Understanding Oxford

Most undergraduate students live and socialise in their college and form a strong affiliation to it. The colleges are responsible for delivering tutorials, while university departments will provide lectures and practical classes.

Many colleges will have their own student societies – for example in addition to the Oxford University Law Society most colleges also have their own college Law Society.

Read more on colleges and how Oxford University is organised.

Short, intense terms

Oxford has three 8-week terms in each academic year: Michaelmas (October to December), Hilary (January to March) and Trinity (April to June). During term time undergraduates have lectures, laboratory classes, and work such as essays or problem sets to prepare for weekly tutorials in which students discuss and explore their subject in small groups with an expert in the field. The academic workload is heavy during term, and time-pressure can be intense.

A diverse student population

There are around 24,000 students at Oxford, a fairly even split between undergraduates and postgraduates.

International students make up almost 43% of our total student body - over 10,000 students. Students come to Oxford from more than 150 countries and territories.

The overall proportion of students disclosing a disability increased from 7% to 11% between 2012 and 2016. In Michaelmas term 2017, over 3500 matriculated students were registered with the University’s Disability Advisory Service.

See detailed student numbers and other University facts and figures.

Not a campus university

Visitors to Oxford sometimes ask where the university is…. it’s everywhere! Colleges and departments are spread throughout the city. There is no central campus or central social hub. Some departments cluster together in particular areas of the city – for example the science area, or the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (some humanities, maths and the Blavatnik School of Government), or medical sciences at the John Radcliffe Hospital site. The lack of a central campus can make it difficult for employers to select venues suitable for recruitment events. We are happy to advise on venues.

The Oxford Recruiters' Group


For those employers who wish to gain advantageous recruiting insights, make their recruiting efforts more efficient and are looking to attract students with enhanced promotion.

JOIN THE RECRUITERS' GROUP