Oxbridge has an amazing reputation in the UK and the world. It is extremely popular for applications for both undergraduate and postgraduate study, so competition for places is fierce.
But what exactly is Oxbridge? Oxbridge is a term used to refer to the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Both universities are ancient institutions based in the UK that have offered a university-level education since the 12th and 13th centuries respectively.
What subjects can you study?
Pretty much everything. Between the Oxbridge universities the subject areas that they are regularly ranked very highly in are geography, philosophy, modern languages, English language and literature, history, maths and linguistics. However, other subject areas including the sciences, law, engineering and medicine are all extremely well-respected as well.
The college system
The best way to explain the college system, if you are unfamiliar with it, is to understand it more like a federal government. Each college is financially independent and self-governing but is also run by the central university. Both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge have more than 30 colleges each and this is the place that students live and study in. A college will have a support system and is a close-knit community looking after its students. Each course is part of a college and a part of a faculty or department in the wider university. Applications for postgraduate courses are made through the university, rather than through the colleges.
In UK politics, business and the top of most industries and organisations are filled with Oxbridge graduates. However, Oxford and Cambridge attract a huge range of international students and there are a large number of international politicians, heads of state, international directors of organisations and executives of global businesses that have all been to Oxbridge.
Ease of transportation
Part of the attraction of Oxford and Cambridge for students is that they are both relatively small towns. Oxford has around 150,000 residents and Cambridge has around 124,000 residents. It takes just over an hour and a half to travel from Oxford to London and about an hour and forty minutes to travel from Cambridge to London. This is another reason why they are both popular universities as once you are in London you can easily travel to almost anywhere in the world.
Student clubs & societies
If you are interested in clubs and societies, especially sports clubs and political societies, then there are a huge range of both. The rowing clubs of Oxford and Cambridge are both world-renowned as are the Cambridge Footlights, who have had many famous British actors as members. The Oxford Union holds regular debates and speeches that attract both nation and international press coverage.
Oxbridge world rankings
Here is a table illustrating the world rankings of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge by subject area.