Course Directory

Our students choose any two courses on the following list, one as a MAJOR course and one as a MINOR. Major courses meet six mornings a week and, depending on the course, include in-class time for fieldwork, labs, workshops, guest speakers, group discussions, and one-on-one instruction. They also include homework and require project and preparation time outside of class. Minor courses meet three afternoons a week, with no homework and all work contained within the class session. A Minor course offers a sample of a different subject than the Major and most students find their Minor a welcome opportunity to try a new subject for the first time.


There is no final application deadline. We accept applications on a rolling basis until a program is full, but we do have Course Guarantee Dates. Students who apply to Oxbridge at St Andrews on or before January 27, 2017 and are accepted to the program have their first choice of courses guaranteed, subject to enrollment minima. As we begin receiving applications in September, we recommend that students apply as soon as possible for courses that may fill early.


  • A tour through the most dramatic and pivotal moments of British History, exploring off the beaten track to examine the forgotten, the strange, and the controversial. From Pictish warlords to Reformation heretics, through questing knights, witches, spies, scientists, sportsmen, and soldiers, to the ordinary men and women engaged in shaping ‘Britain’ and the British past. The course will examine how Britain was constructed, politically, economically, and culturally, and will explore the tensions this created to provide an understanding of Britain and its historical presence in the 21st century.

  • Human culture and thought is inscribed in the texts that have defined societies. Students acquire familiarity with classical canonic thought and the revelation of its key principles in some of its most significant individual ideas. They critically examine case studies from fields including art theory, literature, philosophy, politics, religion, and rhetoric. Specific thinkers range from Plato to Nietzsche. The course culminates with an interrogation of historical great ideas and their place in contemporary international relations, law, and politics.

  • How should individuals balance competing ethical obligations? How does a society differentiate rights from liberties and duties from obligations? Drawing on texts from the greatest Scottish philosophers, Hume, Smith, Ferguson, and Duns Scotus, as well as from a wide range of thinkers, students discover Ethics and how they have gone on to catalyze social movements such as the expansion of the franchise, abolitionism, women’s rights, universal human rights, criminal rehabilitation, and animal liberation.

Sciences & Social Sciences

  • The exploration of the structure of the human body has been at the center of medical study for hundreds of years. It remains essential for both physicians and surgeons to understand diseases and treatments. This course exposes students to the same essential basis of knowledge, enabling them to situate disease, and health, in the wider context of the working body.

  • This course deals with animals, microbes, plants, and their interactions – both with each other and with their environment. Which phenomena impact biodiversity? How is energy passed around ecosystems? And what biological explanations are there for the sheer diversity of life on Earth? Students’ search for answers takes them from single-celled prokaryotes to multicellular eukaryotic animals. They explore principal biomes, the forms and functions of various biological systems, and the core topics of biology. Environmental awareness is also emphasized, and topics including ecotoxicology, energy resource depletion, erosion, pollution, and overpopulation are debated. All this is set against the magnificent backdrop of the Fife Coastal Path and the unique ocean fronts that surround St Andrews.

  • With The Wealth of Nations as their guide, students are introduced to the history of the discipline and the different theories that govern economic thought. They are exposed to the fundamentals and methodologies of economic modeling and go on to test Smith’s theories, those of his critics, and their own knowledge, against the contemporary world economy.

  • This course explores human transformation of the Earth. How has this transformation created distinct landscapes, places, and territories? Students answer this question by examining the world from geographical perspectives. This hinges on phenomena including climate, evolution, landscape, and tectonics, as well as the processes that created them. Other topics include the growth and distribution of human population; the characteristics of human land use; colonialism and geopolitics; the geography of economic development and modernization; and human issues such as gender, poverty, race, and religion.

  • Students learn the principles and mathematics that go into engineering science. Using local and world-famous examples, they apply principles of engineering to a variety of case studies to solve mathematical, mechanical, structural, design, and architectural problems. They complete the course by designing a model engineering project of their own.

  • Taking advantage of the University’s state-of-the-art School of Medicine, this hands-on course introduces students to key aspects of medical science and modern medical practice. Combining specialist lectures with experiments and class discussions, students discover the pathology and significance of certain diseases, the main challenges that medical science faces today, and are introduced to the wide and growing range of possible careers in medicine.

  • Students begin by reviewing cell biology, the function and operation of genes and proteins, and molecular structure. This provides a platform on which to analyze college-level material such as cloning, diseases, genetic engineering, and gene therapy. At the same time they address the medical and ethical consequences of our ever-greater understanding of the cellular keys to life.

  • Students discover how Scotland, Britain, and the EU interact. Blending political science, history, and topical issues, such as Scottish and English nationalisms, inequality, immigration, and government power, they examine how politics work in Britain and Europe and chart possible futures for the two Unions in the wake of the drama of the Brexit vote. A series of debates in a model European Parliament serves as the culminating event.

  • Students debate what makes a terrorist and what makes one person’s freedom fighter another person’s criminal. They chart the successes and failures of terrorism throughout the ages - its justifications, its methods, and its networks. Case studies range from late-19th century anarchists, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the Stern Gang, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the 21st-century concept of the non-state actor. Students seek to grasp how contemporary governments are dealing with the legal and moral challenges posed by terrorists.

Production & Workshop

  • College places are in greater and more competitive demand than ever before. This course equips students with the knowledge and confidence needed to obtain the best place for them. In addition to the mechanics – deadlines, UCAS versus the Common Application, examination requirements, degree structures, and so on – students tackle more nebulous problems, such as how to write persuasive and individualistic personal statements, and how to give calm and convincing interviews. (Minor Only)

  • Students compose fiction and poetry under the guidance of a published writer, with Scotland’s rich literary history as their inspiration. They explore their own potential by experimenting with new forms and styles of writing. Successful authors give workshops in which students learn about the creative process and the practicalities of publication. Students develop a portfolio of their best writing and collaborate to design, edit, and publish a literary magazine.

  • Students acquire the creative techniques required to become a photographer. Making full use of our historic location, framed by areas of stunning natural beauty, they learn an array of photographic processes. They go on to pursue their own interests as they build up their personal porfolio. The course culminates in an exhibition. Students require their own DSLR camera with USB cable, charger, manual, and at least one 8 GB memory card. Materials fee of $175 US for the Major; $75 US for the Minor.

  • In 21st-century working life, everyone will at some point be asked to deliver a presentation, regardless of their occupation. Being an effective and persuasive speaker requires flawless communication skills – verbal, nonverbal, and written. Students learn how to prepare and deliver compelling speeches to a large and critical audience. The syllabus covers the core principles of communication, the history and theory of rhetoric, and techniques for overcoming speech anxiety. Students learn how to structure and organize information, gain decision-making skills, and knowledge of how to present their ideas effectively.

  • This innovative course delves deeply into Shakespeare’s stage oeuvre in the landscape that inspired Macbeth, blending theoretical study with the development of skills in dramaturgy and criticism. Students seek to become Shakespearean dramaturgs capable of operating as creative, fluid, and motivating liaisons among the various agents required to bring the Bard’s works to life.