Oxford University consists of 39 colleges, which form a core element of the university. The colleges bear the responsibility for the teaching of postgraduates and undergraduates. St. Hilda is the only college within the university, which remains single-sex, accepting women only. There also exist seven Permanent Private Halls, established by various Christian unions and retaining religious character.
Like the majority of other universities, Oxford is divided into departments, which take a major role in providing classes, lectures and organizing examinations. Every Oxford University department is also a center of research. The academic year is comprised of three terms, each of 8 weeks' duration.
At various times Oxford University produced 47 Nobel Prize winners, 25 British Prime Ministers, 28 foreign prime ministers and presidents, 86 archbishops, 18 cardinals and 7 saints. Out of last eleven British Prime Ministers seven have graduated from Oxford University. Among the most prominent alumni of the university are scientists Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawkins, actors Hugh Grant, Kate Beckinsale, Terry Jones and Richard Burton, the poets Shelley, Auden, Donne and Philip Larkin.
Upon completion of both undergraduate and postgraduate education students receive degrees. Undergraduate degrees include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Theology. Until the BFA was introduced in 1978 all undergraduates took the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Holders of BA and BFA degrees proceed to the degree of Master of Arts. This degree is awarded upon the successful completion of seven years of education.
The degree of Bachelor of Theology is awarded to students of Theological Colleges, like Ripon College, Cuddesdon and Westminster College. Postgraduate degrees include Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Civil Law, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Philosophy, Master of Studies, Master of Letters, Master of Philosophy, Master of Science, Master of Theology, Master of Surgery, Master of Business Administration, Doctor of Clinical Psychology and Doctor of Philosophy.
Higher doctorates include Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Civil Law, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Music.
Oxford University is a self-governing independent institution. The main legislative body is Congregation, comprised of all academics teaching in the university. The executive body, known as University Council, consists of the Vice-Chancellor, heads of departments and the representatives from the Student Union. It is a major policy-making body, responsible for the strategic direction and academic policy of the university.
The University Council operates through the following committees: General Purposes, Educational Policy and Standards, Planning and Resource Allocation and Personnel. Five Pro-Vice Chancellors are responsible for Education, Development and External Affairs, Personnel and Equal Opportunities, Planning and Resources and Research.
Due to its excellent facilities and resources for learning Oxford University attracts students from all over the world.