Cecelia Unruh

Written by Cecelia Unruh

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Wemakescholars.com

The University of Oxford, located in the picturesque city of Oxford, is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. With a rich history dating back over 900 years, it has established itself as a symbol of academic excellence and intellectual achievement.

Steeped in tradition, Oxford University boasts an impressive list of alumni, including world-renowned scientists, Nobel laureates, and influential politicians. The campus, with its stunning Gothic architecture and lush greenery, provides an inspiring backdrop for students pursuing their academic pursuits.

In this article, we will explore 14 captivating facts about the University of Oxford, shedding light on the lesser-known aspects that make this institution truly extraordinary. From its iconic libraries and famous landmarks to its unique traditions and notable achievements, Oxford University continues to captivate the hearts and minds of students and visitors alike.

Key Takeaways:

  • Oxford University, the oldest in the English-speaking world, boasts 38 unique colleges, inspiring literary works, and producing influential figures like Stephen Hawking and world leaders.
  • With its stunning architecture, extensive alumni network, and numerous Nobel laureates, Oxford University continues to captivate and inspire people worldwide.
Table of Contents

Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Established in the 12th century, the University of Oxford has a rich history spanning over 800 years. It has been a center of academic excellence and intellectual discovery since its founding.

Oxford is made up of 38 constituent colleges.

The university is a complex institution comprising of 38 autonomous colleges, each with its own unique history, traditions, and buildings. These colleges serve as the academic and residential communities for students and staff.

The Bodleian Library at Oxford is one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

Housing over 13 million printed items and manuscripts, the Bodleian Library is a treasure trove of knowledge. It first opened its doors in 1602 and has since become one of the most renowned libraries in the world.

Stephen Hawking studied at Oxford.

The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, known for his groundbreaking work on black holes and the theory of relativity, studied at Oxford. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oxford and later went on to achieve global recognition for his contributions to science.

Oxford University has inspired numerous literary works.

From J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Oxford’s illustrious history and picturesque surroundings have served as inspiration for many famous authors. The university’s influence can be felt in the pages of these beloved literary classics.

Oxford has produced numerous world leaders and influential figures.

The university has a long list of notable alumni who have gone on to become world leaders, including former British Prime Ministers such as Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron. Oxford’s reputation for producing outstanding graduates extends to various fields, from politics to literature to science.

Visitors can explore the stunning architecture of Oxford’s colleges.

With its breathtaking spires, historic buildings, and picturesque courtyards, Oxford offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in centuries of architectural wonder. Taking a stroll through the college courtyards is like stepping back in time.

The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford is the oldest museum in the UK.

Founded in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum is the oldest public museum in the United Kingdom. It houses a vast collection of art and antiquities, ranging from Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces.

Oxford University Press is the world’s largest university press.

As one of the most prestigious academic publishers, Oxford University Press publishes thousands of books, journals, and educational resources every year. Its publications are widely used by scholars, students, and professionals worldwide.

Oxford’s academic rivalry with Cambridge is legendary.

The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge universities is steeped in tradition and competitive spirit. The annual Boat Race between the two universities is a highly anticipated event, attracting worldwide attention.

Oxford has its own language.

Oxford University has its own distinctive terminology. For example, students are referred to as “undergrads” and “postgrads,” and attending lectures is often called “going to a tutorial.” This unique language adds to the university’s charm and sense of community.

Oxford has been the setting for many films and TV shows.

Oxford’s stunning architecture and historic atmosphere have made it a popular filming location. From the Harry Potter film series to “The Golden Compass,” many productions have taken advantage of Oxford’s captivating backdrop.

Oxford’s alumni network is extensive and influential.

Graduates of Oxford University become part of a global community of alumni. This network provides opportunities for networking, career advancement, and collaborations, making it a valuable resource for individuals even after their time at the university.

Oxford University has produced numerous Nobel laureates.

Over the years, Oxford has been a breeding ground for brilliant minds. Its alumni include Nobel Prize winners in various disciplines, including physics, medicine, literature, and economics.

These 14 captivating facts about the University of Oxford only scratch the surface of the institution’s rich history, academic excellence, and cultural significance. From its ancient buildings to its renowned alumni, Oxford continues to inspire awe and capture the imagination of people around the world.


In conclusion, the University of Oxford is a truly remarkable institution that has left an indelible mark on the world. Its rich history, prestigious academic programs, and world-class faculty have attracted students from all corners of the globe. From its stunning architecture to its vibrant student life, Oxford offers an educational experience like no other. Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in academia, research, or any other field, the University of Oxford provides a solid foundation for success. As the alma mater of countless luminaries, the university’s legacy continues to shape the world we live in today. Overall, the University of Oxford is a place where intellectual curiosity thrives, creativity is nurtured, and lifelong connections are forged.


1. How old is the University of Oxford?

The University of Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in 1096, making it over 900 years old.

2. How many colleges are there at the University of Oxford?

There are 38 colleges at the University of Oxford, each with its own distinct character and history.

3. What is the admission process like at Oxford?

The admission process at Oxford is highly competitive and rigorous. It involves submitting an application, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and in some cases, interviews and entrance exams.

4. Can international students apply to Oxford?

Yes, international students are encouraged to apply to Oxford. The university welcomes students from all over the world and offers dedicated support services for international students.

5. What are the popular areas of study at Oxford?

Oxford is renowned for its programs in various disciplines, but some of the popular areas of study include humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and medicine.

6. Is there a campus at the University of Oxford?

Oxford does not have a centralized campus. Instead, the university and its colleges are spread across the city of Oxford.

7. What is the student life like at Oxford?

Student life at Oxford is vibrant and diverse. Besides academics, students engage in various extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports teams, societies, and cultural events.

8. Does Oxford offer financial aid to students?

Yes, Oxford provides financial aid and scholarships to eligible students. The university is committed to ensuring that financial circumstances do not hinder students from pursuing their education.

Exploring Oxford's rich history is just the beginning. Delve into Duke Humfrey's Library's mindblowing facts, uncovering its ancient secrets. Benjamin Franklin's life and inventions offer captivating insights into this remarkable figure's legacy. Uncover the hidden stories behind these iconic subjects, and let your curiosity guide you on a journey of discovery.

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