History of the Clarendon Fund


The Clarendon Fund was established in 2000 by Oxford University's Council, the executive policy-forming body of the University consisting of the Vice-Chancellor, heads of departments and other University members. The Fund is financed by Oxford University Press, and dedicated resources to its continuation have increased dramatically since its inception: from £2m per annum in the year of its establishment to £7.5m per annum since 2008.

A bearded statue. Image @ Copyright Hao Zhang

This generous funding allows scholars-elect to study at Oxford regardless of financial capability, helping to remove any barriers that may stand in the way of the best graduate applicants.  In return, their attendance enables Oxford University to maintain its position as a leading academic institution, providing long-term value to the University which has been described as "immeasurable" by former Vice-Chancellor Dr John Hood.

The original aim of the Fund, as agreed by Council in 2000, was to 'assist the best overseas [graduate] students who obtain places to study in the University'. The academic excellence and potential of the students supported by the Clarendon Fund remain its key strength.  Whilst other scholarship programmes at Oxford provide significant opportunities for many scholars to study at Oxford, the Clarendon Fund is unique in its ability to provide assistance to students from a wide variety of countries who are selected solely for their excellent abilities related to their field of study. 

In 2011, the year of the Scholarships' 10th anniversary, it was decided that the remit of the Clarendon Fund would be expanded to include all nationalities. From 1 September 2011, all graduate applicants to degree-bearing courses are eligible for this prestigious scholarship funding which was, up until this point, only open to candidates with overseas fee status.

About the donor

Oxford University Press (OUP) is one of the departments of the University of Oxford; a publishing house which printed its first book in 1478, only two years after William Caxton established the first printing press in England.  It is the largest University Press in the world, publishing in multiple academic fields with offices all over the world. Through its activities, OUP furthers Oxford University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education.

Why is the scholarship called the Clarendon Fund?

Edward Hyde, later Earl of Clarendon and also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1660-1667, wrote a famous and highly profitable work, History of the Great Rebellion, about the English Civil War of the 17th century. The profits of his book were used to construct the University-owned Clarendon Building on Broad Street in central Oxford. The Clarendon Building was designed to house Oxford University Press (OUP), and so the Clarendon Fund was named in honour of this famous building and its historic links to OUP, the main benefactor of the Clarendon Scholarships.

About the logo

The Clarendon Fund logo was designed in 2009 in the run-up to the Fund's 10th anniversary, and simplified and updated in 2014. It celebrates both the long history and traditions of Oxford and of OUP, as well as welcoming the Clarendon scholars who will write the pages of the University's future.

Sandstone columns in an Oxford doorway. Image @ Copyright Hao Zhang

It shows the statues of the Muses at the top of the Clarendon building, which are perhaps the building's most recognisable feature and an iconic part of the Oxford skyline. The building was constructed in the classical style from 1711-13 on the design of Nicholas Hawksmoor, a pupil of the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.

The font used with the logo is one of the Fell typefaces, which were designed for the Press in the seventeenth century by John Fell.

(With thanks to Toby Whiting)