Guide.


College facilities


Your College will endeavour to offer a suitable catering service within current restrictions with an emphasis on supporting students with access to cooked meals in a socially-distanced setting. Where dining halls are open it will be with a reduced capacity to allow appropriate social distancing. You may have to book a time to dine. Your College may also offer a takeaway option to eat in your room or other communal areas. Staff will be well briefed, wear personal protective equipment when serving and there will be hand sanitising facilities available on entry to catering and communal areas. In most cases payments will be cashless.

If you are living in a Household, your College may allow you to dine together in Hall without the need for social distancing but that will depend on the spaces they have available. 

Bars and cafes

College bars are currently only permitted to offer seated table service outside in line with the rule of six.  Whether your college bar is able to offer this will depend on the nature of the space in your college, and the ability to maintain social distancing.

If your College has a café, you should expect it to be takeaway only. When they are open again for seated service you should expect capacity to be reduced and social distancing to be observed. Menus and service styles may be different. 

Common rooms

Common rooms (JCRs, MCRs etc) have reduced capacity which you will be asked to observe. Currently no indoor mixing of households is permitted indoors so there may be controls on how to access the space; controls will vary from college to college depending on the nature of the rooms.  If use of the common rooms for individuals or households is permitted some facilities may not be available. 


Rent arrangements

College accommodation  

Students’ accommodation arrangements vary significantly. Contracts for college accommodation are a matter for individual Colleges. Colleges will generally charge for any accommodation booked or used, except for any periods where students are not permitted to make use of it by UK law, the University, or their College. Students who return to Oxford during Easter vacation should expect to pay rent. All students who are affected financially by the pandemic, whether they live in college accommodation or not, can apply for college welfare or hardship support, based on local college policies.

University graduate accommodation

If you live in University graduate accommodation, rent will be suspended or refunded if you are unable to be in residence in Oxford due to COVID-19. Students who return to Oxford during Easter vacation should expect to pay rent. More detailed information will be shared with residents. Please contact the Graduate Accommodation Office if you have any queries.


Supporting students who are self-isolating

We will support you if you are required to self-isolate; either if you are an international student needing to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK, or during term time for other reasons. 

If you need to self-isolate in either college or University graduate accommodation, you should expect to be as self-sufficient as you can, but if you can't help yourself because you are too ill or you don't have access to a kitchen, your college will help you with food and medical support.

You and the students living with you in your household will be able to access the University’s testing service. Refer to the keeping you safe and well page for more information about testing and self-isolation. 

If you are in private accommodation and need to self-isolate, staff in your College will stay in touch with you and can help support you and any other college students in your household if necessary. We advise you to keep 14 days’ worth of food in the house in case you have to self- isolate, including easy to prepare items.

Oxford SU has produced a series of tips and tricks for students in self-isolation and further help and support is available from this guide and a series of blogs and podcasts that the University Counselling Service has produced, to help with coping with life during the pandemic.

While you are self-isolating, your tutor, course convenor or supervisor will be able to facilitate the continuation of your teaching or research remotely, where practicable, and if you feel fit enough to do so.

Please refer to the FAQs page if you need any more information about colleges and accommodation. 

Was this page useful?*