OXBRIDGE is a portmanteau (composite word) of "Oxford " and
"Cambridge ", both elite universities in the
United Kingdom . The term
is used to refer to them collectively, both in contrast to other
British universities and more broadly to describe characteristics
University of Oxford
University of Oxford and
University of Cambridge ,
often with implications of superior social or intellectual status.
* 1 Origins
* 2 Meaning
* 3 Related terms
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes
* 6 External links
Although both universities were founded more than eight centuries
ago, the term
Oxbridge is relatively recent. In William Thackeray 's
Pendennis , published in 1849, the main character attends the
fictional Boniface College,
Oxbridge . According to the Oxford English
Dictionary , this is the first recorded instance of the word. Virginia
Woolf used it, citing Thackeray, in her 1929 essay A Room of One\'s
Own . By 1957 the term was used in the
Times Educational Supplement
Times Educational Supplement
and in Universities Quarterly by 1958.
When expanded, the universities are almost always referred to as
"Oxford and Cambridge", the order in which they were founded. A
notable exception is Japan's Cambridge and Oxford Society, probably
arising from the fact that the Cambridge Club was founded there first,
and also had more members than its Oxford counterpart when they
amalgamated in 1905.
Percentage of state-school students at Oxford and Cambridge
In addition to being a collective term,
Oxbridge is often used as
shorthand for characteristics the two institutions share:
* They are the two oldest universities in continuous operation in
the UK. Both were founded more than 800 years ago, and continued as
England's only universities until the 19th century. Between them they
have educated a large number of Britain's most prominent scientists,
writers, and politicians, as well as noted figures in many other
* Because of their age, they have established similar institutions
and facilities such as printing houses (
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press and
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press ), botanical gardens (University of Oxford
Botanic Garden and
Cambridge University Botanic Garden ), museums (the
Ashmolean and the Fitzwilliam ), legal deposit libraries (the Bodleian
Cambridge University Library
Cambridge University Library ), debating societies (the Oxford
Union and the
Cambridge Union ), and notable comedy groups (The Oxford
* Rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge also has a long history,
dating back to around 1209, when Cambridge was founded by scholars
taking refuge from hostile Oxford townsmen, and celebrated to this
day in varsity matches such as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race .
* Each has a similar collegiate structure , whereby the university
is a co-operative of its constituent colleges, which are responsible
for supervisions/tutorials (the principal undergraduate teaching
method) and pastoral care.
* Both universities have many buildings of great beauty and
antiquity, and are sited on level terrain ideal for cycling, near
slow-moving rivers suitable for rowing and punting .
* They are the top-scoring institutions in cross-subject UK
university rankings, so they are targeted by ambitious pupils,
parents and schools. Entrance is extremely competitive and some
schools promote themselves based on their achievement of Oxbridge
offers. Combined, the two universities award over one-sixth of all
English full-time research doctorates.
* Oxford and Cambridge have common approaches to undergraduate
admissions . Until the mid-1980s, entry was typically by sitting
special entrance exams . Applications must be made at least three
months early, and, with only minor exceptions (e.g., organ scholars),
are mutually exclusive for first undergraduate degrees so, in any one
year, candidates may only apply to Oxford or Cambridge, not both.
Because most candidates are predicted to achieve top grades at A level
, interviews are usually used to check whether the course is well
suited to the applicant's interests and aptitudes, and to look for
evidence of self-motivation, independent thinking, academic potential
and ability to learn through the tutorial system.
Oxbridge may also be used pejoratively: as a descriptor of
social class (referring to the professional classes who dominated the
intake of both universities at the beginning of the twentieth
century), as shorthand for an elite that "continues to dominate
Britain's political and cultural establishment" and a parental
attitude that "continues to see UK higher education through an
Oxbridge prism", or to describe a "pressure-cooker" culture that
attracts and then fails to support overachievers "who are vulnerable
to a kind of self-inflicted stress that can all too often become
unbearable" and high-flying state school students who find "coping
with the workload very difficult in terms of balancing work and life"
and "feel socially out of depth".
Pendennis also introduced the term Camford as another
combination of the university names – "he was a Camford man and very
nearly got the English Prize Poem" – although this term has never
achieved the same degree of usage as Oxbridge. Camford was also used
Sherlock Holmes story
The Adventure of the Creeping Man (1923).
Other words have been derived from the term Oxbridge, though none has
achieved widespread recognition. One example is Doxbridge, referring
to Durham , Oxford and Cambridge, and used for an annual
inter-collegiate sports tournament between some of the colleges of
Durham , Oxford, Cambridge and York; while Woxbridge is seen in the
name of the annual Woxbridge conference between the business schools
of Warwick , Oxford and Cambridge. The term Loxbridge (referring to
London , Oxford, and Cambridge) is sometimes seen, and was also
adopted as the name of the Ancient History conference now known as
United Kingdom portal
* University portal
* Golden triangle
Third oldest university in England debate
List of fictional Oxbridge colleges
* ^ "Oxbridge". oed.com (3rd ed.).
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press . 2005.
Originally: a fictional university, esp. regarded as a composite of
Oxford and Cambridge. Subsequently also (now esp.): the universities
of Oxford and Cambridge regarded together, esp. in contrast to other
British universities. adj Of, relating to, characteristic of, or
Oxbridge (freq. with implication of superior social or
* ^ G.D. Worswick (3 May 1957). "The anatomy of Oxbridge". Times
Educational Supplement .
* ^ G.D. Worswick (6 June 1958). "Men's Awards at Oxbridge". Times
Educational Supplement .
A. H. Halsey (1958). "British Universities and Intellectual
Life". Universities Quarterly. Turnstile Press. 12 (2): 144. Retrieved
* ^ Giro Koike (5 April 1995). "Why The "Cambridge & Oxford
Society"?". Retrieved 2008-09-08.
* ^ "
Oxbridge \'Elitism\'" (PDF). parliament.uk. 9 June 2014.
* ^ "Acceptances to Oxford and Cambridge Universities by previous
educational establishment". parliament.uk.
* ^ "A brief history of the University". ox.ac.uk. Archived from
the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
* ^ "A Brief History – Early Records". cam.ac.uk. Retrieved
* ^ A B Cadwalladr, Carole (16 March 2008). "Education: It\'s the
clever way to power – Part 1". The Guardian. London. Retrieved
* ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (16 March 2008). "Education: It\'s the
clever way to power – Part 2". The Guardian. London. Retrieved
* ^ "A Brief History: Early records".
University of Cambridge .
* ^ Watson, Roland. "University Rankings League Table 2009". Good
University Guide. London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
* ^ "University Rankings League Table". The Sunday Times University
Guide. London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
* ^ Bernard Kingston (28 April 2008). "League table of UK
universities". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
* ^ "Research degree qualification rates". Higher Education Funding
Council for England . July 2010.
* ^ Walford, Geoffrey (1986). Life in Public Schools. Taylor &
Francis. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-416-37180-2 . Retrieved 2009-02-02.
* ^ "UCAS Students: Important dates for your diary". Archived from
the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 15 October 2008
Last date for receipt of applications to Oxford University, University
of Cambridge and courses in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science
or veterinary medicine.
* ^ "Organ Awards Information for Prsospective Candidates" (PDF).
Faculty of Music,
University of Oxford
University of Oxford . Archived from the original
(PDF) on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 2009-03-22. It is possible for a
candidate to enter the comparable competition at Cambridge which is
scheduled at the same time of year.
* ^ "UCAS Students FAQs: Oxford or Cambridge". Archived from the
original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-23. Is it possible to
apply to both Oxford University and the University of Cambridge?
* ^ "Cambridge Interviews: the facts" (PDF). University of
Cambridge. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
* ^ "Interviews at Oxford". University of Oxford. Retrieved
* ^ Robert David Anderson (2004). European universities from the
Enlightenment to 1914. OUP . p. 135. ISBN 978-0-19-820660-6 .
* ^ Carole Cadwalladr (16 March 2008). "
Oxbridge Blues". The
* ^ Eric Thomas (20 January 2004). "Down but not out". London: The
Guardian . Retrieved 2009-08-28.
* ^ Elizabeth Davies (21 February 2007). "The over-pressured
hothouse that is Oxbridge".
The Independent . London. Archived from
the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-02. Two recent
deaths have brought the issue of
Oxbridge students' mental health back
to the surface
* ^ Charlie Boss (2 December 2006). "Why so many state school
pupils drop out of Oxbridge".
The Spectator . Retrieved 2009-02-02.
* ^ "How middle-class are you? Take this quiz". The Daily Telegraph
. 19 Feb 2012. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
* ^ "Doxbridge: a chip on our collective shoulders?". Palatinate.
November 6, 2014. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
* ^ "Debate: Rather be at
Oxbridge than Doxbridge?". The Tab. 16
January 2016. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
* ^ "The University Sports Tour for Easter 2008". Archived from the
original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
* ^ "Woxbridge 2011". Conference Website.
* ^ Morgan, K. J. (2004). "The research assessment exercise in
English universities, 2001". Higher Education. 48 (4): 461–482. doi
* ^ "AMPAH 2003: Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History
(formerly also known as LOxBridge)". Retrieved 2008-04-13.