The academic year of the University of Oxford runs from January to March and is divided into three terms of eight weeks each. These are Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity.
Why is Oxford Divided into Terms?
Like many other universities and educational institutions, Oxford University organises its year around terms. In this case, three terms of about eight weeks each. Each term begins on a Sunday, and the week leading up to it is known as the “0th week”, or “Nought week”. This is useful to know, because many events like the Torpids Rowing Race and other Regattas take place on certain days of the term. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to hear Oxford academics using the terms to plan their conferences.
How Do Terms Play into a Student's Life?
When a student starts their journey at Oxford University, they usually ‘comes up’ into residence by midnight on the Friday before full term (the general rule is that a person comes ‘up’ to Oxford and ‘down’ everywhere else!). Oxford Students use the term calendar quite frequently. For example, they can refer to an event taking place on the Wednesday of’2nd week’ (of term). This might sound a bit cryptic to visitors, but makes a lot of sense when you see how the terms organise the academic year.
Oxford's Michaelmas Term
The Michaelmas Term is the first academic term of the year. The name derives from the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, which falls on 29 September. This festivity is observed in some Western liturgical calendars and the name is also linked to the four terms of the legal year in the Courts of England and Wales.
The Michaelmas Term will be as follows for the coming years:
2021-2022: Sunday 10 October to Saturday 4 December.
2022-2023: Sunday 9 October – Saturday 3 December.
Oxford's Hilary Term
The Hilary Term is the second academic term and is named after the feast day of St Hilary of Poitiers, which falls during it. St Hilary of Poitiers was a Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
The Hilary Term will be as follows for the coming years:
2021-2022: Sunday 16 January to Saturday 12 March.
2022-2023: Sunday 15 January – Saturday 11 March.
Oxford's Trinity Term
The Trinity Term is the third and final term of the academic year. It’s named after Trinity Sunday, which falls eight weeks after Easter, in May or June. This festivity celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (three persons of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
The Trinity Term will be as follows for the coming years:
2021-2022: Sunday 24 April to Saturday 18 June.
2022-2023: Sunday 23 April – Saturday 17 June.