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Oxford Brookes and Oxford University: two famous universities, the only 2 in Oxford

Oxford Brookes University and The University of Oxford are the only two universities that can be found in South West England, in Oxford city. The University of Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the world, which is widely known for its great teaching quality as well as its being among the world’s highest rated institutions. Oxford Brookes on the other hand is a relatively new university, and despite it not being on the top of world rankings, it has also several strong features that are worth mentioning and which are gradually pushing Brookes towards the top ranks. To understand the difference between these two universities, such areas as history, location, academic strengths, facilities and student union will be covered in this essay. 

Oxford Brookes and Oxford University: two famous universities, the only 2 in Oxford

The historical background can tell a lot of interesting information about a particular institution. The University of Oxford was first mentioned in 12th century records, initially consisting of only 3 colleges as opposed to the current 38 colleges (Oxfrordshortlets.co.uk, 2014), whereas Oxford Brookes University was first founded in 1865 as The Oxford School of Art. Later on it became an Oxford Polytechnic University in 1970 and in 1992 it earned university status and was renamed to honor of its former principal, John Brookes. 

Oxford Brookes and Oxford University: two famous universities, the only 2 in Oxford

There is a college in Oxford University which stands out due to its uniqueness. It is called the Christ Church Cathedral which acts both as a college and a cathedral which makes it unique and popular amongst tourists.  It was originally called the Priory Church of St Frideswide and in 1546 it was extended and incorporated in what it is nowadays. As it can be seen, both universities were established long time ago and were gradually improving and expanding in what they are today. 

The location of an institution is usually a very important criterion, particularly for students, when it comes to comparing different universities. Both universities are located in the city of Oxford. However, most of the colleges of Oxford are located in the centre, whereas Brookes main campuses are located in Headington. Despite being further from the city centre, Brookes offers a great facility of bus services which makes it easier to get anywhere including campuses, halls of residence or city centre. As it can be seen, location does not play a big role when comparing these two institutions. The city of Oxford is relatively small, therefore it is relatively easy to reach both universities.  

Every institution has its academic strengths and weaknesses. According to TheCompleteUniversityGuide, Oxford Brookes is strong in the areas such as: Architecture, Automotive and Motorsport Engineering, Education, Health Care, History, Hospitality and Publishing (thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk,2014). The University of Oxford does not concede, and can also offer a great teaching quality and academic excellence in many areas in sciences and arts. In particular, it is distinctive in sciences such as natural and social sciences. It holds major research projects which are monetary supported.

It is definitely important to mention the facilities that both universities offer. Facilities such as libraries or sport centres are crucial in order for students to achieve their goals. Oxford Brookes University has excelled by building a new John Henry building which offers many classrooms, libraries, computer rooms and restaurants. Libraries can be found in all campuses as well. Brookes also has an online learning environment called Moodle, which includes all the information on academics, homework etc. Brookes has at least seven halls of residence with a fast broadband internet connection and bus services linking all the halls with the university campuses. Also, Oxford Brookes has sports facilities on each campus, including gym facilities, swimming pools and football pitches. Gym sites are equipped with cardio workout and CYBEX machines, specialist facilities for wheelchair users, sports hall, floodlit AstroTurf pitches and a swimming pool (thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk, 2014). On the other hand, Oxford University colleges are also well equipped with IT facilities, learning centres as well as libraries with multiple copies of various valuable books and texts. In terms of sport, it offers such facilities as gym, all-weather running track, an Olympic standard artificial hockey pitch, sports hall and 25-metre swimming pool (thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk,2014). Each college also has its own sport facilities, ranging from fitness suites to squash courts. To conclude, both universities offer a good variety of facilities for students and staff which can be easily accessed and used by anyone interested.

Every university has a student union which is dedicated to social and organizational activities as well as to provide academic support for the university students. Oxford Brookes and Oxford University are not the exceptions and each one has its own student union; Brookes Union and OUSU correspondingly. Each college in Oxford University has its own student union which is responsible for entertainment, welfare and academic support for its students. Oxford Brookes student union has around eighty-five societies for everyone as well many annual events run by the students and also services such as the safety bus that ensures student safety. Both institutions certainly boast high standards of student unions. 

In view of the above, both universities have many features to be proud of. Oxford Brookes has been deliberately improving not only in academic aspects, but facility wise as well. The new John Henry building was extremely successful thus winning RIBA Architectural award (brookes.ac.uk,2014). Because of a great amount of endowments, Oxford Brookes was able to establish a contact with Oxford Bus Company therefore providing its own buses and creating routes which link halls and campuses. This is an important investment which has certainly attracted customers i.e students as well as staff. Another feature which is worth pointing out is a Starbucks caf? right in John Henry Building. Not many (if any) universities can establish Starbucks right on site. Overall, Oxford Brookes has made great investments which have certainly paid off. There is no need for Oxford University to make any renovations as its status is determined by the old buildings that were built many years ago. Oxford University has definitely invested into its sport facilities which give a vast amount of choices and opportunities for students. 

To conclude, both institutions are very decent in terms of providing various facilities for their students. Despite Brookes being a new university, it has great potential and it is surely moving towards the higher places in world rankings, due to the investments that are being made towards the outer look and academic facilities. Having many modular degree and combined degree courses makes Brookes unique amongst many universities in the United Kingdom. On the other hand Oxford University is undoubtedly more prestigious. It has obtained a global recognition amongst employers and will retain it for many years. Finally, it is worth pointing out that both universities are decent and it is up to every and each one of us to decide which university is better.


• Oxfordshortlets.co.uk, (2014). The University of Oxford & Oxford Brookes University - Oxford Colleges - Oxford Academics - Students in Oxford - Graduates in Oxford: OxfordShortlets. [online] Available at: http://www.oxfordshortlets.co.uk/oxford-university.php [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014].

• Thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk, (2014). Oxford Brookes University. [online] Available at: http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/oxford-brookes [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014].

• Thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk, (2014). University of Oxford. [online] Available at: http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/oxford [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014].

• Topuniversities.com, (2014). Oxford Brookes University. [online] Available at: http://www.topuniversities.com/universities/oxford-brookes-university/undergrad [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014].

• Brookes.ac.uk, (2014). RIBA South Win - Oxford Brookes University. [online] Available at: https://www.brookes.ac.uk/about-brookes/news/riba-south-win-for-john-henry-brookes-building/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014].

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