The University of Oxford may be said to date from 1214, when the first charter was granted by the Pope, but long before this date there had existed in the town a number of religious communities and these were the real beginning of the University.
First there were only about 60 chapels and a student was living and studying at one of these chapels learning theology, logic and rhetoric. Oxford University of today is a federation of 48 colleges, each largely independent.
The governing body of Oxford University is the congregation of 1500 men – the assembly of all the members of the colleges. The collages admit students, organize programs, students` work and residence, laboratories, libraries and term examinations and confers degrees. Forty colleges of 48 admit only men, two collages are mixed and six colleges are only for women.
A person studying for a degree at a British University is called a graduate.
B. A. or B. Sc stands for Arts or of Science, the first degree given after a period of 3-4 years of specialized study at a University. M.A or M. Sc denotes Master of Arts, or of Science, a higher degree, usually conferred after a year`s post-graduate study.
Social changes have certainly transformed Oxford considerably. Some of the traditions have gone in the past. However in spite of all these changes Oxford has not lost its distinctive charater.