Studying at Teddy Hall
Separate the fact from the fiction, a students’ guide to St Edmund Hall.
Why should you choose Teddy Hall?
Teddy Hall is one of the most central colleges in Oxford. Tucked away on Queen’s Lane, it is just off Oxford’s main High Street. This means that whilst the site itself is quite private and peaceful, you are a stone’s throw from the city’s shops, bars and cafes. Our central location is immensely convenient – the Bodleian library is a picturesque five minute walk away, and the science area can be reached in under ten minutes, as can the Iffley Sports Centre, University Parks, and the majority of University departments. The Examination Schools are also just across the road, giving Teddy Hall students that bit longer in bed before lectures and exams! Buses for London, the airports, and wider city depart from right outside the College on the High Street.
We also have student living and accommodation across the city – with annexes in East Oxford near many of the clubs, pubs and shops popular with students.
St Edmund Hall is committed to being recognised as one of the greenest and most environmentally sustainable colleges in Oxford. Our Sustainability Sub-Committee has been working with our 900 students and staff over the past 18 months to greatly reduce our impact on the natural environment, manage resources that we impact in a sustainable way, and conserve and enhance biodiversity across all our sites. Much progress has been made already, including implementation of Eco temperature-controlled heating, motion-activated LED lighting and heat recovery from waste-water systems, with many more initiatives planned and in progress.
We have a strong track record of academic success in terms of degree results, but also of securing further learning opportunities for our students through our exchange partnership with Lingnan University, China and as hosts of programmes and events including the Centre for the Creative Brain, Access Hall Areas, and the Geddes Lecture.
Many of our academics are actively pursuing world-leading research, which opens up some fantastic opportunities for our students to understand cutting edge ideas, concepts, and phenomena. Current expertise range from the biogeography of islands, to the neurobiology of memory, and the development of superior rechargeable batteries. Here at Teddy Hall we are as keen for you to succeed as you are and will endeavour to support you in every way possible so that you can achieve academically and personally.
We offer a wide range of prizes and scholarships to our students, ranging from travel and volunteering bursaries to academic scholarships. Examples include the Matt Greenwood Travel Scholarship, the College Scholarship for academic performance, Choral Scholarships, and the George Barner Prize for Contribution to Theatre. Every Teddy Hall student can apply for a generous College Grant of £300-£350 each year to help with academic expenses, such as dissertation printing or personal research equipment.
We are also proud to be able to offer Masterclass Awards of up to £1000 per year to support development in extra-curricular activities. These awards can be used to fund advanced coaching or tuition, and have been used in wide variety of ways from saxophone lessons, to cricket coaching, to a wilderness medicine course. This award, unique to Teddy Hall, allows us to offer unrivalled support to those wishing to learn more and excel further in an extra-curricular activity.
The Financial Assistance Fund is also available to any student who may need it during their time here, whether your laptop breaks in the middle of term or your family experiences an unexpected loss of income, the Hall aims to help any student experiencing financial difficulties.
The Hall has a huge team responsible for student welfare- from on-site support staff, to our own college nurse and counsellor. If you need support whilst you are studying here- whether that’s for academic matters or mental health issues- there is help on hand at college, not only at the university-level.
Many of our students are also trained as ‘Peer Supporters’, with 30 hours of basic counselling training so that there is always someone undergraduates feel comfortable going to for support. Our students love to run welfare events throughout the week, usually involving lots of free food and people to chat to! The undergraduate body as a whole is represented by a committee of students called the ‘JCR’. These students are responsible for representing your interests, whether that be to do with race, class, sexuality or gender. They also make sure there’s a something for everyone to get involved with, for instance, the Arts and Culture Reps organise an annual talent show and termly jazz and open mic nights, and the Gender and Sexual Diversity Rep organises a Queer Arts night aswell as weekly ‘Tuesgay’ drinks.
Our College Library is housed in the impressive surroundings of the converted medieval church of St Peter in the East, complete with stained glass windows and a winding tower full of books. We are one of only two colleges to have our library in a converted church building. Students are able to work in this light, airy, and atmospheric space 24/7 and generous book borrowing terms are offered. The library holds approximately 40,000 titles, including multiple copies of key textbooks for all of our undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The librarians’ record for acquiring a new book needed by a student is a mere 38 minutes!
The Teddy Hall bar is cosy and inviting – just like the rest of the College. A wide range of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are served at low student-friendly prices, including our own signature cocktail. It is often used as a place for students to meet- whether that’s for Creative Writing Society or sports drinks. Our darts teams also play matches in front of a packed bar!
Junior Common Room (JCR)
This space is just for our undergraduates, and you’ll never find it empty on a term-time evening. As well as having games consoles it has a huge TV that students crowd around to watch everything from the World Cup to Love Island. The final of the Great British Bake Off and the Superbowl have seen over 150 students pile in to the JCR to watch together. The JCR also houses a free 24-hour tea, coffee, and hot chocolate machine, runs weekly ‘JCR Teas’ of free food, and offers games including pool and table football.
Sports & Music Facilities
St Edmund Hall has a small but well equipped gym on the Norham Gardens site next door to University Parks which is open to all College members free of charge. We also have a boat house with its own gym on the banks of the River Thames in Central Oxford which is used by the Boat Club. The College shares pitches and a clubhouse with Queen’s College across the river where football, rounders, tennis, and cricket are played. Students may also choose to use the Iffley Pool and Gym which is a ten minute walk from the main site, and opposite our East Oxford annexes.
With our own choir and band, the Hall has a fully sound proofed music room and rehearsal space which students can book to use for free. The room is well equipped with a Yamaha piano, drum kit, a series of guitar amplifies and speakers, and a new PA system, with a state-of-the-art digital mixing desk. This equipment is also used for student parties held in the Wolfson Dining Hall.
Teddy Hall sports teams routinely attract the largest crowds seen at the University for their matches, and plays or concerts featuring Teddy Hall students usually sell out. Whatever your interests, you will find a supportive community here.
Get to know our students!
There are lots of myths and misinformation out there about applying to Oxford. To help combat this, we have put together this page with the students at Teddy Hall, to give you a better idea what life here is really like.
Where did you start your journey to Oxford?
I’m Brittany and I’m a 2nd year Engineer from Devon. I went to a state school and only really applied to Oxford out of a ‘why not?’ attitude- I had 5 options, so even if Oxford was a long-shot, there were always other options to fall back on.
I’m from Liverpool and went to a small comprehensive school which didn’t really send many students to university. I was the first student to get an Oxbridge offer in at least five years there, so we were all kind of shocked when it happened!
Hi! My name is Ellis and I come from a town not too far from Newcastle where I went to a standard state high school and then sixth form. Being the first person in my family to get into any university, I understand how hard it can be applying without much knowledge (especially applying to Oxford!).
Why did you decide to apply to St Edmund Hall?
What is your favourite thing about it now you’re here?
Long story short, I didn’t choose to apply to Teddy Hall, but now I genuinely cannot imagine going anywhere else. The thought of it actually frightens me. Teddy is a place where everyone knows everyone, in the best way- more like a family than a college- and it is the best place if you’re looking for a good time while studying your degree.
I was really excited to interview at Teddy since I had looked up my tutors beforehand and was in awe of the work they had done and their specialisms. My tutors so far have been incredibly supportive and understanding whilst also challenging me and getting me out of my comfort zone. I also love the fact that Teddy is right in the heart of the city centre, on the High Street, where you have everything you need only a 5-10 minute walk away- including my lectures right across the street!
I had to rely on online resources to choose my college. I had a little look through the ones offering Geography, and I think I had come across someone describing Teddy as ‘small and sociable’ which was exactly what I was looking for, since I came from a small and close-knit school.
The community here is amazing – we definitely do have a “Hall Spirit”. We all take care of each other and it really is lovely to know so many people who are all amazing, kind, and so friendly.
I applied to Teddy Hall because of the Creative Writing Society and the choir- I thought they’d be really fun to be a part of! Ultimately though, I’m glad I applied to Teddy Hall because of the people. There’s something special about the students here– it’s full of people who are incredibly passionate and serious about their studies but also aim for a good work-life balance.
What was the biggest misconception you had about studying at Oxford before you came?
I thought that I wouldn’t fit in, being a woman of colour from the Midlands. However, you will find people that are like you, or those who can validate your experiences. For example, regular socials with BAME students through Teddy Hall’s BAME society introduced me to friends outside my subject and in different years. Wherever you choose to study, you will come across so many people from all walks of life, and Oxford is no different. However, there is support available through joining different societies at a University level, and getting to know people as you settle in!
That I wouldn’t have a social life, or that I was sacrificing the ‘normal university experience’. It’s taken me a while to get the balance between work and socialising right because there’s a lot you can do, both at college and within the University as a whole. I tried out a lot of different things in first year and found out what I enjoy doing. I expected everyone to work hard, but I was very glad to find out that people make time for plenty of social stuff too. Like every other university in the country we still spend lots of our time clubbing, pubbing or chilling as well!
That it would be impossible to keep up – I was really worried I’d be the worst student in my whole year, but while the course is obviously tough, this has definitely not been the case. The tutorial system in particular really helps you keep up with the course, and not get left behind.
What would you tell your 17-year-old self about applying to and studying at St Edmund Hall now?
Not to worry, and to take everything in your stride. I was incredibly nervous about moving away from home, about applying to such a prestigious university, and the idea of being in a new place where I would potentially stick out because of where I am from! But if anything, I have found that I have really settled myself in Oxford. I would tell myself to have confidence and believe in myself and my ability to adapt and make the most of it. It has been really fun, academically inspiring, and so worthwhile.
Don’t stress unnecessarily about applying to Oxford. Focus on what you can control – by learning as much as you can about your subject.
Go for it, there can be no regrets if you tried. Yes it will be intense (it must be as the terms are so short!) but it’s definitely manageable. Being taught by world-leading academics and given access to the Bodleian Libraries is a once in a lifetime opportunity, why give up without trying? Just applying to Oxford is an achievement. Regardless of whether you get in or not, even considering Oxford demonstrates your enthusiasm and love for your subject and that can take you anywhere.
Student Q&A Videos
The best way to find out what it’s like studying at Oxford is to hear from current students! This series of videos gives an insight into a wide range of subjects at Oxford, and will increase over time as we add more.
Our prospectus is a great place to find out everything you need to know about the college as a prospective student. It has information on accommodation, bursaries, the community, financial support, societies as well as a summary for each subject.
Completely redesigned by our fantastic JCR Access Officers in 2020, the Alternative Prospectus is a completely student-written publication, and so it gives a unique perspective on life at St Edmund Hall. It covers the common room and student community, accommodation, welfare, financial support, societies, sports, music, drama, awards, prizes and everything in between.
Follow us for more!
The Hall has both college and student-run social media platforms, regularly posting about upcoming events and news. If you want to get more a taste for student life at Teddy Hall, give us a follow: