Harris Manchester is one of Oxford’s smallest and reputedly friendliest colleges. As the University’s only mature students college, it is the hub for all students 21 or over. And trust us, once you’re a Harris Mancunian, you wouldn’t have it any other way. The college is located in impressive historic buildings in the centre of Oxford and boasts the gorgeous Tate library, the sixth-largest college library, beloved by students for its dedicated staff, and exhaustive selection of course readings well beyond the syllabus. With the average undergraduate in their early- to mid-twenties, HMC is a vibrant community with a tapestry of life experiences that includes military service, social and political activism, published authors, professional sports, artists, high corporate ranks, and general life vagabonds. If you’re not the typical Oxford undergrad, yet looking for an Oxford experience out of the ordinary, this is the place for you.
All meals are served in the college’s stunning Arlosh dining hall and on weekdays this includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mondays and Wednesdays are Formal Halls when food is especially yummy, wine is free, and gowns are worn! Sunday brunch is a student favourite, with living-in students chatting and feasting on a full English breakfast, many in pre-library pyjamas. The college’s small size proves benefits here too – Oxford’s loveliest kitchen staff knows not only your name but dietary requirements – from halal to vegan to gluten intolerant, you will receive your personal version of the meal’s dish. Breakfast is £1.80, lunch is £3.75, and dinner is £5, but if you live-in, college meals (including Formal Hall) are already included in your rent. For the weekends, it’s less than a five-minute walk to all the centre’s shops and supermarkets. For library snack cravings, the popular Alternative Tuck Shop is adjacent to the college.
Accommodation in college is guaranteed for the first and final year of studies. All accommodation is in the college’s beautiful historic buildings and has been recently refurbished. Most rooms have en suite bathrooms, otherwise bathrooms are shared between two. All students have access to communal kitchens within their house, or shared between two. Rooms are randomly allocated, except in your final year in which you will usually be allocated one of your two top preferences. One house is set aside for graduates only.
The JCR is the heart of college life. It's a place to relax with fellow students on comfy sofas, enjoy free tea and coffee, improvise on the JCR piano, or participate in a heated JCR meeting debate. HMC has a small but lively selection of societies, including an immensely popular Wine Society, weekly film screenings, a Leftist society, an LGBTQ society, and an Afro-Caribbean society, as well as an enthusiastic football club. Grants for societies are available and whatever your interests, you'll be sure to find some fellow aficionados to join in. Many students participate in the arts or play sports on University level, and aspiring rowers are with the best as HMC Boat Club is affiliated with Wadham, for whom Harris Mancunians have helped achieve many victories over the years.
The variety of life experiences at Harris Manchester contribute to an open and supportive atmosphere among students. JCR and MCR welfare officers hold stress management sessions, regular welfare teas, picnics, and even yoga classes. Academic officers organize subject-specific study skills sessions and general academic support, to ease the way (back) into academic life.
Don’t let the mature students status (or the website) fool you – Harris Mancunians throw some of the best Oxford bops (parties). The recently refurbished JCR hosts one of Oxford’s last student-run bars, and with its superb selection and £1.50 pints it’s a point of pride for Harris Mancunians. From legendary pub quizzes, real ale festivals, and open mic nights, to bops and JCR Guest Nights it is a place to both hang out with friends and get the night started.
Harris Manchester has been not only a stimulating and encouraging place to study, but also a warm and supportive haven in the midst of the intense pressures of Oxford.
I'm so happy I came to HMC! It's beautiful, central, and unlike the big colleges, really feels like home.
I love how friendly it is here; there's a real sense of camaraderie and focus at HMC that motivates me to do the best I can in my work.
You might also want to take a look at the official college website.