Merton College Crest

Merton College

Merton College – the place where fun goes to die…or at least to those who have never been. In reality, Merton is a beautiful old college with a welcoming atmosphere where people feel free to get involved with what they want. Whatever your goals at Oxford, in drama, music, sport, or indeed work, at Merton there’ll always be a tight-knit community supporting you. It’s true that Merton’s exam results are consistently strong, but that need not be a source of fear so much as of encouragement. Should you ever visit Merton, ask about the backwards-walking, port-drinking antics of the annual Time Ceremony.



For any binge-eaters out there, Merton hall is for you. A hearty breakfast (£1.82) followed by hot food and an all-you-can-eat cold meats and salad bar at lunch (£.3.30) sees Mertonians staggering into the afternoon fighting food comas. Formal (£4.07) happens Sunday-Friday, and all dietary requirements are catered to.



Merton offers accommodation for every year of every course. Freshers live in college, whilst second years move to Holywell Street houses. Finalists either return to en-suites in college, or may stay on Holywell. Each Holywell house has a kitchen and four more are in college.



Contrary to popular rumour, extracurricular activities are a thing at Merton. There are active drama and music groups, and a very good choir. Sport veers wildly between the sublime and the ridiculous – each result is somehow historic – although there are a surprising number of blues here. NEWSFLASH! Mertonians have recently been topping the world of student journalism too, so if you fancy editing an Oxford newspaper one day (presumably as part of your build-up to world domination), advice can be found here.


The JCR has a male and a female Welfare Rep and two graduate students who oversee the JCR’s welfare provision. Six undergrad peer supporters are trained each year, so there is usually a pool of at least 12 people to talk to. Welfare Tea happens every Sunday, involving sweets, crisps, brie, sausages and more!


Merton has 4 bops a term; the 2am finishes are the latest of Oxford bops, and if that’s not enough, there’s free alcohol in the JCR beforehand. The bar often fills after formal, and its jukebox and toasties make it perfect either for relaxing or laying solid foundations for a night out. Merton holds Oxford’s only white tie winter ball every three years, next in November 2016.

The students are incredible. I've made life-long friends and met people from such diverse backgrounds. There's a real community atmosphere. The food and Merton's undeniable beauty are also pretty fab!
Monica, Mathematics, 4th year
Merton's idyllic grounds are perfectly situated in town, but without the business of the centre, and its facilities are unparalleled. From free coffee to kayaks, it has everything you need.
Hamish, History and Politics, student from 2013
There’s a welcoming, homely atmosphere about this place. Settling in is so easy and once you’re here, you’ll receive nothing but support for whatever you’re keen on doing.
Will, Classics, student from 2013

Find out more

Founded: 1264
Students per year: 85
Total number of undergraduate students: 280
Famous alumni: J. R. R. Tolkien, T. S. Eliot, Kris Kristofferson, Princess Akiko of Mikasa

You might also want to take a look at the Merton alternative prospectus or the official college website.