Magdalen College

| University of Oxford

Magdalen College, Oxford

Magdalen College, Oxford was founded in 1458. It teaches in the region of 377 undergraduate students and 264 graduates. The college is ranked in position 9 of 30 in the Norrington Table of academic results for the year 2014 (where 1 is the top possible score). It is located around 0.50 km from the centre of town.

Courses offered [ + ] Archaeology and Anthropology | Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular | Biological Sciences | Biomedical Sciences | Chemistry | Classical Archaeology and Ancient History | Classics | Classics and English | Computer Science | Engineering Science | English | European and Middle Eastern Languages | Fine Art | History | History (Ancient and Modern) | History and Politics | Human Sciences | Law | Mathematics | Mathematics and Computer Science | Mathematics and Philosophy | Mathematics and Statistics | Medicine (A100) | Medicine (graduate entry - A101) | Music | Philosophy and Linguistics | Philosopy, Politics and Economics (PPE) | Physics | Physics and Philosophy | Psychology (Experimental) | Psychology and Linguistics | Psychology and Philosophy | (additional courses are often available to post-graduate students and many colleges offer complex arrangements of modern languages - please see our courses page for details )

College Scorecard (averages out of five calculated from 6 impressions)
Study (3), Music (3), Sport (3), Smugness (3), Artiness (3) Facilities (3), Accommodation (3) | locate on map

Pretty sweet college with expansive grounds and buildings. However, this has unfortunate tendency to breed smugness.

Study (5), Artiness (5), Sport (5), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (5)

Review by Craig - Undisclosed - add your impression

When I met with potential research supervisors and toured Oxford prior to applying to the university, I was overwhelmed by the number of college choices. To narrow down the list of colleges I might be interested in, I asked every student I met in Oxford what college they thought was 'best'. Eighty or ninety percent voted Magdalen, and four years later, I think the consensus was correct!

Magdalen has some of the brightest, hard-working students (as demonstrated by its undergraduates topping the Norrington table and by how many of its postgraduates are studying on the most competitive Oxford postgraduate courses), but it also has some of the hardest-partying students (as demonstrated by infamous drinking societies, epic bops, and the weekly MCR-hosted 'Liquid Lounge').

Magdalenites excel in a wide range of sports (both male and female rowers have had the highest-ranked boats in the university in recent years; and there are a plethora of successful ball sports clubs to play for), as well as in the arts (the college hosts the university's best-known theatre and film societies, and has one of its best choirs).

Except for the monstrosity that first-year undergraduates are usually accommodated in (the Waynflete building), Magdalen's facilities are excellent: Accommodation is guaranteed for all years for undergraduates (and all but guaranteed for postgraduates) and it's all located very close to college (if not within college) and generally of high quality (e.g., see Holywell Ford Quad, the Daubeny Building, and the Grove Buildings). Non-accommodation facilities are great as well: lots of options for food (though food quality isn't the colleges strongest point, to be fair); extremely well-stocked libraries (they will purchase any book you request if they don't already have it); lots of study space; a large, well-maintained and friendly bar; a free-weight gym; unlimited access to a large fleet of punts; world-class squash courts; beautifully maintained sports pitches including lawn tennis courts; poetry-inspiring walking paths; and deer! What else could you ask for?

Study (5), Artiness (4), Sport (4), Music (5), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (5)

Review by Undisclosed - Finished DPhil in 2011 (July 21, 2011) - add your impression

What can I say... first of all you should probably know that everyone pronounces magdalen as maudlin (specially designed to trip people up!). And now to the nitty gritty:

This is one seriously impressive college: there's a fairly large number of students (undergads and postgrads), and loads of facilities for everyone to use. Magdalen has 100 acres of beautiful grounds and we have our own meadow, fleet of punts on the river, deer as well as really nice buildings. More positives - there are also free pool tables, twice weekly film showings, squash courts, dvds, bbqs, and a darkroom for the photographically inclined.

All years are accommodated and hall cooks all the meals you could need (though there's a shared kitchen on each staircase). Library is 24 hours open (v handy) .

Magdaleners get involved with loads of stuff and we boast many blues sports players, presidents of the oxford union, drama soc, music society etc etc.

It's hard to overhype it!

Study (4), Artiness (4), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (4), Smugness (5)

Review by Charlie - left 2007 (August 26, 2009) - add your impression

Study (5), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (4), Smugness (5)

Review by Undisclosed - Student at another college, frequent visitor to Magdalen (July 23, 2009) - add your impression

Magdalen is an institution. I spent three of the best years of my life there, and only towards the end did I realise just how influential the college is. It owns half the High St, the Botanic Gardens, Oxford Science Parks, etc. The grounds are large enough to get lost in an forget you're in the centre of Oxford. The enchanting buildings are enough to lift you through any gloomy essay crisis, and the expansive and unclaustrophobic layout means you have room to relax.

Some might say it isn't so arty, however the Magdalen Film Society is famous university wide, many of my compatriots directed plays at the OP, the culmination of the annual Magdalen Arts Week showcases college drama talent in the Garden Show, as Arts rep I was in charge of auctioning the JCR collection and setting up life classes.

Magdalen is rife with superlatives, which can go to one's head after three years taking free port etc for granted. Some do play up to the tweedy stereotype, it is quite fun, but most are too busy to be anything but their normal selves.

Being at the pole position of the Norrington Table numerous times in the past decade attests to the pervasive culture of hard work in the college. Friends from other colleges were surprised to hear about the Magdalen pre-finals library fever beginning before Christmas. And the president's welcoming speech to first years is basically "Get a first or you're useless."

Sporting success fluctuates massively depending on yearly intake. Although not a traditionally Blues heavy college it is still a strong presence within the university. One year we were third/second in rugby cuppers, and head of the river in men's and women's. The next we were relegated on most fronts except the women's rowing. Magdalen has its own lovely sports pavillion at the Bear Pit a 15 min walk through entirely Magdalen land, with rugby, football, and cricket grounds, hard tennis courts and six fantastic grass courts. There are top class squash courts by Holywell Ford, the rowers gym with vom inducing ergs and plenty of free weights under the Waynefleet building, and of course Addison's walk at your doorstep providing a perfect running track. Magdalen also fields up to 3 or 4 teams for cuppers go karting and Alts ice hockey.

Its worth mentioning the rowing facilities for non-novices are second to none, with boathouses on the Isis and down with the Blues womens and lightweights at Radley.

Music is omnipresent in the college with the world class choir singing to the town from atop the tower on May Day morning and the bells are forever tolling. There's nothing like unwinding in the evening by popping into the chapel for evensong or organ recital practice, no matter whether you're religious. I can't comment on music tutors, but the music students I knew were phenomenal.

Facilities is where Magdalen emerges as a real playground. It is without doubt the best post exams Trinity hangout. Croquet on the lawns, climbing the tower, running around the deer park at night, climbing on roofs (shhh..). The punt fleet is fantastic, much better than the hired ones, you will become a proper riverman. You can spend most of Trinity perfecting the puntlash/BBQpunt/catapunt (multiple punt flotilla)/bridge hopping/swimming.. and gain immunity to Weil's disease. The JCR is a bit out of the way, but comfortable, with a big comfy TV room that is always packed on match days or being used for initiations. The MCR is fantastic, very open, with great Sunday brunch and Friday Liquid Lounge nights. The SCR is splendid beyond imagination (of an undergrad), ancient mahogany panelled dining rooms, museum pieces lying around, and the best bit is students are invited to quite a few dinners and drinks in these parts of college. Hall has improved significantly, however the price reflects this, to the point where many students simply provide for themselves. Luckily the college has kitchens and ovens on nearly every staircase or floor, some are very good quality. Laundry is pricey, but you can learn the 'card trick'. Bar is great, a little underused, filled mainly by the brief but siesmic bops. The OKB is lovely too, our own little cafe with a riverside terrace to watch the rest of the world fail hilariously at punting.

Accommodation ranges from grim in first year (but still comparative to some colleges version of 'normal'), to nice rooms, likely in college, in second year, to potentially palatial living room sets in third year. The random ballot is king, unless you can sing.

So overall Magdalen is pretty perfect the perfect Oxbridge college. If I search for downsides I could say the community isn't so tight as some due to the size and ease of avoiding people/becoming reclusive/cliquey. It is vital to make as much effort as possible to make friends outside college, radical I know, but people will always be keen to be invited to formal at Magdalen. Applying there is tough, but take the bull by the horns and if you're lucky enough to kick it in the nuts you'll have an amazing time there.

Study (5), Artiness (5), Sport (5), Music (5), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (4)

Review by Undisclosed - Alumnus (June 15, 2013) - add your impression

Study (5), Artiness (4), Sport (5), Music (5), Facilities (5), Accommodation (4), Smugness (3)

Review by Hannah - Student (June 12, 2013) - add your impression