Look around Oxford’s colleges, vol. 3

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


In this volume: Wolfson, Pembroke, Christ Church, St Cross, Queen’s.

(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.)

Wolfson College

“In terms of social life, the Wolfson community is super active and incredibly international.”

MPhil student Will gives a tour of Wolfson College, a modern college founded to provide a stimulating and supportive environment specifically for graduate students:

Pembroke College

“So if that sounds like a lot of eating, and you want to work off some of that food we have a regular event with the Master of the college where we go walking in the countryside.”

DPhil students Hannah and Louis give a tour of Pembroke College, a lively and ambitious intellectual community of over 250 graduate students studying a wide range of courses:

Christ Church

“And over there is the deanery, where the Dean of Christ Church lives, and the reason it’s of interest is because
it’s technically an unoccupied royal palace.”

Student Rafi gives a tour of Christ Church, one of the largest colleges in Oxford with a vibrant academic community in a diverse range of disciplines:

St Cross College

“What’s really unique about St Cross is that by being a small college it really allows you to bring your ideas to life.”

Selena gives a tour of St Cross College, a graduate college characterised by an intellectually vibrant and truly international community:

Queen’s College

“I was really surprised when I moved here how quickly
you can you get to know everybody in the college, it feels like a family, and you just bump into people as you walk around the quads.”

Students Elisa, Tristan and Stella give a tour of Queen’s, a close-knit, friendly college located on the High Street in central Oxford.

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?

If you missed the earlier instalments in our series, make sure you catch up on the first two volumes for tours of Balliol, Nuffield, Keble, Lincoln, Magdalen and more:

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