Students during studio arts summer course with Oxbridge

Courses - The Oxford Tradition

Students on The Oxford Tradition choose a Major and a Minor from 25 academic and creative options, designed to make the most of their summer in Oxford while using its extraordinary resources. All courses promote experiential learning with museum visits and field trips, eminent guest speakers, project-work, and more.

Full Course List

Under professional guidance, students reconstitute the daily lives of ancient civilizations through a mixture of lab work, investigating artifacts in museums such as the Pitt Rivers, and visits to local digs. They learn how to read evidence and design their own research projects, even exploring how an archeologist of the future might view us.

This course explores some of the key episodes in English and British history from pre-Roman times to Brexit. Students learn how to read and use primary, literary, archeological, and artistic evidence to analyze the contexts of epoch-defining events while augmenting their studies with regular site visits.

This course examines the literature, philosophy, history, art, and scientific thought of Ancient Greece and Rome. From readings of classical authors to tours of the Ashmolean and local Roman sites, students receive an imaginative introduction to Greco-Roman civilization, and explore why the classical world has been admired for millennia, and how it continues to influence society today.

Students compose fiction and poetry under the guidance of a published writer, with Oxford’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.

Through workshops, debates, and visits to police stations and criminal courts, students explore individual and social theories of crime, philosophies of punishment, criminal profiling, incident analysis, and basic forensic science. They consider the causes of crime, the influence of the media upon crime, and issues of race, inequality, and gender within the context of the British and American criminal justice systems.

To what extent do people unconsciously take on ideas from the society in which they were raised? Are we all unwitting products of forces we did not choose? This course combines philosophy with critical theory to examine why the world is the way it is. Students call on a range of thinkers to analyze the political and societal trends that define the 21st century. They learn to interrogate information, discuss controversial topics sensitively, and construct persuasive arguments.

Students learn the principles of engineering science. Both world-renowned and local examples are examined, and the findings applied to a variety of case studies to solve mechanical, structural, and architectural problems. They complete the course by designing a model engineering project of their own.

This course examines some of the great works of English literature from Chaucerto Zadie Smith amidst the evocative surroundings of Oxford. Students engage with a wealth of writers in the literary pantheon to improve their skills in close reading, textual criticism and clear, informed writing. Each student engages in a close study of a chosen text in the final week.

Students discover what drives entrepreneurs, the rules they follow, and the ones they defy. They learn how to identify demand, determine fixed and marginal costs, generate a business plan, canvas for support, calculate overheads, estimate break-even and future value, and manage debts and depreciation. For their final project students launch their own mini-businesses.

As the world teeters on the brink of ecological disaster, students are introduced to the complex science behind the headlines. They learn about the different disciplines that combine to make Environmental science possible, notably Atmospheric Science, Chemistry, and Ecology. Working from a range of case studies, they discover how environmental scientists assess and respond to different challenges, and learn about the benefits and disbenefits of the statutory proposals and technological solutions being touted in the public sphere, from carbon offset to electric cars, via lab-grown meat and the prospect of radical lifestyle change for everyone.

Students are exposed to the mechanisms, institutions, and principles that underpin modern business. They address the main business principles of strategic planning, marketing, economics, finance, accounting, and management. Concepts covered include SWOT analysis, developing a marketing strategy, as well as working through how to create a product centered company and draft a business plan. For their final project, they create a mock company that they present in a “Shark Tank”, mirroring the high-pressure, quick-tempo presentations used at colleges, business schools, and startup incubators around the world. Running as a Major only for summer 2021.

This course addresses International Relations by focusing on key issues of the day. Subjects covered include globalization and its political, economic, and social effects; environmental challenges; new forms of war and peace; the changing nature of security challenges; peacekeeping operations; the regional complexities of areas like the Middle East, Africa, and South-East Asia; and the relationships and rivalries that define global order today.

Students become full-time journalists, acquiring and perfecting their research, composition, editing, and formatting skills as they discover the varied skills required of all journalists these days: publishing a class magazine, running a blog, managing information on social media, and creating TV news reports. They address key topics in contemporary journalism as well as ethical issues surrounding journalistic responsibility and risk in a rapidly changing environment. Interview access to outstanding guest speakers deepens this fascinating introduction to the world of the working journalist.Production fee of $100 US for the Major; $50 US for the Minor.

Students examine the British and American legal systems and how they reflect the values and institutions of their respective societies. Emphasis is placed on legal history and modes of thought, precedent-setting cases, current controversies, and the kind of first-hand courtroom observation that brings them to life. Each course includes visits to a court and sessions with lawyers. Major courses culminate in a formal moot court competition.

This hands-on course introduces students to key aspects of medicine and modern medical practice. Combining specialist lectures with experiments and class discussions, students learn the main principles of human anatomy and physiology, the pathology and significance of certain diseases, the main challenges that medical science faces today, and the variety and changing nature of careers in medicine.

Using cognitive, experimental, and clinical approaches, students explore the structure and function of the brain as it relates to cognitive process and behavior. Students address the principles of neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry, learn select diagnostic techniques, and study brain injuries and mental disorders. Classroom experiments are complemented by visits to laboratories.

Students explore a host of topics drawn from major philosophical, literary, and religious texts. They consider fundamental questions through ancients like Plato and Aristotle; Oxford philosophers like Hobbes and Locke; idealists like Kant; iconoclasts like Nietzsche; and contemporary philosophers, before producing their own philosophical theses on the topic of their choice.

Photographers of all levels of expertise spend much of their time in the field, pursuing assignments designed to improve their landscape, portraiture, art, and fashion photography skills. Students exhibit their best work at the end of the program. They require their own DSLR camera with USB cable, charger, manual, and at least one 8 GB memory card. Lab fee of $75 US for the Minor.

Photographers of all levels of expertise spend much of their time in the field, pursuing assignments designed to improve their landscape, portraiture, art, and fashion photography skills. Students exhibit their best work at the end of the program. They require their own DSLR camera with USB cable, charger, manual, and at least one 8 GB memory card. Materials fees of $75 US for the Minor.

Oxford’s famous undergraduate degree, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), is adapted for our students. They examine the institutions and policies of modern Britain and contrast the British, American, European, and East Asian approaches to global problems. Students engage in practical exercises such as a fantasy stock portfolio competition and complete the month by participating in a mock Parliament.

This syllabus is built from the type of course typically taught on MBAs. Students learn to organize their lives, to create realistic schedules, to manage time-tables, and to define priorities. They learn how to collect and manage information, how to take notes, and how to condense and file them. They learn how to build their profiles, not least how to leverage their growing experience and expertise as they take their first steps into the job and university markets.

This course focuses on behavior and development in a social context. Students are introduced to major themes, including stereotyping and prejudice, cross-cultural differences, the dynamics of cooperation and conflict, conformity and persuasion, attraction, and the role of the individual in the crowd. Through case studies and interactive experiments, participants gain an introduction to psychology and learn to analyze their own peer-group dynamics.

Students explore major debating styles and strategies, engage in daily speaking exercises, orations, and dialogues, and prepare and present regular debates. The culmination of the course is a formal debate in the historic debating chamber of the Oxford Union Society, founded in 1823 and one of the oldest university debating societies in the world.

Designed for all levels of expertise, this course explores a variety of media through which students engage imaginatively with Oxford. They receive formal instruction in, among others, oils, watercolor, pastel, pencil, charcoal, clay, video, photography, and collage, and spend most of their time outside the studio, capturing Oxford and its environs. Students exhibit their best pieces at the end of the program.Materials fee of $150 US for the Minor.

HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis alone are thought to result in ten percent of all deaths every year. The ongoing search for new pathogens is being conducted against the backdrop of outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola, SARS, and Zika. This interdisciplinary medical course investigates the biology of disease. Topics include animal models of human disease; cancer; conventional therapy treatment strategies; the genetics of complex and simple traits; the interaction between environment and genetics; Karyotypic analysis; the molecular and cellular basis of genetic diseases; and the role of oncogenes in tumor initiation and treatment.

War has been one of the greatest forces for change in human history and continues to shape the world. Violence in the Middle East and Africa, guerilla conflicts in South America and the Far East, and the global ‘War on Terror’ are the most recent examples of mankind’s long history of conflict and combat. While covering military history, this course also examines war from other aspects: the political, economic, social, ethical, and psychological. It examines how and why wars are fought, what has changed, and what has remained the same, from conflicts in Ancient Greece to the war in Syria.