Oxford vs Cambridge - Which University is Better?

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Mar 15, 2023 10:58 PM IST

Oxford and Cambridge are the two most eminent institutions in the UK, which every student dreams to add to their career graphs. While Oxford is a city with a university in it, Cambridge is a university with a city around it. Read on to learn more about Oxford vs Cambridge.

Oxford vs Cambridge - Which University is Better?

The UK has been the abode of world-famous universities that have been catering to the education of students for centuries. Oxford and Cambridge have been existing for a long time and are known for their architecture and rivers gliding across the cities. They appear to be arch-rivals when it comes to education.

Education at both universities revolves around the collegiate system and both practice tutorial teaching. For a student who has grown up reading and hearing about the glorious Oxford and Cambridge, it is a tough choice to make between the two. However, a comparative analysis is bound to bring out the differences that persist in the ranking, course, curriculum, and other parameters.

Also, a student is forbidden from choosing both universities for application by the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). So, in order to help you decide ahead of time, here is all about Oxford vs Cambridge. 

Highlights of Oxford vs Cambridge

Let us compare both universities quickly to have an understanding of the various parameters on the basis of which we can distinguish them:

Key Components

Oxford

Cambridge

Year Founded

1096

1209

Location Oxford, England Cambridge, England

Acceptance Rate

17%

15%

Programs of Study

UG Programs -19

PG Programs -32

UG Programs -27

PG Programs -97

Rankings of Subjects on QS World Rankings

Ranked best for 44 subjects

Ranked best for 45 subjects

Tuition Fees

£26,770 to £37,510 

£22,227 to £33,827 

Total Number of Students (2021)

22,155

19,660

Student-Teacher Ratio

3:1

4:1

Score Range

IELTS Band 7 out of 9 or TOEFL score must be 100 or PTE score is 66.

Minimum 90% marks in the 5 optional subjects with 95% in the two chosen subjects. (For bachelor's admission)

GPA 3.3 out of 4, GRE/GMAT scores are accepted. (For masters)

IELTS Band 7.5, TOEFL score of 110 with minimum 25 in each section.

Applicants must get 90% or above in board examinations. (For bachelors admission)

GMAT score of 640-730 is required or equivalent GRE scores,70% marks in graduation(For masters admission)

Number Of Colleges

39

31

Graduation Rate 89% 92%
Facilities Library, Virtual Learning Environment, Accommodation and catering, University sports, clubs, and societies. Library, Computing and IT, Language Centre, Museum and collections, Facilities to worship, celebrate and meditate  
Top Recruiters Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deloitte, Cisco, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC, Huawei Amazon, McKinsey & Company, Google, Uber, and The Boston Consulting Group.
Median Salary GBP 35,700 GBP 92,000

The detailed differences between Cambridge and Oxford have been discussed in detail below so that they can make the best choices to suit their needs. 

Find Out the Best Colleges to Study in the UK! 

Rankings of Oxford vs Cambridge

Yes, Oxford and Cambridge are close competitors but both of them are nonpareil in terms of rankings. Let us have a keener glance at the rankings of both institutes:

Rankings

Oxford

Cambridge

QS Ranking 2022

2

3

Times Higher Education 2022

1

5

The Guardian

1

3

World Economic Forum

1

6

Best Courses to Study at Oxford vs Cambridge

The courses are a crucial part of the selection of a university. You should choose the course about which you are passionate. If a student wishes to study science, on day 1 at Oxford, students are inducted into the subject, allowing them to explore its complexities and beauties of it. On the other hand, at Cambridge, a student has to study Natural Sciences and later in the 3rd year, they can choose their specialisation. The other popular courses are listed below:

Top Courses at Oxford 

Top Courses at Cambridge

Art and Design

Anthropology

Philosophy

Statistics

History

Geology

Linguistics

Chemical Engineering

Medicine

English

Average Tuition Fees at Oxford vs Cambridge

The fees of both universities differ according to courses. However, we have made an attempt to provide you with an overview of the cost of education that you will have to incur. Check with the university websites for a fee breakup and details for each course. 

Annual Tuition Fees

Oxford (in GBP)

Cambridge (in GBP)

Undergraduate

26,770-37,510

22,227-33,827

Postgraduate

12,223-29,160

22,482-36,012

You can check out the video that highlights the differences between Oxford University and Cambridge University which helps you make informed choices regarding the same. 

International Scholarships at Oxford vs Cambridge

Both Oxford and Cambridge offer a number of scholarships to international students. Here is a list of scholarships offered by both along with their overall values:

Oxford Scholarships and Fundings

International students are eligible for scholarships to study at Oxford University. The grants that are provided are sufficient to cover the cost of living and education. The names of a few scholarships are:

  • Palgrave Brown Scholarship: It covers the living cost.

  • Reach Oxford Scholarship: This scholarship covers the course fee, living cost, and one return airfare per year.

  • Simon and June Li Undergraduate Scholarship: The funding covers course fees and living costs.

  • D.H. Chen Foundation Scholarships: These cover course fees and living expenses.

  • Chevening Scholarships: These include tuition fees, accommodation, and travel.

  • Rhodes Scholarship: These scholarships include tuition, travel expense, health insurance, and accommodation.

Cambridge Scholarships and Fundings

The international students studying at Cambridge have to incur a huge cost. But to aid education there are several scholarships that cover various expenses.

  • Cambridge Trust Scholarship: It makes some contribution towards tuition fees.

  • Manmohan Singh Scholarship: It is specifically for Indian students enrolling in the Cambridge BA programme.

  • Rowan Williams Cambridge Studentship: This includes tuition fees and an annual stipend. 

  • Khazanah Cambridge Scholarship: This covers tuition fees, one return economy airfare, and an annual stipend.

Salary Offered at Oxford vs Cambridge

Graduating from prestigious universities like Oxford and Cambridge increases possibilities for developed career prospects and recruiters usually consider such graduates a great value addition to their organisations.  

The data collected from 320 graduates of Oxford in 2017-18 shows that the average annual salary was GBP 41,600, with a median salary of GBP 35,700. Almost 80% of the graduates were employed and 89% of the graduates were meaningfully employed in the job of their choice.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deloitte, Cisco, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC, Huawei, and many more international companies have tied up with Oxford for placements. 

On the other hand, 92% of students who graduated from Cambridge received job offers within three months of graduation and 89% of them were employed in 26 different countries. The average salary offered to them is about GBP 92,000, with a base salary package is GBP 67,000. The top companies that recruit Cambridge graduates include Amazon, McKinsey & Company, Google, Uber, and The Boston Consulting Group.

The survey by Emolument shows that the average salary packages of graduates in 2021-22 are:

Course

Oxford Graduate Average Salary in USD 

Cambridge Graduate Average Salary Package in USD

MA

133,000

125,000

MBA

130,000

131,000

LLM

127,000

118,000

Student Life at Oxford vs Cambridge

Oxford functions with an aim to make students have an individual experience and be excited about their future prospects. No two individuals can have the same life experiences according to them. They wish to instil confidence and self-belief. The Oxford community provides a feeling of belongingness to each student and no one is left out of the socialisation process. There are a great number of groups, clubs, and activities going around the year that help students bring out the best of themselves. There are around 400 clubs to choose from and participate in, allowing students to find exposure and reveal their personalities.

Similarly, Cambridge also offers an incredible experience to its students. There are around 500 clubs where students can participate and relate with like-minded fellows. The university is filled with cinemas, theatres, and entertainment that you can relish well. Dramas, music in form of choirs and ensembles, and functions take place throughout the year. The university focuses on inculcating a healthy lifestyle and promotes recreational and competitive sports for all students. There are around 80 sports to choose from at Cambridge, which include iceball, judo, kickboxing, etc.

Oxford vs Cambridge: Verdict

The differences between Oxford and Cambridge are nominal and if there are any, this article is evidence of that. Both are at their height of excellence. The instructions, tuition fees, and living costs differ minimally. 

The only visible difference is in the course structure of both universities. Oxford packs various fields into a degree, whereas, Cambridge emphasises singular disciplines as degrees. Nevertheless, both universities can offer learning and research at the highest levels of global education. And, choosing between the two is only a privilege. 

Are you still confused between Oxford and Cambridge? Let our experts guide you. Write to them at abroad@collegedekho.com.

Looking for the Right Course at Oxford or Cambridge?

FAQs

Is Cambridge better than Oxford?

Cambridge and Oxford are among the best in terms of university education and it is difficult to ascertain which is better. Both the universities rank high in global ranking lists, with both ranked highly subject-wise as well. While Oxford is considered better for arts and social science, Cambridge aces in natural sciences.

Is Oxford harder than Cambridge?

Oxford is a little harder than Cambridge in terms of getting into the university. The acceptance rate at both universities is extremely low, making them highly selective. The acceptance rate for 2021 was 17% at Oxford, whereas, at Cambridge, it was 18%. Therefore, students require a stellar profile to be accepted into these prestigious universities.

Which is better for law- Oxford or Cambridge?

Oxford and Cambridge are equally brilliant for law and legal studies. In the QS subject rankings 2022, the University of Oxford stood at the 2nd position whereas the University of Cambridge stood at the 3rd position. Both universities provide a variety of law degrees and you need to appear for an entrance test to get into them. Cambridge requires Cambridge Law Test scores while Oxford requires LNAT scores.

Which university is better for medicine- Oxford or Cambridge?

With regard to medicine, Oxford is slightly better than Cambridge in terms of QS ranking 2022. Oxford stands at the second position whereas Cambridge stands at the fourth position. Both universities focus on academic and research-based teaching. In terms of student strength, Oxford has a lesser number of students than Cambridge for their medical courses.

Which university is better in terms of employability- Cambridge or Oxford?

In terms of employability Cambridge and Oxford have a good employment rate than most other UK universities. Oxford has a better employability rate than Cambridge according to the QS Employability Rankings 2022. Oxford is in 7th position and Cambridge occupies the 11th position globally.

Is the number of colleges higher at Oxford than Cambridge?

Yes, the number of colleges is higher at Oxford than Cambridge. Oxford has 39 colleges whereas Cambridge has 31 colleges. As both universities have a collegiate system, most students live on the university campus during their freshman years as well as later. Here, they perform different activities together.

Are natural science courses at Cambridge better than at Oxford?

Yes, natural science courses at Cambridge are better than at Oxford. According to the QS Subject Rankings 2022, Cambridge stands at the 3rd position for natural sciences and Oxford is at the 4th position. Oxford allows students to study their chosen science subject from the outset while Cambridge provides opportunities to try different subjects before settling for one.

Which is better for engineering- Oxford or Cambridge?

Cambridge fares better than Oxford in QS Subject Rankings 2022 for engineering by occupying the 2nd position as compared to the 3rd position secured by Oxford. Cambridge also offers a better opportunity to explore various modules before choosing an engineering specialisation. The courses encompass various theoretical and practical classes with time given for Major project in the fourth year.

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