Provost’s Welcome


Worcester College is one of the 39 colleges of Oxford University, known for its friendliness, its wonderful gardens and its commitment to education and research. We were established in 1714 on the site of a much older Benedictine community on the edge of what was then the City of Oxford​, but is now right in the centre of things. Like many Oxford colleges we were a men’s only college until 1979 when Worcester admitted female students for the first time. Since then we have worked hard to become a college committed to educating ​students from all backgrounds, and to working hard to achieve an inclusive educational environment in which everyone contributes to the diverse life of our community. Not everyone believes that Oxford is for them​, and at Worcester we are particularly keen to encourage students from groups currently under-represented in Higher Education to apply. For this reason, we work with schools​ and sixth form colleges​, educational charities and other community groups to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the information they need to decide whether studying at Oxford—and at Worcester—might be for them. We also provide welfare assistance, financial aid and a comprehensive programme of academic support to ensure that all of our students can make the most of their time at Oxford.

Each year we have 400 undergraduates and 200 graduates​ studying with us in College. All our undergraduates live in Worcester for three years and, as you can imagine, this creates a strong and supportive academic and social community. From all my conversations with our current and former students it’s clear that everyone enjoys spending time in our historic buildings, modern facilities and our fabulous gardens. We are also well known for the quality of our teaching and research, and many of our academics are leading experts and commentators in their fields. At Worcester we are very proud of our history and our present. We celebrate our traditions and the success of former students and fellows, ​whilst acknowledging that culture is never static. We are working to create a forward-looking college that is open and accessible to all​.

We are hugely grateful to our many donors who have helped us support our students, our Fellows and our buildings. Indeed, much of our success would not have been possible without their huge generosity. A recent example was their unquestioning support for the College during the COVID-19 pandemic​, enabling us— among other things— to provide support to our incoming students, whose educations were so disrupted by the pandemic. 

In the short time that I have been Provost​, what’s clear from talking to both our students and Old Members is the transformative nature of studying at Worcester and the continuing importance of being part of the Worcester family - even when you leave College. Life​-long friendships and an attachment to Worcester continue for the rest of our students’ lives. 

Do come to visit us to find out more about Worcester for yourself. ​If you are a prospective applicant and you would like more information about the College, please get in touch with our admissions and access team directly:

Best wishes,

Provost David Isaac, CBE