About the University of Oxford
Application deadline for the 2018/2019 academic year program:
mid-January 2018 (earlier than for other programs)
Note: this deadline applies to all application materials, including faculty recommendations
- The University of Oxford, a Richmond affiliate university, is one of the world's premier institutes of higher education. It is a federation of 39 autonomous colleges and seven halls, founded at various times between 1249 and 1990. The colleges are not large; few have more than 500 students. The total student body of the University is approximately 15,000. University departments, libraries and colleges are scattered around the city.
- Services related to campus life and academics are shared by the University and the individual colleges and halls. The University provides services such as lectures, labs, and libraries and it administers examinations. All Oxford students attend the same lectures, which are university-sponsored rather than college-sponsored. The colleges and halls are responsible for tutorials and extra-curricular activities; they also provide accommodation, meals, common rooms, libraries and sport/social facilities.
- Click here to access campus maps.
About the city
The city of Oxford (pop. 150,000) boasts a youthful and cosmopolitan atmosphere, with all the main shops and amenities one would expect in a mid-sized city. The city's architecture is world-renowned. There is also a great deal of green space in and around the city center. Oxford has a vibrant music scene, theatre, and a wide variety of pubs and restaurants.
- Applicants must have completed two years of university study by the time they would begin studies at Oxford
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.70 for St Catherine's College and St Edmund Hall
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.80 for Lady Margaret Hall
- Please note that having the required GPA does not guarantee acceptance
- Non-native speakers of English must have a minimum internet TOEFL score of 110 or an IELTS score of 7.0. Please see detailed breakdown of scores required on the sub-components of each test here. As the British government sometimes requires non-native speakers of English to submit IELTS scores with their visa applications, it is better to take IELTS than TOEFL. Check the date of your scores to see if you will need to re-take the test to meet Oxford's requirements for recent scores.
- Students should be resourceful and independent learners and have a very solid background in the subject they wish to pursue.
- There is a two-level application process. Students must first compete with other UR applicants, then must be accepted by Oxford.
- Students who are on academic, conduct or any other kind of probation are not eligible to apply to this program.
- Note: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University to study abroad. Each applicant’s disciplinary record will be reviewed, and students must be cleared by the Office of the Dean of Richmond College or Westhampton College. Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if their probationary period extends beyond the start date of their intended program. Situations of housing probation and honor probation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- Participation may be denied, or acceptance may be revoked, if a student's conduct prior to departure raises doubts as to his or her suitability for the program.
- Robins School of Business students may transfer back credit from only one (1) business course taken while enrolled on this program to count towards their business degree. Specific course approval must be given by Dr. Tom Cossé. RSB students may transfer courses back from non-business subjects to count towards any non-business majors/minors and general education requirements (pending departmental approval) and towards the total units needed for graduation.
- Students applying to study at Oxford must obtain two recommendations (most other programs require one). The online application will explain how to request them.
- Oxford is UR’s most selective program. The application process is demanding for the applicant – and also for the Office of International Education, for the UR professors who will recommend you, and for the people at Oxford who will review your application. Students should apply only if fully committed to taking part in a demanding, year-long academic experience.
- Students do the online application and are evaluated by the Office of International Education on the basis of their academic performance, faculty recommendations, essay, and overall preparation for this very rigorous program.
- Candidates who pass this initial review then apply directly to the Oxford college they hope to attend, which makes the final decision about their candidacy.
It is assumed that students applying to Oxford are doing so primarily in the hope of having a year of substantial academic challenges and corresponding rewards. Students applying to Oxford should thus ignore the instructions provided for the essay that is required for the initial, online application and should instead devote most of their essay to
- their academic accomplishments to this point
- how a year at Oxford will help them meet their academic and career goals
- their understanding of Oxford's system of tutorial education
- how they will adjust their study skills to adapt to the tutorial system and other differences in academic culture that they will encounter at Oxford
- Academic references are very important for this program; be sure to speak to your potential recommenders very early about your intention to apply to Oxford. Be sure to mention the early deadline for submitting references to the Office of International Education.
- Applicants to Oxford must obtain at least one recommendation from a faculty or staff member in their academic department. The Office of International Education’s first preference for a recommender is a tenured professor who has taught the student. Our second preference is a tenure-track professor who has taught the student. Our third preference is an academic advisor in the student’s academic department.
- Applicants to Oxford must have their major advisor (a) review the classes they hope to take while abroad (b) send us their assessments of the students’ choices. This can be part of the student’s recommendation or can be a separate correspondence.
- Each recommender will need to do both the Office of International Education's online recommendation forms and, later, a more formal hard copy letter of recommendation required by Oxford. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the letters are sent to the Office of International Education in time for them to be sent to the Oxford college or hall with the rest of the required application materials.
- See an Office of International Education Peer Advisor for general information on study abroad; see Chris Klein for details on Oxford
- Begin UR's on-line application
- Approach two faculty members who know you and your work very well, and ask them to serve as your recommendors
- Think through a valid 2nd-choice program, as many who apply to Oxford are not accepted
Mid-January (specific date will be communicated to applicants)
The Office of International Education must receive all of your application materials, including faculty recommendations by the date specified. The Office of International Education will forward an application to a college or hall at Oxford only if it is complete, if the required materials are clearly labeled, and if it is in the format specified by the college or hall.
The Office of International Education notifies applicants of the results of their first-stage application. Those who are approved to apply to an Oxford college will be given instructions on how to do so. Those not approved for Oxford by the Office of International Education should complete the application process for their 2nd-choice program.
February, March & April
Oxford tries to match applicants' academic interests and prior course work with the available tutors. Applicants may hear very little from Oxford during this stage, or may be asked to choose new classes, or may be told that they cannot be accepted by the Oxford college to which they have applied. If this happens, applicants may be able to apply to a different Oxford college if (a) it offers course work that is useful to the applicant and (b) the application deadline has not passed.
Applicants are usually informed of their standing with Oxford by this point. Those not approved by Oxford should complete the application process for their 2nd-choice program. Though the Oxford colleges to which UR students may apply often make their acceptance decisions slowly, UR students who are not accepted by should have time to apply to a second choice institution.
Oxford's academic year is divided into three terms. Richmond students will take two classes per term. As UR students on this program follow the British model of higher education, it is generally not possible to take classes in more than one subject, although a few departments do allow this, for example, "PPE" (Politics, Philosophy & Economics).
Lectures and tutorials
Oxford operates on the tutorial system, in which students meet with a college tutor at least once a week, usually with one or two other students studying the same subject. Students attend lectures and practical classes that are organized by the University. Students must be resourceful, independent, and highly disciplined to succeed in the Oxford system.
St Edmund Hall
St Catherine's College
Lady Margaret Hall
Course load and credit equivalency
Students must take a full course load as prescribed by their college at Oxford. Normally students take one major tutorial and one minor tutorial in each of the three terms. The chart below shows how many units are earned for each tutorial.
one major tutorial
2.5 units per term
one minor tutorial
1.25 units per term
Please see this page on the website of the Office of the Registrar for an explanation of how academic credit earned abroad is transferred to UR.
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Students taking part in the Oxford program are required to live in housing that is affiliated with the program. Students may not take part in this program if they obtain housing of another kind.
Students at Oxford live and eat within their particular college or hall.
St Edmund Hall: See this site. Visiting students are housed along with other St Edmund Hall undergraduates in college-run accommodation in one of several annexes close to the College. Typically each student will have a single study bedroom with a wash-basin and access to kitchens and bathrooms. All rooms have telephone and/or Ethernet connections. Living amongst British students, sharing meals and conversation, helps visiting students to settle quickly into Oxford life and to make friends.
St. Catherine's College: See this site.
Lady Margaret Hall: See this site.
Dates and Costs
See Dates and Costs for Oxford for program dates and a budget sheet.
Click here to read about scholarships for study abroad.
NOTE: Travel allowances, reimbursements, health insurance premiums and other payments above tuition costs paid by Richmond on behalf of its semester and year abroad students are available only to Richmond degree-seeking students accepted to participate on UR-affiliated abroad programs.
Contact Chris Klein in the Office of International Education.
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This document represents the most accurate information available at the time of publication. Statements contained herein are not contractual obligations, and verbal or other representations that are inconsistent with or not contained within the document are not binding. The University of Richmond reserves the right to change without specific notice programs and the conditions under which they are offered.
Updated March 2017