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The pride of studying at Oxford University

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CRADLE of leadership: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (in red gown) at the 15th century Divinity School at Oxford University, in Oxford, where he was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law by the university in 2005. The Prime Minister had studied for his D.Phil. at Nuffield College, Oxford.
CRADLE of leadership: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh (in red gown) at the 15th century Divinity School at Oxford University, in Oxford, where he was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law by the university in 2005. The Prime Minister had studied for his D.Phil. at Nuffield College, Oxford.

B.S. WARRIER

Oxford University, internationally renowned for its academic excellence, offers facilities for learning and research in the disciplines of arts, humanities, engineering, IT, life sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences.

The Oxford University, the oldest in the English-speaking world, is known internationally for academic excellence. Teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096AD. It developed rapidly from 1167 AD, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. By the 14th century, Oxford had achieved eminence above every other seat of learning, and won the praise of popes, kings, and sages by virtue of its antiquity, curriculum, doctrine, and privileges.

There are facilities for learning and research in the disciplines of arts, humanities, engineering, IT, life sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences. The strengths are however in arts and social sciences.

Twenty-five Prime Ministers of the UK were Oxford alumni. Linus Pauling, Gunnar Myrdal, T.S. Eliot, John Galsworthy, and V.S. Naipaul are some of the Nobel laureates among the alumni. Oxford has the largest university library system in the U.K., with over 100 libraries.

Oxford encourages applications from academically strong students from all countries. At present, students from more than 140 countries around the world, studying a wide range of subjects, make up one-third of the student body, including 14 per cent of full-time undergraduates and 63 per cent of full-time postgraduates.

The total student strength is over 20,000. The university constantly endeavours to remain at the forefront of centres of learning, teaching, and research. Its remarkable global appeal continues to grow.

There is a distinctive college and tutorial system which underpins a culture of close academic supervision and careful personal support for its students. Oxford fosters an intense interdisciplinary approach. The drop-out rate is as low as 1.8 per cent, compared with the U.K. average of 9 per cent. Nearly 53 per cent of undergraduates are studying for degrees in the humanities and social sciences, and 43 per cent in the medical, mathematical, physical, and life sciences. The rest are for undergraduate diplomas and certificates offered by the Department for Continuing Education.

The university structure

Thirty-eight colleges, though independent and self-governing, form a core element of the university, to which they are related in a federal system. 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 that comprises a number of Fellows, most of whom hold University posts.

There are six Permanent Private Halls, which were founded by different Christian denominations, and still retain their religious character. Thirty colleges and all six halls admit students for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Green Templeton, Linacre, Nuffield, St.Antony's, St.Cross, Wolfson, and Kellogg Colleges admit only graduate students. All Souls College has only Fellows. Kellogg College supports the lifelong learning work of the University for adult, part-time, and professional development students. All colleges accept both men and women.

The collegiate system gives students the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and a small, interdisciplinary academic community.

Oxford receives, on average, five applications for each available place in the undergraduate programmes. It has a generous undergraduate bursary scheme worth up to £10,550 for a three-year degree course or £13,775 for a four-year degree course.

Graduate students make up 40 per cent of the total student body. About 63 per cent of graduate students at Oxford are from outside the U.K. At the graduate level, 57 per cent of students are studying for a higher degree by research, and 43 per cent are following postgraduate taught courses. Many of the new taught Master's courses cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

At the Master's level, there are one-year or two-year degrees. Many people take these degrees as a professional qualification, and then opt for employment.

Some others, usually in the humanities and social sciences, take this as the first step to a doctorate and an academic or research-based career.

Oxford research

Oxford's research activity involves more than 70 departments, and its colleges. There are over 1,600 academic staff, more than 3,500 contract researchers and around 3,600 postgraduate research students. At the graduate level, 57 per cent of students are studying for a higher research degree. The Doctorate at Oxford is known as a D.Phil. rather than a Ph.D. It is a research-intensive degree, lasting 3-4 years.

A noteworthy aspect is that Oxford, through Isis Innovation Limited, its wholly owned technology transfer company, pioneered the successful commercial use of academic research and invention. It has created more than 60 companies. It files, on average, one patent application every week.

Application guide

If you go by the ‘Admissions' link in the web site www.ox.ac.uk, you can reach the ‘Application Guide' that gives you detailed instructions on the admission process, under heads such as How to Apply, When to Apply, About Your Existing Qualifications, Your Choice of Programme, About Your Funding, and Paying the Application Fee. It provides comprehensive information on:

Completing the online or paper application form

The materials you will need to supply to support your application

Academic references

Meeting the appropriate application and funding deadlines

The decision-making process

If you are applying for a taught programme, you should submit a brief ‘statement of purpose', explaining your motivation for graduate study at Oxford. You have to supply a research proposal if you are applying to a research programme (D.Phil., M.Sc. by research or M.St. in research methods).

Details pertaining to undergraduate funding, graduate funding, fees, and living costs are available in the web site www.admin.ox.ac.uk/

studentfunding.

Further enquiry and clarifications on graduate admission, you may contact The Graduate Admissions Office, PO Box 738, University of Oxford, Wellington Square, OX1 9FB, United Kingdom, Ph: (+44) 01865 270059; e-mail: graduate.admissions@admin.ox.ac.uk.

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