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Busting the Myths about Oxbridge



Facts not Fictions

Oxford at a glance

  • The majority of Oxford’s UK undergraduates come from state schools. Latest figures (entry 2014) show that, of places offered to British students attending schools or colleges in the UK, 56.3% of undergraduate places went to students from the state sector.
  • There are over 22,600 students at Oxford, including 11,603 undergraduates and 10,499 postgraduates.
  • In the 2015 National Student Survey, 91% of Oxford students said they were satisfied with the quality of their course, compared to a national average of 86%.
  • Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK: figures published in 2015 by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that only 1.6% of Oxford students dropped out, compared with the national average of 7%.
  • Over 95% of Oxford leavers are employed or in further study six months after graduating.
  • Every year there are almost 20,000 enrolments on courses at the Department for Continuing Education, making Oxford University one of the largest providers of continuing education in the UK.
  • The University, including the colleges and Oxford University Press, is the largest employer in Oxfordshire, supporting around 17,000 jobs and injecting more than £750 million annually into the regional economy.

Undergraduate admissions and access

  • Oxford is very competitive: around 18,300 people applied for around 3,200 undergraduate places for entry in 2015.
  • That means that Oxford receives, on average, around five applications for each available place.
  • The University conducts more than 24,000 interviews for around 10,000 applicants over the two-week interview period in December.
  • Oxford spends more than £6 million each year on outreach activities, in addition to the nearly £11 million it spends on financial support.
  • Oxford, through its outreach work, reaches 79% of UK schools with post-16 provision – that’s almost every school that fields candidates capable of making a competitive application to Oxford.
  • Oxford holds more than 3,000 outreach activities annually with groups from primary age upwards, including summer schools, school visits, student shadowing schemes, e-mentoring, aspiration days and events for teachers.
  • Oxford’s flagship access programme is the UNIQ summer school. In its first five years, nearly 2,500 UNIQ students have applied to Oxford and 1,008 received offers – that means that more than a quarter of all UNIQ participants will go on to study here.
  • UNIQ students who apply to Oxford have an average success rate of over 40%, more than double the average success rate of all candidates, which is around 20%.

Financial support for undergraduates

  • Oxford has one of the most generous no-strings attached financial support for UK and EU undergraduates from the lowest income households.
  • Students from the lowest income families receive at least £3,700 every year.
  • Oxford centrally spends around £11 million annually on financial support for undergraduates.

Postgraduate admissions and support

  • Graduate students make up around 46% of the total student body at Oxford.
  • 5% of all the UK’s graduate research students are studying at Oxford University.
  • Oxford offers more than 300 different graduate degree programmes.
  • The University received over 24,000 applications for around 5,200 places for graduate study for entry in 2015-16.
  • 63% of Oxford’s current graduate students come from outside the UK.
  • Over 1,000 fully funded scholarships are available for new master’s and doctoral students in 2016-17.

Oxford international

  • 41% of our academic staff are citizens of foreign countries.
  • Our academic staff come from almost 100 different countries and territories.
  • 41% of our total student body – over 9,200 students – are citizens of foreign countries, including 19% of undergraduates and 63% of graduate students.
  • Students come to Oxford from over 140 countries and territories. The largest groups of international students come from the USA, China, Germany, India, Italy,  Canada, France, Australia, Singapore and Poland.
  • Oxford’s Centre for Tropical Medicine conducts cutting-edge research at its laboratories in Kenya, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as Laos, Tanzania, Indonesia and Nepal.
  • Oxford University Press (OUP) is the world’s largest university press. It has offices in 50 countries and publishes works in more than 60 languages.
  • More than 33 million students use OUP’s English Language Teaching resources to learn English every year.

Oxford research

  • According to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the official UK-wide assessment of all university research, Oxford has the largest volume of world-leading research in the country. The University is also rated top in the REF power rankings published by Research Fortnight.
  • Oxford’s research activity involves more than 70 departments, the colleges, almost 1,800 academic staff, more than 5,000 research and research support staff, and over 5,800 graduate research students.
  • At graduate level, 55% of students are studying for a higher degree by research.
  • External research grants and contracts continue to be the University’s largest source of income. In 2014/15, 42% (£522.9m) of income came from external research sponsors.
  • Oxford consistently has the highest research income from external sponsors of any UK university.
  • Oxford, through Isis Innovation Limited, our wholly owned technology transfer company, pioneered the successful commercial exploitation of academic research and invention. Isis has created more than 100 companies and files more patents each year than any other UK university.
  • Oxfordshire is one of Europe’s leading centres of enterprise, innovation and knowledge. The county’s growth rate in high-tech employment remains one of the highest in the UK and many of its 1,500 high-tech companies have links to Oxford University.

Oxford awards and rankings

  • Oxford’s academic community includes 80 Fellows of the Royal Society and 100 Fellows of the British Academy.
  • In 2016, three Oxford professors were elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences.
  • In 2015, eight Oxford professors were elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.
  • In 2015, four Oxford professors were elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
  • In 2015, nine Oxford professors were elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy.
  • In 2015, one Oxford professor was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • The successes of Oxford’s academics are recognised regularly in the awarding of prestigious international prizes, such as the Gairdner Award for medical research, awarded in 2014 to Sir Marc Feldmann and Sir Ravinder Maini and in 2010 to Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Professor Nick White; the European Laureate Award in the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards, bestowed on Professor Frances Ashcroft in 2012; the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, given to Professor Fiona Powrie in 2012; and the International Balzan Prize, awarded to Professor Reinhard Strohm in 2012 and Professor Joe Silk in 2011.
  • Oxford University has won ten Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher Education, more than any other university. The most recent prize was awarded to the Institute of Biomedical Engineering in 2015.
  • Oxford is ranked second in the world and first in the UK in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-2016. In the subject rankings Oxford is, for the fifth year running, ranked first in the world for Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health subjects. It is also ranked first in the world for Life Sciences; fourth in the world and first in the UK for both Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences; sixth in the world and second in the UK for Engineering and Technology; and eighth in the world and second in the UK for Physical Sciences.
  • Oxford is repeatedly ranked in the top ten of universities worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University, and in the QS World Rankings.
  • Oxford is ranked second in the UK by The Sunday Times (2016), The Guardian (2016) and The Complete University Guide (2016).


Cambridge at a glance

Cambridge have extremely detailed tables and analysis. They also have a very user friendly interactive graph

Here is a summary of their most recent data:


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