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Oxford University

Table of Contents:

1. A Brief History of the Oxford University

2. Structure of the University

2.1 Staff

2.2 Students

3. Studying at Oxford

3.1 Graduate study at Oxford

3.2 Graduate courses

4. Teaching & Research

4.1 Latest research

5. Life in Oxford

5.1 The city of Oxford


5.3 Sports

6. Sources of Knowledge

6.1 Bodleian Library

6.2 Museum of the History of Science

Brief History of the Oxford University

PRIVATE “TYPE=PICT;ALT=” INCLUDEPICTURE “F:\\304voxsnu\\University of
Oxford A Brief History.files\\blueline.gif” \* MERGEFORMAT \d” PRIVATE
“TYPE=PICT;ALT=Map of Oxford dated 1644” INCLUDEPICTURE
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MERGEFORMAT \d \z” Oxford is a unique and historic institution. As the
oldest English-speaking university in the world, it lays claim to eight
centuries of continuous existence. 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.

In 1188, the historian, Gerald of Wales, gave a public reading to the
assembled Oxford dons and in 1190 the arrival of Emo of Friesland, the
first known overseas student, initiated the University’s tradition of
international scholarship. By 1201, the University was headed by a
magister scolarum Oxonie, on whom the title of Chancellor was conferred
in 1214, and in 1231 the masters were recognized as a universitas or

In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (students and
townspeople) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence.
These were succeeded by the first of Oxford’s colleges, which began as
medieval ‘halls of residence’ or endowed houses under the supervision of
a Master. University, Balliol and Merton Colleges, established between
1249 and 1264, were the oldest.

Less than a century later, Oxford had achieved eminence above every
other seat of learning, and won the praises of popes, kings and sages by
virtue of its antiquity, curriculum, doctrine and privileges. In 1355,
Edward III paid tribute to the University for its invaluable
contribution to learning; he also commented on the services rendered to
the state by distinguished Oxford graduates.

PRIVATE “TYPE=PICT;ALT=An early drawing of the University Church”

Oxford early on became a centre for lively controversy, with scholars
involved in religious and political disputes. John Wyclif, a
14th-century Master of Balliol, campaigned for a bible in the
vernacular, against the wishes of the papacy. In 1530, Henry VIII forced
the University to accept his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. During
the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer,
Latimer and Ridley were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in
Oxford. The University was Royalist in the Civil War, and Charles I held
a counter-Parliament in Convocation House.

In the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected
of treason, was forced to flee the country. The 18th century, when
Oxford was said to have forsaken port for politics, was also an era of
scientific discovery and religious revival. Edmund Halley, Professor of
Geometry, predicted the return of the comet that bears his name; John
and Charles Wesley’s prayer meetings laid the foundations of the
Methodist Society.

The University assumed a leading role in the Victorian era, especially
in religious controversy. From 1811 onwards The Oxford Movement sought
to revitalise the Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church. One of its
leaders, John Henry Newman, became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and was
later made a Cardinal. In 1860 the new University Museum was the site of
a famous debate between Thomas Huxley, the champion of evolution, and
Bishop Wilberforce.

From 1878, academic halls were established for women, who became members
of the University in 1920. Since 1974, all but one of Oxford’s 39
colleges have changed their statutes to admit both men and women. St
Hilda’s remains the only women’s college.

In the years since the war, Oxford has added to its humanistic core a
major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences,
including medicine. In so doing, it has enhanced and strengthened its
traditional role as a focus for learning and a forum for intellectual

Structure of the University

Oxford is an independent and self-governing institution, consisting of
the central University and the Colleges.

The HYPERLINK “http://www.ox.ac.uk/aboutoxford/vc.shtml”
Vice-Chancellor , who holds office for seven years, is effectively the
‘Chief Executive’ of the University. Three Pro-Vice-Chancellors have
specific, functional responsibility for Academic Matters, Academic
Services and University Collections, and Planning and Resource
Allocation. The HYPERLINK
“http://www.ox.ac.uk/aboutoxford/chancellor.shtml” Chancellor , who is
usually an eminent public figure elected for life, serves as the titular
head of the University, presiding over all major ceremonies.

The principal policy-making body is the HYPERLINK
“http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/councilsec/” Council of the University ,
which has 26 members, including those elected by Congregation,
representatives of the Colleges and two members from outside the
University. Council is responsible for the academic policy and strategic
direction of the University, and operates through four major committees:
Educational Policy and Standards, General Purposes, Personnel, and
Planning and Resource Allocation.

Final responsibility for legislative matters rests with Congregation,
which comprises over 3600 members of the academic, senior research,
library, museum and administrative staff.

Day-to-day decision-making in matters such as finance and planning is
devolved to the University’s five HYPERLINK
“http://www.ox.ac.uk/departments/” Academic Divisions – Humanities,
Life and Environmental Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences,
Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. Each division has a full-time
divisional head and an elected divisional board. HYPERLINK
“http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/” Continuing Education is the
responsibility of a separate board.

The HYPERLINK “http://www.ox.ac.uk/colleges/” Colleges , though
independent and self-governing, form a core element of the University,
to which they are related in a federal system, not unlike the United
States. In time, each college is granted a charter approved by the Privy
Council, under which it is governed by a Head of House and a Governing
Body comprising of a number of Fellows, most of whom also hold
University posts. There are also six Permanent Private Halls, which were
founded by different Christian denominations, and which still retain
their religious character. Thirty colleges and all six halls admit
students for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Seven other
colleges are for graduates only; one, All Souls, has fellows only, and
one, Kellogg College, specialises in part-time graduate and continuing

Oxford’s current academic community includes 78 Fellows of the Royal
Society and 112 Fellows of the British Academy. A further 100 Emeritus
and Honorary College Fellows are Fellows of the Royal Society and 145
Emeritus and Honorary College Fellows are also Fellows of the British

The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class
research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK


Oxford’s current academic community includes 78 Fellows of the Royal
Society and 112 Fellows of the British Academy. A further 100 Emeritus
and Honorary College Fellows are Fellows of the Royal Society and 145
Emeritus and Honorary College Fellows are also Fellows of the British

The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class
research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK


The University of Oxford’s total student population numbers just over
16,500 (students in residence, 2000-2001).

Almost a quarter of these students are from overseas.

More than 130 nationalities are represented among our student body.

Almost 5,000 students are engaged in postgraduate work. Of these, around
3,000 are working in the arts and humanities.

Every year more than 16,500 people take part in courses offered by the
University’s Department for Continuing Education.

Latest figures show that only 5.5 per cent of Oxford graduates were
unemployed six months after graduation, compared with the national
sector average of over 6 per cent.

Oxford has a higher number of first degree graduates (36%) entering
further training than the national average (20%).

Our students and staff are currently involved in over 55 initiatives,
including visits to more than 3,700 schools and colleges, to encourage
the brightest and best students to apply to Oxford, whatever their

Studying at Oxford

Graduate study at Oxford

Across both the Arts and the Sciences, Oxford research is consistently
in the top rank both nationally and internationally. As well as being in
the forefront of scientific, medical and technological achievement, the
University has strong links with research institutions and industrial
concerns both in the United Kingdom and overseas. The University’s
income from externally funded research grants and contracts in 2000-1
totalled over F142-4 million. The University’s great age also allows its
teaching staff and research students to draw on a heritage of
magnificent library and museum collections.

In all these fields, Oxford attracts scholars from many parts of the
world to join its teaching and research staff, and values also the
important role of overseas graduate students (approximately one quarter
of the total graduate body) in providing intellectual stimulation and
creating and maintaining academic links with colleagues abroad. A
hundred countries are at present represented in this way.

The development of graduate studies has largely taken place in the 20th
century and in the last 30 years seven new graduate colleges have been
set up. However, most graduate students still belong to a traditional
undergraduate college where their presence is valuable to teachers and
undergraduates alike.

Graduate courses

PRIVATE The University offers a wide range of taught graduate courses
and research degrees, ranging from one to three or more years in length.
While the Master of Studies (MSt) degree is awarded after examination at
the end of three terms’ work, three or more years are normally required
to complete a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

For all diplomas and degrees, except the few offered as part-time
courses, students must spend a period in residence – which means
postgraduate students live in term time within 25 miles of Oxford. There
are no external degrees and there are only a few part-time courses in
specific subjects. The minimum period of residence for most diplomas or
the degrees of MSc or MSt is three terms. The minimum period of
residence for the degrees of MPhil (BPhil in Philosophy), MLitt, or
DPhil is normally six terms.

The academic year runs from October to September and is divided into
three terms, Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity, and three vacations. The
dates of Full Terms, eight-week periods during which lectures and other
instruction are given, are as follows for the next two years:

PRIVATE Academic year 2003-4 Academic year 2004-5

Michaelmas Term 12 Oct to 6 Dec 10 Oct to 4 Dec

Hilary Term 18 Jan to 13 Mar 16 Jan to 12 Mar

Trinity Term 25 Apr to 19 June 24 Apr to 18 June

The graduate, however, unlike the undergraduate, will normally be in
residence for most of the year. In many departments formal lectures,
seminars and classes for graduates continue into the vacations.

Teaching & Research

In 2002, Oxford University claimed first place in the annual Times Good
University Guide, which ranks universities according to the quality of
teaching and research, as well as indicators including staffing levels,
facilities spending and graduate destinations.

In the Financial Times 2002 MBA ranking, the Said Business School’s
one-year MBA course received the highest rating for value for money of
all the international schools surveyed.

In 2002, Oxford University topped the annual league table of teacher
training providers for the fifth successive year.

Oxford University was named the HYPERLINK
“http://www.ox.ac.uk/innovation/” UK’s most innovative University in
the Launchit2001 competition, in recognition of the greatest
achievements in innovation and enterprise across the broadest range of

In the academic year 2000-2001, Oxford’s overall research income from
external sponsors rose by 10 per cent for the second successive year,
reaching F142.4 million.

In the most recent national Teaching Quality Assessment exercises for
2000, Oxford was awarded top marks in six out of ten subjects assessed.

Oxford, Stanford and Yale Universities have recently become partners in
a joint ‘distance learning’ venture, the Alliance for Lifelong Learning,
which will provide on-line courses in the arts and sciences initially to
their combined 500,000 alumni.

The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class
research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK

Oxford has recently received its fourth Queen’s Anniversary Prize, in
recognition of the Refugee Studies Centre’s contribution to the study of
forced migration and refugees.

Isis Innovation, the University’s technology transfer company, files on
average one new patent application a week and spins out a new company
from University research every two months.

Oxford has spun out more companies than any other UK university. Our
spin-out companies are collectively worth around F2 billion, and have
helped produce some 30 multi-millionaires.

Oxford is the UK pioneer in developing a university intellectual
property policy.

Latest research: Revolutionary new test to help eliminate tuberculosis

3 December 2002

A revolutionary new test for identifying people infected with
tuberculosis (TB), one of the leading causes of death worldwide, will
shortly be launched by Oxford Immunotec Ltd, a new Oxford University
spin-off company. The test radically improves the speed and accuracy
with which the disease can be identified. It has been developed to
replace the existing skin test for TB, which is given to 600,000 UK
schoolchildren every year.

Oxford Immunotec’s test has come from discoveries made over the last
seven years at the University of Oxford by Dr Ajit Lalvani and
collaborators at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, John Radcliffe
Hospital. A replacement for the 100-year-old skin test is long overdue
but, until now, there has not been a better way of diagnosing infection.

The Oxford Immunotec test is based on patented technology which provides
a simple and extremely accurate way of studying a person’s cellular
immune response to an infection. Every time someone becomes infected
with a disease, the body produces specific cells (white blood cells) to
fight the infection. The new test looks to see if the body has produced
these cells in response to TB and monitors how their numbers change over
time. In this way, it is possible to determine if a person is infected
and whether they are effectively fighting the infection. This powerful
technique can be used not only for diagnosis of infections, but also for
prognosis of disease and monitoring of treatment.

Crucially, the Oxford Immunotec test will also make it possible to
accurately identify people who are carrying TB infection, but who have
not yet gone on to develop disease. Diagnosing and treating infected
people before they go on to develop severe disease and infect others is
essential to prevent the spread of TB and save lives. TB kills between
two and three million people each year, and the death toll is
increasing. TB in the UK has risen almost every year for the last 15
years, with 6,500 newly diagnosed cases each year.

Since 1998, Dr Lalvani has used this rapid blood test in double blinded,
randomised studies to prove its effectiveness in over 2,000 TB patients
and healthy controls in eight different countries. These studies
demonstrate that the new test is a radical improvement on the current
skin test, and that, unlike the skin test, it works well in people with
weaker immune systems, such as children, the elderly and those
immunosuppressed with diseases like HIV.

Dr Peter Wrighton-Smith, CEO of Oxford Immunotec, said: ‘We are
extremely excited about this new test which we believe will
revolutionise TB control. This test is needed as never before because TB
is resurging in the developed world and already parts of the UK have TB
rates as high as India. The huge amount of clinical data gathered to
date proves this technology works and we are already looking to apply it
to other diseases where the cellular immune response is critical, such
as HIV, Hepatitis C and Cancer.’

Life in Oxford

The city of Oxford

PRIVATE Oxford lies about 57 miles (90km) north-west of London. A
medium-sized city with a large student population, Oxford has a lively
and cosmopolitan atmosphere, with excellent cultural, leisure, sport and
retail amenities.

Oxford’s historic architecture is well renowned. Amongst its beautiful
buildings and modern facilities are parks, gardens and waterways. In
addition to those offered by the University, the city of Oxford has its
own cultural facilities, including the Museum of Oxford and the Museum
of Modern Art. Drama productions are performed at, amongst others, the
Oxford Playhouse, and the Apollo Theatre, and there are several cinemas.
Sports fans enjoy county cricket in the University Parks and
third-division football at Oxford United, as well as punting, swimming,
and ice-skating in the city centre.

There is heavy traffic in Oxford, and much of the city centre is now
closed to private traffic. Fortunately, most of the University area can
be comfortably covered on foot or bicycle. Secondhand bicycles can be
hired or bought and local bus services are excellent.

Oxford is also well served by national road and rail links. A direct
24-hour coach service connects the city with London, and with Heathrow
and Gatwick airports.

The city and surrounding area are home to various industries including a
growing number of high-technology companies in areas such as IT and
biosciences, which have developed from University research or are
attracted by the proximity of the University. Oxford is also a major
tourist centre.


Students at Oxford enjoy a wealth of opportunity to involve themselves
in music, as listeners and performers, and at all levels. At the top end
the University boasts student orchestras of professional calibre
(notably the Oxford University Orchestra and the Philharmonia), and
choirs of renown (Christ Church, Magdalen and New College, along with
the Schola Cantorum).

Other levels of accomplishment are catered for by college music
societies, many of which run ambitious programmes of chamber, orchestral
and vocal music. Opera is represented by at least two University-based
organizations. Other organizations within the University cater for
almost every other conceivable interest, from Soul to Jazz, from Indian
to contemporary.

Oxford plays host to musicians from far and wide, including opera
companies from Glynbourne and Cardiff, and orchestras of distinction
such as the CBSO and the orchestra of St John’s Smith Square. And if you
feel there is something missing, Oxford is the ideal place to do your
own thing with the unlimited musical talent the University has at its


The University provides a spring-board for sportsmen and women to
achieve at county, national and international level, partly because of
excellent sporting facilities at college and University level. The
majority of colleges provide sports grounds, squash courts and boat
houses on the river Isis for the annual inter-college rowing
competition, ‘Eights’.

The University provides generous sporting facilities in all areas
including sports not normally available at college level, such as
volleyball, athletics, fencing and judo. Many of these facilities are
located at the Iffley Road Sports Complex, which also boasts a modern
multi-gym, an all-weather track, and a newly-opened artificial hockey
pitch. Association football, lawn tennis and rugby are also catered for
at this site, along with a rowing tank and gymnasium. A 25-metre
swimming pool should be completed soon.

Sources of Knowledge

Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is the principal library of the University, taking
its name from Sir Thomas Bodley who refounded it on the site of an
earlier library. It was opened in 1602 and has an unbroken history from
that time. When publishing and copyright became subject to statute the
Bodleian became, and remains, one of the libraries of legal deposit.
Material published elsewhere than in Great Britain and Ireland is
extensively acquired, mainly by purchase.

The Library’s collections are housed in several buildings. The central
group consists of the Old Library, the Radcliffe Camera, the New
Library, and the Clarendon Building. A large part of the Library’s
holdings of some seven million volumes is housed in the bookstacks of
the New Library. Reading rooms on the central site contain on open
access selected material on English language and literature, history,
theology, classics, bibliography, education, music, geography,
philosophy, politics and economics, management studies, Latin American
studies and Slavonic and East European studies. Western manuscripts and
early printed books are normally consulted in Duke Humfrey’s Library
within the Old Library, and the Modern Papers reading room in the New
Library. Oriental books and manuscripts are consulted in the Oriental
Reading Room.

Books on science and medicine, law, South Asian studies, Japanese
studies, the Middle East and China (teaching and loan collection) and
Eastern Art, and American and Commonwealth history, are kept in other
libraries within the group, described separately below.

The majority of printed accessions are listed in the OLIS online
catalogue, which may be consulted on terminals throughout the Bodleian.
Terminals in all reading rooms in the Bodleian may be used to connect to
OxLIP, a range of electronic resources, bibliographic and full-text, in
all subject areas, mounted both on the local network and on remote
computers. These resources are also available from other workstations
connected to the University network in colleges, faculties and
departments. Workstations also give access to the Bodleian catalogue of
pre-1920 books, both via OLIS and on CD ROM. The Chinese and Japanese
catalogues are partially recorded in original script on the Allegro
system and may be accessed via the network or the Internet. Work on
converting the card catalogues is well advanced.

Students formally registered with the University are entitled to
readership upon complying with certain formalities; arrangements will be
made through their colleges. The central Bodleian is not a lending
library, nor are readers in general admitted to the bookstacks. There
are facilities for reading microform material, and photographic and
photocopying services. Readers may use their own laptop computers.

More detailed information about the Library as a whole may be found in A
general guide to the Bodleian Library and its dependent libraries, and
about the Central Bodleian in Guide to the Central Bodleian Library.
Both are obtainable free at the Library and in PDF format from the
Library’s web pages.

Museum of the History of Science

The Museum of the History of Science, housed in the Old Ashmolean
Building in Broad Street, is primarily a museum of scientific
instruments of historical interest. The very fine building was erected
by the University to house the collections of Elias Ashmole (1617-92),
and to serve for lectures in natural philosophy and as a chemical
laboratory; it was opened in 1683. The Ashmolean Museum (now in Beaumont
Street) remained in the building until the end of the 19th century. The
building became a museum again in 1925, after the Lewis Evans Collection
was accepted by the University and placed in the upper gallery; in 1935
the scientific collections had so increased in size and scope that the
name was changed to the Museum of the History of Science.

Substantial donations, loans, and purchases have continued to augment
the collections, which comprise:

1. The Lewis Evans and Billmeir collections of mathematical,
time-telling, and surveying instruments, including a remarkable
collection of armillary spheres, astrolabes, quadrants, and sundials,
dating from the medieval period to the 19th century

2. The Barnett and Beeson collections of clocks and watches, especially
rich in clocks and watches made by Oxfordshire craftsmen

3. Astronomical instruments derived from the Savilian and Radcliffe
Observatories, from the Royal Astronomical Society, and other sources,
including exceptionally interesting instruments from the 17th and 18th

4. The Clay collection of optical instruments, which includes many early
microscopes, the Royal Microscopical Society’s collection of early
microscopes, and a large collection of telescopes and other optical

Beyond these discrete collections, the Museum contains a wealth of
apparatus and instruments covering a broad spectrum of the history of
science. Its collections are especially strong from the medieval period
until the early 19th century.

The Museum has recently undergone major refurbishment, with new
displays, and, in the basement, a special exhibitions gallery, education
room, public toilets, and library. The basement area is entirely
accessible for wheelchair users, and is reached by a lift in the
Sheldonian Yard. An MSc course in History of Science: Instruments,
Museums, Science, Technology is taught within the Museum by the
curatorial staff.

The Museum is open to the public, from 12 noon to 4.00 pm, Tuesday to
Saturday, throughout the year, except for Bank Holidays, and for about a
week after Christmas. The library may be used, on application, by
students and others engaged in research. It is open regularly to the
Museum’s own graduate students.

All information was taken from the Official University of Oxford Site

Map of Oxford dated 1644

The University Church in 1726

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