After four years' schooling at Rugby, Dodgson matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, in May 1850; and from 1852 till 1870 held a studentship there.
Educated at the City of London School, he obtained a studentship at King's College, London, and in 1856 a scholarship at Queen's College, Cambridge, graduated as fifth wrangler in 185 9, and was immediately elected fellow of his college.
Although he retained his studentship at Christ Church, and occasionally visited Oxford, as well as his patrimony at Belluton, he found a home and shared fortune with Shaftesbury for fifteen years.
After months of concealment he escaped; but he was deprived of his studentship at Christ Church by order of the king, and Oxford was thus closed against him.
He won the Royal Academy's silver (1772) and gold (1776) medals, and a travelling studentship, and went to Italy to study (1777-1780).