The University of Oxford
(informally Oxford University, or simply Oxford), located in the city of
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, is the oldest university in the
English-speaking world. It is also regarded as one of the world's
leading academic institutions. The name is sometimes abbreviated as
Oxon. in post-nominals (from the Latin Oxoniensis), although Oxf is
sometimes used in official publications. The University has 38
independent colleges, and 6 permanent private halls.
The university traces its
roots back to at least the end of the 12th century, although the exact
date of foundation remains unclear. After a dispute between students and
townsfolk broke out in 1209, some of the academics at Oxford fled
north-east to the town of Cambridge, where the University of Cambridge
was founded. The two universities (collectively known as "Oxbridge")
have since had a long history of competition with each other.
The University of Oxford
is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities,
the Coimbra Group (a network of leading European universities), the
League of European Research Universities, International Alliance of
Research Universities and is also a core member of the Europaeum.
Academically, Oxford is consistently ranked in the world's top 10
universities. For more than a century, it has served as the home of the
Rhodes Scholarship, which brings highly accomplished students from a
number of countries to study at Oxford as postgraduates.
The expulsion of foreigners from the University of Paris in 1167 caused many English scholars to return from France and settle in Oxford. The historian Gerald of Wales lectured to the scholars in 1188, and the first known foreign scholar, Emo of Friesland arrived in 1190. The head of the University was named a chancellor from 1201, and the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation in 1231. The students associated together, on the basis of geographical origins, into two “nations”, representing the North (including the Scots) and the South (including the Irish and the Welsh). In later centuries, geographical origins continued to influence many students' affiliations when membership of a college or hall became customary in Oxford. Members of many religious orders, including Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and Augustinians, settled in Oxford in the mid-13th century, gained influence, and maintained houses for students. At about the same time, private benefactors established colleges to serve as self-contained scholarly communities. Among the earliest were John I de Balliol, father of the future King of Scots; Balliol College bears his name. Another founder, Walter de Merton, a chancellor of England and afterwards Bishop of Rochester, devised a series of regulations for college life; Merton College thereby became the model for such establishments at Oxford as well as at the University of Cambridge. Thereafter, an increasing number of students forsook living in halls and religious houses in favour of living at colleges.
The new learning of the Renaissance greatly influenced Oxford from the late 15th century onward. Among University scholars of the period were William Grocyn, who contributed to the revival of the Greek language, and John Colet, the noted biblical scholar. With the Reformation and the breaking of ties with the Roman Catholic Church, the method of teaching at the university was transformed from the medieval Scholastic method to Renaissance education, although institutions associated with the university suffered loss of land and revenues. In 1636, Chancellor William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, codified the university statutes; these to a large extent remained the university's governing regulations until the mid-19th century. Laud was also responsible for the granting of a charter securing privileges for the university press, and he made significant contributions to the Bodleian Library, the main library of the university.
The university was a
centre of the Royalist Party during the English Civil War (1642–1649),
while the town favoured the opposing Parliamentarian cause.
Soldier-statesman Oliver Cromwell, chancellor of the university from
1650 to 1657, was responsible for preventing both Oxford and Cambridge
from being closed down by the Puritans, who viewed university education
as dangerous to religious beliefs. From the mid-18th century onward,
however, the University of Oxford took little part in political
The mid nineteenth
century saw the aftermath of of the Oxford Movement (1833-1845) led
amongst others by the future Cardinal Newman. The influence of the
reformed German university reached Oxford via key scholars such as
Jowett and Max Muller.
during the 19th century included the replacement of oral examinations
with written entrance tests, greater tolerance for religious dissent,
and the establishment of four colleges for women. Women have been
eligible to be full members of the university and have been entitled to
take degrees since 7 October 1920. Twentieth century Privy Council
decisions (such as the abolition of compulsory daily worship,
dissociation of the Regius professorship of Hebrew from clerical status,
diversion of theological bequests to colleges to other purposes)
loosened the link with traditional belief and practice. Although the
University's emphasis traditionally had been on classical knowledge, its
curriculum expanded in the course of the 19th century and now attaches
equal importance to scientific and medical studies.
The mid twentieth century
saw many distinguished continental scholars displaced by Nazism and
Communism who were to find academic fulfilment in Oxford.
The list of distinguished scholars at the University of Oxford is long and includes many who have made major contributions to British politics, the sciences, medicine, and literature. More than forty Nobel laureates and more than fifty world leaders have been affiliated with the University of Oxford.
The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. The name is sometimes abbreviated as Cantab. in post-nominals, a shortened form of Cantabrigiensis (an adjective derived from Cantabrigia, the Latinised form of Cambridge).
is consistently ranked in the world's top 5 universities. It has
produced 83 Nobel Laureates to date, more than any other university in
the world according to some counts.
Cambridge is a collegiate university, meaning that it is made up of self-governing and independent colleges, each with its own property and income. Most colleges bring together academics and students from a broad range of disciplines (though certain colleges do have particular strengths e.g. Gonville and Caius College for Medicine), and within each faculty, school or department within the university, academics from many different colleges will be found.
students and many of the academics are attached to colleges, where they
live, eat and socialise. It is also the place where students may receive
their small group teaching sessions, known as supervisions. Each college
appoints its own teaching staff and fellows in each subject; decides
which students to admit, in accordance with University regulations;
provides small group teaching sessions, for undergraduates (though
lectures are arranged and degrees are awarded by the university); and is
responsible for the domestic arrangements and welfare of its own
undergraduates, graduates, post-doctoral researchers, and staff in
The University of Cambridge currently has 31 colleges, of which three admit only women (Murray Edwards, Newnham and Lucy Cavendish). The remaining 28 are now mixed, though most were originally all-male. Darwin was the first college to admit both men and women, while Churchill was the first previously all-male colleges to admit female undergraduates in 1972, with Magdalene being the last in 1988. Two colleges admit only postgraduates (Clare Hall and Darwin), and four more admit mature students (i.e. 21 years or older on date of matriculation) or graduate students (Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund’s and Wolfson). The other 25 colleges admit both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Colleges are not required to admit students in all subjects, with some colleges choosing not to offer subjects such as architecture, history of art or theology, but most offer close to the complete range. Some colleges maintain a bias towards certain subjects, for example with Churchill leaning towards the sciences and engineering, while others such as St Catharine's College aim for a balanced intake. Costs to students (accommodation and food prices) vary considerably from college to college. Others maintain much more informal reputations, such as for the students of Kings College to hold left-wing and Liberal political views, or Robinson College's attempts to minimise its environmental impact.
The University of Bristol
is a university in Bristol, England. It received its Royal Charter in
1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol,
had been in existence since 1876. It is one of the original "red brick"
universities. Bristol ranks as one of the top 10 universities in the
United Kingdom according to most published league tables and receives
more applications per place than any other British University. The
University has an annual turnover of £260m and is the largest
independent employer in Bristol.
The University is a
member of the Russell Group, European-wide Coimbra Group and the
Worldwide Universities Network, of which the University's
Vice-Chancellor Prof Eric Thomas is the current Chair. Bristol has
around 23,000 students and is one of two universities in Bristol, the
other being the more recently established University of the West of
The earliest antecedent
of the university was the engineering department of the Merchant
Venturers’ Technical College (founded as a school as early as 1595)
which became the Engineering faculty of Bristol university. The
University was also preceded by University College, Bristol, founded in
1876, where its first lecture was attended by only 99 students. The
University was able to apply for a Royal Charter due to the financial
support of the Wills and Fry families, who made their fortunes in
tobacco plantations and chocolate, respectively. Although the Wills
Family made huge sums of money from the slave-produced plantations, they
later became abolitionists who gave their money to the city of Bristol.
The Royal Charter was gained in May 1909, with 288 undergraduates and
400 other students entering the University in October 1909. Henry
Overton Wills III became its first chancellor. The University College
was the first such institution in the country to admit women on the same
basis as men. However, women were forbidden to take examinations in
medicine until 1906.
Since the founding of the University itself in 1909, it has grown considerably and is now one of the largest employers in the local area, although it is smaller by student numbers than the nearby University of the West of England. Bristol does not have a campus but is spread over a considerable geographic area. Most of its activities, however, are concentrated in the area of the city centre, referred to as the "University Precinct". It is a member of the Russell Group of research-led UK universities, the Coimbra Group of leading European universities and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).
The University of Derby is a university in the city of Derby, England. The main campus is on Kedleston Road, Allestree in the north-west of Derby close to the A38 opposite Markeaton Park. The university additionally operates a site in Buxton, Derbyshire, known as the Devonshire campus, a grade II* listed building which dominates the local landscape and has a dome which is over 145 ft (44 m) in diameter, bigger than that of St Paul's Cathedral in London. It was formally opened by Prince Charles in February 2006. A contemporary-styled building for Arts, Design and Technology students on Markeaton Street in Derby was formally opened in early November 2007 by Richard Branson. Courses are also housed in the Britannia Mill campus in Derby and the Chesterfield Centre for health education.
The University of Hull, also known as Hull University, is an English university, founded in 1927, located in Hull (or Kingston upon Hull), a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The main campus is located on Cottingham Road in the north west of the city while a smaller campus is located in nearby Scarborough. The main campus is also home to the Hull York Medical School, a joint initiative with the University of York.
The University of Leicester is a research led university based in Leicester, England, with approximately 20,000 registered students - about 13,000 of them full-time students and 7,000 part-time and/or distance learning. The main campus is a mile south of the city centre, adjacent to Victoria Park and Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College.
The University was founded as Leicestershire and Rutland College in 1918. The site for the University was donated by a local textile manufacturer, Thomas Fielding Johnson, in order to create a living memorial for those who lost their lives in World War I. This is reflected in the University's motto Ut Vitam Habeant — 'so that they may have life'. The central building, now known as the Fielding Johnson Building and housing the University's administration offices and Faculty of Law, dates from 1837 and was formerly the Leicestershire and Rutland Lunatic Asylum.
The University has its origins in the School of Medicine and Surgery which was established in Newcastle upon Tyne in October 1834, providing basic lectures and practical demonstrations to around 26 students. In June 1851, following a dispute amongst the teaching staff, the School was split into two rival institutions: the majority forming the Newcastle College of Medicine, with the others establishing themselves as the Newcastle upon Tyne College of Medicine and Practical Science. By 1852 the majority college was formally linked to the University of Durham and its teaching certificates were recognised by the University of London for graduation in medicine. The two colleges amalgamated in 1857 and renamed the University of Durham College of Medicine in 1870.
Attempts to realise a
place for the teaching of sciences in the city were finally met with the
foundation of the College of Physical Science in 1871. The college
offered instruction in mathematics, physics, chemistry and geology to
meet the growing needs of the mining industry, becoming the Durham
College of Physical Science in 1883 and then renamed after William
George Armstrong as Armstrong College in 1904. Both these separate and
independent institutions later became part of the University of Durham,
whose 1908 Act formally recognised that the University consisted of two
Divisions, Durham and
Throughout the early 20th century, the medical and science colleges vastly outpaced the growth of their Durham counterparts and a Royal Commission in 1934 recommended the merger of the two colleges to form King's College, Durham. Growth of the Newcastle Division of the federal Durham University led to tensions within the structure and in 1963 an Act of Parliament separated the two, creating the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The University of Nottingham is a public, co-educational institution of higher learning in the city of Nottingham, England. Nottingham, which has campuses in the United Kingdom and Asia, is the fifth largest university in the UK (as measured by numbers of students), and is a member of the Russell Group, Universitas 21, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and the European University Association.
The University of Nottingham traces its origins to the founding of an adult education school in 1798. The foundation stone of the original University College Nottingham on Shakespeare Street was laid in 1877, with a speech by former UK prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone. This building was formally opened in 1881 by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. A large gift of land allowed University College Nottingham to move to a new campus in 1928. This development was supported by an endowment fund and public contributions. The transfer was made possible by the generosity of Sir Jesse Boot, who presented 35 acres (140,000 m2) to the City of Nottingham in 1921. Boot, later named Lord Trent, hoped the move would solve the problems facing University College Nottingham in its restricted Shakespeare Street building. Boot stipulated that while part of the Highfields site, lying southwest of the city, be devoted to the University College Nottingham, the rest should provide a place of recreation for the residents of the city. In the 1920s, the University Boulevard was created, as well as and the landscaping of the lake and public park. Initially, University College Nottingham was accommodated within one major new building named Trent Building. Designed by Morley Horder, Trent Building’s construction was one of the largest building projects in the city of Nottingham in the 1920s. By 1934 the students of Nottingham had organised societies such as the Walking club. In 1948, University College Nottingham received its Royal Charter, which gave it the title of "university" and the power to confer degrees. The name changed from University College Nottingham to The University of Nottingham. Previously, the institution's students received their degrees from the University of London.
The University of Sheffield is a leading research university, located in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. Ranked within the World's top 100 Universities and constantly ranked amongst the top 20 universities in Britain, it is one of the original 'red brick' universities and a member of the elite Russell Group.
The University of Sheffield was originally formed by the merger of three colleges. The Sheffield School of Medicine was founded in 1828, followed in 1879 by the opening of Firth College by Mark Firth, a steel manufacturer, to teach arts and science subjects. Firth College then helped to fund the opening of the Sheffield Technical School in 1884 to teach applied science, the only major faculty the existing colleges did not cover. The three institutions merged in 1897 to form the University College of Sheffield. Sheffield is one of the six original red brick universities.
It was originally envisaged that the University College would join Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds as the fourth member of the federal Victoria University.
However, the Victoria
University began to split-up before this could happen and so the
University College of Sheffield received its own Royal Charter in 1905
and became the University of Sheffield.
From 200 full-time students in 1905, the University grew slowly until the 1950s and 1960s when it began to expand rapidly. Many new buildings (including the famous Arts Tower) were built and student numbers increased to their present levels of over 20,000. In 1987 the University began to collaborate with its once would-be partners of the Victoria University by co-founding the Northern Consortium; a coalition for the education and recruitment of international students.
Over the years, the University has been home to a number of notable writers and scholars, including the literary critic William Empson, who was head of the Department of English; author Angela Carter; five Nobel Prize winners; and Bernard Crick.