OXFORD: CITY AND UNIVERSITY
Oxford’s history dates back over a thousand years, the city having been originally little more than a cattle crossing on the river Thames, hence the name – Ox(en) Ford. Monastic ‘halls’ were established from the twelfth century, so that theological students could be accommodated in safety, and these formed the basis of the medieval university.
The oldest known college is Merton, which was founded in 1264. The university has grown steadily since then and today serves as the umbrella organisation for thirty-nine constituent colleges. It has gained an unrivalled reputation for academic excellence and continues to attract the brightest students and most eminent teachers.
All Oxford undergraduates must be accepted by one of the member colleges of the university and are taught by ‘fellows’ of that college, prominent academics in their chosen field. Tutorials are held weekly to supervise students’ work and research and courses of lectures are organised by the university each term. Each college has its own identity and most have architecturally noteworthy buildings and pleasing gardens, oases of scholarship and tranquillity in a bustling and ever-growing modern city. These days, the university co-exists with other, more recently-established academic institutions and establishments, all of which partake of the city’s rich academic traditions and the prevailing atmosphere of scholarship. Indeed, there are now two universities in Oxford; Oxford Brookes University was granted its charter in 1992 and offers an excellent alternative to its venerable neighbour.
|"Spending a year studying abroad in Oxford left with me with a global perspective that any student should strive for. The atmosphere of Oxford is perfect both for learning and for its rich and varied culture. I particularly enjoyed the intellectual challenges posed in my classes and I look forward to developing my thinking further in my Law course at Southampton University."|
Although Oxford’s dreaming spires were immortalised by Matthew Arnold in the nineteenth century, much of its majestic architecture dates from well before then. It is still recognizable as a medieval city and many original buildings remain, including stunning examples of Gothic and Classical styles. Indeed, the city is a boon to students of architecture as fine examples of every style of English architectural history, from Anglo-Saxon times onward, may be found here. The modern city boasts numerous galleries, museums, bookshops, libraries and cafes offering inspiring places to study, or just relax. The languid beauty of the meadows and gardens, with the rivers Isis and Cherwell winding through, completes an idyllic backdrop, and an unsurpassed academic setting.