Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge)Category: Educational System
At Oxbridge. Oxford — the Golden Heart of Britain. A College in Oxbridge. Cambridge — Its Past and Present
Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest and most prestigious universities in Great Britain. They are often called collectively Oxbridge to denote an elitarian education. Both universities are independent. Only very rich and aristocratic families can afford to send their sons and daughters to these universities. Mostly they are former public schools leavers.
The tutorial is the basic mode of instruction at Oxford and Cambridge, with lectures as optional extras.
The normal length of the degree course is three years, after which the students take the Degree of Bachelor of Arts (B. A.). Some courses, such as languages or medicine, may be one or two years longer. The students may work for other degrees as well. The degrees are awarded at public degree ceremonies. Oxford and Cambridge cling to their traditions, such as the use of Latin at degree ceremonies. Full academic dress is worn at examinations.
Oxford and Cambridge universities consist of a number of colleges. Each college is different, but in many ways they are alike. Each college has its name, its coat of arms. Each college is governed by a Master. The larger ones have more than 400 members, the smallest colleges have less than 30. Each college offers teaching in a wide range of subjects. Within the college one will normally find a chapel, a dining hall, a library, rooms for undergraduates, fellows and the Master, and also rooms for teaching purposes.
Oxford is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It is the second largest in Britain, after London. The town of Oxford is first mentioned in the Anglo- Saxon Chronicle in 911 A. D. and it was popular with the early English kings (Richard Cceur de Lion was probably here). The university’s earliest charter is dated back to 1213.
There are now twenty-four colleges for men, five for women and another five which have both men and women members, many from overseas studying for higher degrees. Among the oldest colleges are University College, All Souls and Christ Church.
The local car industry in East Oxford gives an important addition to the city’s outlook. There is a great deal of bicycle traffic both in Oxford and Cambridge.
The Cambridge University started during the 13th century and grew until today. Now there are more than thirty colleges.
On the river bank of the Cam willow trees weep their branches into the water. The colleges line the right bank. There are beautiful college gardens with green lawns and lines of tall trees. The oldest college is Peterhouse, which was founded in 1284, and the most recent is Robinson College, which was opened in 1977. The most famous is probably King’s College because of its magnificent chapel, the largest and the most beautiful building in Cambridge and the most perfect example left of English fifteenth-century architecture. Its choir of boys and undergraduates is also very well known.
The University was only for men until 1871, when the first women’s college was opened. In the 1970s, most colleges opened their doors to both men and women. Almost all colleges are now mixed.
Many great men studied at Cambridge, among them Desiderius Erasmus, the great Dutch scholar, Roger Bacon, the philosopher, Milton, the poet, Oliver Cromwell, the soldier, Newton, the scientist, and Kapitza, the famous Russian physicist.
The universities have over a hundred societies and clubs, enough for every interest one could imagine. Sport is part of students’ life at Oxbridge. The most popular sports are rowing and punting.