Students at Wolfson

Welcome to Wolfson

Wolfson is home to graduate students, researchers and Fellows from all over the world researching a wide range of subjects. For this guide we have trawled the city of Oxford for places that highlight its uniqueness.


Before you arrive

Loads of really useful information about what to expect and what to plan for before your arrival at Oxford is available via the University's new arrivals website. It includes videos from current students, check lists, accommodation advice and links for further information. It's worth checking what you can do to prepare to make your arrival as smooth as possible.

Tim Hitchens

Welcome from our President

A warm welcome to everyone here at Wolfson. Some of you will know Wolfson well, and are returning to familiar pastures. For others, this will be your first time at this great college, and you will be learning Wolfson’s corridors, meadows, and bars for the first time. You’ve chosen one of Oxford’s gems as your home.

When I arrived here as President over a year ago I was struck by three things.

First, the family atmosphere – and by that I don’t just mean that there are a lot of families, but also that we have the kind of warm welcome you’d expect entering the family home. We have conversations going on all the time between the generations, between fellows, researchers, and more recent graduates. There really is very little stratification here.

Second, the sheer scale of events and collaborations happening in the college, be it the clusters of interdisciplinary work, the music and art we host, the buzz of the place especially during term time. We all have our own tasks, our own projects, but that fits into a wider picture of activity and cross-pollination.

And third, the modernity of Wolfson. That is partly of course the original Grade II listed Powell and Moya buildings from the seventies, complemented by the new Academic Wing opened four years ago, which you now come through to enter the College – you come in with a fresh frame of mind. But it’s also a commitment to being ahead of the curve in our thinking and working, looking to take the best of Oxford without some of its historical accretions.

You will all be struck by different things as you come through our doors, and you will all write your own Wolfson stories. Some may eventually feature in our Oxford Centre for Life Writing! Wherever you come from, and whatever your destination, I hope the college can provide a home for you, stimulate your thinking, and even if you are studying the most ancient of civilisations, keep you (when you are not at your studies) firmly in the twenty-first century.

Tim Hitchens, President 

Find us

How to find us

The College is situated at the end of Linton Road, off Banbury Road, about one mile north of the city centre.

The Lodge

The Lodge - Your first port of call

The Lodge’s receptionists are the first point of contact with Wolfson and the College remains open seven days a week from 8am to 11pm. They can help you with information on such matters as opening times and availability of College facilities, handing over keys to the music rooms, squash courts and many other places (and can even let you back into your room if you get locked out!).

Event Icon

What's on at Wolfson

During term time there are lectures, social, sporting and all sorts of other events going on at Wolfson. Keep track via our Events Calendar and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. 

Student looking at smartphone screen

Wolfson Fresher's Facebook group

Are you a 2019/20 Fresher? Join this Facebook page for all your questions, tips & tricks, social gatherings, and more! 


Your first day at Wolfson

When you first arrive at Wolfson there are several things you will want to do on your first day:

1. Meet the Academic Office Team to register for your course and collect your University card and sign the Wolfson College Student Contract,

2. Attend a library induction and college tour,

2. Set up an internet connection,

3. Verify your Oxford single sign-on (SSO) IT login credentials via Oxford Self Service (if you haven't already), and

4. Check your Nexus email account.


Academic dress - What you need to know

The full academic dress at Oxford is known as sub fusc and is worn at Matriculation and Graduation ceremonies, exams and vivas. Gowns and caps can be hired or purchased from Castell & Son Ltd, Ede and Ravenscroft, Shepherd and Woodward and Walters of Oxford.

Freshers' Fair

The Freshers' Fair

Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) organises a Freshers’ Fair in 0th Week to introduce new students to the wealth of Oxford clubs and societies. This is held at the Examination Schools on the High Street. The Academic Office will distribute tickets to the fair once they becomes available.


Academic and Personal Welfare

For confidential listening and advice students can speak to any member of the College Welfare Team made up of the Senior Tutor, Academic Registrar, Welfare Officers and Peer Supporters. 


Jack the dog

Jack the Welfare Dog

Spending time in the company of a dog can be beneficial to the wellbeing of our students, which is why the College is trialling an arrangement with the Bursar to allow students to spend time with Jack. Jack is a working cocker spaniel, which is a highly intelligent breed, well known for their affection.

Jack responds to the following commands: sit, stay, lie down, heel, roll over, closer, and no. He is happiest in people's company and enjoys walking and/or getting him to stay or respond to commands is also good for him. 

If you'd like to spend time with Jack, please contact the PA to the Bursar at 

blue heart

The Student Advice Service

The Student Advice Service is a free, independent and confidential available to all Oxford University students. Independent from the colleges and the University, staff are available to give information and support to students facing difficult situations.

The College Nurse

The College Nurse

Helen Thornton is the College's part-time nurse and delivers first-class health and welfare support to the graduate student community. She is part of the College welfare team. If you wish to book an appointment, please email



Wolfson Welfare Team

We have Student Welfare Officers (Amogh, Catherine, and Ernesto) who are available to provide practical and informed advice, and hold regular welfare events (often with cake!). The Welfare Officers are here to help you get the best out of your time at Wolfson College. Not only are they are here to help with serious problems, they can help you enjoy your time at Wolfson in many different ways.



The Florey Room

Facilities at Wolfson College

At Wolfson College you will find a variety of facilities that can be booked either online or by contacting the Events Office



All of Wolfson's graduate accommodation is on-site or in a property immediately adjacent to the College grounds, which means all facilities are a step away from your door. This includes accommodation for couples and families.

Student reading a newspaper

The Academic Office

The Academic Office is responsible for all aspects of student administration handled by the College, starting with the admissions process, continuing through your course and finishing with your graduation ceremony. 

The office is normally staffed from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and until 4pm on Fridays, and we are available for drop-in enquiries from 10am to 12am and 1pm to 3pm daily. 

The Buttery

The Buttery

After several months of construction work, the newly refurbished Buttery was opened June 2019.

"The newly refurbished Buttery will be an exciting place for students and members - a place to meet, learn and socialise. The room will be available as bookable space and provide an enhanced venue for functions and meals when the Hall is being used for events," Sir Tim Hitchens commented. 

Antony Gormley artwork at Wolfson

Modern Art at Wolfson

Wolfson College has a reputation for supporting and showcasing modern art, like this striking work by renowned sculptor Antony Gormley.

College members, who live in College property, can borrow an original work of art from the Arts Society, to hang in their office or room.


Moonlit Meadows

North and South Meads

Crossing the river via the rainbow bridge leads one into two flood meadows owned by the College. These meadows are designated as Sites of Special Scientific interest (SSSI) and as such are not treated with any fertilisers or pesticides. They can be visited by students and members of the public alike and contain a good variety of native flora and fauna. 

Annual lectures

Annual Lectures

Our annual lectures have featured the likes of Amartya Sen and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and in other lectures, our very own researchers and students.

research clusters

Research Clusters

Wolfson is home to a number of renowned research clusters, who are pushing the boundaries of knowledge on topics ranging from Quantum Physics to Life Writing.



The College provides a free minibus service to and from the College to the city centre, which runs every 20 minutes in the early morning, lunchtime and late afternoons on Mondays to Fridays.

Berlin Group Photo

Our History

Wolfson College was founded in 1966 and received a building grant of £1.5 million from the Wolfson Foundation and an endowment grant of £4.5 million from the Ford Foundation. Take our tour into the first 50 years of Wolfson College.


Our Founding President: Isaiah Berlin

Wolfson College would not be as it is today had its first President not been Isaiah Berlin. Berlin was a widely respected philosopher and writer and played a significant role in establishing the College’s open and egalitarian character.

Leonard Wolfson Auditorium

Accessibility at Wolfson

At Wolfson we are always working to make the College accessible for everyone. College staff is always ready to assist and provide information on site. Take a tour of our buildings and venues available for all access needs. 


IT at Wolfson

The College provides both Windows and Mac workstations for use by members in the Library, as well as printing facilities. The IT staff run a weekly IT surgery or you can seek advice through the online support system.


College Nursery

Wolfson College Day Nursery is contained within the College’s buildings and there are two enclosed outside play areas. The Day Nursery prides itself on the supportive and happy environment it provides for children of all abilities who come from a wide range of different cultures and backgrounds.

Two students talking

Welcoming scheme

When you arrive, all ‘New Faces’ are paired with current students, or ‘Old Hands’, already at Wolfson. Your 'Old Hand' provides a friendly face around college who can help you to settle in and provide information about Wolfson, the University and living in Oxford.

Tulips in the Bishop's Garden

Sustainability at Wolfson

The College has an informal committee working together with the Home Bursar to improve College sustainability. We discuss and take action on a range of issues. If you would like to come along to one of our bi-termly meetings, please contact the Home Bursar's Office or talk to the current Environmental Rep, Angelina Palmen

The Pride flag

LGBTQ+ at Wolfson

In 2018, Wolfson College appointed an LGBTQ+ representative, Hannah Goddard-Rebstein. She has discussed issues relating to gender-neutral washrooms and raising the Pride flag in College with various committees. As a College we are working hard to promote and highlight LGBTQ+ issues. 

Students in the library

Oxford Glossary

If you're new at Oxford, all the typical Oxford words can be a bit overwhelming. What is a battel? What does it mean to pidge something? Have a look at the Oxford University Glossary and get to know the Oxford vocabulary. 

Wolfson Pear


Each student at Wolfson has an account with the College known as ‘battels’. Wolfson runs a cash-free system, where all personal costs incurred at Wolfson are added to this running total. Each month, battels bills for College accommodation, food and other items will be emailed, and must be paid by the due date specified on the battels statement. Members will be able to pay their battels online using their Oxford single-sign-on account log in details. 


Your Pidge

Pidge is short for 'pidgeon hole'. Pidges at Wolfson College can be found just behind the lodge. This is where you will receive your mail. "To pidge" is to send a message via the University Messenger Service. 

General meeting

General Meeting

General Meetings occur at least twice in each term and are an opportunity for all College and Common Room members to discuss any College business. Anybody can raise on issue for discussion. If you have something that you would like to be discussed in an upcoming meeting, please contact the Chair of the General Meeting or the Common Room Administrator. 

Wolfson College Running Club

Clubs & Societies

Wolfson College boasts a wide range of clubs and societies - from arts to yoga and most things in between. These are open to all College members and many of them are free to join or membership and costs are subsidised by the College. 


Common Rooms

Students, Fellows and staff are members of a single common room which results in a friendly, informal atmosphere – a distinctive feature of Wolfson. Unlike most Oxford and Cambridge colleges, Wolfson has a single common room organisation where all fellows, graduate students, members of Common Room and staff are welcome, along with their guests.

In the Upper Common Room (UCR), tea, coffee and drinks are served after lunch and dinner, as well as mid-morning coffee/tea. Magazines and newspapers are available to read in the Lower Common Room (LCR). There is also an East Common Room (ECR) (just before the marble steps leading to the Hall) which has a television with DVD player and Sky satellite TV service and board games.

Getting Involved

Getting involved

All of the various constituencies in the College are represented at all levels of decision-making in the College. In particular, this means that graduate students have a voice on the committees that decide how the College is run and developed.

Nawamin Pinpathomrat

Student profile: Nawamin Pinpathomrat

While researching a cure for Tuberculosis at the University of Oxford, Namawin Pinpathomrat finished as a finalist on MasterChef UK 2018

Namawin is a DPhil candidate in Clinical medicine at the Jennifer Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine. His research field, Evaluating immunogenicity and efficacy of viral vector vaccines expressing novel mycobacterial antigens, concentrates on finding a cure for Tuberculosis by boosting the immune system using a virus. Namawin chose Tuberculosis because in Thailand, it is a big problem, like many other infectious diseases. People think that Tuberculosis has been eradicated but actually, it is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world.

When Namawin first came to the UK, MasterChef was his favourite program. When a friend suggested he should apply, he did. Being a scientist did help him throughout the show, especially with one challenge where he had to follow a 20-page recipe form a two-star Michelin chef. Namawin wants to combine his passion for cooking with his research interest by ultimately opening a restaurant where the proceeds go towards charities in Thailand.

Nawamins final course on MasterChef was inspired by Wolfson. “When thinking up my final courses I was sitting with my friend looking at the Wolfson Harbour and we came up with the idea of using duck. I also wanted to use the Wolfson colours and the Pear and Rose symbols that are on the shield”. He says that he’s not only learned a lot academically, but he also has made a lot of friends by doing some activity provided by Wolfson and the University. According to Namawin, Oxford is perfectly designed for students – the college system brings all the students together.





The Wolf Hub

Book facilities at Wolfson College through the Wolf Hub

Grilled sweetcorn on Barbecue


There is a barbecue, picnic area and children’s playground beside the north car park. Barbecues can be booked and are a nice way to spend a summer evening.



The Library is open to members of the college 24/7, every day of the year and includes a fantastic new extension and break out area. Our Librarians Fiona and Chris are available to help you navigate your reading lists and research requirements.

Piano - David Jones

Music facilities

The College has two small practice rooms, each containing an upright piano and there is a grand piano in the Dining Hall. The College Music Society owns a selection of piano music, choral works and CDs which you may borrow free of charge from the library.

Media room

Media room

Our new sound-proofed media space accommodates a group of about ten people, with a large wall-mounted LCD display screen for group study or presentations.

Leonard Wolfson Auditorium

Leonard Wolfson Auditorium

Our award winning lecture theatre houses conferences, lectures and music concerts.

Our gardens

Our Gardens

Beautiful informal gardens surround the main buildings, including a harbour and riverbank as well as the beautiful ‘Bishop’s Garden’ and wildflower meadow.


Croquet lawn

There is a croquet lawn behind the Dining Hall in the College’s gardens. A croquet set is kept in a locker in the boathouse. Each year there is an inter-college competition (‘cuppers’), which is supposedly the largest croquet competition in the world!



There are allotments and raised beddings on the south side of the College’s gardens which are available for use by College members for a small rent. 



Romulus is the literary magazine of Wolfson College, Oxford. It strives in print to represent the voice of Wolfson, to express the diversity of our lives as individuals.


Wolfson Café

The Wolfson Café serves hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and snacks. It is a great place to catch up with friends or catch up on some work.

Clea Desebrock

Student Profile: Clea Desebrock

Clea is a DPhil student in Experimental Psychology, based at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory led by Professor Charles Spence, at the Department of Experimental Psychology. Her research focuses on the effect of social associations on our perceptual and cognitive processes and actions.

Taking a rather unusual path to academia, Clea originally studied music (which was followed by a career in the music industry, writing soundtracks and working as a producer). She came to Psychology latterly, inspired by certain life events and with an aspiration to pursue a career in academic psychology and public outreach. After completing a Master's degree in Psychology, she worked as an intern and then Research Assistant (RA) in the Cognitive Neuropsychology Centre, here at Oxford, gaining experience in the experimental and cognitive neuroscience branches, and was subsequently accepted on to the DPhil course. She is currently approaching her third year. See the link in the bar to view her latest publication.

She chose Oxford because her passion for her topic had grown exponentially during her time as an RA, and while developing her thesis proposal the opportunity arose to be supervised by one of the leading researchers in psychology, who was also a remarkable mentor and educator. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance and so she did not hesitate to apply. In general, of course, the invigorating and inspiring academic atmosphere at Oxford, and the resources, and networking opportunities are second-to-none.

On her application she chose Wolfson College specifically because many members of the Cognitive Neuropsychology Centre were based here so she felt she would be well-supported in her field, and she had already become familiar with the college during her time as a research assistant and learnt that it had a particularly open-minded, welcoming and inclusive environment. The ambiance is intellectual and quietly ambitious, but at the same time not overtly or overly competitive. Alongside the supportive and friendly staff (who she has found have been a joy to work with), these characteristics have made it a very pleasant environment to study and live in.

Graduate study at Oxford also encourages diversity and a well-rounded education, and is consequently also extremely well set-up for extracurricular activities. Students are spoilt for choice with the Oxford Union talks, numerous daily events, concerts, and seminars to attend, and the social, sporting, and special-interest clubs to cater for everyone. At Wolfson, there are many opportunities to try new things. Clea personally has joined rowing club training sessions, tried squash for the first time with free group classes kindly offered by another student, and started learning Italian. Around a typical DPhil schedule at Oxford (at least, in psychology), however, her advice is to sample new things or focus on a favorite, but in moderation.

Living on campus has also been a unique experience with the beautiful calming views of green and water, the punt harbour, and countryside setting and yet still close to the city centre. After an average day of study at your department, you can return to Wolfson and, for example, play squash or tennis, take a fitness or mindfulness class, attend a barbecue, pop to the gym, dine in hall, rehearse in the music rooms, meet friends in the café, common rooms or bar, or just take some time to sit on the 'thinking bench' near the punt harbour, and much more.

Dining Hall

Table manners

Lunch and dinner is served in the Dining Hall on weekdays, and brunch on Saturdays. It is a great place to catch up with other students and researchers, and unlike most Oxford Colleges, there is no High Table so everyone dines together. Graduate students receive a 50% reduction in the price of hot cooked items.

Informal Hall

Informal Meals

Informal meals including lunch and dinner are served in the Hall on weekdays, and brunch on Saturdays. All College members are encouraged to dine in Hall as often as possible to participate in the life of the College. Guests are welcome, and no booking is needed. 

Formal Hall

Formal Hall

Formal Hall is a served three-course meal that takes place three times each term. Dress code is smart, though black tie is not required, and academic gowns are not worn.

Guest Night Dinner

Guest Nights

Guest Night dinners are elaborate, served formal dinners, with wines. They take place on Thursdays during term time and are open to all members of College and Common Room. They provide a convivial atmosphere and the chance to meet other Wolfsonians as well as to entertain guests. Dress code is smart, though black tie is not required, and academic gowns are not worn.

You can make a booking for yourself and your guests using your single-sign-on via the Wolfson Gateway, where you can also see each night's menu. There is a limit of five guests in addition to yourself. 

Masked Ball at Wolfson


The Wolfson Winter Ball is a highly anticipated event in the annual College calendar and is completely organised and run by a voluntary student Ball Committee. 

If you are interested in volunteering at this year's ball, get in touch with Akash ( or Felix (!



College dances, affectionately known as ‘bops’, are run several times a term in the Cellar Bar and adjacent Games Room. They usually have themes, varying from '90s to ABC-bop! 

Wolf plushie on

College Collectables

Meet Sirius, our fluffy Wolfson mascotte. The Alumni Office gifts these wolf plushies to our graduands, but for those who can't wait to get their hands on a Wolfie, they are available for purchase at the Lodge as well. 

Alumni gathering

The Alumni Network

The Development Office looks after relationships with college alumni and raises funds for the College’s future, and particularly to provide additional support for students and Research Clusters at Wolfson.

College Advice

College Advisers

Each graduate student is allocated a senior member of the College as a College Adviser who is available as a source of help and advice, and is someone you can speak with about your work other than your academic supervisor(s).


The College Gym

The Sports/Weights Room is open from 6.30 am–11 pm. It contains weights machines and free weights, two cross trainers, running machines, bike and an ergometer (‘erg’). You need to complete a gym induction prior to using the gym, after which you can use your University card ('Bod card') for access.

Before being allowed to use the Sports Room members of College and Common Room must attend a one hour induction held by a qualified instructor.


Punting and leisure sports

The College owns six punts for the use of College members during the warmer months. There are sports lockers in the boathouse, which contain equipment for croquet, hockey, football, cricket and volleyball.

Wolfson College Boat Club

Wolfson College Boat Club (rowing)

Wolfson College Boat Club is one of Oxford’s leading college boat clubs, open to members of Wolfson and St. Cross colleges. For most of Wolfson College Boat Club, racing is why we do what we do. Our long-serving top men’s coach, Paul Kelly, may have put it best: “I don’t know who decided to take nine people from each college, put them in a boat, and see who can go backwards down the river fastest. But we might as well be the best at it.”

The Buttery


Yoga and acroyoga sessions are held during term time. More information can be found on the clubs and societies webpages and on the wolfson event calendar.

The Buttery is used by various clubs and societies including yoga and life drawing, occasionally for informal dinners and can be booked for events or parties.


Sports field

The College has a sports field behind M Block and Catherine Marriott Building which is marked up for various sports including a football pitch and a running track in the summer months.



Squash court

Squash courts & Squash Club

Our squash courts are open 24 hours a day and are located near the Robyn Gandy accommodation and sports field. The Squash Club is very active and welcomes new members.

Wolfson College Boat Club

Wolfson College Boat Club (rowing)

Wolfson College Boat Club is one of Oxford’s leading college boat clubs, open to members of Wolfson and St. Cross colleges. For most of Wolfson College Boat Club, racing is why we do what we do. Our long-serving top men’s coach, Paul Kelly, may have put it best: “I don’t know who decided to take nine people from each college, put them in a boat, and see who can go backwards down the river fastest. But we might as well be the best at it.”

Billiard - Natan Forgot

Games Room

The Games Room is adjacent to the Cellar Bar, and equipment is available to play table tennis, pool, darts and table football. College dances, affectionately known as ‘bops’, are run several times a term in the Cellar Bar and adjacent Games Room. You can request the key to the Games Room from the Lodge.