Scoping out Freshers’ Fair: The Oxford Student’s personal guide to all the student-run science and technology societies in Oxford

Science and Technology

Image Credit: Photo © Jonathan Billinger (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What better way is there to immerse yourself in science during your degree than by joining a student society? Here in Oxford there are a multitude of societies dealing with a myriad of different subject areas. Joining a society enables you to make friends with likeminded people, attend interesting lectures and thoroughly expand your mind. Of course, that is not the only reason why one may attend a society’s events. Student societies in Oxford are famous for organising crew-dates. If you are not familiar with these fabled pastimes, crew-dates are essentially BYOB meals in which various games are played. They are a great way to unwind and meet new people. Moreover, many of these societies organise events which non-members can attend. Going to an event organised by a society you are not a member of often leads to membership in the end anyway! We at The Oxford Student whole-heartedly encourage you to throw yourself into as many events as you can, even ones not related to your own personal degree subject. We asked some societies to write a short paragraph explaining why you should get involved with them.

Biotech Society (OUBT):

“The Oxford University Biotech Society aims to create a community of Biotech-minded individuals and entrepreneurs at Oxford University. We illustrate alternative options to academia for scientifically-minded individuals, provide a business skill set necessary to go from an idea to a company, and additionally encourage entrepreneurial thinking in those who do pursue a career in academia or in larger bioscience companies. This year, we’re going to be running events focussing on existing biotech companies in Michaelmas term, and then events to help members start their own companies in Hilary. You can find out more and sign up at oxfordbiotech.uk”.

Physics Society:

“The Oxford University Physics Society exists to promote and encourage an interest in Physics throughout the University. In Michaelmas Term, events include: Social events for members to build up important social networks in both the academic world and the corporate world; Weekly talks by established physicists on their own exciting research or career advice; extracurricular classes, members can learn material beyond the physics course from professors at Oxford. Stay tuned by following our Facebook page “Oxford University Physics Society” or find us at the Fresher’s Fair!”

Psychology: 

OUPS is open to anyone with an interest in the brain, the mind, or human behaviour! Last year we hosted talks by experts on various topics including psychedelics, the neuroscience of love, and the meaning of dreaming. Speakers lined up for Michaelmas include the renowned language neuroscientist Sophie Scott and famous evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar. In addition, we are very active in organising socials such as crewdates, barbecues, and film nights – offering discounts to members. If curious, don’t miss our Welcome Drinks at the King’s Arms on Wednesday of 1st Week, or our stall at the Freshers Fair!

Chemistry and Biochemistry:

“The Oxford University Chemistry and Biochemistry Society is one of the largest societies in the University, now boasting a membership of several hundred students studying a wide range of subjects. We are dedicated to making the chemistry/biochemistry experience as good as it can be; we host a range of interesting speakers who are experts in their respective fields and run extremely popular socials to give a chance for students to enjoy themselves and mix with people from throughout the university. We look forward to seeing you at the Fresher’s fair!”

Medical Society:

“Hello and welcome to Oxford MedSoc, the society for preclinical medics (and friends)! Join us to benefit from exclusive member discounts, multiple chances to shoe the Tabs, and dedicated welfare support, as well as our variety of events throughout the year. These include high-profile speakers (previously we’ve had Henry Marsh and Ben Goldacre); relaxed socials, like welfare lunches and our infamous Dissection Drinks; and the year’s highlight, the MedSoc Northern Lights Ball at the Randolph Hotel in November! Check out our Facebook or come down to the MSTC in 0th (Freshers) and 1st weeks to find out more!”

Biological Society:

“As the name suggests, the University of Oxford Biological Society is the society for anyone and everyone with an interest in biology at Oxford. We’ve got a fantastic line-up this term, from a talk by renowned ornithologist Tim Birkhead FRS to a botanical illustration masterclass from Oxford’s very own Rosemary Wise. And there couldn’t be a better way to watch David Attenborough’s new series, Dynasties, this term than with ourselves and OU Nature Conservation Society. We’d love to see you at our Welcome Drinks event on Monday the 8th of October (Plant Sciences 18:00-19:30). Lifetime membership only £15”.

Geology Society:

“We are the student society for the Department of Earth Sciences. We provide additional opportunities that the majority of students will not receive in the course, including extra field equipment, networking events and seminars with external lecturers. Besides being a great supplement to the academic side of the course, we also hold a number of socials and sports events in order to ensure the whole department is as close-knit as possible. We have our welcome drinks on the 12thOctober and more information about us and other events can be found on the OUGS website.”

These are only a few of the many great science societies that you can be a part of during your time in Oxford. Other societies that you may want to get involved with include the:

Aeronautical Society (aerox): 

Organises socials, practical workshops and trips to aeronautical-related facilities; membership is free!

Oxford University Society of Biomedical Sciences: 

The Oxford University Biomedical society offer a wide range of welfare events, talks amd quiz nights.

Blockchain Society: 

Learn all about the wonders of Blockchain through this society’s conferences, workshops, talks and lectures!

CodeSoc: 

Learn to code for free at CodeSoc’s weekly sessions and/or improve your coding at social coding sessions and benefit from support from mentors and resources.

Climate Society: 

Contribute to or just read any of their three publications: the Anthroposphere (a biannual journal), their zine Two Degrees, or their blog. They also hold film screenings, seminar series and promote campaigns, helping you make a difference.

Competitive Computer Security Club: 

Join the Oxford team for capture the flag contests. If you know what this is, you’ll fit right in.

Oxford University CompSoc:

Offering tech talks, hackathons and the intruigingly named Geek nights (“which involve food, drink, and general geekiness“).

Cortex Club: 

For all the budding neuroscientists out there, Cortex Club is a great way to learn about the leading research in the field, through debates, discussions and seminars.

Energy Society: 

Holding talks and film screenings that discuss the energy crisis and the development of new technologies.

Engineering Society: 

Previous events have included: bar crawls, a visit to Walls icecream factory, formal dinners and careers events.

IN[SCI]TE: 

Less of a society and more of an annual 2-day conference combining science, technology and engineering in a day of talks by professors and undergraduates.

Nature Conservation Society: 

Film screenings and talks for those concerned about conserving our natural world.

Oxford Females in Engineering, Science and Technology Society (OxFEST):

Encourages and supports female STEM students through inspirational talks, networking events and general girl power!

Scientific Society: 

One of the oldest societies at Oxford, Scientific society hosts talks from all walks of science and organises discounted or free tours.

Society for Synthetic Biology (SynBio): 

Talks for anyone interested in understanding, replicating and engineering biological systems.

The Oxford Scientist (previously Bang!): 

A termly student-run magazine that could feature your scientific articles.

Women in Computer Science Society: 

Aimed at members of the computer science department, they organise workshops, seminar series, and coffee meetings to inspire and encourage female computer scientists.

Liked reading this article? Sign up to our weekly mailing list to receive a summary of our best articles each week – click here to register

Want to contribute? Join our contributors group here or email us – click here for contact details