IT Services

The Oxford username and Single Sign-On (Webauth)


1. What is the Oxford username and Single Sign-On?

Your Oxford username is usually of the form abcd1234, where abcd is a code for your college or department1. It is administered by OUCS and is separate from any other local college or departmental accounts you may have.

Your Oxford username gives you access to many web-based services at Oxford (e.g. WebLearn, Self-Registration, course booking) through Oxford's Web Single Sign-On service (Webauth). Single Sign-On means that after your initial login, you can use associated services without having to re-enter your username and password.

It isn't just web-based services that are part of Single-Sign On: you will need your Oxford username to access the central GNU/Linux service and your personal web pages. There are also many services hosted outside OUCS that use Single Sign-On such as some library resources and the OxCORT Tutorial system.

You will also need your Oxford username to access your Nexus account via the web interface or via an email client installed on your computer. Strictly speaking the Nexus service is not fully integrated with Oxford's Single Sign On system and so even if you have logged in to the Nexus web interface you will still need to log in again to access other SSO services; more on this later.

You may hear your Oxford username referred to as your Single Sign-On account (or SSO account), your Webauth account and you may even hear it referred to simply by using the name of a service, eg your Nexus account.

2. Single Sign-On, Webauth, and Nexus - what does it all mean?

Despite the many names you might hear being used, things are really quite simple. Your Oxford username and password can be used to login to Webauth – this will start a Single Sign-On session to avoid you having to re-enter your details. The same Oxford username and password are used to login to Nexus (over the web or using a desktop client).

Webauth underlies Single Sign-On for web-based services, and you will only find the official Webauth service under the address Webauth looks like this:

Figure webauth-loginscreen.png [The Webauth login screen]

Webauth also provides options to change your password, reset an expired password, and recover a forgotten password.

With the exception of the Nexus web interface (more on this below), Webauth is the only web page where you should enter your Oxford username and password. You can think of Webauth as a central authentication system that is trusted by various services in Oxford to handle all the username and password checking so that each individual service doesn't need to do it for itself. It is highly secure and very convenient as you only need to enter your username and password once in order to visit multiple independent web services. To end your Single Sign-On session ("logout") you will need to close your web browser (that includes quitting all running copies of your web browser.

The exception mentioned earlier is the Outlook Web Access (OWA) part of the Nexus service at This page will prompt you for your Oxford username and password on a Nexus login screen rather than the Webauth login screen. The Nexus login screen looks like this:

Figure nexus-screen.png [The Nexus web access login screen]

Your username and password are the same ones that you use for Webauth.

3. Services using the Oxford Username

The Oxford username is used to access the following OUCS services: Other University applications which use the Oxford username include:
There are some central services that notably do not use the Oxford username. These include:

These services are, however, requested and managed through the OUCS self-registration pages which are SSO-enabled. In other words whilst these services use a different username and password you still need an Oxford username to manage your access to these services.

An increasing number of local college and departmental applications now use SSO so you may even find yourself logging in via Webauth to access a local helpdesk, connect to your college's local Ethernet network or even book a meal.

4. Remote access is different!

If you need to connect to the University network from another institution, from home or wirelessly you need the OUCS remote access service. Although the remote access account uses your Oxford username it is not integrated with the Single Sign-On system and has a different password.

The remote access account provides access to the following services:

Current students, staff and official visitors may register for a remote access account via the OUCS self-registration pages and you will need to use your Oxford username to register and manage your remote access account.

To find out more see the remote access pages.

5. Browsers accessing Oxford's web based services

Most web browsers (including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari) work with Oxford's web services out-of-the-box.

The particular features your browser must support are:
If you are security-conscious enough to use a custom security configuration then you may want to bear in mind the following points:

6. What do to about a forgotten or expired Oxford username or password

Regardless of whether your password has expired or you have forgotten it, our online facilities for managing your Oxford/SSO account will allow you to change or reset the password to get it working again.

Note : If your University Card expires your Oxford username account will expire simultaneously. Your Oxford username account may also be expired on instruction from the Proctors or Registrar.