Email in Oxford is part of the Nexus service, run by the
University Computing Services (OUCS). Nexus gives you access to a number of services in
addition to email, such as calendars, address book and the option of sharing information
with other Nexus users.
This document offers information about email at Oxford in general. The Nexus pages offer specific information about the Nexus service,
such as set-up and configuration details.
1. Getting started
New University members
All new members of the University are automatically given an Oxford Username and an
email account once a University card has been issued. Details about the Oxford account
(which is also known as the Single Sign-On account or SSO) are sent to your University
address (college or department). Please allow several days after receiving your card for
the email account details to reach you. If you haven't received your account details and
activation code, please contact the OUCS help centre.
Before you can start using your Oxford account you need to activate it. Go to the Webauth page and enter your activation code which
you will find in the letter with your account details.
The SSO account is not only used for email but is also the means by which you get access
to a range of Oxford services (see the Oxford
username page for details).
Access your email
You can access your Oxford email in different ways; directly online or via a program
(client) installed on your computer (or mobile device). Users of Microsoft clients (such
as Outlook or Entourage) get access other features in addition to email (such as calendar,
address book, to-do lists). If you choose to use an email client, you have to set it up.
More information about Nexus email, including configuration details for a series of
clients, are available on the Nexus email
About Oxford email
If you are unfamiliar with email, you should read our New Email
Users guide, which will lead you through the steps involved in setting up your
email account and reading your email.
If you are already familiar with setting up email clients, here are the facts you need,
in our Experienced Email Users manual; this should provide
all the information you need to configure your software at Oxford.
Use your Single Sign-On (SSO) / Oxford Username and password to access the Oxford email.
- Change password
- You can change your SSO password on the Webauth page.
- Forgotten/expired password
- If you have forgotten your SSO password, or it has expired, you can reset it via
Webauth provided you have previously set
up a Webauth security question.
If you have not set up a security question, or have
forgotten the answer, you will need to obtain a Rescue Code from the OUCS Help Centre. Rescue Codes can be issued in person, by
internal University post to your college/department, or by email to a member of your
registered local IT support
on request from them.
- More password information
- See Changing passwords for
more information about passwords.
3. Unwanted email (viruses, spam, junk-email)
We all receive unwanted email, sometimes of an offensive nature. It is very hard to
totally avoid this, but it can usually be contained to a mere irritation. Most incoming
mail is scanned in order to tag junk mail, and OUCS recommends applying a filter to screen you from the worst excesses.
OUCS will take action against any Oxford user who is identified as having originated or
passed on junk or chain mail. Serious cases will be referred to the Proctors.
- Junk, chain and hoax email
- What is it and how can you avoid it? Some general information on our junk mail page. Make sure to activate your
Nexus spam filter to reduce the amount of spam you receive.
- Fake emails/phishing
- All email users will almost certainly receive occasional fake emails (also know as
"phishing") trying to persuade them to provide personal details, passwords, credit card
numbers etc. by various means such as linking to a fraudulent web site. Read some tips
about How to Recognise Fake Emails. Often Viewing the Full Email Headers can provide clues about the authenticity of a
message and the headers are also required by OUCS if you ask us to investigate a
message. OUCS particularly encourages users to report Phishing
Scams asking for passwords to University systems in order to
protect other users and the University as a whole.
- Computer viruses are commonly spread by email. Your email is scanned centrally to detect viruses and junk mail. Messages containing viruses
are deleted, and junk mail is tagged so that you can filter it out. Most email clients
will allow you to set up filters, either to automatically delete unwanted messages, or
put messages in appropriate folder (see information about your email program for
details). OUCS maintain a set of detailed web pages about Viruses and how to deal with them.
- Sometimes people may receive offensive mail that is directed to them personally. If
a user is persistently harassed, or is threatened by email, then there are various
measure that can be taken to shield them. If you are in this situation, then please
contact OUCS Help Centre (telephone (2)73200), and we
shall arrange for one of our staff to discuss this with you confidentially. The Proctors
regard any form of harassment as a serious University offence, and will deal severely
with cases originating from within the University.
- Secure email
- Email is not a very secure medium. You can protect your privacy by encoding the
email message before it is sent (using a system such as Pretty Good Privacy, PGP), and
you can make a secure connection to the mail server (using SSL). PGP and SSL are
explained in pages about Secure email.
4. Other Email Topics
- How do Oxford Email Addresses work? We have some notes on
the local conventions which should clarify matters.
- Contacts/address book
- Many people maintain large and important address books containing email addresses of
their work and personal contacts. Nexus provides two distinct address books: a global
Oxford one and a personal address book for each user. For more information, see Nexus Contacts.
When you first start using Nexus,
you will probably want to import your address book from your existing email client so
that you can access all your existing contacts from Nexus. For more information, see
Nexus Contacts page.
- Mailing Lists
- If you want to have regular email discussions between a group of people, you should
look at Mailing Lists.
- The mail system, previous to the current mail system Nexus, was called 'Herald'. To ease the
migration of accounts to Nexus, email addresses of the form firstname.lastname@example.org were
still honoured for a time. However, this support was removed in
5. Got problems?
- Help with many common email problems is included in the Email
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
- More information about Nexus can be found on the Nexus
- What do you if an email which you have sent comes back to you? Ther are various
reasons why this could happen, explained in Failed
- If you have set up your email client to store your password away so that you do not
have to type it in each time you read email, here are some tips on changing Stored Passwords.
- If you simply cannot get connected to the network at all, we have some more general
information about General Connection Problems.
6. Non-OUCS email
A number of units within the University have opted to manage their own email servers. If
you are eligible to use these services you should contact their support services directly
for further information.
7. When you leave
Once your University card has expired any accounts with OUCS will be deactivated. This
means that you will not be able access your email account. However, if you have set up
email forwarding before your card expires, this will generally work for a further two
months. For students who leave in the summer, your mailbox will be deleted three months’
later. Those returning in the autumn are advised to double-check that OUCS Registration
knows that you are returning, and have made preparations to preserve your mailbox data.
Please see Finishing at Oxford for more details.
The University also provides an Alumni email address for ex-students. For more
information see: Alumni email