Ruskin College

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"A small college with big ideas."


Ruskin College is an independent college located in Old Headington, three miles from the Centre of Oxford. It was founded in Oxford in 1899, providing vocational degrees, apprenticeships, and access programmes with a social purpose that transforms the lives of individuals. We are a small college with big ideas; with 119 years’ experience of enabling individuals to realise their potential in the areas of social work, activism, social care, youth work, public service, politics, voluntary work, and the creative industries.

Ruskin is the ideal environment for individuals who want to make positive changes to their lives and have the determination to secure the education, qualifications and opportunities that we offer.

Our teaching is tailored towards you; your ambitions and your needs. Whether you start on a short course, an Access to HE Diploma or directly onto a degree programme, we will help you find a level of study that suits your skills and experience.

Ruskin is a college committed to aspiring students. Our friendly residential college is a diverse and culturally thriving place that attracts students from our local communities, the UK and across the world. And like you, everyone has a thirst for knowledge, a desire to learn and the will to change their lives through learning.

We welcome students who not only want to develop themselves but also want to put something back into society.

We recognise that, for many adults, returning to education raises fears and anxieties as well as awakens hopes and excitement. We offer university-standard education in the informal setting of a small residential College.

Study at Ruskin College and benefit from:

  • Outstanding facilities
  • On campus accommodation options
  • Small classes
  • Personalised support
  • A diverse and culturally thriving campus

Students at Ruskin College tell us that their time here has inspired them, grown their confidence, supported personal growth, and ensured their progression into employment or further study.

Our Values:
  • Students First - providing inspirational teaching and learning opportunities
  • Respect - valuing everyone, all the time
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - creating a supportive environment
  • Excellence - setting high expectations
  • Pride, Celebration and Loyalty - positive attitudes towards studying and working

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Life on Campus

Ruskin College attracts students from all over Britain and parts of the world. Within its residential community, students socialise, study and help each other learn in a friendly, supportive environment.

Up-to-date computer facilities are available throughout the week, including weekends, and the modern, purpose-built Callaghan library is well-stocked with over 40,000 volumes.

There is an active Students Union, called the Ruskin College Student Union (RCSU), which promotes and supports the interests of Ruskin students, co-ordinates activities and sponsors groups and societies within the College.

Higher Education Students are also eligible to join the Oxford Union, and University of Oxford clubs and societies, which offer a wealth of sporting, theatrical, musical and political activities.

Ruskin College is a lively venue for literary and political meetings in Oxford. We have visiting speakers, music evenings and creative writing and poetry readings. Recent guest speakers at the College included: Gary Younge – Author and Editor-at-large for The Guardian, Brian Richardson – Radical Lawyer, Lindsey German – Political Activist and Writer, Nicola Field – LGBT+ Activist and Author and many more. Visit our Guest Speaker webpage for more information: 

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Fees and Admissions

Fees and Funding for Further Education

All Maths and English courses are free if you do not have a grade A*- C (or grade 9-4 under the new grading system). If you are studying on an Access to Higher Education course, you are eligible to apply for a loan to cover your tuition fees. You only start repaying it when you earn over £21,000 per year. 

We are committed to supporting students from a variety of financial backgrounds and personal circumstances with their studies. We can offer student bursaries to cover the cost of studying. Financial support schemes are also available to help you with your childcare. Students can apply for this as soon as you are accepted onto the course.

It is available on a first-come basis; assessments are based on your household income (including partners and parents/carers where applicable). You can only access these schemes if you are a fully funded student e.g. you are aged 19–23 years old and do not have a full Level 3 qualification, you are a UK resident and have been for at least three years and are not being charged fees or you have taken out an Advanced Learner Loan.

Eligibility for Funding

You must:

•    Be 19 years old or over
•    Be a citizen of a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) or have right of abode in the UK
•    Have been ordinarily resident in the EEA for at least the previous three years on the first day of learning

A non-EEA citizen is eligible for funding if they have permission granted by the UK government to live in the UK, which is not for educational purposes, and have been resident in the UK for at least the previous three years.

General Admission Requirements

All candidates must be able to satisfy the general admissions requirements for Ruskin College.
These are:

  • You must demonstrate commitment to the ethos and vocation of Ruskin College.
  • You must have the ability to benefit from study at this level.
  • Selection interviews are conducted as a two-way process in which you can make an informed decision about the suitability of the programme for you. You will find this process valuable.
  • You must obtain complete a Health Check if you wish to live at the College.
  • We must receive one satisfactory reference for you.
  • You will do a free writing assessment.
  • For certain course you will need to have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)
  • You must participate in an induction week, which includes sessions on all aspects of the college.

Use the links below to find out about our application process and to start your application.


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Open days

Open Events are a great opportunity for you to come and find out about life at Ruskin College: our approach to teaching, the courses on offer, the benefits of our small class sizes, and how we can help you take the next step on your learning journey. Tutors are on hand to discuss courses and answer your questions. We also have staff available from our student support and financial services, together with representatives from Ruskin Students Union who can share with you their student experience. Book your place today.

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Student Stories

Student testimonials and blogs:

One of the core values of Ruskin College is to put our students first.

We have a number of students who have shared with us their story to, at and after Ruskin. You can read these on our website blog section:

Contact details

Ruskin College

Ruskin Hall
Dunstan Road
Old Headington

+44 (0) 1865 759600