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Education of Oxford University

The University of Oxford, located in the city of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford» \o «Oxford» Oxford , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England» \o «England» England , is the
operation» \o «List of oldest universities in continuous operation»
oldest university in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language» \o «English language»
English-speaking world.

The university traces its roots back to at least the end of the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11th_century» \o «11th century»
11th century , although the exact date of foundation remains unclear.
According to legend, after riots between scholars and townsfolk broke
out in HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1209» \o «1209» 1209 ,
some of the academics at Oxford fled north-east to the town of
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge» \o «Cambridge»
Cambridge , where the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Cambridge» \o «University of
Cambridge» University of Cambridge was founded. The two universities
have since had a long history of competition with each other, and are
widely seen as the most prestigious universities in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom» \o «United Kingdom»
United Kingdom (see HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxbridge_rivalry» \o «Oxbridge rivalry»
Oxbridge rivalry ).

Oxford has recently topped two university-ranking HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_Tables_of_British_Universities» \o
«League Tables of British Universities» league tables produced by
British newspapers: it came first according to HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guardian» \o «The Guardian» The
Guardian and, for the fourth consecutive year, in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Times» \o «The Times» The Times
table. Although widely contested (as with most league tables) on the
basis of their ranking criteria, recent international tables produced by
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Jiao_Tong_University»
\o «Shanghai Jiao Tong University» Shanghai Jiao Tong University rated
Oxford tenth HYPERLINK
«http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2005/ARWU2005_Top100.htm» \o
«http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2005/ARWU2005 Top100.htm» [1] in the

Oxford is a member of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Group_of_Universities» \o «Russell
Group of Universities» Russell Group of research-led HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_universities» \o «British
universities» British universities , the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coimbra_Group» \o «Coimbra Group» Coimbra
Group (a network of leading European universities), the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LERU» \o «LERU» LERU (League of European
Research Universities), and is also a core member of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europaeum» \o «Europaeum» Europaeum .


Coat of arms of the University of Oxford

The date of the University’s foundation is unknown, and indeed it may
not have been a single event, but there is evidence of teaching there as
early as HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1096» \o «1096» 1096
. When HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_England» \o
«Henry II of England» Henry II of England forbade English students to
study at the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Paris» \o «University of
Paris» University of Paris in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1167» \o «1167» 1167 , Oxford began to
grow very quickly. The foundation of the first halls of residence, which
later became colleges, dates from this period. Rioting in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1209» \o «1209» 1209 led many scholars
to leave Oxford for other parts of the country, leading to the
establishment of a university in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge» \o «Cambridge» Cambridge . On
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_20» \o «June 20» June 20
, HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1214» \o «1214» 1214 , a
charter of liberties was granted to the University by HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_de_Romanis» \o «Nicholas de
Romanis» Nicholas de Romanis , the papal legate, which authorised the
appointment of a chancellor of the University. Riots between townsmen
and scholars («town and gown») were common until the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Scholastica_riot» \o «St. Scholastica
riot» St Scholastica Day riot in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1355» \o «1355» 1355 led to the king
confirming the supremacy of the University over the town.

In HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1555» \o «1555» 1555 –
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1556» \o «1556» 6 the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant» \o «Protestant»
Protestant HYPERLINK
\o «Oxford Martyrs» Oxford Martyrs , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Latimer» \o «Hugh Latimer» Latimer ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Ridley_%28martyr%29»
\o «Nicholas Ridley (martyr)» Ridley and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Cranmer» \o «Thomas Cranmer»
Cranmer were burned at Oxford.

The University’s status was formally confirmed by an Act for the
Incorporation of Both Universities in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1571» \o «1571» 1571 , in which the
University’s formal title is given as The Chancellor, Masters and
Scholars of the University of Oxford. In HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1603» \o «1603» 1603 the University
granted the right to appoint two HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_of_Parliament» \o «Member of
Parliament» Members of Parliament , a right which lasted until the
abolition of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_constituency» \o «University
constituency» university constituencies in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1949» \o «1949» 1949 .

The comprehensive set of statutes, known as the Laudian Code, was drawn
up by Archbishop HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Laud»
\o «William Laud» William Laud in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1636» \o «1636» 1636 and ratified by
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_I_of_England» \o
«Charles I of England» Charles I . The University supported the king
during the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Civil_War»
\o «English Civil War» English Civil War , and was the site of his
court and parliament, but clashed with his grandson, the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic» \o «Roman Catholic» Roman
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_II_of_Great_Britain» \o «James II of
Great Britain» James II , who was later overthrown in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glorious_Revolution» \o «Glorious
Revolution» Glorious Revolution .

In the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1830s» \o «1830s»
1830s the University was the site of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Movement» \o «Oxford Movement»
Oxford Movement in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England» \o «Church of England»
Church of England .

A HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Commission» \o «Royal
Commission» Royal Commission to reform the University was appointed in
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1850» \o «1850» 1850 and its
proposals, accepted by Parliament, revolutionised the medieval workings
of the University, until then still governed by the code of 1636. Later
royal commissions were appointed in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1872» \o «1872» 1872 and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1919» \o «1919» 1919 . In HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1871» \o «1871» 1871 the HYPERLINK
=edit» \o «Universities Tests Act» Universities Tests Act opened the
University to HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissenter» \o
«Dissenter» Dissenters and Roman Catholics. The first women’s halls
were established in HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1878» \o
«1878» 1878 , and women were admitted to degrees in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920» \o «1920» 1920 .


Oxford is a HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collegiate_university» \o «Collegiate
university» collegiate university , consisting of the University’s
central facilities, such as departments and faculties, libraries and
science facilities, and 39 colleges and 7 HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Private_Hall» \o «Permanent
Private Hall» Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). All teaching staff and
degree students must belong to one of the colleges (or PPHs). These
colleges are not only houses of residence, but have substantial
responsibility for the teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates.
Some colleges only accept postgraduate students. Only one of the
colleges, HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Hilda%27s_College%2C_Oxford» \o «St
Hilda’s College, Oxford» St Hilda’s , remains single-sex, accepting
only women (though several of the religious PPHs are male-only).

Oxford’s collegiate system springs from the fact that the University
came into existence through the gradual agglomeration of independent
institutions in the city of Oxford.

«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colleges_of_Oxford_University» \o
«Colleges of Oxford University» Colleges of Oxford University , and a
list of Cambridge HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Oxbridge_sister_colleges» \o «List
of Oxbridge sister colleges» sister colleges .

Brasenose College in the 1670s

As well as the collegiate level of organisation, the University is
subdivided into departments on a subject basis, much like most other
universities. Departments take a major role in graduate education and an
increasing role in undergraduate education, providing lectures and
classes and organising examinations. Departments are also a centre of
research, funded by outside bodies including major research councils;
while colleges have an interest in research, few are subject-specialized
in organisation.

Governance and administration

The main legislative body of the University is HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_%28university%29» \o
«Congregation (university)» Congregation , the assembly of all
academics who teach in the University. Another body, HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convocation» \o «Convocation» Convocation
, encompassing all the graduates of Oxford, was formerly the main
legislative body of the University, and until HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1949» \o «1949» 1949 elected the two
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_constituency» \o
«University constituency» Members of Parliament for the University .
Convocation now has very limited functions: the main one is to elect the
(largely symbolic) HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chancellor_%28education%29» \o «Chancellor
(education)» Chancellor of the University, most recently in
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003» \o «2003» 2003 with the
election of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Patten» \o «Christopher
Patten» Christopher Patten .

The executive body of the University is the HYPERLINK
t» \o «University Council» University Council , which consists of the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vice-Chancellor» \o
«Vice-Chancellor» Vice-Chancellor , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hood» \o «John Hood» Dr John Hood
(succeeding HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Lucas» \o
«Colin Lucas» Sir Colin Lucas ), heads of departments and other members
elected by Congregation in addition to observers from the Student Union.
Until HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1969» \o «1969» 1969 ,
the statutes also provided for an Ancient House of Congregation, which
somehow survived the university reforms in the 19th century and was
summoned for the sole purpose of granting degrees. Since then degrees
have been granted by Congregation, but as late as HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994» \o «1994» 1994 these were still
being announced in the Gazette as meetings of the Ancient House.

Academic year

The academic year is divided into three HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_term» \o «Academic term» terms ,
known as Full Terms, each of eight weeks’ duration. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michaelmas» \o «Michaelmas» Michaelmas
Term lasts from HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October» \o
«October» October to HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December» \o «December» December ;
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilary_of_Poitiers» \o «Hilary
of Poitiers» Hilary Term from HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January» \o «January» January till
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March» \o «March» March ; and
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Sunday» \o «Trinity
Sunday» Trinity Term from HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April» \o «April» April till HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June» \o «June» June . These terms are
amongst the shortest of any British university, and the workload during
each term is therefore intense. Students are also expected to prepare
heavily in the three vacations (known as the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas» \o «Christmas» Christmas ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter» \o «Easter» Easter and
Long Vacations).


Admission to the University of Oxford is principally based on academic
merit and potential. Admissions for undergraduates is undertaken by
individual colleges, working with each other to ensure that the best
students gain a place at the University regardless of whether or not
they are accepted by their preferred choice. This has resulted in a
greater balancing of academic strength across the various constituent
colleges than was historically typical of the University. Selection is
based on school references, personal statements, achieved results,
predicted results, written work, written tests and the interviews which
are held between applicants and faculty members. Because of the high
volume of applications and the direct involvement of the faculty in
admissions, students are not permitted to apply to both Oxford and
Cambridge in the same year.

For graduate students, admission is firstly by the University department
in which each will study, and then secondarily with the college with
which they are associated.

Oxford, like Cambridge, has traditionally been perceived to be a
preserve of the wealthy, although today this is not the case (except
concerning overseas students, see below). The cost of taking a course,
in the days before student grants were available, was prohibitive unless
one was a scholar (or in even earlier times, a servitor — one who had to
serve his fellow undergraduates in exchange for tuition). HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_school_%28England%29» \o «Public
school (England)» Public schools and grammar schools prepared their
pupils more specifically for the entrance examination, some even going
so far as to encourage applicants to spend an extra year in the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixth_form» \o «Sixth form»
sixth form in order to study for it: pupils from other state schools
rarely had this luxury.

In recent years, Oxford has made greater efforts to attract pupils from
state schools, though admission to Oxford and Cambridge remains on
academic merit and potential. Around half of the students in Oxford come
from state school backgrounds; for comparison, approximately 93% of
students in the UK study at state schools. There is still much public
debate in Britain about whether more could be done to attract those from
poorer social backgrounds. Responding to these criticisms, Oxford has
introduced a university-wide means-tested bursary scheme effective from
2006, the Oxford Opportunity Bursaries, to offer financial support to
those in need.

Students successful in early examinations are rewarded with HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholarship» \o «Scholarship»
scholarships and HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibition»
\o «Exhibition» exhibitions , normally the result of a long-standing
endowment, although when tuition fees were first abolished the amounts
of money available became purely nominal: much larger funded bursaries
are available on the basis of need for current and prospective students.
«Closed» scholarships, which were accessible only to candidates from
specific schools, exist now only in name. Scholars, and exhibitioners in
some colleges, are entitled to wear a more voluminous undergraduate
gown; «commoners» (i.e., those who had to pay for their «commons», or
food and lodging) being restricted to a short sleeveless garment. The
term «scholar» in relation to Oxbridge, therefore, has a specific
meaning as well as the more general meaning of someone of outstanding
academic ability. In previous times, there were «noblemen commoners» and
«gentlemen commoners», but these ranks were abolished in the 19th

Until HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1866» \o «1866» 1866
one had to belong to the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England» \o «Church of England»
Church of England to receive the BA degree from Oxford, and
«dissenters» were only permitted to receive the MA in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1871» \o «1871» 1871 . Knowledge of
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek» \o «Ancient
Greek» Ancient Greek was required until HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920» \o «1920» 1920 , and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin» \o «Latin» Latin until
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960» \o «1960» 1960 . Women
were admitted to degrees in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920» \o «1920» 1920 .

Degrees of Oxford University

For other degrees, see Academic degree or Degree (disambiguation)

This article concerns the Degrees of Oxford University. The system of
academic degrees in the University of Oxford can be confusing to those
not familiar with it. This is not merely because many degree titles date
from the Middle Ages, but also because many changes have been
haphazardly introduced in recent years. For example, the (mediaeval) BD,
BM, BCL, etc. are postgraduate degrees, while the (modern) MPhys, MEng,
etc. are undergraduate degrees.

In postnominals Oxford University is normally abbreviated Oxon. which is
short for (Academia) Oxoniensis, e.g. MA (Oxon.)

1 Undergraduate degrees

1.1 Undergraduate masters degrees

2 The degree of Master of Arts

2.1 Significance of the MA

3 Postgraduate degrees

3.1 Bachelors’ degrees

3.2 Masters’ degrees

3.3 Doctorates

4 Order of academic standing

5 See also

6 External links

Undergraduate degrees

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

The Bachelor’s degree is awarded soon after the end of the degree course
(three or four years after matriculation). Until recently, all
undergraduates studied for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The BFA was
introduced in 1978. Holders of the degrees of BA and BFA both proceed in
time to the degree of Master of Arts (MA). Note that even in science
courses, such as the three-year Physics degree, students are awarded the
BA. The degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc) has never been awarded as an
undergraduate degree at Oxford, however it used to be awarded as a
graduate qualification.

Bachelor of Theology (BTh)

Bachelor of Education (BEd)

The BTh is awarded primarily to students of the various Theological
Colleges and Halls enjoying some sort of associate status with the
University, such as Wycliffe Hall, St Stephen’s House, Ripon College,
Cuddesdon [1] and the former Westminster College, Oxford. Usually, these
students are candidates for the ordained ministry of one of the
mainstream Christian denominations, but may be drawn from any faith
background or none at the discretion of the College or Hall. It should
not be confused with the degree of bachelor of divinity (BD), which is a
postgraduate degree.

The BEd was formerly awarded to students at Westminster College, Oxford,
when that course was validated by the University.

Undergraduate masters degrees

In the 1990s the degrees of Master of Engineering, etc., were introduced
to increase public recognition of the four-year undergraduate science
programmes in those subjects:

Master of Engineering (MEng)

Master of Physics (MPhys)

Master of Chemistry (MChem)

Master of Biochemistry (MBiochem)

Master of Mathematics (MMath)

Master of Earth Sciences (MEarthSc)

The holders of these degrees have to the academic dress and standing of
BAs until the twenty-first term from matriculation, when they rank and
dress as MAs. In Cambridge the same purpose has been accomplished more
elegantly by granting science undergraduates the additional degree of
Master of Natural Sciences (MSci) while continuing to award them the BA
(and the subsequent MA). Note that biology undergraduates are still
awarded the BA/MA, as are all other undergraduates, whether their degree
courses last three years or four years.

The degree of Master of Arts

Master of Arts (MA)

The degree of Master of Arts is awarded to BAs and BFAs 21 terms (7
years) after matriculation without further examination, upon the payment
of a nominal fee. Recipients of undergraduate masters’ degrees are not
eligible to incept as MA, but are afforded the same privileges after the
statutory 21 terms. (currently only 9 terms)

This system dates from the Middle Ages, when the study of the liberal
arts took seven years. In between matriculation and the licence to teach
which was awarded at the end of an undergraduate’s studies (whereafter
he incepted as a Master of Arts), he took an intermediate degree known
as the baccalaureate, or degree of Bachelor of Arts. In the University
of Paris the baccalaureate was granted soon after responsions (the
examination for matriculation), whereas in Oxford and Cambridge the
bachelor’s degree was postponed to a much later stage, and gradually
developed a greater significance. While the requirements for the
bachelor’s degree increased, those for the master’s degree gradually
diminished. An examination along modern lines was introduced for the MA
degree in 1800, but this was abolished in 1807.

While the length of the undergraduate degree course has been shortened
to three or four years, the University of Oxford still requires seven
years to pass before the awarding of the MA. The universities of
Cambridge and Dublin have similar systems. In the four ancient
universities of Scotland, the BA has become obsolete, and the MA is
awarded on completion of the four-year undergraduate degree course in
the arts.

The shortening of the degree course reflects the fact that much of the
teaching of the liberal arts was taken over by high schools, and
undergraduates now enter university at a much older age. In France today
students get their baccalaureate at the end of secondary school.

Despite the fact that no greater academic achievement is involved, the
MA remains the most important degree in Oxford. Traditionally the MA
represented full membership of the University: until 2000, only MAs (as
well as doctors of divinity, medicine and civil law) were members of
Convocation, the main legislative assembly of the University, which
today only elects the Chancellor and the professor of Poetry. Prior to
then, members of the university who had not yet been made MA were known
as «junior members» while those who were MAs were «senior members». This
conveniently excluded most postgraduate students from the privileges the
university and colleges accord to dons as well as their graduate alumni,
such as the right to dine at High Table.

Members of the University who are MAs still outrank any person who does
not have the degree of MA, other than doctors of divinity, medicine and
civil law. Hence, a doctor of philosophy who is an MA outranks someone
who is simply an MA, but the MA outranks a doctor of philosophy who is
not an MA.

Whilst recently there has been increasing criticism of being awarded a
Masters degree whilst not doing any additional academic work, supporters
assert that the academic workload of a three-year Oxford undergraduate
degree exceeds that of a four-year Masters course at many other British

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