Students enjoy at least two tutorials with tutors of Oxford University—one primary and the other secondary (Summer Term students take a truncated primary tutorial). The primary tutorial occurs weekly, the secondary tutorial fortnightly.

While optional lectures may be attended, the Oxford tutorial is personalized, intensive, and highly instructive. The tutorial requires students to practice scholarship themselves. Tutorial meetings are at least one hour in length, usually focused on an essay the student has produced. Students discuss their investigations at length with their tutors. Tutors may introduce new material, recommend avenues of investigation, challenge students’ perceptions or ambiguities. As developing scholars, students are expected to have informed opinions: to explain, perhaps modify, and certainly defend them. Then students are tasked with another essay and provided with an initial bibliography.

The Oxford essay ranges between five and fifteen pages, depending on the tutor’s demands, the subject at hand, and the aggressiveness of the student. By the end of the term, students have produced ten or twelve such essays, resulting in a significant body of written work and untold pages of research. In short, the Oxford tutorial system is unsurpassed in providing students the chance to discover, engage, and cultivate the habits of scholarship.

curriculum: oxford tutorials

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