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A brief overview of how undergraduate teaching is organised at Oxford - in the departments and the colleges

A view of Oxford colleges and spires

Teaching: how undergraduate teaching at Oxford is structured

At Oxford (and in MPLS departments) undergraduate teaching takes place in both the department and in colleges. The college structure is central to undergraduate teaching and learning at Oxford. Colleges are independent of, but work closely with University departments to jointly provide undergraduate teaching. Responsibility for teaching is split between the two. Most permanent academic staff have a joint appointment as university lecturer and college subject tutor.

Usually each undergraduate ‘course’ is organised by a lecturer, who will deliver a series of lectures in the department. The lecture course is underpinned by tutorials, usually organised and taking place in the student’s college. In MPLS, many courses also have: 

  • Classes, which are interactive problem-solving sessions, the problems being set by the course lecturer.
  • Labs or practicals

Exact details of how the undergraduate course is organised, and which parts of the course are taught by graduate students and research staff, vary from department to department.  Details will be available from the Head of Teaching in each department. If you're not sure who this is, contact


University policy and MPLS Divisional policy requires all who teach to have been trained. Read an explanation of how training in teaching is organised at Oxford and in the division, together with details of the training available.

Read information about organising training in teaching for departments and heads of teaching.