Why Choose Blackfriars?
A Small, Friendly Community
Blackfriars Hall’s student intake is among the smallest in Oxford University, which enables us to be a particularly close and friendly community.
Most of our students are ‘mature students’, i.e. over the age of 21, studying for postgraduate degrees.
Our teaching staff specialises in Philosophy and Theology, and includes leading experts in their fields. Blackfriars’ library is especially strong in Theology and Philosophy, containing a number of volumes not readily available elsewhere.
Our research interests are centred on the work of our two Institutes:
- The Aquinas Institute, specialising in theology and philosophy in the perennial tradition of St Thomas Aquinas.
- The Las Casas Institute for Social Justice, which undertakes research and promotes debate and outreach in the field of Catholic Social Teaching, with particular interests in Economics, Migration, Human Dignity, and Poverty in the UK.
All our buildings, including student housing, are in the city centre, close to the main University libraries, departments and faculties (not to mention bars, cafés and shops).
A stimulating diversity of people
Blackfriars welcomes students and scholars from all over the world, with a wide range of personal backgrounds and study/research interests. Our Dominican ethos encourages friendly intellectual engagement with others’ perspectives, in the search for objective truth. Many of our lay students value their friendships with the Dominican friars and the members of other religious orders who study for ministerial qualifications here.
Please note: you don’t have to be a Catholic to study at Blackfriars. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds: some are religious believers, others are not. However, our students need to feel comfortable sharing a common space alongside the Dominican community of Blackfriars Priory, and to respect the community’s values and way of life.
A long tradition of scholarship
The Dominican friars first arrived in Oxford on 15 August 1221, just five years after the foundation of the Order of Preachers by St Dominic. Our way of life, as a community of scholars sharing a common life, was highly influential on the development of the collegiate structure of Oxford University.
Suppressed by Henry VIII during his Dissolution of religious houses, the Dominican community finally re-established its house in Oxford in 1921, with the Province’s Studium (clergy formation centre) returning here in 1929, and with Oxford University admitting Blackfriars into the collegiate University as a Permanent Private Hall in 1994.