Visiting Oxford University Permanent Private Halls

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.

What is a Permanent Private Hall?

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

Oxford University Halls - Regent’s Park College. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.
Regent’s Park College, a permanent private hall founded in 1810. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

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.

In some cases, private halls can be granted full collegiate status. For example, Mansfield College became a full college in 1995 and Harris Manchester College in 1996.

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

What is it Like to Study in an Oxford Private Hall?

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.

Who Can Study at a Permanent Private Hall?

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. 

Founded

1221

1896

1810

1897

1876

1877

Affiliation

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

Theology

Philosophy and Theology, Theology

Do Oxford Private Halls Have a Point?

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.

Oxford University's All Permanent Private Halls

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.

Oxford University - Champion Hall. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Champion Hall

There are six Permanent Private Halls at the University of Oxford in England. Campion Hall is run by the Society of Jesus and named after

Read More »
Oxford University Halls - Regent’s Park College. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Regent’s Park College

Located in central Oxford, just off St Giles’, Regent’s Park College (colloquially known as Regent’s) is a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford.

Read More »
Oxford University - St Benet’s Hall. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

St Benet’s Hall

Informally called Benet’s, St Benet’s Hall is one of Oxford’s Permanent Private Halls. Its principal building is located on the western side of St Giles’

Read More »
Oxford University Halls - St Stephen’s House. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

St Stephen’s House

One of the six Permanent Private Halls of Oxford University, St Stephen’s House is an Anglican theological college. Currently, the college has a very small

Read More »
Oxford University Halls - Wycliffe Hall. Image courtesy of David Howard.

Wycliffe Hall

Wycliffe Hall is named after the Bible translator and reformer John Wycliffe, who taught at Balliol College, Oxford in the 14th century. It is a

Read More »

External Links

Popular Oxford Colleges

Oxford College - Keble College. Image courtesy of David Nicholls.

Keble College

Keble College is one of the University of Oxford’s constituent colleges. It is located on Parks Road, opposite the University

Read More »
Oxford University - Exeter College. Image courtesy of Billy Wilson.

Exeter College

A constituent college of the University of Oxford in England, Exeter College is the fourth-oldest college of the university and

Read More »

Museums & Art Galleries

Antiques on High - Oxford Museums, Art Galleries and Antiques Shops

Antiques on High

Antiques on High is an antiques and art shop from Oxford founded in 1997 and open seven days a week. It has won several awards.

Aidan Meller Gallery - Oxford Museums and Art Galleries

Aidan Meller Gallery

Aidan Meller Gallery is one of Oxford’s longest-established specialist art galleries. They showcase modern, contemporary and old masters.

Oxford Christ Church College, Canterbury Quadrangle. Image courtesy of Billy Wilson

Christ Church Picture Gallery

Christ Church Picture Gallery is an art museum holding an important collection of about 300 Old Master paintings and almost 2,000 drawings and is one

Historical Places

24-26 Cornmarket Street. Image courtesy of Chuca Cimas.

24-26 Cornmarket Street, Oxford

24-26 Cornmarket Street, in Oxford, is a timber-framed building built in the late 14th century. It belonged to a wine merchant who ran it as

Mob Quad, Merton College. Image courtesy of Caro Wallis

Mob Quad in Merton College

Mob Quad in Merton College is probably the oldest quadrangle in Oxford. The quad is so old, it actually doesn’t have any chimneys! (they weren’t

Christ Church Cathedral - Oxford. Image courtesy of Randy Connolly

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is perhaps the most stunning college chapel in Oxford. It was built as a place of worship in the late 12th century.

Things to Do in Oxford