British Studies at Oxford
British Studies at Oxford will be offered Summer 2016.
Founded in pre-Roman times between the Thames and the Cherwell rivers, the fabled city of Oxford has a history nearly as illustrious as England's.
As the city prospered, its university gained prominence through the distinction of its faculty and the achievement of its graduates. For centuries the scientific, political, literary, and cultural development of England has been shaped largely by Oxonians. The very word "Oxford" has become synonymous with age-old traditions and academic excellence. The city and university have developed a richly imagined collection of buildings designed by the best English architects over centuries, each of which is the repository of treasures of art and civilizations worldwide.
Today the university is composed of 43 loosely confederated colleges throughout the city. Nestled in the cluster of colleges at the heart of Oxford University is Brasenose College, our sponsor and host.
Founded in 1509, Brasenose College is, like the city that surrounds it, a gracious mixture of new and traditional. With its main gate opening onto Radcliffe Square and the Radcliffe Camera, diagonal from St. Mary's (the original University Chapel), Brasenose (known locally as BNC) is ideally located just two blocks from the bustling pedestrian shopping streets. Centrally located, BNC is a one-minute walk from the famous Covered Market, a half-minute walk to the stop on High St., from which buses to London depart every twenty minutes, and a 10-minute walk from the quiet English countryside dotted with cows and sheep.
Student rooms are spacious and comfortably furnished; broadband internet access and a computer room are available 24 hours a day. Student rooms are located on stairwells, which share common bathrooms and a kitchenette. Many rooms are suites with separate living and sleeping rooms; "ensuite" rooms with private bathrooms are available for an additional cost.
Although Oxford University is not in session during our stay, Brasenose students remain in residence and are eager to meet our program participants. BNC students often organize pub crawls, host special events, and get to know each of our program participants. Breakfast is served daily, lunch is served Monday through Friday, and three nights a week we have a three-course evening meal.
Brasenose College and Oxford provide a fine academic, cultural, and social atmosphere with a most convenient home base from which to see England and the rest of the UK.
All courses consist of a combination of lecture and tutorial, most of them with course-related excursions. Tutors require either tests or essays, sometimes both.
Most courses are open to graduates and undergraduates as well as to those who can demonstrate university-level academic proficiency. All courses may be taken for university credit or may be audited, but auditors are expected to take seriously the academic responsibilities of the program.
What to expect:
- Four-week, four-credit courses of study in British Culture (Global Perspectives), Literature, Medieval Studies (Western Civilization), Political Science, and History
- Courses taught by local faculty incorporating local resources (archives, museums, guest speakers, performances, and field trips)
- Residence at Brasenose College, Oxford University (Oxford, England)
- Excursion to London and the Globe Theatre; each course also organizes excursions to relevant local resources including the National Theatre, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the British Library, and Christ Church College; optional excursions available to Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Avebury, Warwick Castle, and the city of Bath
While we enjoy the hospitality of Brasenose, we attend classes four or five days a week and may travel one or two afternoons. Class sessions are normally two hours daily, Monday through Thursday, allowing ample time for reading and research in the College library and exploration of the area's many great museums and cultural venues. Most optional excursions are scheduled for Fridays when classes are suspended for a long weekend.
Throughout the week you will have plenty of time to enjoy various activities, all of which allow you to absorb a thousand years of Oxford history and legend. Browse bookstores like Blackwell's, shop at Oxford's unique Covered Market and the Farmer's Market in Gloucester Green, enjoy excellent drama and new/classic movies, enjoy clubs, cabarets, and scores of picturesque pubs steeped in lore. There is food for every pocketbook and palate. Recreational activities include cricket, jogging, bicycling, punting, and much more.
BNC offers croquet, and sometimes lawn bowling. Professor Leneghan frequently organizes pick-up games of football (soccer) and is always eager to teach Americans how to play cricket. Museums offer artifacts from cultures around the world, including the only skeletal remains of a dodo bird. Great walking and running areas include green spaces like the University Parks and Christ Church meadows and the Magdalen walks, as well as the Port Meadow commons to the north of town and the canal.
Getting around is easy! Oxford itself is pedestrian-friendly, especially as the bicycle traffic drops off during the summer months, but bicycles are available to rent for the daring. For London, nearby villages and the Cotswolds, buses are excellent; for further travel in England the train is reasonable and efficient. It is also easy to travel by rail or air to distant cities like Edinburgh, Dublin, Amsterdam, and even Paris.
Think “preppy” as the norm for dress with “business casual” at the high end. You’ll want a sweater, sweatshirt, for cool evenings; or shorts/capris, T-shirts and flip-flops for some warm afternoons. You’ll want at least one somewhat formal outfit for our gala dinner – a simple black dress or a jacket and tie will suffice – just something so that you can “clean up nice.”
You can buy your textbooks in England; Oxford has plenty of bookshops, and in a pinch amazon.com/uk can usually ship a used book to you in about 48 hours. We have a variety of books and maps for London and the Oxford area in storage.
BNC provides bed linen, and changes the sheets weekly and sometimes more frequently. They will also provide towels and refresh your supply every two or three days. You will need to provide your own Ethernet cable; or you can purchase one from IT at BNC. Any American electronic appliance will require a plug adapter in order to plug into wall sockets. Most appliances will also require a voltage converter. Transformers are expensive and wildly unreliable. We suggest that you plan to rent or purchase hair blowers, electric kettles, and the like, in England.
Unless your cell phone is a GSM phone, it will be inoperable in England. If you want to use a local network while in England, it must also be “unlocked” so that a local SIM card can be inserted. You can buy a cheap phone from one of several shops in Oxford; BSOP also has several cheap, unlocked GSM phones for rent.
Shortly after acceptance, students will be billed for the balance of program costs. Students who have paid the full fees but who must withdraw from the program prior to the cancellation deadline, will receive a full refund, minus the non-refundable application fee. Refunds for cancellations after the deadline will be determined based on the expense to the program of the cancellation. This schedule of refunds reflects the program's own payment schedule; beginning in May, the program must pay, in advance, numerous fees to secure services in England, and the program cannot recover these monies.
Since all British Studies at Oxford tutors are familiar with the American marking systems, they compute grades using the American systems. For undergraduates the courses earn four credits, most graduate courses earn three credits.
The program is organized and sponsored by British Studies at Oxford, Oakland University. Oakland University holds itself free of responsibility for any damage occasioned from any cause whatsoever. Further, the right is reserved to accept or refuse any person as a member of the course at any time. By taking part in British Studies at Oxford members assume responsibility for any injury, loss or accident.
Upon acceptance into the program, participants should immediately check their passport expiration date to see if the passport will be good for the duration of their stay. Students without a passport should apply IMMEDIATELY for a passport; students whose passports will be expiring should apply for renewal of their passports immediately.