If you want to change the world, come to Somerville. Somerville is unique. It was one of the first colleges founded to admit women to higher education at Oxford but beyond that, Somerville was founded as a deliberately non-denominational college, free from the religious requirements that characterised most of Oxford in the nineteenth century. It has a legacy of including the excluded.
These days, with a mix of about equal numbers of men and women, it honours that legacy and builds on its pioneering spirit. If you come to Somerville, you will meet people from all kinds of backgrounds and nationalities, with many different aspirations. Our students will tell you "it feels like home" - wherever they come from. A recent graduate writes:
"I always felt that Somervillians felt free to challenge pre-scribed thinking or stereotypes of success and were comfortable being who they were (i.e. there was no pressure to target a first, be a blues sportsman or president of the union, although those achievements were supported and celebrated)"
Somerville expects the best from its students, and in return it gives them total commitment and support. Your studies will be guided by some of the best scholars in your chosen subject. You will be given access to all the resources of the University of Oxford, one of the top universities in the world: this will include first-class teaching in your chosen options and all the opportunities for a rich extra-curricular life that Oxford offers, from politics to every variety of sport, to arts, drama, and debate. If things do not go well, you can expect the college to support you and help you through.
People who graduate from Somerville go on to a rich variety of futures. Our graduates include statespeople, and notably two prime ministers, each one the first woman to be prime minister of her country. They also include the first and only woman in the UK to win a Nobel prize for science; generations of distinguished novelists; the first woman to be an ordained minister; three of the twentieth century's leading philosophers; the first doctor to enter Belsen concentration camp at the end of the Second World War; the first Ghanaian man to be President of the Oxford Union; winners of innumerable prizes for academic distinctions, and the list goes on.
More important even than all the distinctions that Somervillians have notched up, is the simple fact that the College supports and encourages all of its students to find their own niche in the world, regardless of background or conventional expectations. If you want to create your own identity and realize your own distinctive aspirations, come to Somerville. And if you do want to change the world, come to Somerville.