Graduate FAQs

Why does a graduate student need to be in a college at all?

Association with a college makes studying at Oxford a much broader and more supported experience than doing a graduate degree almost anywhere else. Find out more about the college experience in this video. Your college provides a range of services and activities which add to and complement what is available from your department:

  • Alternative sources of welfare and personal support, small grants, and problem-solving advice
  • Multi-disciplinary intellectual stimulation and new ideas for your work
  • Social life and activities which aren’t available through your department

What is the role of my College Adviser?

All graduate students are assigned a College Adviser who is glad to help with any problems, particularly those which you might not normally take to someone in your department, including: pastoral support - or directing you to appropriate persons for assistance - on personal or coping issues; discussing difficulties you may be experiencing in your department or faculty and/or with your supervisor; generally keeping an eye on your progress (although not acting as a second supervisor); and perhaps general advice on applications for research funding, conferences and seminar attendance, publication and career plans. You will meet your College Adviser during your first term, and you are encouraged to contact your College Adviser as and when you need advice or help.

How can I apply for study and other College grants?

One of the key ways a college adds to your Oxford experience is by being the possible source of small grants to support your work (or for cases of hardship), which might not be available elsewhere. The range of College schemes are outlined in the Student Handbook. There is also a Book Fund for obtaining library books required by taught graduate students.

How else does the College help my research?

The College can provide some support for research seminars presented, or organised, by graduate students in College. The College is encouraging the development of interdisciplinary research groups and the linking of graduate students into work taking place outside their normal fields of study. This often can spark great new ideas on how to approach fundamental questions in a research topic. 

What does the MCR do?

Apart from being a great place to socialise, and meet people outside your department, through a range of activities, the Middle Common Room (both a place and a term meaning all the graduate students in College) also organises research based activities (and a conference) for mutual assistance and encouragement of graduates in College.