Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Permanent Private Hall?

The Permanent Private Halls are part of the University, but are owned by private Trusts.  All are originally religious foundations but nowadays they welcome students of all religious traditions and none. Students at PPHs have exactly the same membership and rights in the University as students at other Colleges.

What about St Benet’s?

St Benet’s was founded from Ampleforth Abbey, over 100 years ago, so that monks might read for secular degrees at Oxford.  Today, in 2016-17, there are three monks, eighteen graduate students, and fifty three undergraduates. Undergraduates live in for the first year, but live out for their second year, with some returning for their final year, space permitting.  There is a flat rate charge for meals during term, which encourages all members to eat in Hall. This cost includes two served formal dinners per week, a served Sunday lunch, and at least one formal Hall Guest night per term.

How difficult is it to get a place?

St Benet’s makes offers on the same grades at A Level or other exams as do all other colleges.  St Benet’s only offers places within the normal applications process and interviews the same ratio of candidates per place as other colleges.

What subjects are available?  Who does the tutoring?

St Benet’s offers up to 20 undergraduate places a year at the moment, in Theology, Philosophy and Theology, PPE, Classics, History, History and Politics, and Oriental Studies and its joint schools. In each course, about half the teaching is done by Fellows and Lecturers of the Hall, and about half by specialist tutors in other colleges of the University.  This is about the same balance as at other Colleges. At St Benet’s, students and tutors eat together daily at the same table, and this close interaction strongly supports the academic life of the Hall.

What about University life?

St Benet’s students take a full part in the life of the University.  The Hall has its own VIIIs on the river (both male and female crews) and has recently acquired a second boat.  Students can join any sports teams in the University or other colleges, and we currently have swimming, hockey and Rugby League blues. We put on a garden play every year and have been finalists in Cuppers, a university-wide drama competition, two years running. Other students are involved in the Oxford Union or OUSU, and participate in many charity and community organisations. Benet’s students often engage more widely in activities across the University than students in more self-contained colleges.

Would St Benet’s suit me?

This is a small Catholic monastic house, but our lay students live a normal student life. The Hall welcomes those who appreciate the way of life of the monks, while aiming to create an unpressurised space in which all are respectful of each other’s different positions.  We have a notably international and diverse student body. All are welcome to join in the prayer in the chapel, if they wish, but there is no obligation to do so.  Over the years, students have expressed appreciation for the particularly supportive, warm and helpful atmosphere here, and this year St Benet’s came top in the Student Satisfaction Barometer of all the colleges and halls of the University.