Linacre College was born from a concern in the early 1960s that the rapidly growing number of graduate students at the University was very poorly catered for – particularly those from overseas. A report in the Oxford Mail dating from this time records that among “Afro-Asian students at British universities there was a universal common element of disappointment, isolation and bitterness, particularly about Oxford.” The college was designed to play a part in overcoming this isolation. The college was a deliberate experiment to see whether the needs of international graduate students could be better met by a new type of society – the first co-educational, international, all-age, all-subject graduate college. Since then, thousands of students from all over the world have found, in Linacre, a welcoming home.
The character of the University and its graduate community has changed significantly over the last sixty years. Graduates now outnumber undergraduates, and the majority are from countries other than the UK. But as the costs of graduate study have spiralled and scholarships are ever-more hard to come by, the challenge has become one of including talented scholars from all socio-economic backgrounds, not simply the most privileged.
Linacre has taken on this challenge in a number of ways. The College has played a leading role in the development of the University’s graduate access programme. UNIQ+ is a research internship programme intended to encourage access to postgraduate study from talented undergraduates who would find continuing into postgraduate study a challenge for reasons other than their academic ability.
The College is a partner and sponsor of the Black Academic Futures scholarship programme. Ten, fully-funded scholarships are available to students who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, who are of Black, or Mixed-Black ethnicity and who are applying to study for a postgraduate research degree at Oxford.
The College has a long history of supporting African scholarship. As well as offering six fully-funded postgraduate scholarships for students normally resident in African nations, the College has established its own charitable fund, the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust for Africa which over the last ten years has supported more than 1,000 talented African scholars who could not afford to go to university, to study for a degree.