After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge, where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two ancient English universities have many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge. In addition to their cultural and practical associations, as a historic part of British society, they have a long history of rivalry with each other.
Most undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organized around weekly tutorials at self-governing colleges and halls, supported by lectures and laboratory classes organized by University faculties and departments. League tables consistently list Oxford as one of the UK's best universities; the university regularly contends with Cambridge for first place in the tables. Oxford consistently ranks in the world's top 10. For more than a century, it has served as the home of the Rhodes Scholarship, which brings students from a number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates or for a second bachelor's degree.
Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the Coimbra Group, the G5, the League of European Research Universities, and the International Alliance of Research Universities. It is also a core member of the Europaeum and forms part of the 'Golden Triangle' of British universities.
As a collegiate university, Oxford's structure can be confusing to those unfamiliar with it. The university is a federation: it comprises over forty self-governing colleges and halls, along with a central administration headed by the Vice-Chancellor. The academic departments are located centrally within this structure; they are not affiliated with any particular college. Departments provide facilities for teaching and research, determine the syllabi and guidelines for the teaching of students, perform research, and deliver lectures and seminars. Colleges arrange the tutorial teaching for their undergraduates. The members of an academic department are spread around many colleges; though certain colleges do have subject alignments (e.g. Nuffield College as a centre for the social sciences), these are exceptions, and most colleges will have a broad mix of academics and students from a diverse range of subjects. Facilities such as libraries are provided on all these levels: by the central university (the Bodleian), by the departments (individual departmental libraries, such as the English Faculty Library), and by colleges (each of which maintains a multi-discipline library for the use of its members).
The university's formal head is the Chancellor (currently Lord Patten of Barnes), though as with most British universities, the Chancellor is a titular figure, rather than someone involved with the day-to-day running of the university. The Chancellor is elected by the members of Convocation, a body comprising all graduates of the university, and holds office until death.
The Vice-Chancellor, currently Andrew Hamilton, is the "de facto" head of the University. Five Pro-Vice-Chancellors have specific responsibilities for Education; Research; Planning and Resources; Development and External Affairs; and Personnel and Equal Opportunities. The University Council is the executive policy-forming body, which consists of the Vice-Chancellor as well as heads of departments and other members elected by Congregation, in addition to observers from the Student Union. Congregation, the "parliament of the dons", comprises over 3,700 members of the University’s academic and administrative staff, and has ultimate responsibility for legislative matters: it discusses and pronounces on policies proposed by the University Council. Oxford and Cambridge (which is similarly structured) are unique for this democratic form of governance.
Two university proctors, who are elected annually on a rotating basis from two of the colleges, are the internal ombudsmen who make sure that the university and its members adhere to its statutes. This role incorporates student welfare and discipline, as well as oversight of the university's proceedings. The collection of University Professors is called the Statutory Professors of the University of Oxford. They are particularly influential in the running of the graduate programmes within the University. Examples of Statutory Professors are the Chichele Professorships and the Drummond Professor of Political Economy. The various academic faculties, departments, and institutes are organised into four divisions, each with their own Head and elected board. They are the Humanities Division; the Social Sciences Division; the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division; and the Medical Sciences Division.
The University of Oxford is a "public university" in the sense that it receives a large amount of public money from the government and from local authorities, but it is a "private university" in the sense that it is entirely self-governing and could choose to become entirely private by rejecting public funds.
There are thirty-eight colleges of the University of Oxford and six Permanent Private Halls, each controlling its membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All resident students, and most academic staff, must be members both of a college or hall, and of the university. The heads of Oxford colleges are known by various titles, according to the college, including warden, provost, principal, president, rector, master and dean. The colleges join together as the Conference of Colleges to discuss policy and to deal with the central University administration. Teaching members of the colleges (fellows and tutors) are collectively and familiarly known as dons, although the term is rarely used by the university itself. In addition to residential and dining facilities, the colleges provide social, cultural, and recreational activities for their members. Colleges have responsibility for admitting undergraduates and organising their tuition; for graduates, this responsibility falls upon the departments.
Teaching and degrees
Undergraduate teaching is centred on the tutorial, where 1–4 students spend an hour with an academic discussing their week’s work, usually an essay (humanities, most social sciences, some mathematical, physical, and life sciences) or problem sheet (most mathematical, physical, and life sciences, and some social sciences). Students usually have one or two tutorials a week, and can be taught by academics at any other college—not just their own—as expertise and personnel requires. These tutorials are complemented by lectures, classes and seminars, which are organised on a departmental basis. Graduate students undertaking taught degrees are usually instructed through classes and seminars, though there is more focus upon individual research.
The university itself is responsible for conducting examinations and conferring degrees. The passing of two sets of examinations is a prerequisite for a first degree. The first set of examinations, called either Honour Moderations ("Mods" and "Honour Mods") or Preliminary Examinations ("Prelims"), are usually held at the end of the first year (after two terms for those studying Law, Theology, Philosophy and Theology, Experimental Psychology or Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology or after five terms in the case of Classics). The second set of examinations, the Final Honour School ("Finals"), is held at the end of the undergraduate course. Successful candidates receive first-, upper or lower second-, or third-class honours based on their performance in Finals. An upper second is the most usual result, and a first is generally prerequisite for graduate study. A "double first" reflects first class results in both Honour Mods. and Finals. Research degrees at the master's and doctoral level are conferred in all subjects studied at graduate level at the university. As a matter of tradition, bachelor's degree graduates are eligible, after seven years from matriculation and without additional study, to purchase for a nominal fee an upgrade of their bachelor's degree to a "MA" or Master of Arts. All MAs were members of Convocation and until 1913 all resident members of Convocation were members of Congregation. MAs, as members of Convocation, elected the Chancellor and Professor of Poetry, but recently Convocation has been widened to consist of all graduates.
The academic year is divided into three terms, determined by Regulations. Michaelmas Term lasts from October to December; Hilary Term from January to March; and Trinity Term from April to June.
Within these terms, Council determines for each year eight-week periods called Full Terms, during which undergraduate teaching takes place. These terms are shorter than those of many other British universities. Undergraduates are also expected to prepare heavily in the three holidays (known as the Christmas, Easter and Long Vacations).
Internally at least, the dates in the term are often referred to by a number in reference to the start of each full term, thus the first week of any full term is called "1st week" and the last is "8th week". The numbering of the weeks continues up to the end of the term, and begins again with negative numbering from the beginning of the succeeding term, through "minus first week" and "noughth week", which precedes "1st week". Weeks begin on a Sunday. Undergraduates must be in residence from Thursday of 0th week.
Academic dress is still commonly seen at Oxford; until the 1960s students wore it at all times.It is required for examinations and when visiting university officers. Other traditions and customs vary by college, one of the most common being the requirement to wear gowns for dinner in hall.
Merton Collegemagics at Oxford. There are rumored gates to the half world built into the older structures. Among those with reason to know it is said that there is an entire library and hall hidden on the half world.
Merton College is a frequent post secondary education destination among the graduates of Ravensglen public school.
Merton College is the college of James Smythe