Oxford Overview


The academic objective of the Oxford program is to foster students’ intellectual development and writing skills through intense, self-motivated work in their tutorials and the lecture and seminar classes. Students are expected to make good use of Oxford’s incomparable library resources. They are also encouraged, through contact with Oxford students and faculty, to develop a deeper appreciation of British and international life and culture.


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.

Related On-Campus Courses

Please see the list of related on-campus courses for more detailed information.


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 BOSP courses offered in the current academic year and planned for the next, and for information on which courses earn departmental credit or fulfill General Education Requirements, please refer to the BOSP course database. For information on courses scheduled for the current academic year and for enrollment, please refer to Axess.


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 attended 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.

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 some academic background in the subject.  Under no circumstances can a tutorial satisfy one of the University's General Education Requirements (GERs).

Learn More About The Tutorial Program