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 always in for a joke. 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. Food at Somerville is of excellent quality which means that the hall is usually very well-attended. Students living in have a non-refundable £80 charged to their battels which can be used for food & drink. There is always a huge variety of options (usually two main meat options and one veggie main, but there are also sandwiches, baked potatoes and a salad bar, as well as plenty of snacks). 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.



From October 2019 all undergraduates can be accommodated on site. Thus, everyone admitted from October 2018 onwards can expect to have the option of living in College throughout their degree. 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. Aside from 100 ensuite rooms which are 10% more in rent, all other college rooms are exactly the same price. Accessibility differs by building, but College will make sure all students' need are accommodated for. As for graduate accommodation, 53 students can be accommodated in two annexes of college-owned housing, of which one is located in Wellington Square, and the other, slightly smaller one on Woodstock Road. Both are only a stone's throw away from College and provide shared kitchens, bathroom and living areas.



From BakeSoc to Boat Club, Somerville has a variety of different societies. College sport is more about participation, keeping fit and socialising than it is about results (although, of course, everyone always likes to win). Drama and music have been on a massive upswing in the past years, and you will frequently see Somerville students involved in productions across Oxford. There is a small (but nice) gym and students can also use the music room. Other rooms can be booked for JCR-approved societies and University societies run by Somerville students.


Welfare at Somerville is very important, and so there is a great team of students and tutors looking out for everyone. On arrival, all students are allocated a Personal Tutor or College Advisor. 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 - just as the lovely Porters. Welfare teas on a Sunday in the JCR are hugely popular and provide a fantastic opportunity to catch up with friends, have a friendly chat and take a healthy break from work whilst enjoying lots of yummy (and free!) food.


Bops in Somerville are great fun, and wildly popular. For Bops, the JCR rents out a large hall along with some lighting and mixing decks which, coupled with some cheap & lethal ‘bop juice’, are 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 2019. 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, student from 2014

Find out more

Founded: 1879
Undergraduate students per year: 123
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.