History of the University of Oxford: Founder, Date & More

4 minute read
University of Oxford History

Many tales are fiction, and others are too old but real. The difference between the two is visible through the evidence they have left with time. The world loves stories, as no matter how far we go and how advanced we become, we will always want to know our roots and where we began. One such story is of the history of the formation of the University of Oxford. The great and prestigious university harbours the world’s greatest minds and has been ranked on the top consecutively eight times in the THE Rankings

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Where it All Started

University of Oxford history - Merton College
Source: University of Oxford

Long ago in the early 12th century, the foundation of a small university was laid. Some evidence of teaching can be dated back to 1096. It was a school with only a few courses and no proper undergraduate courses. But fate had something powerful in store for this small temple of education. 

In the late 12th century English students were barred from the University of Paris by Henry II. This gave an upsurge to the universities in the United Kingdom, including the University of Oxford. If there is a perfect example of perfection that comes with experience, it is the University of Oxford. 

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Building the English Culture

university of oxford history
Source: University of Oxford

The University of Oxford took it as a challenge to develop education and offer undergraduate degrees at its campus. The university leaders were wise men and women who established the foundations of the university education based on the University of Paris model. 

Thus, students had familiarity and the course plan was not experimental establishing trust and enabling further growth. A few of the initial subjects taught at the University of Oxford are theology, law, medicine, and the liberal arts. 

The University’s Firsts

university of oxford history
Source: Oxford History

The University of Oxford has numerous milestones and achievements and in the beginning, even the smallest achievements were celebratory. In 1190 the university experienced the arrival of its first overseas student Emo of Friesland. 

Likewise, another milestone was achieved in 1201 the University was headed by a ‘Magister Scholarum Oxonie’. Moreover, in 1214, he was made the Chancellor of the university. It was in 1231 that the Masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation.

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The First Colleges and Hall of Residence

University of Oxford history - Balliol College
Source: Oxford History

Long after its establishment in the 13th century, the university started to establish its primitive halls of residence for the students. Soon after this, the University College, Balliol and Merton Colleges were established in 1249, 1263 and 1264 respectively. Though this condition arose from a rioting near the university area what it led to was becoming legendary in the days to come. 

University of Oxford History of Research and Religion 

University of Oxford history - Edmond Haley
Source: Famous Mathematicians

The University of Oxford is always the talk of the town for its research outlook and innovations. It has educated world-class innovators and leaders. However, all these achievements also lead back to a simple beginning. 

It was in the 18th century that the university became a centre for scientific research and religious revival. Oxford always had a strong pursuit of theology. During this time, the foundations for the Methodist Society were laid by John and Charles Wesley’s prayer meetings.

Also, the scientific revolution started with the prediction of the return of Haley’s Comet by Edmond Halley. He was the professor of Geometry at the university during that time. The comet was named after Edmond Halley himself after the professor discovered it. 

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University of Oxford History of the Oxford Movement

The Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church were revived in 1833, with the Oxford Movement. John Henry Newman a prominent leader of the Oxford Movement became a Roman Catholic in 1845. 

The Involvement of Women at Oxford

university of oxford history - participation of women
Source: University of Oxford

From the year 1878, academic halls were established for women as well. The Lady Margaret Hall was the first one to be established.  However, the struggle didn’t end there. They were admitted as full members of the university only after 1920. 

The changes slowly seeped in and after more than 60 years, the Oxford male colleges passed a new regulation to admit women as well. This beginning in 1986 was taken seriously by far and by 2008 every Oxford college had both male and female students on its campus. 

And this is how one of the oldest and most prestigious universities of all came into existence. Follow Leverage Edu if you want to know more about the universities and if you want more of such mind-boggling content, do not forget to follow our Infotainment page

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