Who We Are and What We Do

Oriel College is a constituent College of the University of Oxford. As such, it works with the central University to provide an enriching environment dedicated to the education of undergraduate and postgraduate students, and to the development of scholarship. The University’s publication scheme is available from www.admin.ox.ac.uk/foi, or by writing to the Information Officer, University Offices, University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JD.


Oriel College was founded in 1326 by Adam de Brome. Originally called the House or Hall of the Blessed Mary at Oxford, the College first acted as a source of research and learning for graduate Fellows. From 1349 it was known as Oriel, a name derived from a large house, called ‘La Oriole,’ which had been located on the current site of the College’s front quad and was given to the College through a royal grant. To this day, the College’s full name is ‘The Provost and Scholars of the House of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford, commonly called Oriel College, of the Foundation of Edward the Second of famous memory, sometime King of England’. The site of the College, the original part of which is the front quadrangle, incorporates four medieval halls: St Mary Hall, Bedel Hall, Martin Hall, and Tackley's Inn, the last being the oldest standing medieval hall in Oxford.


The primary purpose of the College, its Fellows and other academic staff, is academic, both teaching and research, and students are encouraged to see themselves as having joined a community with a shared purpose. The College offers undergraduate tuition in thirty-one subjects, with some of the most popular being History, Modern Languages, and PPE. Postgraduate students study subjects from all four academic divisions of the University, and each is assigned a College Advisor who is normally a Fellow of the College. Current numbers for undergraduates and postgraduates are approximately 300 and 180, respectively. As a constituent college of the University of Oxford, Oriel works closely with the University to maximise its members’ academic development and welfare.


The main site of the College is bordered by Magpie Lane, Merton Street, Oriel Square, King Edward Street and the High Street. A residential annexe, largely inhabited by finalists and postgraduate students, is located on Rectory Road, approximately ten minutes’ walk from the main site. The College’s sports grounds are located at the Bartlemas property approximately twenty minutes’ walk from the main site.