Student Activities

Middle Common Room

All graduates are automatically members of the Middle Common Room (MCR). The MCR means both the graduate student body and the spacious meeting-room on the main College site that is for their sole use. This room is a very pleasant space for informal meetings and conversation and leisure activities and parties.

The MCR is run by a committee of graduates elected each year, which represents their interests in a variety of practical ways. The MCR organises a very active and varied social program of events in College, from brunches to film screenings. In addition to dining hall access through the year, MCR members are invited to a welcoming dinner with their College advisers in their 1st year. They also have the opportunity each year to attend a College dinner, to which they may invite their thesis supervisor or another academic guest. They can meet and mingle with the Fellows over refreshments at the MCR research event that is held each term. The MCR ensures that all graduates who want to pursue sport or other leisure activities at whatever level are able to enjoy the facilities they need.

Most of our graduate houses are ideally placed for the University's Iffley Road Sports Complex and University nursery facilities

The same range of facilities as undergraduates enjoy is at their disposal, although graduates are inevitably less present 'on site' during the working day. St Hilda's graduate body is just as much part of the College 'scene' as the Junior Common Room (JCR). We do everything we can to make you feel at home. Our aim is to ensure that your time here as a graduate student is as fulfilling, exciting and problem-free as possible.


Sports can be played at every level, from casual involvement to College or University teams. In recent years, St Hilda’s has had successes in a variety of sports, including: rowing, netball, rugby, and football.

St Hilda’s is a 10-minute walk from the University's Iffley Road Sports Complex which boasts a fitness arena, an all-weather running track, an Olympic standard artificial hockey pitch, a rowing tank, a 25-metre swimming pool, and a sports hall. The College also has facilities for association football, lawn tennis, and rugby.

The Arts at St Hilda’s

St Hilda’s has an unusually strong arts profile, and the Fellowship includes one of only two University Lecturers in Fine Art at an undergraduate college. Dance, poetry, drama, photography, fashion design, sculpture, creative writing, or music - whatever your artistic passion, there's a way for you to develop, share and enjoy it at St Hilda's. With concerts and recitals, art, sculpture and photography exhibitions, dance and choral workshops, readings, drama productions and an Arts Festival all held within College, St Hilda's students enjoy one of the most exciting college-based cultural environments in Oxford.


The Jacqueline du Pré music building in the College grounds offers St Hilda’s students outstanding practice and performing facilities, as well as being the venue for prestigious concerts, recording sessions, and community music events. St Hilda’s has a Director of College Music who helps students organise musical events and recital series, and conducts one of the student choirs. We also offer an annual Music Scholarship.

A message from the Director of College Music, Dr Jonathan Williams

St Hilda's commitment to music is particularly strong and its facilities are world class. With the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building - with its Steinway D concert grand piano,recording studio and well-equipped practice rooms - and with music staff working to promote music-making within college, you can be sure that whatever your musical tastes, background and aspirations, you will have every opportunity to enjoy music here. Take a look at 'Anima: Music and Animation at St Hilda's', an exciting, unique, collaborative project bringing together some of the UK's most dynamic contemporary composers and filmmakers.

There is now a wider range of events at St Hilda's than ever before, so it really is a wonderful time to get involved with Music at St Hilda's. If you play an instrument or sing then you can join our fine orchestra or choir and take part in the termly concerts at the JdP and at the University Church. You could participate in masterclasses with visiting artists, form your own chamber ensemble or just make the most of our wonderful practice facilities. And of course, we have a world-class venue where you can attend free recitals every Thursday lunchtime during term and where you can hear professional concerts for as little as £5. Whatever your interest, be sure to contact me to get involved! 

Thursday lunchtime concerts

St Hilda's College is unique in offering free weekly concerts performed by members of College, students from across the University and professional musicians. These events are held at the JdP on Thursday lunchtimes during term.  They are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy music in a friendly atmosphere and to take a break from work for a while. Admission is FREE and tea and coffee are served afterwards.

The Choir of St Hilda's College, Oxford

The Choir of St Hilda's College is enjoying great success. Recent years have seen the choir play an increasingly active role in college, performing at such events as the Founder's Day service and Carols on the Stairs and at the termly college concerts. The choir represented college further afield too, singing at choral evensongs in the University Church and at Oriel college. Recent highlights are our performances of Faure's Requiem, Handel's Messiah and Vivaldi's Gloria. Please contact our Musical Director for further information.

Rehearsals: in the JdP or college chapel on Fridays from 5.15pm until 6.45pm. 

World Music

With students and staff from over 90 different countries currently working at St Hilda's, there is a wonderfully cosmopolitan community here at college. This multiculturalism is being increasingly reflected in the cultural events held in the JdP. The Oxford Gamelan Society has performed here, and over 100 people came to a concert of Arab and Turkish Classical Music given by Dr Martin Stokes, Mahmoud Natout and Gökhan Yücel.

We are very keen to broaden the range of music heard on the stage of the JdP, so if you would like to perform some music of your own country we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact our Musical Director to discuss your ideas.

The Orchestra and other ensembles

Aside from the orchestra which performs once a term after a period of focussed rehearsal, it is possible to play in smaller scale chamber groups, whether piano trio, wind quintet, band, string quartet. A jazz band has recently been formed so be sure to get involved...!

The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (JdP)

The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (JdP) is a purpose-built world class concert venue completed in 1995 in memory of the outstanding cellist and honorary fellow of St Hilda's, Jacqueline du Pré. With as many as 50 events taking place at the JdP every term, there's always something to enjoy. A list of all the events is available on the JdP website and in the termly What's On leaflet.

Practice facilities

At the JdP is the Edward Boyle Auditorium - which houses our superb Steinway model D grand piano - a recording studio, and five practice rooms which contain a Steinway model B grand piano, four new Yamaha upright pianos (including one 'silent' instrument) and a harpsichord. These rooms are available to all St Hilda's students, seven day s a week, from 7am to 11pm (subject to recordings and concerts). Practice rooms can be booked on the JdP room booking page on the college intranet and the Auditorium by contacting the JdP team.

The JdP Team

Dr Jonathan Williams, Director of College Music

Professor Martyn Harry, Tutor in Music

Religious Life

Many St Hilda’s students also participate in the religious life of the College and in that of the University. Almost all faith groups are represented by University student societies. The Hindu Mandal in Oxford is very near College, as is the Central Oxford Mosque. There is a University Jewish Chaplaincy, and an Oxford Synagogue. St Hilda’s has its own Christian chapel and chaplain. The College Milham Ford Chapel has been demolished as part of the building redevelopment and the College has a temporary chapel located in South 45-46.  For places of worship, please see the University's Equality and Diversity webpages.

Other Activites

Most students pursue leisure activities both within and outside College. With more than 400 clubs and societies across the University to choose from, you will always be able to find other people who share your interests, no matter how unusual. There is a wide range of options - your main problem will be choosing which societies to join. If St Hilda’s or the University doesn’t offer you what you want to do, you can set up a society for it yourself!

Middle Common Room student on South Lawn, St Hilda's CollegeMiddle Common Room students celebrating before a College dinnerMiddle Common Room students at a St Hilda's College dinnerStudents presenting at a Middle Common Room Research Forum, Hilary Term 2015Graduate Musician-in-Residence Carson Becke at the JdPSt Hilda's College Choir and Orchestra practice in University Church, Oxford