Prospective students

Students in Fellows' Garden

Why Choose Exeter?

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Every college seems to say that it is friendly and welcoming. Why choose Exeter, rather than any of the others? Here are a few good reasons:

College Character

The College has a wonderful atmosphere. It is middle-sized by Oxford standards, so everyone quickly gets to know everyone else, and it's known as one of the friendliest colleges in Oxford.


You will be brilliantly taught here, by some of the best thinkers in the country and perhaps the world. You will learn to challenge, analyse and argue, and if you find the work difficult at first, there will be people to help you.

...and Leisure

Plenty of serious work gets done. However there is also lots of music (including opportunities to join our acclaimed Chapel Choir), arts and drama (including the annual Turl Street Arts Festival with our neighbouring Colleges), and plenty of sport too, from rowing to rugby (we have had excellent sports people for College and University teams – both women and men), football to fencing.

Financial Support

We have generous funds, often of up to £1,000, thanks to donations from former students, with which we can help you if you experience unforeseen or exceptional financial difficulties after starting your course. We also offer several scholarships for graduate study at Oxford each year, some of which are restricted to current of former students of Exeter College.

The Perfect Location

The College is astonishingly central. You walk straight out into the heart of Oxford, a few minutes from the science labs, seconds from the main University library – and surrounded by shops, cafes and bars too.

700 Years of Excellence

The College is the fourth-oldest in the University. We were founded in 1314 - before the Black Death - and there is something marvellous about feeling part of a continuous tradition of learning stretching back for nearly 700 years. Some of this is reflected in our lovely buildings, such as our Jacobean dining Hall and our Victorian Gothic Chapel.


Many of our students go on to be extremely successful after they leave university. Some of Exeter College’s alumni have become famous. J.R.R. Tolkien was an undergraduate here, and you may be lucky enough to get his old room. So were the pre-Raphaelite artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, the playwright Alan Bennett, the actress Imogen Stubbs, former President Kufuor of Ghana, the journalist Reeta Chakrabati, and Philip Pullman whose fictional Jordan College sounds extraordinarily like Exeter College!  Other former students include two Supreme Court judges (one from Australia and another from Canada) and Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner.

Careers and Internships

Uniquely amongst Oxford Colleges, Exeter has its own careers and internships programme just for Exeter College students, which adds to the opportunities available to all Oxford University students via the University’s Careers Service.  We offer vacation internships which are reserved for our students, host events which help our students prepare good applications and learn about careers, and offer networking opportunities to encourage our former students to share their professional experience with current students.

A Great Graduate Community

We work hard at making graduates feel part of the College as well as their department. Our Middle Common Room organises a tremendous social programme, including special events for married graduates. And the College's redeveloped graduate accommodation on Iffley Road offers top-of-the-range accommodation, as well as a 'collegiate' home together away from the main site.

Enlightenment beyond the syllabus

We encourage our students to interact outside the classroom.  Both graduates and undergraduates are invited to the College's “subject family” events where they hear about research from their own academic discipline and beyond.  And our students are able to hear prestigious figures speak as part of the Rector's Seminar Series each term.

A Great International Community

Our undergraduate students come from all parts of the UK and all over the world.  Recently about 1 in 5 of our undergraduates have come from outside the UK; but we don’t have a quota – we select the best students wherever they are from.  Moreover, each year we have 26 undergraduate visiting students from Williams College in Massachusetts, USA, who study alongside our own students for the whole year.  Our graduate students form a very diverse international community.

Some of our international students are funded by the Jardine Foundation – we are one of just four Oxford Colleges where these scholarships can be held. 

To celebrate our diversity, we host an array of special celebrations throughout the year, from Burns' Night Supper to Diwali to Thanksgiving Dinner.