School Gists

Oxford vs. Cambridge

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Oxford University and Cambridge University, collectively known as “Oxbridge,” are renowned institutions with rich histories and prestigious reputations. Their rigorous application processes and top-notch education attract admiration and respect worldwide. If you’re determined to choose between these two universities, it’s essential to consider their key differences before making a decision.


According to the 2018 Global University Rankings by Times Higher Education, Oxford is ranked number 1 in the world, closely followed by Cambridge at number 2.


Cambridge offers 30 undergraduate courses covering over 65 subject areas, while Oxford provides over 49 subject areas across a wider range of courses. Each university offers unique courses, especially in the science stream. Oxford offers single-subject science courses, while Cambridge allows more flexibility in its natural sciences degree, enabling combinations of physical and biological sciences or specialization based on interest.

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Both universities have similar tuition fees for home (UK) students at £9,250 per year. However, international students have varying fee structures depending on the course, with medical and veterinary science courses being higher-priced.


Oxford and Cambridge offer scholarships to support students based on their nationality and household income. Specific scholarships, like the Moritz-Heyman Scholarship at Oxford, cover tuition and living costs for eligible UK residents with lower household incomes.

Research Quality:

Both universities excel in cutting-edge research, with Oxford being at the forefront of AI research and Cambridge focusing on various areas, including next-generation batteries and biological research.


Graduates from both universities are highly sought-after professionals. Both institutions offer career guidance and support services, facilitating connections with employers for internships and research opportunities.

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The College System:

Both universities have a collegiate structure, and students belong to the University, their department, and their college. Colleges serve as students’ homes, offering academic support and creating a smaller, interdisciplinary community. The college system can lead to interviews from multiple colleges and offers from colleges students didn’t initially apply to.

Choice of Courses:

Contrary to common perception, Oxford and Cambridge do not offer identical courses. Differences exist, especially in the science stream and the possibility of joint or combined degrees.

Oxford as a City:

Oxford is a small city with ancient architecture, offering a vibrant nightlife, galleries, museums, and shops.

Cambridge as a City:

Cambridge is a relaxed and friendly city, smaller and prettier than Oxford, with a more pub-centric nightlife.

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Choosing Between Course and College:

While the reputation of both universities is outstanding, students interested in sciences may prefer Cambridge, while those inclined towards humanities and social sciences may lean towards Oxford. It’s crucial to focus on the course rather than the university name and understand differences in course content between the two institutions.

Teaching and Assessment:

Both universities employ similar teaching methodologies, with small differences in the names used for teaching sessions. Assessments are based on written exams and practical assessments.


Ultimately, the choice between Oxford and Cambridge depends on the individual’s career path and interests. Consider the available courses, college environments, and overall fit when making your decision. Both universities offer exceptional opportunities for academic and personal growth, ensuring a prestigious education for those fortunate enough to attend.

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