In almost every walk of life, Oxford alumni seem to achieve popularity. No less than 12 Christian saints visited Oxford, as did one antipope. 5 of the Principals of the British Museum were alumni from Oxford. Chefs Rick Stein, Nigella Lawson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have all gone to Oxford as well. It’s hard to know where else you could find a community of prominent people so diverse.
In a number of different areas, a decent education coupled with useful contacts parachutes an Oxford alum into a top job. But there are definitely certain job options that are more directly related than others to Oxford. We are looking at some of the famous courses of Oxford
The town of Oxford is renowned for its role in international development, as is the university. It was an inconvenient change. Colonial officials were recruited from the ranks of Oxford graduates for decades in almost the same way that civil servants and lawmakers were; for instance, Oxford graduates were 10 of Hong Kong’s 28 governors, when it was under British control. But this position was no longer suitable when the British Empire came to an end. In 1954, as a result of a donation from the diamond-mining businessman Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a centre for colonial studies was set up at the University of Oxford. Such a centre became increasingly inappropriate from the 1980s onwards, and so it was redeveloped into the Department for International Development in Oxford.Since then, courses in International development are one of the famous courses of Oxford.
The charity Oxfam (originally the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) was founded at the same period to assist those left hungry as a consequence of the Second World War. Since then, Oxfam has developed and grown to become one of the world’s leading humanitarian organisations committed to the eradication of suffering and inequality around the world, guided by international development values. In Oxford, then, to their shared advantage, both the philosophy and the reality of international development can be identified.
It is too lengthy to even select out prominent names for the list of Oxford alumni who went on to become Lord Chancellors, Lord Chief Justices, Law Lords, and other judges and lawyers of interest. In Britain, Oxford rules the statute, and has for many years done so.
To see why, it’s clear enough. The skills needed by law graduates are those required by virtually all Oxford pupils, if they eventually follow the solicitor or barrister route: accuracy, attention to detail, the ability to discuss an argument and speak up for your view, to search for gaps and fresh, innovative ideas, and to work extremely hard. The celebrated debating society of Oxford, the Oxford Union, is an indication of this; prominent individuals such as William Gladstone, Tony Benn and Benazir Bhutto have been among its former members.
There’s also the reality that ties and mentoring are incredibly necessary for anyone pursuing a career in law, as for so many of the professions on this list. Getting exposed to the right networks is a major support with anything from summer internships to admission for training contracts, and the networking possibilities for Oxford students are second to none. Being a good lawyer, after all, also relies on possessing soft skills that are impossible to show in a traditional career questionnaire, but can be vouched for receptions over dinners or drinks. Courses for entering into are one of the famous courses of Oxford and students strive hard to get admission into the same.
Prime Ministers and politicians
Yes, there are famous courses of Oxford for these roles as well. If you’re struggling to distinguish between Oxford and Cambridge, you’ve already noticed in most ways that there’s not anything between universities. But there are several areas where one university or another performs a lot more than its counterpart. Cambridge graduates have slightly more Nobel Prizes than their Oxford counterparts. But in terms of the number of British prime ministers it created, Oxford unquestionably leads and chances are, the next one would also be an Oxford graduate; four are Oxford graduates out of the five contestants leading betting odds for the next Prime Minister (Boris Johnson, George Osborne, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Michael Gove).
They’re not all British prime ministers, either; they’re a whole lot of leaders. But for someone who wants a future in public service, what makes Oxford such a vital destination? One consideration is the standard of study of a disproportionate number of these individuals: the popular degree in Oxford Theory, Politics and Economics. It’s a broad rather than profound course, delivering graduates who are acquainted with a wide variety of disciplines. At the same time, the workload is punishing and the Oxford requirement for degrees, where students are continually expected to defend their own convictions rather than regurgitate others’ works, is doubly so for those learning PPE, which seems to be ideal preparation for politicians’ job required.
Oxford, though, is not only perfect for making movies; it is also very remarkable for producing actors. Here, again, Cambridge is probably more famous, creating many waves of Britain’s finest performers with its Footlights amateur dramatic society.
Despite not hitting the heights of the popularity of Footlights, Oxford also appears to generate as many prominent thespians as its own dramatic societies. There’s Harry Lloyd (famous for Doctor Who and Merlin), Rosamund Pike (now better remembered for Gone Girl), Rowan Atkinson (forever Mr Bean), Benedict Cumberbatch (easier to name the movies he wasn’t in), Hugh Grant (romantic comedy every 90s and much of the 00s) and Emma Watson (of course Harry Potter)-and that’s only a tiny pick.
Oxford and acting was a surprising blend. It’s not as if the other best colleges in the world are renowned by the amount of celebrities they produce; it seems laughable to imagine that there might be legions of Hollywood stars who went to MIT. Yet Oxford doesn’t even offer drama as a degree. Perhaps it is because seeking out an acting career is always a gamble – it might mean years of pennilessness and roles as an extra before success arrives, if it ever does. Acting is one of the famous courses of Oxford and having a degree from Oxford means having a very solid foundation to fall back on if it all goes wrong, making it less risky to take a chance on your ambitions working out.
Spies and Intelligence services
The spies of Cambridge are certainly more popular than the spies of Oxford, though it would be remiss at this stage not to mention that a famous spy is not exactly a good spy but these are considered to be some of the famous courses of Oxford. The British civil servant Arthur Wynn was attempting to create almost the same kind of network in Oxford, while the Cambridge Five were hired throughout their tenure at university and transferred knowledge to the Soviet authorities in the 40s, 50s and 60s. One by one, the Cambridge agents were discovered and defected to the Soviet Union to avoid punishment for spying. But Arthur Wynn was not accused until long after his passing, as his glowing Guardian obituary makes clear.
Double agents apart, Oxford alumni were five of the 17 heads of MI6 (and most of the earlier heads went right into the service instead of heading to university), as were four of the 17 heads of MI5. David Cornwall, who works under the alias John le Carré, is an Oxford graduate and aspiring agent who switched full-time to writing spy novels after his cover was betrayed by Kim Philby, one of the Cambridge Five. And the choice to join MI5 whilst in Oxford was also given to Nigella Lawson, based on the fact that she was a former Elizabeth Manningham-Buller pupil who later became head of MI5. Her boss, the then Exchequer Chancellor, advised her to turn it down.
It’s not just literature that graduates from Oxford shine at. Both Oxford alumni are the new editors of the Sunday Times, the Protector, the Mail on Sunday, the Morning Star, the Economist and Private Eye, and their writing staff were often overwhelmingly drawn from Oxford. Broadcast media is often dominated by Oxford graduates; six of the 18 Directors-General that the BBC has had since its establishment in 1927, including the present one, have been Oxford graduates.
Why is it that way? It’s partially because working in the media needs individuals who can think on their feet, excel in a pressure setting, and in a rush create a lot of content, and that’s just what you experience while you research at Oxford. The expectations put on journalists are directly linked to working an all-nighter to have the second essay of the week ready for the deadline. And there’s the reality that writing and media success in general relies a lot on who you know; as the abundance of talented bloggers around the internet goes to prove, there will still be more talented writers ready to be recruited than newspaper vacancies. A suggestion, such as by an old university acquaintance, goes a long way. If all Oxford graduates are the ones at the top, it determines who gets recruited at the bottom, continuing the loop.