English tutorial

Academic Life

The scholarship and research interests and activities of the current Fellows are described on their individual web pages in the section on Senior Members.

For students, academic life at Balliol is challenging and stimulating. Balliol admits people of exceptional talent, regardless of their background, and students can study here in almost all disciplines represented in the University. Consequently there is a diversity of people and views in College, which promotes discussion; and all students are encouraged to think knowledgeably and independently. 

Undergraduates engage directly with Balliol academics through the tutorial system, which allows tutors and students to get to know each other and develop a relationship that yields real intellectual growth. Although graduates work more on their own, with an academic supervisor from a University faculty or department, they also have the support of a College adviser. Many Balliol students achieve outstanding academic results. In 2019, for instance, 40 per cent of our finalists were awarded First Class degrees.

Alongside study, there are academic events, advertised in the termly calendar, and subject societies which bring together students and Fellows (and sometimes alumni):

  • Bacchus, for Balliol chemists/biochemists and biologists
  • Balliol Medical Society
  • Beers, for Balliol engineers
  • BUMS, the Balliol Undergraduate Maths Society
  • Burps, for Balliol physicists 
  • Cerberus, for Balliol PPEists
  • Dervorguilla, for Balliol historians
  • Younger Society: for Balliol lawyers, past and present 

Academic merit is rewarded. For undergraduates, there are numerous prizes; and those who perform exceptionally well are awarded exhibitions and then, with continuing excellent performance, scholarships. Graduates may compete for scholarships at admission, and a few awards made on course. Undergraduates can apply for academic project grants, and research graduates can apply for conference or project funding.

Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute (BII)

The Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute cultivates and supports interdisciplinary research in Balliol, straddling the humanities, the social sciences, and the physical and medical sciences. It provides opportunities for Senior Members, graduates and alumni to propose and lead research projects, and encourages participation from elsewhere in the University.