Graduate FAQs

Why does a graduate student need to be in a college at all?

Association with a college makes studying at Oxford a much broader and more supported experience than doing a graduate degree almost anywhere else. Find out more about the college experience in this video. Your college provides a range of services and activities which add to and complement what is available from your department:

  • Alternative sources of welfare and personal support, small grants, and problem-solving advice
  • Multi-disciplinary intellectual stimulation and new ideas for your work
  • Social life and activities which aren’t available through your department

What is the role of your College Adviser?

Information will be in your Welcome Pack about your College Adviser (otherwise ask the Academic Office). College Advisers are glad to help with any problems, particularly those which you might not normally take to someone in your Department, including: pastoral support - or directing you to appropriate persons for assistance - on personal or coping issues; discussing difficulties you may be experiencing in your Department or Faculty and/or with your supervisor; generally keeping an eye on your progress (although not acting as a second supervisor); and perhaps general advice on applications for research funding, conferences and seminar attendance, publication and career plans. You will meet your College Adviser during your first term, and you are encouraged to contact your College Adviser as and when you need advice or help.

Where can I find help with a welfare issue?

The College (and University) have a wide range of services available to assist with any problems. You can discuss this with your College Adviser, or go straight to any of the people or services listed in Section D.1 of the Handbook.

How can I apply for Study and other College grants?

One of the key ways a college adds to your Oxford experience is by being the possible source of small grants to support your work (or for cases of hardship), which might not be available elsewhere. The range of College schemes are outlined in Section C.2 of the Student Handbook. Research and study grant applications are due by noon on Wednesday of Week 2 of each term – plan ahead, late applications are not accepted and you will need to have a supporting statement from your College Adviser.  (Hardship applications can be made at any time). There is also a Book Fund for obtaining library books required by taught graduate students (see “Libraries” in Section B.2.2 of the Handbook).

How else does the College help my research?

The College can provide some support for research seminars presented, or organised, by graduate students in College. Please approach the Tutor for Graduates on this. The College is encouraging the development of interdisciplinary research groups and the linking of graduate students into work taking place outside their normal fields of study. This often can spark great new ideas on how to approach fundamental questions in a research topic. Keep informed about these activities through our News page, and special notices will be sent to you.

What does the MCR do?

Apart from being a great place to socialise, and meet people outside your department, through a range of activities, the Middle Common Room (both a place and a term meaning all the graduate students in College) also organises research based activities (and a conference) for mutual assistance and encouragement of graduates in College. 

Who do I see about funding/money/bank issues?

Please see the Accounts Office in Room South 10 in St Hilda’s College or consult this guide on how to open a bank account.

How do I get forms signed off, and do other administrative things?

The Academic Office (Room 27, South Building) deals with all issues regarding your enrolment and student administration, and is open for enquiries on normal working days 9-11, 11.30-12.30 and 2-4. You can email enquiries to college.office@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk.  GSO progression forms (which you will need later in your course) need to be supported by the College. Members of the Academic Office, as well as the Tutor for Graduates, can sign these forms.

What if there is a problem with my room?

All maintenance requests should be emailed to our Buildings Office, or if it is more urgent, tell the Lodge (in person or ring 01865 (2)76884). All housekeeping and cleaning problems should be directed to Accommodation Officer, Nicky Charles.  

What is the role of the Dean and Junior Deans?

The current Dean is Dr Lorraine Wild and the Junior Deans are: Rachael Griffiths, Sean Kelly and Katie Truslove. 

The Dean and Junior Deans have a role in both general College discipline (see Section E.1 of the Student Handbook) and in welfare (see above). The Dean and Junior Deans have “office hours” when they are available for consultation on welfare issues (see the Dean’s noticeboard in the Foyer of South Building).  The following are some issues related to safety and behaviour in College:

How do I use the College Library?

All the information about using the College Library is available on Weblearn. Further information about the University libraries can be found here.

How do I receive mail?

Student mail is always put in your pigeonhole in the College Lodge. The Lodge will email you if a larger package or signed-for item cannot be placed in the pigeonhole.

Where and when can I eat in College?

The Buttery, or snack bar, in Junior Common Room in the basement of Hall Building, sells snacks like toasties, bagels, crisps, chocolate, sweets and hot and cold drinks. The bar serves crisps, chocolate and sweets. The Dining Hall provides more substantial meals. Battels include an amount of meal credits per term, which are put on your Bod Card. In the College Dining Hall, a two-course meal will cost about £4.00. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served Monday-Friday, and there are snacks, sandwiches, tea and coffee available all through the day. Detailed meal arrangements, including about Formal Halls and how to book for them, are described in Section E.2 of the Student Handbook.

How do I use College laundry facilities?

See the information in Section E.2 of the Handbook – a card must be purchased from the Lodge.

How do I use College sports facilities (tennis/netball court, punts etc)?

You need to make a booking on the College Intranet, and then pick up a key (and receive additional information) from the Lodge. See also “College Grounds” in Section F of the Handbook.