the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, when they are thought of together an Oxbridge education compare Ivy League, red-brick See related entries: Higher education institutions CultureOxbridgeOxbridge is a word made from the names Oxford and Cambridge and is used to refer informally to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge together, especially when they are being distinguished from other universities.Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in Britain. They are generally also thought to be the best universities to get a place at. An Oxbridge degree makes a good impression with many employers, and graduates of these universities may have an advantage when applying for jobs. Although efforts are made to attract more students from state schools, many of the undergraduates at each university have been educated at independent schools. Between 2010 and 2012, for example, students from private schools who gained the very highest possible grades – three A* grades or more at A-levels – were 9% more likely to have been offered a place at Oxford than state-educated pupils with the same grades.The upper class have traditionally sent their children to Oxbridge, and many prime ministerss and politicians studied there. To many people, Oxford and Cambridge seem very remote places where only the very privileged can study.Students at Oxford and Cambridge must be accepted at one of around 30 partly independent colleges. Students are chosen after an interview in the college they want to go to. The teachers are called dons. Each college has its own teaching and research staff, who are fellows of the college, and its own buildings, including hall (= a dining hall), a library, a chapel, and rooms for students to live in during the term. The buildings are often arranged round a quad (= square). Until the 1970s colleges were single-sex, but now almost all are mixed. The universities provide other facilities centrally, including laboratories, lecture rooms and libraries.The teaching system is different from that at most other universities. Students have tutorials, called supervisions at Cambridge, at which they read their essays to their tutor, a fellow who is a specialist in what they are studying. There are usually no more than one or two students at a tutorial and tutorials are encouraged by the college. Students also go to lectures that are arranged by the university and open to all students. Terms are short, and students are expected to prepare for them in the vacations. Final examinations at Oxford are called schools, and at Cambridge the tripos. Undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge study for a BA degree, but after a period of time graduates can convert their BA to an MA (Oxon) or an MA (Cantab) without doing any further study. Oxon is short for Oxoniensis, and Cantab for Cantabrigiensis, Latin for ‘of Oxford’ and ‘of Cambridge’.At Oxford students sometimes have to wear gowns (= black robes), at dinner in hall or when they go to see the college principal (= head). When they sit examinations or go to a degree ceremony they have to wear academic dress. This is known as subfusc, and consists of black trousers or skirt, black shoes and socks or tights, a white shirt and a black or white tie. They also wear their gown and a mortar board (= a black hat with a flat, square top) and, when they graduate, a hood that shows their status. At Cambridge students only have to wear gowns when they matriculate (= become members of the university) and at graduation.The two universities are academic rivals, and rivals also in debating and sport. The Boat Race, held each year around Easter, attracts national attention. Rugby and cricket teams play against each other in varsity matches, as well as against professional teams. Word Origin mid 19th cent.: blend of Oxford and Cambridge.