Oriel College | University of Oxford
A quad at Oriel College
Oriel College.
(Image credit: Oriel College).

Oriel College

About the college

Oriel College has beautiful historic buildings dating from the 14th to the 21st Century.

Oriel attaches great importance to the academic and social integration of graduates into the life of the college. There are regular symposia, organised by the Middle Common Room (MCR), where graduate students can present and discuss their research.

The college is also keen to provide teaching opportunities for graduates, and has its own graduate teaching assistantship scheme. The college offers graduate studentships to provide financial support to the most able students, and travel grants that support all graduate students who need to travel for their study.

The Tutor for Graduates, who is a fellow of the college, monitors and supports the academic progress of graduate students. Welfare support is provided by a dedicated team, led by the Senior Dean. Each graduate student is also allocated a College Advisor, who is usually a fellow of the college working in a similar academic field, to provide support and advice.

College tour

College facilities

Library and IT services

Oriel has an impressive library of over 100,000 volumes. The library is recently refurbished, open 24 hours and is exceptionally well funded for the purchase of new books. The Senior Library has a collection of ancient books and manuscripts and is open to students during term time.

There are two computer suites, open 24 hours a day, with two networked print/scan/copy facilities. All student rooms on the main college site and at James Mellon Hall have network connections.

Wi-fi access is available throughout the college.

Sport, music and college facilities

Oriel has a lively and active student body. Graduates are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities and social events.

The college has a sports ground with facilities for all major sports, and Oriel students compete in most inter-collegiate sports. There is a gym and squash court at James Mellon Hall and a second gym on the main college site. The college has a well-equipped boathouse with an active boat club. Croquet is also available during term time.

There is very good mixed chapel choir and an active music society who arrange termly concerts. The calendar of events also features performances by music and choral scholars and visiting musicians.

The college has a number of drama societies and many students are members of the Oxford University Dramatic Society.

Facilities for disabled students

There is specially-designed accommodation on the main college site and at James Mellon Hall for disabled students. Some of the historic buildings on the main site may cause problems for students with mobility difficulties. If you need to make a special accommodation request due to a physical disability, please contact the college’s Disability Officer.


The attractive Oriel Middle Common Room (MCR) was once declared to be housed in some of the ‘finest rooms in Oxford’. The MCR continues to be an excellent social centre for Oriel’s graduates, with social spaces overlooking the picturesque Oriel Square. It is open to its members 24 hours a day.

All members of Oriel’s MCR are entitled to free tea, coffee and biscuits, throughout the day in our main common room. The MCR bar is open three days a week, with regular drink specials and is great value. The MCR also contains kitchen facilities along with a comfortable seating area. There is also an MCR study room situated above the MCR, a large and light room providing quiet study space reserved solely for the use of MCR members all day, throughout the year.

Oriel’s graduate community is renowned for being welcoming, social and friendly. The MCR has members from all over the world and comprises both taught and research graduate students, mature undergraduates, fourth-year undergraduates and MCR associate members, including post-doctoral researchers. Graduate students are also automatically given membership of the Junior Common Room (JCR).

MCR members annually elect their own committee to run the MCR and represent members' interests on college committees. Every term the MCR Committee provides a full programme of events, including guest dinners, exchange dinners with other colleges, weekly post-formal hall dessert, film nights, cocktail nights, and weekly afternoon tea. There is also a punt scheme which runs throughout Trinity term and the summer months. In addition, the MCR is actively involved in leading the very popular ‘Oriel Talks’ lecture series: bi-termly evenings of short graduate lectures, which the entire college are invited to attend, with a networking dinner afterwards.

Accommodation and meals


All graduate first-year students who have not previously had accommodation as a student in Oxford are guaranteed college accommodation. The college can almost always accommodate those who have previously had accommodation and returning graduates, though this is not guaranteed.

Oriel offers limited numbers of graduate rooms on the main college site and most graduates live at the Rectory Road site, an annexe which is just under a mile to the east of the college. Many rooms at Rectory Road have en-suite bathrooms and all share modern kitchen facilities.

The college has a limited number of one- and two-bedroom flats for couples at Rectory Road. At present the college does not offer family accommodation.

Further information on accommodation at Oriel College is available on the college website.


Graduates may eat breakfast, lunch and/or dinner in the college's dining hall as they wish; there are both informal and Formal Hall dinners during term times and informal hall only out of term time. Students are only charged for the meals they eat and it is possible for graduates to eat in hall during vacations. The MCR organises termly Guest Night dinners which are very popular. 

Graduates may dine at High Table with senior members of the college at formal hall once each term.


This college accepts graduate students for the following courses:

Please note that not all subjects areas or streams of a particular course may be offered by this college. Please see the college information on the relevant course page for further details. For a comprehensive list of all graduate courses available at the University of Oxford, please refer to our courses A-Z listing


Oriel is centrally located, only minutes away from the Bodleian library, just off Oxford's High Street.

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