Nuffield College, Oxford

Nuffield College ( /ˈnʌfiːld/) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is an all-graduate college and primarily a research establishment, specialising in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics and sociology. It is a research center in the social sciences. Despite being one of the newest and smallest of the colleges, its architecture is designed to conform to the traditional college layout, and its modernistic spire is a landmark for those approaching Oxford from the west.

As of 2006, the college had an estimated financial endowment of £146m.

History and purpose today

Nuffield College is a graduate college of the University of Oxford specialising in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics, and sociology. It aims to provide a stimulating research-oriented environment for postgraduate students (about 75 in number) and faculty (approximately 60 academic fellows). The college, which was founded in 1937, is located on a site on the western side of Oxford city centre. The land on which the college stands, which was formerly the city's principal canal basin and coal wharfs, was donated to the university by William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield (Lord Nuffield). Restrictions on construction after the Second World War meant that work on the college was not completed until 1960.

The original plan for the college to occupy land on both sides of Worcester Street was scaled down as a result of budget and material shortages, and to this day the land to the west of the college is occupied by a "temporary" car park. The architectural aesthetic of the final design, particularly the tower and its fleche (small spire), has attracted some criticism; unlike the other "dreaming spires" of Oxford, Nuffield's tower is a masonry-clad steel-framed book-stack, housing the college library.

Around a third of Nuffield's fellows hold appointments at the University of Oxford as lecturers, readers or professors. In addition, the college fully funds around a dozen Official Fellowships, which the College views as tenured research professorships (although most also teach on the University's graduate programme), and about a dozen three year post-doctoral research fellows. The college also houses a number of young scholars who hold distinguished awards, such as British Academy post-doctoral fellowships, some senior research fellows and a group of research-active emeritus and honorary fellows.

The college has been the source of some of the major research developments in social science. These include the British Election Studies and the major programme of research on Social Mobility in Britain. It was the birthplace of the "Oxford School" of Industrial Relations; it pioneered the development of cost benefit analysis for developing countries; and it has made a major contribution to the methodology of econometrics.

From its inception, Nuffield College initiated a number of trends at both Oxford and Cambridge. It was the first college to have both women and men housed together. It was also the first college to consist solely of graduate students. In addition, it was the first in modern times to have a defined subject focus, namely, the social sciences.

Notable former students
  • Dr. Manmohan Singh, current Prime Minister of India
  • Franklin Allen, Professor of Finance and Economics at the Wharton School
  • Anindya Banerjee, Professor of Economics, Birmingham University
  • Kofi Abrefa Busia, former Prime Minister of Ghana
  • Richard Bruton, Teachta Dála (Member of Irish Parliament), Former deputy Leader of Fine Gael, current Minister for Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation.
  • Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada
  • Donald Chapman, Baron Northfield, Member of Parliament from Birmingham, Northfield
  • Gamani Corea, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Barun De, Chairman, West Bengal Heritage Commission, India, 2008-2011
  • Harold Edwards, Member of the Australian House of Representatives from the Division of Berowra
  • Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics, Harvard University, USA
  • Geoffrey Gallop,former Premier of Western Australia
  • Norman Geras, Professor Emeritus of Government, University of Manchester, UK
  • Alan Gilbert, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, UK
  • Leslie Green (philosopher), Professor of Philosophy of Law, Oxford University
  • Kamal Hossain, Former Law Minister of Bangladesh
  • Jerry A. Hausman, John and Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Patricia Hewitt, UK Secretary of State for Health 2005-2007
  • Gareth Stedman Jones, Historian of England
  • John Kay (economist), First Director of Said Business School, University of Oxford, UK
  • Derek Morris, former Chairman of the UK Competition Commission
  • Barry Nalebuff, Milton Steinbach Professor of Management, SOM, Yale University, USA
  • Gyanendra Pandey, Professor of History, Emory University, USA
  • Prabhat Patnaik, Present Deputy Chairman, Kerala Planning Commission, India
  • Muhammad Habibur Rahman, a former Chief Justice of Bangladesh
  • Hyun Song Shin, Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics, Princeton University, USA
  • Robert Skidelsky, Member of the House of Lords
  • Richard Smethurst, Provost of Worcester College, Oxford
  • Nicholas Stern, Senior Vice President of the World Bank
  • Rick Trainor, Principal of King's College London
  • Patrick Le Galès, Professor of Political Science, Sciences Po, and first French to be elected as member of the British Academy

A more complete list is available here

  • Robert Allen, (economic historian)
  • A.B. Atkinson, Kt, (economist)
  • Martin Browning, (economist)
  • David Butler, (politics)
  • Sir David R. Cox, Kt, (statistics)
  • Diego Gambetta, (sociologist)
  • John Goldthorpe, (emeritus)
  • Peter Hedstrom, (sociologist)
  • David Forbes Hendry, Kt, (economist)
  • Paul Klemperer, (economist)
  • David Miller (political theorist), (political philosophy)
  • Stephen Nickell, (economist)
  • Neil Shephard, (econometrics)
  • Tom Snijders, (statistics)
Former Fellows
  • Martin Feldstein, (now an honorary fellow)
  • John Hicks, Kt, (Nobel in Economics, died in 1989)
  • James Mirrlees, Kt, (Nobel in Economics, now an emeritus fellow)
  • Ariel Rubinstein, (now an honorary fellow)
  • Amartya Sen, (Nobel in Economics, now an honorary fellow)
  • Manmohan Singh, (now an honorary fellow)
  • John Vickers, Kt


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Building Activity

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