Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and lays claim to nine centuries of continuous existence. As an internationally renowned centre for teaching and research, Oxford attracts students and scholars from across the globe, with almost a quarter of our students from overseas. More than 130 nationalities are represented among a student population of over 18,000.
Oxford is a collegiate university, with 39 self-governing colleges related to the University in a type of federal system. There are also seven Permanent Private Halls, founded by different Christian denominations. Thirty colleges and all halls admit students for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Seven other colleges are for graduates only; one has Fellows only, and one specializes in part-time and continuing education.
There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
Oxford is one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial universities. Drawing on an 800-year tradition of discovery and invention, modern Oxford leads the way in creating jobs, wealth, skills and innovation for the 21st century. The leading UK university for knowledge transfer and commercial spin-outs, Oxford was also the UK pioneer in developing a university intellectual property policy.
Each year, Oxford welcomes students with great potential, at both undergraduate and graduate level, from all over the globe. Our students are attracted by the chance to study at an internationally-renowned seat of learning, with a centuries-old reputation for outstanding academic achievement and innovation.
Oxford meets the needs of students, teachers and the international research community with an extremely rich and diverse range of library resources provided by over 100 separate libraries.
Oxford's museums and collections are world renowned. They provide an important resource for scholars internationally, and welcome visits from members of the public. Admission is free, except for the Botanic Garden, where visitors are charged a small admission fee, and Christ Church Picture Gallery, which makes a small charge, with concessions for children, students and senior citizens.