Are all Oxford colleges coed?

Oxford University is one of the most prestigious colleges in the world, consisting of thirty-nine colleges. Though the exact date of its foundations remains unknown, it is certainly the oldest English-speaking university in the world. It is a known fact that education in England in ancient times was only facilitated to men. Gradually women got included in the sphere of education and eventually, most colleges that were essentially for men became coed. While some colleges were created for women as well.  Here we will see about Are all Oxford colleges coed?

Before the 1950s, Oxford University was predominated by men. As Virginia Woolf mentions in her feminist bible, “A Room of One’s Own” they shut their doors on women, and women were only allowed to enter the libraries if they were accompanied by a man. However, things changed, and the domain of knowledge was opened to women. 

All the colleges founded in the 20th century were coeducational, except St. Anthony’s College which was founded in 1950 as a male-centric college but became a coeducational institute after 1967. 

Are all Oxford colleges coed?

Colleges that are Co-Educational at Oxford:

The list of all the colleges of Oxford University and when they became coed is as follows:

  • Balliol College: Co-educational
  • Brasenose College: Co-educational (since 1974)
  • Black friars: Co-educational
  • Campion Hall: Co-educational
  • Christ Church College: Co-educational (since 1979)
  • Corpus Christi College: Co-educational
  • Exeter College: Co-educational
  • Green Templeton College: Co-educational
  • Harris Manchester College: Co-educational
  • Hertford College: Co-educational (since 1974)
  • Jesus College: Co-educational (since 1974)
  • Keble College: Co-educational
  • Kellogg College: Co-educational
  • Lady Margaret Hall: Co-educational (since 1979)
  • Linacre College: Co-educational
  • Lincoln College: Co-educational
  • Magdalen College: Co-educational
  • Mansfield College: Co-educational
  • Merton College: Co-educational
  • New College: Co-educational
  • Nuffield College: Co-educational
  • Oriel College: Co-educational (since 1985)
  • Pembroke College: Co-educational
  • The Queen’s College: Co-educational
  • Regent Park’s College: Co-educational
  • Reuben College: Co-educational
  • St. Anne’s College: Co-educational (since 1979)
  • St. Anthony’s College: Co-educational (since 1962)
  • St. Bennet’s College: Co-educational (since 2015)
  • St. Catherine’s College: Co-educational (since 1974)
  • St. Edmund Hall: Co-educational
  • St. Hilda’s College: Co-educational (since 2008)
  • St. Hugh’s College: Co-educational (since 1986)
  • St. John’s College: Co-educational
  • St. Peter’s College: Co-educational
  • St. Stephen’s College: Co-educational
  • Somerville College: Co-educational (since 1994)
  • Trinity College: Co-educational
  • University College: Co-educational
  • Wadham College: Co-educational (since 1974)
  • Wolfson College: Co-educational
  • Worcester College: Co-educational
  • Wycliffe Hall: Co-educational

Women’s Colleges

Oxford and Cambridge were originally male-predominated universities. For a very long-time people have believed that women who were educated were wicked and the more educated women there will be, the more problems the society will have. However, people’s mentality began to change, and Oxford University allowed women to get admission into colleges for a graduation degree. 

Next came the big revolution in history, where once women were prohibited to enter; educational institutions for women were being created. Lady Margaret Hall founded in 1878 became one of its kind places, above a bakery shop in Oxford where women could attend lectures. After that, Somerville College opened for women to attend. Together they made a total of 25 women attending Oxford University. 

Gradually, St. Anne’s, St Hugh’s, and then St. Hilda’s became a part of the all-women’s colleges at Oxford University. 

From All-Women’s to Co-educational

The debates on gender equality have raised new questions about colleges preferring one sex over the other. Hence, many colleges in the United Kingdom and the United States have turned coeducational. Some of the women’s colleges in the Oxford that turned into coed colleges are listed below:

  • Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (co-educational in 1979)
  • St Anne’s College, Oxford (co-educational in 1979)
  • St Hugh’s College, Oxford (co-educational in 1986)
  • Somerville College, Oxford (co-educational in 1994)
  • St Hilda’s College, Oxford (co-educational in 2008)

Growing Popularity towards Coed

At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the colleges in Oxford were either male-centric or women-centric. Due to this, the number of women remained less within the university as the number of women’s colleges was also few. It was only after the 1960s that most colleges allowed admission to the other sex as well. The male-centric colleges started admitting women and the women-centric colleges started admitting men as well.

Before 1974, women made up a total of 16% of the population of the university. But now it is almost half and half. 

All the colleges of Oxford University have now become coeducational. Most colleges also have co-residential hostels, completely doing away with the male and female segregation. One of the most prestigious institutes admits students only based on merit and does not segregate based on sex. 

Which is the last college of Oxford University to become co-educational?

The process of colleges of Oxford Universities converting to coed began in the 1970s and was finally completed when the last of its all colleges, St. Benet’s College opened to female students in the year 2015. It was the last to do that, but with that Oxford University has become completely coeducational. It is one of the small institutions of Oxford and mainly focuses on specialization in subjects rather than giving generalized knowledge about many subjects. 

Why is Co-Education Necessary?

As has been mentioned above, women were denied their rights to education for a very long time. Many early feminists including Virginia Woolf and Mary Woolstencroft wrote about women’s educational rights, but like others, they were considered wicked women and people dared not let them spoil the minds of other young girls. 

Since then, the time has changed, the belief system of the society has changed, and more and more women have come to the forefront and achieved great success in the educational fields. Today, there is no field left where women cannot participate. They are not confined within the domestic spheres and have proved their worth of being more than mothers and wives. 

Hence, the institutions need to be coeducational to do away with the disparity between men and women that were earlier there. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1) What percentage of students are female at Oxford University?

Ans. In the past decade, the number of female students applying for admission to Oxford has seen a rapid increase. Almost 54% of the total students in the university are female. 

Q.2) Does Oxford have coed dorms? 

Ans. Oxford University guarantees accommodation facilities for all first-year students. It has co-residential facilities with single as well as a triple number of rooms. The rooms available are limited, though. After the first year, the student may decide whether to live in the dorms or shift elsewhere. 

Q.3) When did Oxford start admitting women?

Ans. In 1963, Oxford university finally started admitting women as full members of the university. Earlier women were allowed lectures but were not granted a degree. It was only after 1963 that women were allowed to get full admission to the university. 

Q.4) Is Oxford safe to live in?

Ans. Oxford is known as an educational hub, and it is safe to say that it is safe to live in the city and inside the university as well.