Somerville college rugby team in a scrum during a match
Credit Vance Tan

Our students combine their education with sport, music, volunteering and more. Read below to find out what's on offer at Somerville.

The Choir, Music and Drama

Somerville has a renowned mixed voice choir, which records albums and tours overseas - most recently to India. Made up of choral scholars and volunteers, the choir plays a strong role in college life, giving regular concerts and performing in the weekly service of choral contemplation on Sunday evenings.

As the choir sings in a non-denominational chapel, their repertoire is considerably wider than other college choirs, including the Bach St John Passion, folksongs from the UK and US and works by composers such as Randall Stroope, Eriks Esenvalds and Cecilia McDowall.

Somerville Orchestra is an informal, non-auditioned group which rehearses once a week. The level is around Grade Five and above but players of all levels are welcome, The orchestra puts on concerts every year with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Bernstein. There is a dedicated music room with a piano and drum kit, and other rooms that can be used for music practice.

The Somerville Music Society organises termly recitals and concerts for students of all musical genres and abilities to perform to the wider college community.

The College hosts an annual Arts Week, which is organised by the JCR Arts Officer, and aims to showcase as many art forms as possible. This can include anything from photography, literature and world music to film screenings and fashion.

Somerville graduates who are forging successful careers as film producers, actors or directors include Calam Lynch, Katie Whittaker, Tessa Ross, Danielle Lux and Martin Roe.

Bops and Balls

The Junior Common Room - the student-run organisation that provides support and entertainment for our undergraduates - hosts 'bops' every term, which are themed parties to which all of the members of the common room are invited.

The College also hosts a ball jointly with Jesus College, every three years.

Sports Teams

Students at Somerville have opportunities to represent the College in a wide range of team sports with both men's, women's and mixed teams.

There are clubs for most sports you can think of, including Football, Cricket, Rugby, Rowing, Tennis, Netball, Basketball, Water Polo, Swimming and even an alternative Ice Hockey team who play at the local ice rink! Somerville College Boat Club was founded in 1921, and trains throughout the year to compete in both internal and external regattas.

Formal Dinners

Every week in term-time there is a formal dinner in hall. This is a popular tradition across the university where members of a college enjoy a reasonably-priced three course meal with a smart dress code. It can be a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends.

Twice a term, there is a special guest night where an extra course is served and students wear black tie.

Every year, there is a formal dinner for your subject. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow students of your subject from different years.


College societies are a good way to make friends and pursue shared interests outside of study.

Some of those you can join include the Album Club, where members listen to an album selected by a member during the week - anything from Miles Davis to Kylie Minogue - and meet for discussion in the College bar; the Baking Society, if you like the feel of flour between your fingers and sugar on your tongue; the Janet Vaughan Medical society, which hosts speakers, dinners and discussion for our community of medical students and tutors; the Physics and Maths societies, the LGBTQ+ society, a friendly and welcoming community who organise regular social events, the Christian Union, who meet regularly and also run the popular termly 'text-a-toastie' service, bringing free toasted sandwiches to the door of your room; or the 1920s Society, a discussion group for topics of sex, gender and equality, named after the year both women and men could matriculate at Oxford.

Angela matheickal
Angela Matheickal
One of the personal highlights of my time at Somerville was being president of the college Baking Society, which not only allowed me to create friendships in different year groups but also meant I had a supply of baked goods every week!