Merton College

| University of Oxford

Merton College, Oxford

Merton College, Oxford was founded in 1264. It teaches in the region of 298 undergraduate students and 289 graduates. The college is ranked in position 1 of 30 in the Norrington Table of academic results for the year 2014 (where 1 is the top possible score). It is located around 0.27 km from the centre of town.

Courses offered [ + ] Biological Sciences | Chemistry | Classical Archaeology and Ancient History | Classics | Computer Science | Economics and Management | English | History | History (Ancient and Modern) | History and English | History and Politics | Law | Mathematics | Mathematics and Computer Science | Mathematics and Philosophy | Mathematics and Statistics | Medicine (A100) | Music | Philosopy, Politics and Economics (PPE) | Physics | Physics 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 (4), Music (3), Sport (3), Smugness (3), Artiness (3) Facilities (4), Accommodation (4) | locate on map

Merton is probably most famous for doing really well in exams - and that's certainly true. It topped the league of oxford colleges in 2008 and usually has a pretty similar performance. The library is not 24 hour but is open til midnight which is enough for most needs...

It's a small college, but with much more to offer than just study - there's a nice bar and games room, really good politics society, art soc and drama soc (the Merton Floats). Sports wise the focus is more on taking part - so the atmosphere is very inclusive and not too cut throat!

All students in all years get rooms in college but only third years get ensuite.. And there aren't that many kitchens around if you want to cook for yourself (hall is good though)

Students benefit from the college's low rents as well as a range of hardship grants available to all students, and book grants etc..

Study (5), Artiness (3), Sport (2), Music (3), Facilities (2), Accommodation (3), Smugness (3)

Review by Undisclosed - Student (August 26, 2009) - add your impression

Definitely the best college; I had a wonderful three years. The rumours about studying hard have a grain of truth, unlike the rumours about having no fun.

Study (5), Artiness (3), Sport (2), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (2)

Review by Tom - Undergraduate (August 4, 2009) - add your impression

Study (5), Artiness (4), Sport (2), Music (3), Facilities (4), Accommodation (5), Smugness (5)

Review by Undisclosed - grad student (July 20, 2009) - add your impression

As Merton is comprised of just 300 undergraduates, there is a strong community feel at the college, with everyone being welcoming and friendly. Accommodation is provided all years of your undergraduate course, so you don't ever have to worry about dealing with private landlords if you don't want to.

There is a thriving social scene at Merton, with a politics society, a music society which runs an orchestra, a choir and a recitals series and several sports teams (for which the college teams up with Mansfield college). These are all great opportunities to get involved in college life and all are very inclusive with the emphasis being on participation.

Merton's stereotype is that it is successful academically, but in reality, all Oxford colleges are demanding in terms of work and Merton is no exception. With fantastic tutors and great facilities, the college is a great place to study.

It also claims to be oldest college and it has several very picturesque quads. It is also very centrally located, being just opposite Examination Schools where many lectures take place.

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (2)

Review by Undisclosed - Undergraduate (August 8, 2011) - add your impression

I have been at Merton for a number of years and i have to say, i have a lot of good things and very few bad things to say about it. Applications to the college suffer greatly because of this 'academic' reputation that current students joke about and applicants take seriously. Merton does attract a handful of super-high achieving students, but the main student body is like any other: there to meet people and have a good time as well as get a degree. The grounds and accommodation are excellent and i'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone desiring a smallish, ancient college in the centre of town with a really friendly atmosphere.

Study (4), Artiness (3), Sport (3), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (2)

Review by Undisclosed - Medical student (August 18, 2012) - add your impression

Where to begin? Objectively speaking, Merton is probably the best college at Oxford at which to be a graduate student. Accommodation is spacious, cheap and plentiful; food is delicious and the academic facilities are excellent. The staff are friendly and relatable professionals who work with students to solve problems and who consistently stand up for us. The fellows are experts in a broad range of subjects, and we are given plenty of chances to interact with them. The only problem is that, as a Merton student, your risk of tragically overdosing on complimentary wine, cheese and chocolate will certainly increase.

But speaking seriously for a moment, Merton is timelessly gorgeous and is one of the few ancient colleges to go completely unspoiled by the 1970s. Merton is the oldest college at either Oxford or Cambridge, and is currently celebrating its 750th year (though Balliol and Univ, which are both great colleges, also claim this title, it is a matter of historic record that Merton was the first college to be founded by royal charter in 1264, and the first to be conceived of as a community of scholars as we see it today). Accordingly, Merton is home to the oldest quad in Oxbridge as well as the oldest continuously-used academic library in the Western world. It is not an exaggeration to state that Merton set the original example that all other colleges, and even entire universities, have since come to follow. Studying here is mind-blowing.

Though it is tempting to be frustrated by Merton's one tirelessly over-exaggerated flaw - it being the oft-quoted place where "fun goes to die" - Merton may ironically owe the founders of that slur a great deal. Thanks to them, our MCR termcard is simply more full and more interesting than those of any of my friends at other colleges. In the name of challenging this (useful) stereotype, many a Merton student has thus felt no guilt at having a deliberately good time. And good times are plentiful - as one of the richest colleges in Oxford, Merton can afford to have fun and do it right. Yet even so, when the only problem Merton's detractors can identify is that its students are too good at what they study (which is, ultimately, the purpose of our time here), the college clearly has nothing to worry about.

I know of not a single student who has been dissatisfied by their choice to come to Merton, and am confident that you will find your place here as well, should you choose to apply. Good luck!

Study (5), Artiness (3), Sport (2), Music (4), Facilities (5), Accommodation (5), Smugness (3)

Review by Undisclosed - Student (January 24, 2014) - add your impression