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Program Locations


Academic Program

Academic Prerequisites

No language or academic prerequisites. No language or academic prerequisites. No language or academic prerequisites.

Since Oxford is a strictly English-language program, instruction in foreign languages is not offered through the program, nor is it included in the tutorial program. Students who wish to study a foreign language at Oxford may do so at their own expense.

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Course Credit

The Oxford Program offers courses that provide credit toward Stanford graduation and most classes also count toward an undergraduate major. Students must enroll in a minimum of twelve units from the courses offered through the program. For a list of all classes and information on which ones earn departmental credit or fulfill General Education Requirements, students should consult the BOSP course database or Axess.

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Cultural Events and Trips

Each quarter, all students in the program enjoy group outings to the theater, musical performances, dinners, and trips to other cities in England. The Bing Grant for Cultural Enrichment enables the program to welcome you to Oxford with a formal dinner held in the Dining Hall of one of our three affiliate colleges, to cook Thanksgiving Dinner for yourselves, to enjoy a small taste of the enormous theatre and concert offerings available in Oxford, London, Stratford, and other cities close by, and to visit areas of the British Isles which you might not otherwise think to see. Weekend trips have included visits to Edinburgh, Cardiff, Dublin, York, Durham, Chester, and Cornwall, to name but a few amongst many destinations.

In addition to the Bing Grant, a Stanford alumna who attend the Stanford-in-Britain Program at Cliveden, has endowed the program so that you have the opportunity to visit buildings, museums and galleries of specific architectural merit. Recent visits have included the city of Bath and the Dulwich Picture Gallery — the first gallery built specifically for public access.

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Tutorial Program

The tutorial system is the characteristic form of undergraduate instruction at Oxford University. A tutorial course involves studying an agreed syllabus in-depth on a one- (or two-) to-one basis, under the supervision of a tutor who is a specialist in the field. A tutor may be a graduate student, a post-doctoral researcher, a fellow (professor) of a college, or a free-lance scholar living in Oxford.

Tutorials for Stanford students involve writing a paper, usually of about 2500-3000 words each week, over the 8 weeks of Oxford term, based upon a substantial amount of reading assigned by the tutor. Once written, a paper (‘essay’) is submitted to the tutor, and the hour-long tutorial is devoted to discussion, often based on the Socratic Method. It is a method of teaching that encourages quick thought, the ability to master large quantities of information in a short space of time, and articulation both verbally and in writing.

Tutorials are an ideal way for students to deepen their knowledge of a subject in which they are already well-prepared and, in some cases, tutorials are a useful preparation for departmental honors work.

Tutorials are NOT a suitable introduction to a new field of study, nor are they a vehicle for completing sequence course requirements. As a general rule, tutorials will fall under a student’s major or minor and the student should have substantial academic background in the subject.  Under no circumstances can a tutorial satisfy one of the University's General Education Requirements (GERs).

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How do I Select a Tutorial?

Before applying to the Oxford program, you need to have a clear idea of what you wish to achieve in a tutorial and the flexibility to define a topic that can be addressed by an Oxford tutor. Tutorials for Oxford students are taught according to a prearranged syllabus, and, although many Stanford-in-Oxford tutors allow considerable flexibility in the subjects covered, you should not expect to design your own syllabus or to choose subjects outside the range of topics that are normally taught to Oxford undergraduates. Here is a list of the topics that have been most commonly chosen by Stanford students in recent years:

Subject Tutorial Topic


-Aspects of social and cultural anthropology
-Topics in archaeology (especially British)
-Migration studies
-Museum anthropology
Biology/Human Biology - Medical anthropology
- Health care in the UK
- Comparative (inc. international) health care and health-care policy
- Evolutionary biology
- Topics in neuroscience
- Topics in genetics
- Topics in zoology
- Topics in plant science
- Immunology
- History of medicine


- Greek or Latin literature, either in translation or the original language: either a survey, or a study of particular genres or writers
- Greek or Roman history and archaeology
English Literature - Literature of one of the following periods: The Middle Ages, the C16, C17, C18, C19 or C20, looking at selected works in their cultural and historical context.
- Drama, poetry, or the novel (any period).
- Close study of one or more writers (e.g. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Bloomsbury Group).
- Irish literature
- Post-colonial literature
- Literary theory
- Literature and film
- Children’s literature


- History of Ancient Greece or Rome
- British (and/or Irish) history in one of the following periods: Roman; Anglo-Saxon; the later Middle Ages (1066-1500); 1500-1700; 1700-1815; 1815-1914; the C20
- History of Western Europe in the same periods
- History of Russia, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, the United States, etc
- Special topics, e.g. History of Science, Imperialism and decolonisation, the two World Wars
History of Art - Western art (choose a period): The art of ancient Greece or Rome; the Middle Ages; the Renaissance; Baroque and neo-Classicism; the Nineteenth Century; Modernism and Contemporary Art
- History of British art or architecture
- Asian art

International Relations

- International Relations during the Cold War
- International Relations since 1990
- Special topics, e.g. nationalism, conflict resolution, regional organisations, security, etc
Law - Jurisprudence
- Human rights law
- Comparative constitutional law
- Criminal law


- Special topics, e.g. logic, number theory, statistics, algebra
Music - Topics in the history of music, e.g. a particular period (Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, etc), a genre (e.g. opera, the symphony), or a particular composer
- Composition


- Plato and Aristotle
- Medieval philosophy
- History of Philosophy: Descartes to Kant
- Post-Kantian philosophy
- Philosophy of Wittgenstein
- Ethics
- Philosophy of Mind
- Logic and language
- Aesthetics
Politics - Modern British politics and government
- Politics of the European Union.
- Politics of a particular country or region, e.g. the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, China
- Comparative government
- Public policy in Britain
- Political theory: Plato to Rousseau, or Bentham to Weber
- Marx and Marxism


- Neuro-psychology
- Abnormal psychology
- Cultural psychology
- Social psychology
- Cognitive psychology
Religious Studies - Christianity: Biblical studies
- Topics in the History of Christianity (e.g. the Early Church, the Reformation)
- Judaism
- Islam
- Hinduism and/or Buddhism
- Philosophy of religion

Sociology and Public Policy

- British Society in the C20
- Social change in Modern Britain
- Education in Britain
- Sociological theory
- Special topics, e.g. ethnicity, gender, immigration

You are encouraged to choose a subject from this list. If you wish to choose a subject not on the list you must contact the program director, Professor Tyack, before submitting your application. If you do not do this, your chances of being accepted into the program will be significantly reduced.

Although substantial, Oxford’s academic resources are limited. Certain tutorial topics simply CANNOT be arranged, and others may be better pursued at the Stanford home campus. These include:

  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Interdisciplinary Studies (e.g. CSRE)
  • Management Science and Engineering
  • Medical Biology
  • Science, Technology and Society

Tutorials Using Foreign Texts

Tutors are often unwilling to teach foreign literature in translation. They expect you to read it in the original language.

Tutorial Proposal As Part of Application

As part of your personal statement for Oxford, you should describe your proposed tutorial subject thoughtfully and with considerable detail, explaining why you wish to study this subject and why you think it will be helpful to you to study it in Oxford.

Choosing a possible tutorial subject requires preparation and forethought — for your own benefit, this process should not be approached casually. We encourage you to schedule an advising appointment well in advance of the application deadline if you would like to discuss the tutorial in more depth. We strongly encourage you to consult with your Academic/Major Advisor(s) to discuss your possible tutorial topics. As well, take some time to look through the tutorial syllabi archive, which contain descriptions of tutorials completed by past Stanford participants. They demonstrate what types of tutorials are possible as well as help generate ideas for your own tutorial proposal. Hard copies are available in the BOSP office. You can also explore the Oxford University website (click on ‘Departments A-Z’, bearing in mind that some of these departments only offer graduate-level courses).

NOTE: Acceptance into the Oxford Programme does not guarantee the availability of a proposed tutorial subject.

Finalizing a Tutorial Plan

All students participating in the Oxford programme enroll in a 6- or 7-unit tutorial. Six-unit tutorials require seven essays over the course of the eight-week Oxford term, whereas seven-unit tutorials require a total of eight essays (or seven essays, one of which is a double-length research paper). If accepted into the Oxford programme, a student will complete the Tutorial Section of the on-line orientation form in which a first and second choice of tutorial topic should be proposed from the list above. Students wishing to take a subject not listed must consult the programme Director before submitting the form. On this basis, the Director arranges individual tutorials during the quarter prior to students’ arrival in Oxford. Once a tutorial has been arranged, it is not possible to change it except in exceptional circumstances.

Academic department policies vary with respect to the number of units that may be applied for credit towards a major or minor. These issues should be discussed with departmental advisors prior to departure.

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Second Tutorials

If students would like to enroll in two 6- or 7-unit tutorials during their first quarter at Oxford, they must discuss this plan in their applications.  Approval of a request to take a second Tutorial during the first quarter at Oxford is at the discretion of the Director and is not automatically granted.

Students in their second or third quarter in Oxford who wish to enroll in a second 6- or 7-unit Tutorial should consult with the Director in the previous term.

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