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Academy Review: University of Oxford


The University of Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the world– its teaching dates back to 1096 and predates the establishment of many modern countries. The university is located in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.

Oxford consistently ranks among the top universities globally for academic excellence. Currently, the university is #3 in the world (by QS rankings 2024).

Oxford offers various subjects and has over 250 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programs. The University of Oxford has 44 colleges. Even though they belong to the University of Oxford, they have independent systems and events. Some colleges, like University College (Univ), Balliol College, and Merton College, have a long history dating back to the 13th century, making them among the oldest educational institutions in the world.

The study of computer science at Oxford began in the 1950s when the university acquired its first computer, the Ferranti Mark 1– one of the first computers in the world. In the 1960s, Oxford established its first Computing Laboratory. The Department of Computer Science at the institution offers three different programs at a Bachelor’s degree level– Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, and Mathematics and Computer Science. These programs are offered at various colleges within the University.

Notable alumni

The University of Oxford has produced many notable scholars, researchers, and thinkers. Here’s a list of a few famous figures:

  • Stephen Hawking – a physicist and cosmologist famous for his detailed study of black holes and the theory of general relativity.
  • J.R.R Tolkien –an author and philologist, best known for his novels "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
  • Margaret Thatcher - a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She was the country's first female Prime Minister and was best known for her conservative policies.
  • Bill Clinton - The former President of the United States who served from 1993 to 2001.
  • Samuel Morse – Creator of the Morse code, a method of communication using dots and dashes. He developed this code while working on his most famous invention, the electric telegraph.
  • Joy Adowaa Buolamwini– Computer Scientist and a Digital Activist currently based at the MIT Media Lab. Her TED Featured Talk on algorithmic bias has over 1 million views. Her thesis methodology uncovered significant racial and gender biases in AI services.

Student life

The University of Oxford has a Collegiate System, which is a factor that significantly affects student life. Students are members of the University of Oxford and the individual college they study at. Each college has its unique history, traditions, and community.

The city of Oxford also has a lot to offer, so here are some of the places we suggest you visit:

Oxford Covered Market - Take a walk down Oxford Market and discover different culinary delights. Oxford market doesn’t just cover food; there are a lot of different retailers, lifestyle and clothes shops, bars and restaurants, and so much more!

Cowley Road - High street by day and party street by night. Cowley Road hosts fantastic events at the O2 Academy. Many famous bands, from Stereophonics to Ed Sheran, have played at this arena.

Jericho - The Jericho neighborhood is another district that is well known for its dining venues. It features restaurants and trendy pubs where you can wind down after a long day.

Location

Oxford is located southeastern part of England, 60 miles (97 kilometers) from London. It takes approximately 1,5 - 2 hours by car and can take approximately 1 hour by train.

The University of Oxford has several unique ceremonies that set the university apart. One of the traditions is the "Matriculation Ceremony," a form of officiation where new students sign their names in Latin in the Matriculation Book to become university members officially.

The Sheldonian Theatre is a magnificent building designed by Sir Christopher Wren and is the official ceremonial hall of the university. It hosts various events, including degree ceremonies, concerts, and lectures.

Several locations at Oxford, such as the Christ Church College, have appeared in the Harry Potter film series, contributing to the magical ambiance associated with the university.

Accommodation

Most of Oxford's colleges will have their halls of residence. Some colleges may have a mix of historic buildings and modern purpose-built accommodation, while others may offer accommodation within historic college buildings.

The university cannot guarantee accommodation for all students. However, most First Year Undergraduate students will get a place in the university’s residence halls.

Editors note: After receiving your offer, watch for the dates you can apply for accommodation. The university offers different accommodations– it even facilitates housing for couples. This option is limited, so make sure you apply early enough! (at the moment of writing this article, the accommodation applications were still open)

Computing study programs

Computer Science
BA Computer Science is offered in 21 colleges at the University of Oxford.

The Computer Science course at Oxford has a strong emphasis on mathematics. Students must have a solid foundation in mathematics and will encounter mathematical concepts throughout the program. In your first year, you will take ten modules - nine in Computer Science and one taught in conjunction with Mathematics.

In the first year, 100% of your studies will be core modules.

In your second year, you will do 50% Core modules and 50% Choice modules.

Your third year will include subjects like Computational complexity, Machine Learning, Computer Security, and final Optional project work (33%).

Common roles for graduates include computer programmer, software designer and engineer, financial analyst, and scientific researcher. According to the data compiled by The Times, our students earn, on average, £52,000 post-graduation.

Computer Science and Philosophy

12 colleges at the University of Oxford offer a Computer Science and Philosophy course. Rapid technological advancements raise important questions surrounding the ethics of technology. Ultimately we want to understand how these new technologies will affect us.

We need experts who understand technology and think critically about its impact to navigate these complex issues. This course will cover data privacy, risks of algorithms, how robots behave, laws, responsibility, and the effects on employment, healthcare, public discussions, and democracy.

For the first two years, your work will be divided into about eight lectures and two to three college-based tutorials weekly, alongside Computer Science practical classes – usually one weekly session.

In the second year, you will participate in a Computer Science group design practical, which may be sponsored by industry.

In your third and fourth year, Philosophy continues to be taught through tutorials, while there are classes in the department for most Computer Science courses.

This is a three or four-year course. For Bachelor, you will study for three years but can continue for another year to obtain a Master’s degree.

Computer Science and Mathematics

This program at the University of Oxford combines Computer Science and Mathematics disciplines. 21 colleges offer this course.

In the first year, 50% of your course will be Core Mathematics subjects, and 50% will be Core Computer Science subjects.

In your second year, 25% of your course will be Mathematics subjects, 30% will be Computer Science subjects, 20% will be Options in Mathematics and Options in Computer Science (25%).

In your third year, you will have a mix of Mathematics and Computer Science subjects.

The course concentrates on areas where mathematics and computing are most relevant to each other, emphasizing the bridges between theory and practice.

Editors Note: If you still need clarification, we suggest visiting one of the University of Oxford Open Days

Entry requirements and acceptance rates

The acceptance rate in 2023 is 17,5%.

If you are planning to apply for a Computer Science course at the University of Oxford, it is essential that your Maths skills are exceptional.

The entry requirement at A level is A*AA, with an A* in Maths, Further Maths, or Computer Science or equivalent international qualifications.

You will be required to pass an entrance Maths exam - MAT.

Here you will find more information about this test:

https://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/how_to_apply/index.html

For International Entry Requirements, visit this page:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/for-international-students/international-qualifications

As an international student, you must also pass the English language requirement.

Please see this page for more information:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/for-international-students/ELR

Admissions calendar

Although the application to study at the University of Oxford is made through the UCAS application portal, please be aware that the application deadline at the University of Oxford is different than in most universities in the UK.

The application deadlines are not flexible, unlike what you may have heard about other universities in the UK. The deadline is extremely strict and usually closes mid-October. October 16, 2023 is the deadline for the next Academic year, 2024/2025.

Please be advised that you should apply for the MAT test required for your course (required in all 3 Computer Science courses: Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy, and Computer Science Computer and Mathematics) from September 1 to September 29 this year.

Suggested Timeline

You should start working on your application in June (the year before you start your studies)

Sign up for an MAT test until Sep 29. You can find out more about the tests here:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/guide/admissions-tests/mat

Submit your UCAS application until Oct 15

Check what paperwork you need and submit the documents until Nov 10

Interviews take place in December

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