Somerville College Crest

Somerville College

Somerville is one of the friendliest and most welcoming colleges in Oxford, well known for its laid back atmosphere (yes, you can even walk on the grass!). Being at Somerville really feels like being part of a special community - as cheesy as it sounds. It won’t be long before you know pretty much everyone, despite the large number of students living here. Somervillians are, as a general rule: fun, active (in sport, music, art, politics and journalism across the university), always up for a good karaoke, and we try not to take ourselves too seriously. While Somerville boasts some charming 19th century architecture, the most attractive feature of the college’s grounds is its large open quad, filled with trees and flower beds. During the summer, there is nothing better than eating your lunch on the grass in the sun, while watching people rush to their tutorials.



Monday to Friday sees the college hall serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner, alongside a more leisurely brunch (full English & pancakes anyone?) and dinner on the weekends. We pride ourselves on having better food than most other colleges. Even if you don’t fancy any of the two main meat options, or single veggie option, there is a salad bar, sandwiches, baked potatoes and plenty of snacks on offer. Meals usually run to around £3-4, and are popular – the hall is usually pretty full! Once a week, Somerville dusts down the candlesticks and has an optional 3-4 course formal dinner which costs about £9, and true to its laid back nature, gowns are not compulsory! 



Somerville offers on-site accommodation to all 1st, 3rd and 4th years, and has enough space for around half of second year too. First years are randomly allocated a room in one of 3 first-year buildings when they arrive, which is a great way to get to know everyone in the year. After first year, students are entered into a random ballot to rank the order in which everyone else picks their room. Some second years have to 'live out', but there are usually a healthy number of people who want to live off campus anyway! Everyone on a bursary is guaranteed a room in college the whole time, and for those that live out in second year, college offers lots of grants to help with costs. Aside from 100 ensuite rooms which are 10% more in rent, all other college rooms are exactly the same price. 



As a college, Somerville has loads of societies, from BakeSoc to our Boat Club. College sport is more about participation, keeping fit and socialising than it is about results (although, of course, we always like to win!) Drama and music have been on a massive upswing this year, and you will frequently see Somerville students involved in productions across Oxford. With our new Arts Budget, we hope to be able to fund bigger and better projects next year!


Welfare at Somerville is very important, and so there is a great team of students and tutors looking out for everyone. The male and female JCR welfare officers are joined by a fantastic team of peer supporters, alongside the brilliant Junior Deans, who are ever-present and always available. Welfare teas on a Sunday in the JCR are hugely popular with lots of yummy food, and they provide a welcome break from work, and a friendly chat. 


Bops in Somerville are great fun, and wildly popular. We rent out a large hall along with some lighting and mixing decks which, coupled with some cheap & lethal ‘bop juice,’ is sufficient to get a good party going. The college bar provides a welcome retreat in the day with coffee, tea and cake, but at night turns into a great venue to catch up with friends, play some pool and pre-drink before heading out. Beer is £2 a pint, and cider £2.40. You can buy a bottle of Somerville’s own wine for around £6 if you need something to drink at Formal Dinner. Somerville holds a joint ball with Jesus College every 3 years, and the next one is coming up in May 2016. Save the date!

I've had the time of my life at Somerville- the whole college has such a relaxed and friendly vibe, it's a great place to be.
Frances, History, student from 2014
The best thing about being here is meeting so many talented and interesting people who have a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives.
David, Biology, student from 2014
There are always people in hall to eat with (and the food is pretty good too!), and when we go out clubbing, we go as a big group.
Kate, Modern Languages, 4th year

Find out more

Founded: 1879
Students per year: 110
Total number of undergraduate students: 375
Famous alumni: Dorothy Hodgkin, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Iris Murdoch

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