The terms as lived by the student:
He or she 'comes up' into residence by midnight on the Friday before 'Full Term', which begins on a Sunday, and 'goes down' on the Saturday just over eight weeks later. The student is of course expected to continue studying at home during the vacations.
'Coming up' and 'going down' are also used to indicate the beginning and end of one's total course or courses: "I went up in Michaelmas (ie Autumn) 2007 and came down in Trinity (ie Summer) '10." Or perhaps "I was sent down (ie dismissed for some misdemeanour) in Hilary (ie Easter) '08."
Similarly, one will often hear students, or, more usually, dons, refer to going "down" to London, or "down" to Edinburgh, regardless of the relative geograpical position of these places in relation to Oxford. The general rule is, one comes up to Oxford and goes down to everywhere else. Hence one of the Revd. William Spooner's most delightful (though probably apochryphal) spoonerisms: "You have tasted the whole worm. You will leave Oxford by the town drain"*.
It is usual for students to refer to some event taking place in, say, Tuesday of '3rd week' (of term), which can be unhelpful to those outside the University. If you are trying to communicate with both worlds, it is best to give the date both ways, eg Tuesday of 3rd week; 25th October 2011. The week before term is frequently referred to as 'noughth week'. The week before that is less frequently referred to as 'minus-first week'. The week before that... [that's enough! Ed.]
Dates of Full Terms
2012 - 2013
- MICHAELMAS TERM: Sunday 7th October - Saturday 1st December
- HILARY TERM: Sunday 13th January - Saturday 9th March
- TRINITY TERM: Sunday 21st April - Saturday 15th June
2013 - 2014 (provisional)
- MICHAELMAS TERM: Sunday 13th October - Saturday 7th December
- HILARY TERM: Sunday 19th January - Saturday 15th March
- TRINITY TERM: Sunday 27th April - Saturday 21st June
2014 - 2015 (provisional)
- MICHAELMAS TERM: Sunday 12th October - Saturday 6th December
- HILARY TERM: Sunday 18th January - Saturday 14th March
- TRINITY TERM: Sunday 26th April - Saturday 20th June
2015 - 2016 (provisional)
- MICHAELMAS TERM: Sunday 11th October - Saturday 5th December
- HILARY TERM: Sunday 17th January - Saturday 12th March
- TRINITY TERM: Sunday 24th April - Saturday 18th June
For further information: click here.