Oxford University: Wolfson College. Image courtesy of Iqbal Aalam.

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Wolfson College

Wolfson College is an all-graduate college affiliated with the University of Oxford in England, located near the River Cherwell in north Oxford. Wolfson has over sixty governing body fellows. It also has both research and junior research fellows. It caters to a wide range of subjects, from the humanities to the social and natural sciences.

Since its foundation in 1965, it has been coeducational, as have most of Oxford’s newer colleges. First president of the college, Sir Isaiah Berlin was instrumental in not only its founding, but also in establishing its tradition of academic excellence and egalitarianism.

What's the History of Wolfson College?

The first president of Wolfson College was Sir Isaiah Berlin, an influential historian and political philosopher. Initially known as Iffley College, it offered a community for graduate students in natural and social sciences. As of 1965, the college didn’t have a president of a building. However, Berlin secured support from the Wolfson Foundation and Ford Foundation in 1966 to establish a separate site for it. Because Scottish businessman and philantropist Sir Isaac Wolfson contributed generously to the foundation of the college, it carries his name. 

The Buildings of Wolfson College

The Main Building

Wolfson College’s main building was designed by Powell and Moya Architects. It was completed in 1974 and is one of the most modern buildings in the University. The building has three quadrangles: The Berlin QUad (named after Isaiah Berlin), the Tree Quad (built around established trees), and the River Quad (With a diverted branch of the River Cherwell). The main building has student accommodation, three child-friendly courtyards, family housing, and several purpose-built blocks.

The Library

The library occupies both floors in one of the main building’s wings. It’s open to members of the college and has an extensive collection of books and journals. 

The Common Room and Hall

Wolfson College has a common room for fellows and graduate students. Built in two floors, it has a terrace overlooking the punting harbour, with a bar and a coffee counter. The lower common room has magazines and newspapers. The “Haldane Room” is a hall adjacent to the dining hall that holds formal means.

The Gardens and Punting Harbour

Wolfson College owns grounds on both sides of the river Cherwell, including two meadows and a small garden with mature trees. A flight of steps leads to a greenhouse and a sundial. Th college also has a squash court and croquet lawn.

What is it Like to Study at Wolfson College, Oxford?

The college takes part in many university sporting events including football, cricket, and yearly rowing competitions. Wolfson College is one of the few in Oxford with its own punting harbour and a fleet of punts that all members of the college can use. 

Wolfson College has a number of research clusters including:

  • Ancient World Research Cluster
  • Digital Research Cluster
  • Earth Emergency Cluster
  • Law, Justice and Society at Wolfson
  • Oxford Centre for Life Writing
  • South Asia Research Cluster
  • Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Centre
  • Quantum Foundations Research Cluster
  • The Quantum Hub

Where is Wolfson College?

Wolfson College is located on Linton Road (OX2 6UD), Oxford. Tel 01865 274100.

Wolfson College Coat of Arms
Arms: Per pale gules and or on a chevron between three roses and two pears all countercharged the roses barbed and seeded proper.

Can you Visit Wolfson College?

Yes, Wolfson College is open to the public. 

  • Open: Daylight hours.
  • Charge: Free.
  • Groups: Groups should notify the College in advance of their visit. 

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Oxford University: Wolfson College. Image courtesy of Iqbal Aalam.

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