Understanding Oxford

Not a campus university

Visitors to Oxford sometimes ask where the university is…. it’s everywhere! Colleges and departments are spread throughout the city. 

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.

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.

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. For more information on the student population at the University of Oxford, explore the Student Numbers webpage

See detailed University facts and figures.

Verifying qualifications 

As an employer or potential employer, you can check the degree status of University of Oxford graduates and students securely online. Please see further information on the Verifying Qualifications webpage and on the eDocuments and eDocuments FAQ pages. 

The Oxford Employer Engagement Network

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 Employer Engagement Network