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Cambridge vs. Oxford: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Cambridge and Oxford are both prestigious universities in England, known for their academic excellence, historic significance, and intense rivalry.
Cambridge vs. Oxford

Key Differences

Cambridge, established in 1209, is renowned for its strong emphasis on mathematics and sciences, whereas Oxford, founded in 1096, is equally prestigious but has a more notable history in humanities and law. Both universities are members of the elite Russell Group.
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The city of Cambridge, housing its namesake university, is smaller and more compact, often associated with technological advancements, whereas Oxford, the city home to Oxford University, is larger and known for its medieval architecture. Both cities attract tourists and students worldwide.
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Cambridge University has a unique college system where teaching is conducted in small groups known as supervisions, while Oxford's similar system is known as tutorials. Both systems are highly regarded for providing personalized education.
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Cambridge has produced significant figures in the field of science, including Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking, whereas Oxford boasts literary giants like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Both universities have an impressive list of alumni contributing to various fields.
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The annual rowing event, the Boat Race, epitomizes the rivalry between Cambridge and Oxford, each vying for supremacy on the River Thames. This event highlights the competitive spirit that pervades both institutions.
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Comparison Chart

Origin of Name

Derived from "Cam" (River) + "Bridge"
Derived from "Oxenaforda" (Oxen crossing)
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Phonetic Emphasis

Emphasized on the first syllable: 'CAM-bridge'
Emphasized on the first syllable: 'OX-ford'
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Syllable Count

Two syllables: Cam-bridge
Two syllables: Ox-ford
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Vowel Sounds

Short 'a' sound in 'Cam'
Short 'o' sound in 'Ox'
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Ending Sound

Ends with a soft 'ge' sound
Ends with a hard 'd' sound
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Cambridge and Oxford Definitions

Cambridge

A prestigious university in England known for academic excellence.
She received her Ph.D. from Cambridge in astrophysics.
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Oxford

A world-renowned university in England known for its rich history.
Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world.
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Cambridge

A city in England housing the University of Cambridge.
They visited Cambridge during their tour of England.
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Oxford

Pertaining to the University of Oxford, especially in educational methods.
The Oxford tutorial system is highly esteemed.
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Cambridge

Relating to the University of Cambridge, often in academic context.
The Cambridge method of teaching is highly interactive.
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Oxford

Linked with various products or publications from the university.
Oxford dictionaries are widely used across the globe.
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Cambridge

Used to describe something related to Cambridge University or city.
Cambridge alumni are known for their intellectual prowess.
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Oxford

A historic city in England, the location of the University of Oxford.
They explored the ancient streets of Oxford.
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Cambridge

Associated with various products or publications linked to the university.
Cambridge University Press is a leading academic publisher.
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Oxford

A sturdy, low shoe that laces over the instep.
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Cambridge

A university in England
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Oxford

A cotton cloth of a tight basket weave, used primarily for shirts.
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Cambridge

A city in Massachusetts just north of Boston; site of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Oxford

Alternative case form of Oxford(cloth)
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Cambridge

A city in eastern England on the River Cam; site of Cambridge University
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Oxford

Alternative case form of Oxford(shoe)
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Oxford

Of or pertaining to the city or university of Oxford, England.
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Oxford

A city in southern England northwest of London; site of Oxford University
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Oxford

A university town in northern Mississippi; home of William Faulkner
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Oxford

A university in England
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Oxford

A low shoe laced over the instep
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Oxford

Used to describe something associated with Oxford University or city.
The Oxford debate team is known for its eloquence.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

When was Cambridge University founded?

1209.
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How many colleges are in Cambridge?

31.
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What is Cambridge known for academically?

Mathematics and sciences.
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Is Cambridge smaller than Oxford?

Yes, it's more compact.
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What is a unique teaching method at Cambridge?

Supervisions.
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What subjects is Oxford famous for?

Humanities and law.
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Is Oxford known for its medieval architecture?

Yes, notably.
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How many colleges comprise Oxford?

39.
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Does Oxford have a significant publishing division?

Yes, particularly in dictionaries.
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When was Oxford University established?

1096.
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What is Oxford's teaching style called?

Tutorials.
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Does Oxford participate in the Boat Race?

Yes, against Cambridge.
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Is Oxford a member of the Russell Group?

Yes, it is.
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Is the Oxford style more humanities-focused?

Historically, yes.
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Is Cambridge part of the Russell Group?

Yes, it's a member.
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Does Cambridge have a famous publishing house?

Yes, Cambridge University Press.
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Does Cambridge have a river rowing tradition?

Yes, in the Boat Race.
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Is Cambridge older than Oxford?

No, Oxford is older.
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Are Cambridge alumni known in technology?

Yes, notably in tech fields.
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Are Oxford alumni prominent in literature?

Yes, many are literary figures.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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