Notable highlights of life at Exeter include:
- Fantastic locations – the best in Oxford!
- Three years’ guaranteed accommodation for undergraduates
- A programme of talks from prestigious speakers open to all students
- A garden with breath-taking views of Oxford
- A restored and refurbished Victorian library that is stunningly beautiful and meets the needs of students today
- Cohen Quadrangle – the College’s award-winning second city centre site, opened in 2017
- Generous financial grants to help fund students’ academic and extra-curricular activities
- A stunning Hall, where meals are served and celebrations held – and a more informal bar and café
- An international community, including visiting students from Williams College, Massachusetts
- An annual Arts Festival, co-hosted with other Turl Street colleges
- ExVac, a student-run charity providing activity holidays for local children
Exeter is privileged to have two city centre sites: its historic core on Turl Street, and the award-winning Cohen Quad, opened in 2017. Both are within a few minutes’ walk of city centre amenities such as cafés, pubs, and shops. The University Science Area, and other faculty buildings, are around 10 minutes’ walk away.
The college’s Library, Hall and beautiful Chapel, are all located on Turl Street in the very heart of Oxford, with views of Oxford’s dreaming spires, the iconic Radcliffe Camera and the world-famous Bodleian Libraries. The Fellows’ Garden (which is open to students) provides an oasis of tranquillity from the bustle of the city, and is used by students as a peaceful space to relax, chat and study. A mound at the far end of the Garden affords a panoramic view of the famous Radcliffe Square – often said to be the best view in Oxford.
Cohen Quadrangle (Cohen Quad for short) opened in 2017, in Jericho, one of the most desirable and fashionable areas of Oxford. It is an inspiring modern building with a spacious auditorium, café, open plan study and social spaces, and bedrooms for ninety students.
There are also accommodation options for undergraduate and postgraduate students in lively east Oxford.
Exeter’s restored Victorian Gothic Library
Following extensive renovation works, Exeter’s beautiful Victorian Gothic library reopened in 2023. The restored library has been modernised while preserving and enhancing the Library’s beautiful architecture.
The Library is now fully accessible, with step-free access, a lift and a wheelchair-accessible toilet. Lighting, heating, ventilation and environmental performance have been significantly improved. There are now electric plug sockets at every desk, and some desks can be raised or lowered electronically to meet different needs and modes of studying. The number of reader spaces has been increased, original architectural features have been restored, as have the original oak bookcases, and stonework and woodwork cleaned and restored.
The result is a truly magnificent study space that fulfils the needs of current students and academics.
Food and Drink
Exeter’s diverse range of places to eat, and the food and drink on offer, gives students plenty of choice. Students can eat in the traditional Hall, the more relaxed college bar, or the modern Dakota Café at Cohen Quad. Students can choose to attend any of the Formal Halls and enjoy a three-course meal in the company of friends in the main Hall. Students also have access to kitchens if they wish to cook for themselves.
A Welcoming Community
Exeter has an international atmosphere, with undergraduates, graduates and fellows from across the world. The college hosts visiting students from Williams College, USA as part of the Williams at Exeter Programme in Oxford. As a mid-sized college, Exeter has a warm environment where people quickly get to know each other. It is widely regarded as one of the friendliest colleges in Oxford – the friendliest, if you ask anyone who has studied here.
Exeter’s community spirit is also fostered by social events such as celebrations to mark Thanksgiving, Diwali, Hanukkah, Lunar New Year and Burns Night, and regular ‘subject family dinners’, when students studying similar subjects have a formal meal together and share ideas.
Exeter offers world-class teaching in small groups from tutors who are experts in their fields, giving Exeter students the chance to learn from the best and develop intellectually. The College Library is home to 50,000 volumes on open access shelves, and is open 24/7 for students to use. If students need a book that isn’t currently in the library, they can request its purchase, or visit the University’s vast Bodleian Library just next door.
Exeter’s programme of Rector’s Seminars, where prominent experts speak about a range of topics, lets students engage with ideas and concepts from beyond their own subject. Guest speakers have included Olympic medal-winning athletes, an England footballer, current and former politicians from around the world, ambassadors, entrepreneurs, actors, a comedian, film directors, authors, historians, political scientists and many other leading figures.
The College has also hosted a number of larger events – free to its students and alumni – which have included talks from JK Rowling, Peter Jackson, Kofi Annan, Rowan Williams, and Philip Pullman.
Exeter College distinguishes itself by providing at least three years’ accommodation to its undergraduates, either on Turl Street, at Cohen Quad, or a mile away in fashionable East Oxford. First year undergraduates are all accommodated on Turl Street, at the heart of the college. In later years undergraduates have more choice of accommodation and locations, including the option of living in privately rented accommodation if they wish.
First year graduate students can normally all be accommodated at the College’s graduate accommodation centre on Iffley Road. This includes flats of various sizes, which are ideal for graduate students with family or partners.
Exeter College has a long and distinguished history. Founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, the College has produced many distinguished alumni over the years. J. R. R. Tolkien studied at Exeter, as did William Morris, Richard Burton and Roger Bannister. More recent Exonians include the BBC journalists Reeta Chakrabarti and Sanchia Berg, artist Helen Marten, winner of the Turner Prize, and the novelist Philip Pullman, who based his Jordan College on Exeter.
Exeter College offers a range of grants to help cover the cost its students’ academic and extra-curricular activities, including academic awards towards the cost of equipment and accommodation, and travel grants. For example, the North American Travel Scholarship gives students the opportunity to travel across North America exploring an area of interest and, should they wish to, meeting with Exeter alumni along the way.
The college can also provide emergency financial aid to students should they have unexpected financial difficulties.
A number of scholarships are available to graduate students as well.
Musics, Arts and Drama
Exeter is home to a vibrant music, arts and drama scene. From the dedicated music practice room, to the Junior Common Room’s art collection which is lent out to undergraduates to decorate their rooms, to the annual Turl Street Arts Festival (which the College co-hosts with our neighbouring colleges), there’s something for everyone. You can also join the Exeter College Choir, widely regarded as one of the finest student ensembles in the country, and students regularly perform plays in the Fellows’ Garden or the auditorium at Cohen Quad.
Students at Exeter have plenty of opportunities to play sport and this helps to foster the College’s community spirit. The College has great facilities, including a free gym on Turl Street, and students get subsidised membership of the University sports complex. There are also a number of student-run sports teams for men and women, including rowing, football, rugby, netball and lacrosse – and students are always encouraged to set up their own clubs.
Exeter College’s student-run charity, ExVac, runs two activity holidays a year for disadvantaged children from the Oxford area. The college often joins together to raise money for the charity, through fun runs, charity auctions, and raffles. Students often report that helping to lead an ExVac holiday is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of their entire time at university.
As a welcoming college with an inclusive and diverse community, student life at Exeter is hugely fun and busy, making Exeter a great place to live and study while at Oxford.