Why Choose Wolfson?

Wolfson is the natural home for graduates. Find out why below.

At Wolfson, graduate students are equal members of the College and part of a community of peers. The typical hierarchy of an Oxford college subordinates students to research and teaching staff, who are divided into separate ‘common rooms’, enjoy different privileges, and live, socialise and eat separately. Wolfson recognises that this structure is less appropriate for graduates, who often join later in life, following careers outside the university, and regularly have partners and families. We were founded to be “new, untrammelled and unpyramided”, in the words of our first President.

  • We have no “high table” separating Fellows and students; instead, everyone sits together at mealtimes, which makes for fast friendships and discussions with figures at every level of your field;
  • We have a joint common room that incorporates all members of our community;
  • We operate a participatory model of governance that allows our graduates and members to have a say in how their college is run.

As a College, we also know that world-changing research means drawing on worldwide talent. The College has always been committed to attracting the best and brightest researchers in their fields from wherever they might be found, in whatever circumstances. Today, we are home to just under a thousand graduate students and 89 nationalities. No matter where they’re from, a Wolfsonian is never an outsider.

At Wolfson, you will live and work in an institution that matches your commitment to action on climate. We’ve always looked to the future, which is why we’re the first Higher Education Institution in the UK to eliminate Scope 1 and Scope 2 Carbon emissions. Thanks to a massive retrofitting and investment programme, we don’t produce any CO2 directly (e.g., from burning gas for heat or fuel in our minibus), and CO2 is no longer burned on our behalf to power our operations (e.g., by electricity suppliers). We continue to work with our community and our suppliers to reduce emissions outside of our direct control – which means we now use a pedal-powered delivery service for online orders, our kitchens grow food onsite in our greenhouses, and our publications are printed by the highest-rated B Corp printers in the world.

Read more about our ongoing commitment to climate action.

For over fifty years, the College has worked to bring down the barriers that would otherwise prevent talented researchers from participating in academic life. For this reason, Wolfson not only provides a welcoming home for graduate researchers, but also for their partners and families, and we respect the need to balance work and family commitments. We are proud to provide an extensive range of couples and family accommodation, and to offer on-site childcare through our Day Nursery, which has been in operation since 1974.

Above all, new arrivals at Wolfson find themselves surrounded by a readymade community, brought together through a packed programme of events. Families receive particular support through the Family Society, which runs socials and activities throughout the year to connect parents and their children with others in the College.

Read more about our provision for partners and families.

The College enjoys a uniquely beautiful setting, even for Oxford. Set in landscaped gardens on the banks of the River Cherwell, facing historic water meadows, Wolfson feels a world away from the bustle of the city centre (though it’s only five minutes by bike or our electric minibus service).

While other colleges jostle for space, Wolfson’s site boasts sports fields, tennis, basketball and squash courts, a gym and erg room, a playground for families, on-site allotments and bike hire – and our very own harbour with a fleet of punts for use by members. Members enjoy the use of music practice rooms, grand pianos and other instruments, as well as concert venues. We maintain a library of approximately 50,000 titles, dedicated research and study spaces, and an academic wing with full lecture theatre.

We also support our community financially. Alongside a programme of scholarships that can assist in funding your studies, the College also operates hardship funds for students in financial need and support grants that allow students to pursue sports and cultural activities at the very highest level.

Find out more about our facilities, financial support, and scholarships.

Unlike an undergraduate college, where students are brought together by teaching, our community is united by the common pursuit of research. At Wolfson, graduates, post-doctoral researchers and fellows mix in an environment dedicated to providing the resources and fostering the relationships needed for their work to thrive. As of 2024, our community is made up of just under 1000 graduate students and over 290 fellows, from a diverse range of backgrounds and across all academic fields. We are home to eleven major interdisciplinary research clusters, with concentrations ranging from machine learning, through the study of the mind, brain and body, to the study of law in societies and literary life writing. Every year, together with its alumni and donors, the College funds millions of pounds in research grants, fellowships for established and early career academics, graduate prizes, scholarships and bursaries, while we offer exceptional facilities, such as our Academic Wing and Leonard Wolfson Auditorium (completed 2015) for conferences, talks, seminars and the day-to-day work of scholarship. We put our graduate students in contact with the professional academic world, preparing them for careers in knowledge industries and global research universities, while our fellows enjoy an internationally-renowned platform for their work, a community that supports the meeting of minds, and a place where their ideas can reach their fullest potential.