STUDENTS at Oxford University should be able to do degree courses online, according to its official historian.

Professor Laurence Brockliss said the university should consider a pilot scheme for the idea, allowing more than 1,000 18-year-olds across different subjects to try it out.

Unless Oxford embraced online courses, he warned, it could face becoming "redundant" in the future.

He also claimed it would help solve access problems, after David Cameron called on the university to take on students from a wider range of backgrounds.

Historian and author Prof Brockliss made the comments in an interview with the Guardian, ahead of the launch of his new official history of Oxford University.

He told the newspaper: "I don’t think it’s a serious threat at the moment, but I could envisage 10 or 15 years down the road one of the newer universities developing online undergraduate degrees in a serious and creative way.

"If that were to happen and if employers – and employers would determine the success or failure of this – were to feel that the quality of the education was as good as residential universities were giving, then that kind of initiative would really take off.”

He also claimed the university should consider going private, because it was vulnerable to changes in funding from the Government.