Look around Oxford’s colleges, vol. 1

Masters’ and DPhil students show you around their own colleges in our new series.


In this volume: Balliol, LMH, Nuffield, Keble, Linacre and Kellogg

(Colleges are pretty unique and there are a few Oxfordisms just for them, like ‘MCR’ and ‘High Table’— check out College words below if you get lost.)

Balliol College

“So this is John de Balliol kidnapping some monks, for reasons that I’m not sure why. And then this is him being flogged for it, because he shouldn’t have done it.”

DPhil students Ashna and Tom give a tour of Balliol, one of the oldest colleges at Oxford, including the heart of the college’s graduate community: Holywell Manor.

Lady Margaret Hall

“Our library has over 70,000 books because originally women weren’t allowed to study in the Bodleian…now it’s a really calm and friendly environment to work in.”

MSt student Laura gives a tour of Lady Margaret Hall, a college that began with nine women and is now a vibrant academic community.

Nuffield College

“The food here is just excellent, it just brightens your day.”

DPhil student Victoria gives a tour of Nuffield College, a graduate college dedicated to the social sciences.

Keble College

“My favourite thing is actually the community. I came to Oxford not really thinking that I’d have much of a social life, I thought it would be all about the academics…but the MCR becomes your family.”

DPhil student Annie gives a tour of Keble College, one of the largest colleges in Oxford.

Linacre College

“There’s no high table at formal dinners and everyone shares one common room, so that includes the fellows and the students in one.”

Students Cara and TJ give a tour of Linacre College, a graduate college with a strong environmental and egalitarian ethos.

Kellogg College

“The food, I think, is the best in Oxford — Kellogg lives up to its name.”

MSc student Dominique gives a tour of Kellogg College, a graduate college with a huge community of both part-time and full-time students.

College words

There are a few words and phrases students use to talk about college life you probably won’t hear anywhere else — here are the most common ones:

  • Fellow: A fellow is a member of the college who is also academic staff, like lecturers and professors. They might have an office at the college or live there. They usually belong to an academic department as well, like students.
  • High Table: Sometimes the dining hall will have a different table for academic staff. It might be at the top of the other tables, like at a wedding dinner, and sometimes literally a bit higher than the other tables.
  • MCR: The MCR is the ‘common room’ for grad students. The word is used for both an actual physical space (a big living room, basically) and the actual community of grad students that it represents, collectively.
  • Quad: An open space, usually with a lawn or garden, enclosed in a college. There can be more than quad per college and they come in all sizes and styles, from ‘patch of gravel’ to ‘deer park’.

Ready for more?

You can check out Volume 2 right now for tours of Magdalen, Green Templeton, Lincoln, St Anne’s, St Hugh’s and Wadham:

More college tours are on the way (subscribe on YouTube to get notified when they’re ready) but for now, you might also be interested in:



Graduate Study at Oxford
Applying for graduate study at Oxford

A perspective on masters’, DPhil (PhD) and other graduate courses from Graduate Admissions at the University of Oxford