In all these fields, Oxford attracts scholars from many parts of the world to join its teaching and research staff, and values also the important role of overseas graduate students (approximately one quarter of the total graduate body) in providing intellectual stimulation and creating and maintaining academic links with colleagues abroad. A hundred countries are at present represented in this way.
The development of graduate studies has largely taken place in the 20th century and in the last 30 years seven new graduate colleges have been set up. However, most graduate students still belong to a traditional undergraduate college where their presence is valuable to teachers and undergraduates alike.
The University offers a wide range of taught graduate courses and research degrees, ranging from one to three or more years in length. While the Master of Studies (MSt) degree is awarded after examination at the end of three terms' work, three or more years are normally required to complete a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
For all diplomas and degrees, except the few offered as part-time courses, students must spend a period in residence - which means postgraduate students live in term time within 25 miles of Oxford. There are no external degrees and there are only a few part-time courses in specific subjects. The minimum period of residence for most diplomas or the degrees of MSc or MSt is three terms. The minimum period of residence for the degrees of MPhil (BPhil in Philosophy), MLitt, or DPhil is normally six terms.
The academic year runs from October to September and is divided into three terms, Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity, and three vacations. The dates of Full Terms, eight-week periods during which lectures and other instruction are given, are as follows for the next two years:
Academic year 2003-4
Academic year 2004-5
12 Oct to 6 Dec
10 Oct to 4 Dec
18 Jan to 13 Mar
16 Jan to 12 Mar
25 Apr to 19 June
24 Apr to 18 June
The graduate, however, unlike the undergraduate, will normally be in residence for most of the year. In many departments formal lectures, seminars and classes for graduates continue into the vacations.
Teaching & Research
In 2002, Oxford University claimed first place in the annual Times Good University Guide, which ranks universities according to the quality of teaching and research, as well as indicators including staffing levels, facilities spending and graduate destinations.
In the Financial Times 2002 MBA ranking, the Sad Business School's one-year MBA course received the highest rating for value for money of all the international schools surveyed.
In 2002, Oxford University topped the annual league table of teacher training providers for the fifth successive year.
Oxford University was named the UK's most innovative University in the Launchit2001 competition, in recognition of the greatest achievements in innovation and enterprise across the broadest range of activity.
In the academic year 2000-2001, Oxford's overall research income from external sponsors rose by 10 per cent for the second successive year, reaching 142.4 million.
In the most recent national Teaching Quality Assessment exercises for 2000, Oxford was awarded top marks in six out of ten subjects assessed.
Oxford, Stanford and Yale Universities have recently become partners in a joint 'distance learning' venture, the Alliance for Lifelong Learning, which will provide on-line courses in the arts and sciences initially to their combined 500,000 alumni.
The University of Oxford has more academic staff working in world-class research departments (rated 5* or 5 in the RAE 2001) than any other UK university.
Oxford has recently received its fourth Queen's Anniversary Prize, in recognition of the Refugee Studies Centre's contribution to the study of forced migration and refugees.
Isis Innovation, the University's technology transfer company, files on average one new patent application a week and spins out a new company from University research every two months.
Oxford has spun out more companies than any other UK university. Our spin-out companies are collectively worth around 2 billion, and have helped produce some 30 multi-millionaires.
Oxford is the UK pioneer in developing a university intellectual property policy.
Latest research: Revolutionary new test to help eliminate tuberculosis
3 December 2002
A revolutionary new test for identifying people infected with tuberculosis (TB), one of the leading causes of death worldwide, will shortly be launched by Oxford Immunotec Ltd, a new Oxford University spin-off company. The test radically improves the speed and accuracy with which the disease can be identified. It has been developed to replace the existing skin test for TB, which is given to 600,000 UK schoolchildren every year.
Oxford Immunotec's test has come from discoveries made over the last seven years at the University of Oxford by Dr Ajit Lalvani and collaborators at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital. A replacement for the 100-year-old skin test is long overdue but, until now, there has not been a better way of diagnosing infection.
The Oxford Immunotec test is based on patented technology which provides a simple and extremely accurate way of studying a person's cellular immune response to an infection. Every time someone becomes infected with a disease, the body produces specific cells (white blood cells) to fight the infection. The new test looks to see if the body has produced these cells in response to TB and monitors how their numbers change over time. In this way, it is possible to determine if a person is infected and whether they are effectively fighting the infection. This powerful technique can be used not only for diagnosis of infections, but also for prognosis of disease and monitoring of treatment.
Crucially, the Oxford Immunotec test will also make it possible to accurately identify people who are carrying TB infection, but who have not yet gone on to develop disease. Diagnosing and treating infected people before they go on to develop severe disease and infect others is essential to prevent the spread of TB and save lives. TB kills between two and three million people each year, and the death toll is increasing. TB in the UK has risen almost every year for the last 15 years, with 6,500 newly diagnosed cases each year.
Since 1998, Dr Lalvani has used this rapid blood test in double blinded, randomised studies to prove its effectiveness in over 2,000 TB patients and healthy controls in eight different countries. These studies demonstrate that the new test is a radical improvement on the current skin test, and that, unlike the skin test, it works well in people with weaker immune systems, such as children, the elderly and those immunosuppressed with diseases like HIV.
Dr Peter Wrighton-Smith, CEO of Oxford Immunotec, said: 'We are extremely excited about this new test which we believe will revolutionise TB control. This test is needed as never before because TB is resurging in the developed world and already parts of the UK have TB rates as high as India. The huge amount of clinical data gathered to date proves this technology works and we are already looking to apply it to other diseases where the cellular immune response is critical, such as HIV, Hepatitis C and Cancer.'
Life in Oxford
The city of Oxford
Oxford lies about 57 miles (90km) north-west of London. A medium-sized city with a large student population, Oxford has a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, with excellent cultural, leisure, sport and retail amenities.
Oxford's historic architecture is well renowned. Amongst its beautiful buildings and modern facilities are parks, gardens and waterways. In addition to those offered by the University, the city of Oxford has its own cultural facilities, including the Museum of Oxford and the Museum of Modern Art. Drama productions are performed at, amongst others, the Oxford Playhouse, and the Apollo Theatre, and there are several cinemas. Sports fans enjoy county cricket in the University Parks and third-division football at Oxford United, as well as punting, swimming, and ice-skating in the city centre.