There are six permanent Private Halls that belong to the University of Oxford. Permanent Private Halls are owned and governed by an outside institution and not by its fellows. Find out whether you can visit the Halls and what you shouldn’t miss if you do.
A permanent private hall (or PPH) is an educational institution within the University of Oxford. private halls have existed since 1221, and became permanent features of the University in 1918. The main difference between colleges and private halls is that colleges are governed by fellows – while halls do so with their corresponding Christian denomination.
There are six PPHs in Oxford, five of which admit undergraduate students (it’s a common misconception that they only admit postgraduates). Oxford’s private halls are seen, sometimes, as having a sort of mythical status in some university circles.
Students at the Permanent Private halls are members of the University of Oxford and have full access to their activities and facilities. In 1918, the University passed a statute that allowed private halls to become permanent – as long as they were not run for profit.
One hall, Greyfriars, had to close in 2007-08 because the Franciscan order than ran it could no longer afford the expense. Greyfriars’ students were transferred to Regent’s Park College.
Because of the religious nature of Oxford’s private halls, most tutors are theologians. This is one of the reasons why PPHs have a higher intake of Theological Studies students (or students doing Combined Honours with Theology). Being religious, however, is not a prerequisite for reading a subject in a PPH.
In most regards, Oxford Private Halls are just like colleges. There is a Junior Common Room (that has a President and a Committee and holds weekly meetings), they have dining halls serving food three times a day, and sometimes hold formal dinners. Some even hold bops where everyone wears ridiculous outfits and drinks from college bars. There are differences too, though. Because PPHs are financially autonomous, things like travel grants and college counselling are more inaccessible. Many Private Halls have to raise money to acquire, for example, equipment.
Oxford has six permanent halls. Of them, five admit undergraduates two accept also women. The members are members of the University of Oxford. While they are trained as ordinands of their denominations, they also attend a range of courses. Some private halls also accept priests of other others and congregations, and occasionally non-ordained students and ministers of other churches.
Roman Catholic (Dominican)
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Roman Catholic (Benedictine)
Church of England (Anglo-Catholic)
Church of England (Evangelical)
Undergraduate Degree Subjects
PPE, Philosophy and Theology, Theology
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Classics, Classics and English, English, Geography, History, History and Politics, Law, Philosophy and Theology, PPE, Theology
Classics, Classics and Oriental Studies, History, History and Politics, Oriental Studies, PPE, Philosophy and Theology, Theology
Philosophy and Theology, Theology
Some people argue that Permanent Private Halls have a lack of wealth and diverse subjects, reason why they haven’t moved to collegiate status. In reality, most of them don’t want to renounce their religious affiliation. Regent’s Park, for example, is involved in ordaining members of the Church to Priesthood, and receives funding and guidance from the church body. Most PPHs also want to preserve elements of their distinct ethos.
You can learn more about Oxford University’s Private Halls using the links below. Each Hall has a page with some history, the details of the degree subject, and photos.
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