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The University of Oxford is a collection of colleges. Some of these colleges were founded hundreds of years ago. The University is only an administrative centre which arranges lectures for all the students of the colleges, holds examinations and gives degrees.

Every college has students of all kinds; it has its medical students, its engineers, its art students, etc.

The Tutorial system is one of the ways in which Oxford and Cambridge differ from all other English universities. Every student has a tutor who plans his work. Each week some students come to see him and he discusses with them the work which they have done. This system has some advantages, but has often operated against progressive thinking in British universities because many tutors are reactionary and they try to have a great social and political influence on their students.

Other English universities called "modern" or "provincial"1 are located in large centres of industry. There are no tutorial systems there. These universities rely on lectures.

Very few children of the working people can be found among the students of all the British universities because the cost of studies is too high. According to official reports only 3 per cent of the whole number of students at the universities are sons and daughters of the working people.

The academic year in England is divided into three terms. Terminal examinations are held at the end of the autumn, spring and the summer terms. Final examinations are taken at the end of the course of studies. If a student fails in an examination he may be allowed to take the exam again. Only two re-examinations are usually allowed. For a break of discipline a student can be fined2 a sum of money, for a serious offence he may be expelled from the university.

British universities usually keep to the customs of the past. At Oxford University all the students wear long black gowns and students' cap's. Undergraduates try to get old gowns so that people would think that they have been at Oxford for years. Without his or her gown no student is allowed to call on a tutor, to have dinner in the college dining-room or attend a lecture - where the gowns are rolled up and used as cushions.


1) In what way do Oxford and Cambridge differ from all other English universities?

2) What are advantages and disadvantages of the Tutorial system?

3) What kinds of English universities are called "modern"?

4) Can many children of the working people be found among the students at English universities?

5) How many terms is the academic year in England divided into?

6) How are the students of Oxford usually dressed?


1. provincial universities - университеты, находящиеся в крупных городах Великобритании (кроме Оксфорда и Кембриджа)

2. be fined - подвергаться штрафу

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