The conference will be held at: 

Mathematical Institute
University of Oxford
Andrew Wiles Building
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Woodstock Road
Follow this link for travel information


In 1188, the historian, Gerald of Wales, gave a public reading to the assembled Oxford dons and in around 1190 the arrival of Emo of Friesland, the first known overseas student, set in motion the University's tradition of international scholarly links. By 1201, the University was headed by a magister scolarum Oxonie, on whom the title of Chancellor was conferred in 1214, and in 1231 the masters were recognised as a universitas or corporation.

In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (townspeople and students) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence. These were succeeded by the first of Oxford's colleges, which began as medieval 'halls of residence' or endowed houses under the supervision of a Master. University, Balliol and Merton Colleges, which were established between 1249 and 1264, are the oldest.

Less than a century later, Oxford had achieved eminence above every other seat of learning, and won the praises of popes, kings and sages by virtue of its antiquity, curriculum, doctrine and privileges. In 1355, Edward III paid tribute to the University for its invaluable contribution to learning; he also commented on the services rendered to the state by distinguished Oxford graduates.

From its early days, Oxford was a centre for lively controversy, with scholars involved in religious and political disputes. John Wyclif, a 14th-century Master of Balliol, campaigned for a Bible in the vernacular, against the wishes of the papacy. In 1530, Henry VIII forced the University to accept his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and during the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford.

The University was Royalist in the Civil War, and Charles I held a counter-Parliament in Convocation House. In the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected of treason, was forced to flee the country.

The 18th century, when Oxford was said to have forsaken port for politics, was also an era of scientific discovery and religious revival. Edmund Halley, Professor of Geometry, predicted the return of the comet that bears his name; John and Charles Wesley's prayer meetings laid the foundations of the Methodist Society.

The University assumed a leading role in the Victorian era, especially in religious controversy. From 1833 onwards The Oxford Movement sought to revitalise the Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church. One of its leaders, John Henry Newman, became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and was later made a Cardinal. In 1860 the new University Museum was the scene of a famous debate between Thomas Huxley, champion of evolution, and Bishop Wilberforce.

From 1878, academic halls were established for women and they were admitted to full membership of the University in 1920. Five all-male colleges first admitted women in 1974 and, since then, all colleges have changed their statutes to admit both women and men. St Hilda's College, which was originally for women only, was the last of Oxford's single sex colleges. It has admitted both men and women since 2008.

During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Oxford added to its humanistic core a major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including medicine. In so doing, it has enhanced and strengthened its traditional role as an international focus for learning and a forum for intellectual debate.


The 38 colleges, though independent and self-governing, form a core element of the University, to which they are related in a federal system. Each college is granted a charter approved by the Privy Council, under which it is governed by a Head of House and a Governing Body comprising of a number of Fellows, most of whom also hold University posts. There are also six Permanent Private Halls, which were founded by different Christian denominations, and still retain their religious character today.

The Conference of Colleges represents the common concerns of the colleges on Council, its committees, and the four Divisional Boards, and acts as a body for intercollegiate discussion and decision-making.


The University’s academic departments, faculties and research centres are grouped into four divisions: Humanities; Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; Medical Sciences; and Social Sciences. Day-to-day decision-making in matters such as finance and planning is devolved to the divisions. The Department for Continuing Education is the responsibility of a separate board. 


You may not know, however, about some of Oxford's other important features in the twenty-first century. Today, Oxford is a modern, research-driven university. Our prowess in the sciences is particularly noteworthy: we have been ranked number one in the world for medicine for five years running by the Times Higher Education Supplement (2011-16). Oxford is also ranked in the top six globally in engineering, life sciences, social sciences and the arts and humanities. These pages share some of the highlights of that story.

Globalisation is nothing new at Oxford: we welcomed our first international student - Emo of Friesland - in 1190. The pace of globalisation has accelerated in recent decades, and Oxford now has a strong international character and a presence around the world unlike that of any other university. 

Today 41 percent of our students and 48 percent of our academic staff hail from countries outside the United Kingdom. Oxford is at the forefront in studying topics of worldwide interest, from the dawn of the universe to the challenges of globalisation. Oxford academics have built untold numbers of research collaborations with international partners. Our Tropical Medicine laboratories are probably the most substantial overseas research presence of any university, employing some 1,500 staff in Asia and Africa to increase our understanding of how to treat tropical infectious diseases. Oxford has defined the English language for many people around the world through the dictionaries and other books of Oxford University Press (OUP). OUP is the world’s largest university press, with a presence in 50 countries. Our alumni are more than 275,000 strong and are spread across almost every country on earth. Today’s Oxford students, whether British or international, also enjoy access to a range of international experiences while studying here, including internships around the world, courses with study abroad components, and substantial support from the collegiate university for independent research abroad. Oxford aims to deliver an exceptional education, to carry out world-leading research, and to make significant contributions to society - locally, nationally, and internationally. Our extensive and ever-expanding global links have been developed to serve these principles.