Colleges of the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford has thirty-nine colleges, and six permanent private halls (PPHs) of religious foundation. Colleges and PPHs are autonomous self-governing corporations within the university. These colleges are not only houses of residence, but have substantial responsibility for teaching undergraduate students. Generally tutorials (one of the main methods of teaching in Oxford) and classes are the responsibility of colleges, while lectures, examinations, laboratories, and the central library are run by the university. Students normally have most of their tutorials in their own college, but often have a couple of modules taught at other colleges or even at faculties and departments. Most colleges take both graduates and undergraduates, but several are for graduates only.

Aerial view of many of the colleges of the University of Oxford

Undergraduate and graduate students may name preferred colleges in their applications. For undergraduate students, an increasing number of departments practise reallocation to ensure that the ratios between potential students and subject places available at each college are as uniform as possible. For the Department of Physics, reallocation is done on a random basis after a shortlist of candidates is drawn upon and before candidates are invited for interviews at the university.[1]

For graduate students, many colleges express a preference for candidates who plan to undertake research in an area of interest of one of its fellows. St Hugh's College, for example, states that it accepts graduate students in most subjects, principally those in the fields of interest of the fellows of the college.[2]

A typical college consists of a hall for dining, a chapel, a library, a college bar, senior, middle (postgraduate), and junior common rooms, rooms for 200–400 undergraduates as well as lodgings for the head of the college and other dons. College buildings range from medieval to modern, but most are made up of interlinked quadrangles (courtyards), with a porter's lodge controlling entry from the outside.

2008 saw the first modern merger of colleges, with Green College and Templeton College merging to form Green Templeton College.[3] This reduced the number of colleges of the university from 39 to 38.[4] The number of PPHs also reduced in 2008, when Greyfriars closed down.[5] However, with the establishment of Reuben College in 2019, the number of colleges of the university again increased to 39.[6][7] Reuben is the first new Oxbridge college since 1990, when Kellogg College was established.[8]

Brasenose College in the 1670s