About Christ Church

Studying with us

Christ Church, one of the largest colleges of Oxford University, is strongly committed to teaching and research. A large body of academics teach their students in tutorials, a system which enables undergraduates to work with experienced tutors in small groups.

The subjects offered at Christ Church cover the whole spectrum, including Arts, Social Sciences and Physical Sciences.

There is also a thriving and multi-disciplinary graduate community. Both undergraduates and graduates benefit from the college's central location, its excellent library, and its beautiful setting, adjacent to Christ Church Meadow. Other facilities include the Picture Gallery (containing a rich collection of paintings and drawings), the Art Room, and the Music Room.

The college invests heavily in the support of its members, and there are generous grants available for financial assistance as well as for travel and for book purchases. Accommodation is available to undergraduates for the full length of their course.

Subjects offered to undergrduates and graduates
Why apply to Christ Church?
Link to Oxford University admissions

Christ Church, like the other colleges, is an independent charity but also forms part of the University as a whole; undergraduates and graduates are members of both the college and the University.

Undergraduate teaching takes place partly in college (in tutorials), but also in University lecture-rooms or laboratories. Graduates enjoy the social life and support available in college, but the main emphasis of their research activity is generally their Faculty or Department. There are normally over 400 undergraduates in all at Christ Church, and about 175 graduates.

Academic excellence

The tutors who work here strongly believe in the joint pursuit of teaching and research. In both Arts and Sciences, students will often be taught by or attend lectures by world leaders in their subject. They have the opportunity to hear about cutting-edge research; often a tutor will be working on a book or article and will try the ideas out on students. The process is not just one-way. Many tutors gain insights from teaching undergraduates and graduates alike.

Current teaching and research staff

A college for everyone

All those concerned with teaching want able and enthusiastic pupils, whatever their background. Christ Church tutors are committed to selecting those who have the potential to do well here − not just in terms of passing exams, but in making the most of the learning opportunities that Oxford provides.

Nobody should be afraid of applying to Christ Church because they think they won't ‘fit in’: what matters is your intelligence and willingness to work hard at your chosen subject.

Despite the size of the college, Christ Church is a welcoming place, and many undergraduates and graduates make lifelong friends here or meet their future partners among their fellow students.

The college system means that although a subject may be very large across the university, in a particular college the undergraduates studying it will form a small and often cohesive group: they share ideas, exchange books or web links, and discuss their work informally as well as in the meetings with their tutors. The atmosphere encourages a cooperative rather than a competitive work-ethic.

Schools and outreach

A Cathedral

Christ Church has a distinguished history and its special character is inseparable from that history. It is unique among Oxford colleges in that it also contains the Cathedral of the Oxford diocese, which doubles as the college chapel. This joint foundation goes back to the establishment of the institution (initially known as Cardinal College) by Henry VIII’s right-hand man Cardinal Wolsey, whose fall from power led to Henry taking over the project and renaming it Christ Church (1546). Henry VIII had a big ego and Christ Church is unquestionably a grandiose set of buildings, but the people who inhabit them are just as friendly and low-key as those elsewhere.

Although the Cathedral continues its work and has its own rhythms, the life and work of the college is entirely separate; there is absolutely no expectation that members of Christ Church should belong to the Christian faith or attend the Cathedral services (though some go to admire the architecture and to enjoy the marvellous music and singing at the services).

Christ Church Cathedral
Read a brief history of Christ Church
A more in depth history of Christ Church written by the College Archivist (PDF)

Famous alumni

Christ Church is famous for its connection with two fictional figures: Alice in Wonderland, the creation of the 19th-century mathematics tutor Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), and Harry Potter (the film version of Hogwarts was partly based on Christ Church Hall). But there have been many real-life alumni of historical importance: among them John Locke the philosopher (who was actually thrown out for his then controversial opinions); William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania; W.E.Gladstone, four times Prime Minister (a splendid portrait of him by Millais hangs in the Hall); the poet W.H.Auden; Frederick Lindemann, scientific adviser to Churchill; and many others. Alfred Einstein too was briefly given hospitality and membership of the college, when he fled to England from Nazi persecution.