Uniform is compulsory attire that students are required to wear when they attend both primary and secondary school in the UK. When considering university, generally there are not any uniform requirements, rather students are expected to dress smartly and only wear academic dress for graduation ceremonies. For a minority of universities in the UK, students are required to wear an academic uniform for more than just graduation. The uniform will vary for students based on their year of academic study and the type of degree they are studying for.
In short, the University of Oxford does have an academic uniform that students are required to wear during their studies. Depending on their academic year of study and the type of degree they are studying, students will wear different styles of uniform.
For a more in-depth analysis of what types of uniform the University of Oxford has and why they adopt this compulsory dress code, continue to read through the rest of this article.
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Does the University of Oxford have a dress code?
Yes, the University of Oxford does have a dress code for current students enrolled. Oxford university is one of the few universities in the UK that requires students to wear an academic uniform, along with the University of Cambridge and South Bank London university to name some.
The majority of universities in the UK do not require students to wear an academic uniform for anything other than their graduation. Instead, students are expected to dress smartly for their classes and any events at the university. For example, this may include wearing a blazer instead of a hoodie or trousers instead of ripped jeans.
In most universities, if you study a particular course such as nursing, paramedic studies, or a science you may be required to wear additional clothing. For example, a nursing or paramedics uniform or a lab coat. This is mainly because the classes require practical work with some students going out on work placements.
If you are interested in going to the University of Oxford, check out this think student article.
What is the University of Oxford’s dress code?
For the majority of daily lectures and seminars, students are not required to wear a uniform and instead wear smart but casual clothing.
However, unlike other universities Oxford requires students to wear academic attire very often, not just for graduation ceremonies. These events may include some public lectures, dinner in the formal hall or when visiting the chapel. Students will also wear their full academic uniform for degree ceremonies.
The first part of the academic uniform is hoods. Usually, hoods are worn by graduates with subfusc. The hoods have three different shapes – the Oxford full shape (in scarlet and black), the Burgon shape and the Oxford simple shape.
The scarlet Oxford full shape hoods are worn by doctors and the black are worn by Bachelors of Divinity. The Burgon and Oxford simple shape hoods are worn by other students whilst the Burgon hood has become more popular and is now used by newer degrees.
The uniform also includes academic caps. Men often wear mortarboards or a square or trencher cap. Women instead choose between this and a soft cap, which was commonly worn during university ceremonies.
As part of the academic uniform, students should wear Subfusc – which is Latin meaning dark brown – underneath their academic gown and during examinations. The subfusc includes either a dark suit with dark socks, a dark skirt with black tights/stockings or sark trousers with dark socks.
It also includes a dark jacket worn underneath the gown, black shoes, a plain white collared shirt or blouse with sleeves and a white bow tie, black bow tie, black full-length tie or a black ribbon. Students will then wear the appropriate academic gown with either a mortar board or soft cap.
The information discussed above can be found in this University of Oxford article about academic dress.
Why do Oxford students wear gowns?
Students at the University of Oxford wear different gowns depending on their academic level and degree type. The gowns are worn for exams and more commonly degree ceremonies. They are mainly worn to represent the student’s academic achievement and degree type.
According to the University of Oxford, there are three main types of academic gowns – a commoners gown, scholars gown and advanced student or graduate gown.
The commoners gown is worn by students taking undergraduate or undergrad master’s degrees. The gown is usually black with no sleeves and falls to the hip. Alternatively, the scholars gown is worn by students taking undergraduate master’s degrees whilst having achieved a scholarship. The gown is black at knee length with short open sleeves.
The advanced students gown or graduate gown is worn by students taking a postgraduate taught or researched degree. It is the same style as the commoners gown but instead is knee length.
How much does the University of Oxford uniform cost?
The cost for academic attire for the University of Oxford will vary depending on which academic year you are in as well as whether you buy a new or second-hand uniform. Likewise, you can hire the uniform, particularly an academic gown.
The cost for subfusc is usually between £25 and £35. Generally, the cost of a commoners gown for an undergraduate is £25, whilst for the gown, headwear and neckwear the cost is £30. The cost of an advanced student gown or graduate gown is £30, whilst the gown, headwear and neckwear is £35.
The cost of uniform for a bachelor student varies significantly, between £25 to £45 to hire a gown or full uniform, and up to £125 to purchase the uniform new. The price will also vary depending on the material of the clothing you choose.
To purchase academic uniform for the University of Oxford, check out this helpful website.
Likewise, to find out how to access financial support for your academic uniform, check out this useful article.
Students will interpret compulsory uniforms very differently. Some students will enjoy wearing a uniform to look smart and to fit in with their fellow students. Others, however, may dislike wearing a uniform and feel their individuality is being restricted. Whether you are pro or anti uniforms, you should not allow this to be the deciding factor when choosing your university. Likewise, there will be plenty of support available from your university both financial and with finding the correct uniform.