Life at Catz
St Catherine’s College is Oxford’s youngest undergraduate college and also one of its largest and most diverse communities. We treasure the traditional values of Oxford college life, but pursue a modern agenda, as reflected by our college motto, “Nova et Vetera” (the new and the old). The College is situated in an ideal location, very close to the City Centre, the Science Area, and University Faculties and Libraries, yet surrounded by meadows, parks and water. The college grounds are extensive and include an amphitheatre and water garden. As a distinguished example of the very best of architecture in the tradition of European Modernism (designed by award-winning architects Arne Jacobsen and Stephen Hodder), our buildings and gardens are both Grade I listed.
St Catherine’s is a cosmopolitan society, with students drawn from over 50 nations. We offer a wide range of subjects at undergraduate level, with a roughly even split between science and arts. We also have a large postgraduate community and host a number of visiting students, who are spending time in Oxford as part of their course at an overseas university. The College has an overwhelming atmosphere of openness and friendliness in which everyone is quickly made to feel at home.
One of the great benefits of being a student at St Catherine’s is the availability of on-site accommodation. With over 470 study bedrooms, the vast majority of undergraduates live in college for three years and enjoy the advantage of living in close proximity to facilities such as the library, dining hall, Junior Common Room (JCR) and gym. We have several specially adapted rooms for students with disabilities.
Breakfast, lunch, cafeteria-style dinner (known as “Scaf”), and a three-course served evening meal are provided in the dining hall on a pay-as-you-eat basis. In addition, the “Buttery” is open on weekdays for mid-morning or afternoon snacks. Those who prefer to cater for themselves can do so by using the small kitchens provided on each floor of the accommodation, normally shared between 8–10 students.
Drama, Music, Sport, etc
Each year a major theatrical figure is appointed as the Cameron Mackintosh Chair of Contemporary Theatre and gives a series of lectures and workshops at the College. Past holders of the Professorship have included Diana Rigg, Tim Rice, Patrick Stewart and Meera Syal. Thanks to this, the College has exceptional links with contemporary theatre; many of our students take an active part in acting, writing and directing in Oxford and beyond.
The College has a flourishing Music Society, which provides opportunities for students to get involved no matter what their taste or interest. All students have access to the College’s music house: a small purpose-built recital room with two grand pianos and a harpsichord, which doubles as a practice-room. The College offers a Repetiteur Scholarship in conjunction with New Chamber Opera, designed for pianists interested in accompanying and conducting. Leask Scholarships, offering financial assistance in music tuition, are open to students in any subject and are awarded each year.
The large size of the College is a major advantage when it comes to sport, with teams suitable for everyone from novice to expert. Current teams range from Football to Ultimate Frisbee and everything in between! The College has excellent sports facilities including an on-site gym and squash courts with no membership fee, rugby and football pitches, tennis courts, and a rowing boathouse.
In addition to lots of drama, music and sport, St Catherine’s College has a huge range of other societies and clubs that you can join! With over 50 clubs and societies that you can be involved in, from the Pottery club to the Stargazing society, there is something for everyone.
St Catherine’s offers excellent undergraduate facilities, including: a spacious and comfortable Junior Common Room (JCR) with a large bar, television, pool tables, games machines, newspapers and vending machines.
There is Wi-Fi available throughout the College, with full coverage in all student study bedrooms and other workspaces. St Catherine’s also has its own on-site gym with squash courts as well as rugby and football pitches, tennis courts, and a rowing boathouse. The College’s music house offers students with a dedicated rehearsal space, while the outdoor amphitheatre provides a unique location for performances. With three large lecture theatres on site, the College is able to host public lectures on a variety of subjects throughout the academic year, to which students are invited to attend. The on-site punt house means students can also hire the College punts for relaxing trips along the river!
Study with us
The College Library aims to stock all core material on undergraduate reading lists, alongside a wealth of other more specialist texts. With over 60,000 books in its working collection, the Library has a generous loans policy and a large number of study spaces. A separate Law Library houses law reports and journals. Students also make use of department and research libraries, most notably the Bodleian, which is entitled to a copy of any book or periodical published in the UK or Ireland.
St Catherine’s is a cosmopolitan society, with students drawn from over 50 nations. We offer a wide range of subjects at undergraduate level, with a roughly even split between science and arts. We also have a large postgraduate community and host a number of visiting students, who are spending time in Oxford as part of their course at an overseas university.
JCR and MCR
The JCR and MCR (terms which also refer to the undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies, respectively) elect committees of current students who represent Catz students both within College and also to the wider Oxford University Student Union (Oxford SU). The Committees organise regular student-run social events throughout term such as pub quizzes, open-mic nights and charity fundraisers, alongside a wide variety of other activities to help students settle into university life.
Welfare and support
St Catherine’s prides itself on being a close-knit community with a strong atmosphere of openness and friendliness. Once students are accepted for study at St. Catherine’s, there is an enormous commitment from the tutors to support them through to the end of their studies, and many graduates keep in touch with their tutors long after leaving College. There are many sources of pastoral support within College, including the Dean, Junior Deans (postgraduate students who are qualified advisors), harassment advisors, the College Doctor, and the College Nurse who holds a daily surgery on site. The student body appoints both male and female Welfare Reps alongside a team of trained peer supporters.
St Catherine’s College is a modern college and most of its buildings are accessible. It is located near to the city centre, the Science Area and most University faculties and libraries (the English, Law and Economics faculties are literally next door) yet is surrounded by meadows and parks. The College has admitted students who were wheelchair users and would gladly consider changes to buildings thought necessary by a disabled applicant.
The car park is on the left as you enter the College from Manor Road. The Porters’ Lodge in the Arumugam Building, to which there is level access, is next to the car park. Members of the College with the disabilities, who need to use a car, are eligible for car parking permits, and will be given priority in the allocation of car parking spaces. There is flat access from here to the Main Quad off which most facilities are found. All the staircases are opened with a keypad that is at a suitable height for those in a wheelchair.
The Library has flat access from Main Quad through two heavy wooden doors. Whilst many of the books are stored on the upper level the Librarian is willing to fetch them if necessary. The Bernard Sunley Building is next to the Library and has flat access to the Middle Common Room, a teaching room and to the base of the lecture theatre. There is a wheelchair platform lift to the teaching rooms and law library on the first floor. The computer rooms adjacent to the Junior Common Room and in Staircase 18 adjacent to the car park have flat access. All of the administrative offices are adjacent to the Senior Common Room and have flat access from the car park.
The Dining Hall and Junior Common Room (spacious college bar, TV area, email room and music practice room) are located in a separate building that has flat access from the Main Quad and car park. Inside, they all have flat access and moveable chairs or benches. The laundry is in a separate building which also has flat access. The College gym also has ramped access.
The Bernard Sunley Building, Mary Sunley Building and JCR lecture theatres have induction loops that can be enabled on request.
Automated door access is present in the Lodge, Staircase 20, JCR entrance, Library external entrance and Bernard Sunley Building east entrance.
The vast majority of undergraduates live in college for three years. There are ground floor bedrooms suitable for wheelchair users. All study-bedrooms have internet access and the possibility of a telephone connection.
There are six bedrooms with en-suite facilities and adapted shower rooms which are situated in Staircases 17, 18 19 and 20 adjacent to the car park. The College has a further 40 ground floor bedrooms with en-suite shower rooms for students.
Students eat in Hall on a ‘pay as you eat’ basis.