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What is Oxbridge?

What is Oxbridge?Most students in the UK and around the world will have heard of the term Oxbridge, but what does it actually mean? Oxbridge is a phrase combining the names of the cities Oxford and Cambridge. These two cities are in England and are both world-famous university towns with over 80,000 students based across the two.

Which universities does the term 'Oxbridge' refer to?

The term ‘Oxbridge’ is used to refer to the colleges that make up the ancient universities of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, two of the most prestigious universities in the UK. Both cities are also home to other institutions that are independent of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (for example Oxford Brookes University) and these are not included in the term Oxbridge. In Oxford, there are around 33,640 students of which 24,000 study at the University of Oxford, and in Cambridge there are around 49,400 students of which about 22,500 are studying at the University of Cambridge.

Who studies at Oxbridge?

All sorts of students from all around the world study at Oxbridge at every academic level, from first undergraduate degrees to international academics working on world-class research projects study at Oxbridge. Students are there doing both taught courses and research courses and there are many options for undertaking postgraduate research at masters and PhD level. There are also distance learning opportunities for PG studies at Oxbridge.

What subjects can you study at Oxbridge colleges?

A whole range of topics can be studied at Oxbridge – although these two prestigious universities do tend to specialise in the more traditional subjects. The University of Oxford ranks highly in subjects such as Archaeology, Law, Theology, Art, History, Literature, Medicine, Psychology and Philosophy. The University of Cambridge is well respected in many areas of the Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Archaeology, History, Linguistics and Modern Languages. However, the world reputation of both universities means that entry to any subject area is competitive with around six applicants per place each year.

What is the college system at Oxbridge?

The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge joined together during the Medieval period to form the two ancient universities. Since this time there have been colleges set up since, with the most recent Parks College which was established in 2019. The University of Oxford is made up of 39 colleges, whilst the University of Cambridge is made up of 31 colleges. Students live at the college and then take their lectures all over the university, so if you attend Oxbridge you will find that you are part of a college and also of a university department or school. Many students – especially those away from home for the first time – find the friendly and intimate atmosphere of the college system supportive. Both Oxford and Cambridge have colleges that are aimed exclusively at postgraduate students such as Parks College and Kellogg College at Oxford and Darwin College and Clare Hall at Cambridge. Some colleges only accept undergraduate students and there are others that only accept women.

Why choose Oxbridge for your postgraduate studies?

Studying a postgraduate program at Oxbridge will open you up to a world of possibilities – and if it was your unfulfulled dream as an undergraduate student to study at at one of these great universities, as a postgraduate student you could realise that dream. Both the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford regularly feature on the top of world university rankings in almost all subject area, and while you are studying at an Oxbridge college you will undoubtedly meet and network with world experts and many influential people who will be able to help you successfully navigate your studies and subsequent career. The clubs and societies at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are often prestigious and many members go on to be leading lights in a variety of interesting spheres including politics, business and entertainment particularly, those who have been involved with the Oxford Union or Cambridge Footlights. The rowing clubs of the two universities are the focus of sporting competition between the two institutions and many former Olympians have rowed for either teams.

How many students choose Oxbridge?

Let's take a look at the numbers of students starting at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge over the last few academic years.
Oxbridge Students


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