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Undergraduate Programme – Seminar courses

• small classes of less than 12 students

• use the academic facilities in Oxford

• participate in discussions with your professor

• benefit from lively debate

Seminar courses will challenge your studies

Our academic courses are also described as seminar courses, and consist of small groups of six to eight students (our classes are capped at 12). Our seminar courses may include a presentation, however you are actively encouraged to participate. The aim of our seminar courses is to enable you to take responsibility for your learning whilst benefiting from the expertise, support and encouragement of tutors in a shared learning environment.

Seminar Series (Upper)

Our Seminar Series provides the opportunity for you to develop your academic studies through a stimulating mix of classroom activities, guest lectures, study visits and excursions, which are all connected by a weekly theme.The themes change regularly, however here is a sample of our activities. If you are a study abroad student can take this seminar for credit.

You may also be interested in these course options:

Please note: For USD students this course transfers as either an upper division History or upper division English.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about our seminar courses, please get in touch.
Manuela Williams
Admissions Registrar
+44 1865 517706

Psychology — Sociology


PSY1 Introduction to Psychology (Lower)

How does the human brain work? Can monkeys learn language? How do babies think? What do our dreams mean? This course aims to answer these questions and others by providing an overview of the scientific study of thought and behaviour. It presents topics on aspects of the mind such as perception, communication, learning, memory, decision-making, love, motivation and art. The course will explain, amongst many other topics, how the brain is wired-up, how the mind develops in children, how people differ and how various processes break down due to illness and injury.

PSY2 Theories of Personality (Upper)

Who am I? Why am I the way that I am? Can I change? This course will provide an overview of theories of personality psychology. Students will learn about several personality theories and apply them in a case study. Classes will include extensive discussion components and the exact balance of topics will be adjusted to reflect student interests.

PSY3 Social Psychology (Upper)

The overall aim of this course is to familiarise students with general principles of social psychology so that they can apply psychological concepts to their daily lives and better understand interpersonal interactions. How do people relate to one another? What is currently known about interpersonal relations? Students will conduct a pilot research project to get a flavour for the nature of experimentation. Classes will include extensive discussion components and the exact balance of topics will be adjusted to reflect student interests.

PSY5 Developmental Psychology (Upper)

This course will provide an overview of human development as it occurs from the moment of conception to middle childhood. The central questions are: What develops (e.g. physical development, brain development, cognitive development, acquisition of language and memory, development of gender, emotional, social, and psychosexual development)? How development occurs? What are the factors explaining individual differences in development (nature vs. nurture)?What constitutes abnormal development?

PSY6 Abnormal Psychology (Upper)

What is normal? What is pathological? This course will include descriptions of several symptoms and syndromes, theories about the origins of disorders, historical perspectives, and current treatment practices. The overall aim of this course is to familiarise students with general principles in abnormal psychology; the major theories of psychological disorders and specific disorders as presently conceived and treated. Students will acquire the tools for appropriate evaluation of the science behind abnormal psychology.


SOC1 Introduction to Sociology (Lower)

This is a basic introductory course in sociology which will survey the emergence of the discipline to its present form through an analytical and critical engagement with a range of substantive issues. What is Sociology? How does it contribute to our better understanding of the social phenomenon at

This is a basic introductory course in sociology which will survey the emergence of the discipline to its present form through an analytical and critical engagement with a range of substantive issues. What is Sociology? How does it contribute to our better understanding of the social phenomenon at group and societal levels? Are there different methodological and theoretical constructs to the scientific study of cultural, economical, religious and political aspects of social structures and institutions?

Theology — Religious Studies — Philosophy

Theology and Religious Studies

REL1 Comparative Religion (Lower)

This course offers a survey of the main strands in the comparative study of religion and religious phenomena. Beginning with classic explanations of religion, the course proceeds to examine conspicuous psychological, social, and experiential elements of varying religious traditions. The central factors of religions (such as rituals, supernatural beliefs, doctrines) will be reflected on by attention to their appearance in the world’s religions. The course will thus include consideration of features of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Eastern and primal religions.

REL2 Concept of God (Upper)

An in-depth examination of the theistic conception of God, considering the issues of religious discourse, the characteristics traditionally attributed to the divine being, grounds for belief and disbelief in God, and the Christian understanding of God as a Trinity. The course will proceed by means of a mixture of lectures and seminars, with students expected to undertake a large amount of reading between classes.REL3 Eastern Religions (Upper)

REL3 Eastern Religions (Upper)

This course aims to give students a stimulating introduction to the major religions of Asia, focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, and also exploring Shinto and Confucian traditions. The Indian and East Asian views of the cosmos have shaped the lives of half the globe, and continue to have an increasing influence on Western culture. We will look at the philosophy of reincarnation and liberation, and the arts and rituals of Hinduism and Buddhism. We will go on to see how the movement of Buddhism into South and East Asia blended Indian influences with Taoist, Confucian and Shinto traditions to create profound new approaches to life. Our approach will show how key philosophical ideas give rise to the beliefs and practices that shape people’s lives today. N.B.: This course is only offered on the Summer Academic Programme.


PHIL1 Introduction to Philosophy (Lower)

This course aims to introduce students to the subject of Philosophy by identifying some of it major themes and considering what it means to think philosophically. The course also aims to equip the students with philosophical tools to aid their critical thinking. The course will not only question what we think we know and how we come to know it, but students will also identify the application of philosophical ideas and how they operate in the applied fields of religion, politics and morality. By engaging with a range of different perspectives in Western philosophy across 2,500 years, students will receive a broad-based foundation to the subject.

PHIL2 Ethics (Upper)

This course aims to engage the students in philosophical considerations of what is meant by ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. By approaching different theories concerning these concepts, the nature of moral problems in everyday life will be illuminated and examined. Over the duration of the semester students will develop a multi-faceted appreciation of what is at stake in moral debates. The course will enable students to understand the depth and significance of moral issues and engage with them from the perspective of a number of different theoretical positions. Ultimately, students will be able to advance complex debates concerning these issues.

PHIL4 Ethics, Values and the Law (Upper)

This course aims to introduce students to the complexities of the relationship between political and moral philosophy. By examining normative ethical positions and studying the issues of rights, duties and the law, the dilemmas associated with establishing laws that take into account preferences, opportunities and justice will be examined. Over the duration of the semester students will become appreciative of the issues faced by the state in reconciling moral aspirations with legal practicalities. The course will give students a good understanding of important aspects of political and moral philosophy and how these themes might be considered in relation to one another. Students will be able to advance keen critical debate on these subjects and their nuances.

PHIL5 Business Ethics (Upper)

The course will examine ethic concepts, theories and frameworks as well as business practices in relationship to ethical conducts. Traditional academic study of ethical theory will be combined with practical approaches to problem solving. Students will explore issues of environmental, economic, political and social justice through real life business case studies and their impact on the ethical realm. Particular attention is paid to the diversity and plurality of ethical concerns and theories.

PHIL6 Philosophy of Human Nature (Lower)

What is a human being? Are we essentially physical creatures, or do we have a spiritual aspect?
What happens to us when we die? Are human beings basically good or fundamentally wicked? What motivates us? These are just a few of the questions that will be considered in this course on the philosophy of human nature. We will first consider the ontology of the human person, and then move on to examine various conceptions of the human person (religious, philosophical, psychological and biological).

PHIL7 Philosophy of Love and Personal Relationships (Upper)

This course surveys the problems involved in understanding philosophically the nature of love and human relationships. Beginning with an account of the view of sex and marriage held in primitive society, we move on to consider Greek thought and neo-Platonism, before assessing Christian teaching on sex, celibacy and the body. We continue with more modern attempts to understand the nature of sexual relations (de Sade, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Freud) and proceed to explore some central questions in sexual ethics.

Business — Economics — Marketing — Mathematics

Business and Economics

ACCT 202 Principles of Managerial Accounting (Lower)

The Accounting Tutorial introduces managerial accounting information for planning, controlling, and making decisions within a firm. Current changes to the business environment and their impact on accounting is also presented. Mixture of lecture and discussion drawn primarily from the textbook, but also including other assorted financial news sources such as Financial Times, Investors Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, to provide current topics for discussion and illustration of the course subjects in practice.

ACCT 300 Intermediate Accounting 1 (Upper)

Intermediate Accounting I concentrates on financial accounting and reporting. The course focuses on the theory underlying accepted accounting methods and on the procedural implementation of that theory, specifically pertaining to assets and liabilities. The financial reporting aspect of the course emphasises the reporting of information necessary for adequate disclosure. Mixture of lecture and discussion drawn primarily from the textbook, but also including other assorted financial news sources such as Financial Times, Investors Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, to provide current topics for discussion and illustration of the course subjects in practice.

ACCT 302 Cost Accounting (Upper)

The primary objectives of this course are to enable students to develop technical accounting measurement, reporting skills and to critically analyze information. Sources of data and preparation of financial statements in manufacturing organizations are studied. Primary emphasis is on costs for control, decision processes internal to the firm, including standards of performance, relevant costs for decisions, budgets and capital investment considerations.

ACCT 303 Accounting Information Systems (Upper)

The focus of this course is information requirements and transaction processing procedures relevant to integrated accounting systems. The course emphasizes accounting system design, analysis, and related internal controls.

BUSN 1 Introduction to International Business (Upper)

The marketplace is becoming increasingly globalized. This affects every aspect of business. Even domestic companies, i.e., those that are not directly involved in the international business system, cannot be isolated from what is happening in the world today. No firm, for example, is exempt from the consequences of the international financial crisis, or the creation of trade blocks or the direction of capital flows. This course will provide insight into international business strategies in a globalised marketplace world. We will cover international trade and international business theory as well as government influence on the pattern of world trade. We will use case studies from current affairs to
discuss the economics and politics of international trade. Global business, finance and economic news will be reviewed and analysed in order to understand the impact of international and national economic policy on international business.

Econ1 Introduction to Economics (Lower)

This course is designed to offer first time economics students an introduction to the most important economic concepts and issues. It offers students the opportunity to explore microeconomic concepts such as market supply and demand, externalities, and industrial organisation, as well as macroeconomic concepts such as of money, interest rates, inflation, unemployment and macro- economic policy.

Econ 2 International Economics (Upper)

This course will provide insight into international economic strategies in a globalised marketplace. We will cover international trade and international economic theory as well as the influence of government on the pattern of world trade. We will use case studies from current affairs to discuss the economics and politics of international trade.

Econ 3 Development Economics (Upper)

The goal of this course is to understand the economic problems of developing countries by using economic theories and their applications. A majority of the world’s population lives on less than $2/day. The goal of this course is to better understand the lives of the world’s poor. Why do they remain poor? Specifically, what economic policies and market failures hinder their quest to improve their well-being? Is there scope for policy to help the world’s poor? These are some of the exciting questions that we will address during the course.

ETLW 1 Business and Society (Upper)

Ethical and legal considerations shape every aspect of effective leadership in public service, corporations, and society. This course will provide an overview of the primary ethical principles and legal concepts that guide difficult decisions specifically in the business realm. Traditional academic study of ethical and legal theory will be combined with practical approaches to problem solving. Students will explore issues of environmental, economic, political and social justice through real life business case studies and their impact on shareholders and stakeholders.

MGMT 1 Organizational Behaviour (Upper)

This course is designed to offer first time management students an introduction to human behaviour in a variety of organisational settings. It offers students the opportunity to examine the interface between human behaviour and the organizational context, and presents frameworks for managing people in organizations. Topics addressed include: perceptual processes, personality, learning, motivation, attitudes, stress, group dynamics, inter-group behaviour, conflict, power, politics, leadership, and cross-cultural implications.

MKMT1 Fundamentals of Marketing (Upper)

This is an introductory course designed to give the student an opportunity to understand the exciting, dynamic, and challenging field of marketing. Primary emphasis will be focused on providing the student with the traditional and contemporary elements of marketing: specifically on how marketing relates to an organization’s strategy and decision-making. Teaching will comprise a mix of methodologies. Students should expect to participate in discussions and make presentations based on readings or case studies. As this is a marketing course, be willing to exercise your creativity, you will be expected to apply the course notes to consumer and supplier situations.

MKTG 2 International Marketing (Upper)

This case study based course will provide an up-to-date overview of International Marketing. In addition to learning the principles of marketing, students will benefit from exposure to the opportunities and challenges facing marketing professionals in the changing global marketplace. Special attention will be given to the management of cultural differences in product development, distribution systems, pricing, and marketing communication.

MKTG 3 Professional Selling (Upper)

This course is designed to ensure students develop an understanding of the concept of professional selling and its role and practice in both profit, and non-profit and service organizations. Students will study the evolution of selling as a business function and as an academic discipline. There will be practical application of theoretical principles to realistic selling problems and situations. Students will learn to formulate a selling plan for an organization.

MKTG 4 Advertising and Promotions (Upper)

This course is designed to cover principles and strategies for developing effective integrated marketing communications (IMC) campaigns. The focus will be on using advertising and promotions as a tool to achieve business objectives, and will include aspects such as research, planning, public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing and internet marketing. It will expose students to the role of integrated marketing communications within the context of a dynamic business environment. Students will also have opportunities to express their creativity by developing an IMC and presenting it in class.


MA1 College Algebra (Lower)

College Algebra is intended for students who wish to improve their understanding of basic mathematics or who wish to attain the standard level of College Mathematics required for general courses. The course is designed to highlight the application of Mathematics to everyday life problems and is particularly useful for students who intend to study social sciences, management, business or other courses that do not require the additional topics of Trigonometry and Calculus.

MA2 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (Lower)

This course covers the basics of statistical rules and their application; modern probability theory and its use in statistical analysis and the application of probability and statistics to everyday problems. This course is useful for students of the social sciences, management, business, marketing, medicine and many other disciplines.

English Literature — Education Studies

English Literature

EL 1 Shakespeare (Survey) (Upper)

This course is intended to introduce students to Shakespeare by focusing on a select number of plays. It is designed to provide students with secure knowledge of works in important socio- historical, religio-political and theatrical contexts. One important objective is also to encourage students to pay close attention to Shakespeare’s language at work through close readings of texts in class. Close supervision of students’ written work will also be provided.

EL 2 Shakespeare (Detailed Study) (Upper)

The aim of this course is to give students the opportunity to study one Shakespeare play – Hamlet – in great detail. Close attention will be paid to the practical criticism of Shakespeare’s language and stagecraft, as well as the play’s sources and historical context, discussions of the enduring themes of the play and its performance history on the stage and in other media.

EL4 Literature in English of the First World War (Upper)

The aim of this course is to introduce students to a broad range of literature of the First World War from a variety of perspectives. It is intended that the class come to an understanding of the political and social history of WWI while encountering through close readings an array of writers trying to make sense of life in the trenches. The course offers an inventive and challenging approach to canonical English war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, while also listening to the often ignored and anonymous voice of the common soldier, women on the home front, as well as foreign poets such as Apollinaire and the intense German Georg Trakl on the opposite side of no man’s land. A final objective is to encourage students to consider their own relation to the war by comparing later responses at the end of the twentieth century by such poets as Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.

EL 6 Victorian Readings (Upper)

The aim of this course is to introduce students to a broad range of British literature from the reign of Queen Victoria. We will look at different kinds of works from a variety of critical perspectives. The objectives are to make the class pleasurably aware of the difficulties of great literature, while exploring important historical, social, political and religious contexts. Famous, infamous and obscure works will be discussed in relation to nineteenth-century developments in architecture, science and technology, making use of the abundant resources that Oxford has to offer.

EL 7 Romantic Poets (Upper)

This course is designed to make students pleasurably aware of the difficulties of great poetry. During the semester they will read a wide range of poems: they will come away with sensible knowledge of all of the major Romantic poets, the poets the Romantics loved to read themselves, and two poets in
the twentieth century who can teach us how to read the Romantics. Students will also learn to pay careful attention to language. As well as providing detailed knowledge of Romanticism from different critical perspectives, this course fosters research and essay writing skills. It aims to give students the confidence to reconstruct and so test or defend their ideas in both academic and social contexts.

EL 8 Modern British Drama (Lower)

The course covers the evolution of Modern British Drama in theory and practice from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, placing it in its European context. The course is designed to suit the needs of both English Literature and Theatre Arts students.

EL 9 Studies in World Literature: The Short Story (Lower)

This course will explore the modern short story tradition from c.1800 to the present day. The focus will be on close readings of a range of exemplary Irish short stories, framed in the context of modern Irish (and European) history and culture. Handouts of short critical essays, reviews and stories will be distributed prior to the seminar, and students will be encouraged to respond to the primary texts from a variety of critical and cultural perspectives. Writers to be discussed include Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Maria Edgeworth, Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde, George Moore, W.B. Yeats, Daniel Corkery, Seumas O’Kelly, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien, Aidan Higgins, Liam O’Flaherty, Seán Ó Faoláin, Frank O’Connor, Elizabeth Bowen, Mary Lavin, Julia Ó Faoláin, William Trevor, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Desmond Hogan, Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright and Claire Keegan.

EL10 18th Century Literature (Upper)

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to study a wide range of eighteenth-century literature from a variety of genres. While important contexts for this literature will be discussed in classes, students will also be encouraged to read texts patiently and critically, paying close attention to minute particulars of the forms of works.

EL15 European Crime Writing (Lower)

Crime fiction can easily be dismissed as a lesser genre, a poor – though indisputably popular – relation of greater literary works. To read it, however, is to discover, in Thomas Narcejac’s words, “a machine for reading”, as well as important commentaries on history, politics, and culture. This course will examine works of crime fiction from a variety of European countries in order to study the evolution of the genre and the theoretical approaches from which it has more recently been considered.

EL16 Renaissance Studies (Upper)

This course will consider English poetry, prose, and drama from the late sixteenth to the mid- seventeenth century. We will examine the formal features of a variety of texts, as well as the political, social, and historical contexts in which they were created, looking at such themes as the development of genre, the pastoral, religion, gender, patronage, and the role of literature in the formation of national and individual identity. Outside of the text, in its cultural and architectural offerings, Oxford itself is full of Renaissance traces. Some of this evidence we will explore together; I urge you to discover, like an early modern explorer in reverse, more of this ‘Old World’ on your own.

EL17 Gothic Fiction (Upper)

This course is designed to introduce students in a methodical manner to an ample selection of Gothic literature from its beginnings in the eighteenth century through to twentieth-century transmutations of the genre. For the main part students will be given the opportunity to engage with nineteenth-century Gothic fiction. The course is intended to nurture careful and fresh readings of key works as students work out imaginative ways to talk about the texts to hand. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the development of Gothic fiction while focusing on individual writers and their critical reputations.


EDUC 1 Art Fundamentals for Educators (Upper)

Art Fundamentals examines art concepts and techniques in relation to interdisciplinary teaching practice. The course begins with a multi-cultural overview of how art weaves into the fabric of everyday life. Contemporary art concepts and terms are discussed and applied as they relate to the K – 8 classroom setting. Students engage in studio practice where a series of assignments leads to the creation of individual and collaborative art projects using a variety of art media. Finally, students create interdisciplinary, developmentally appropriate classroom curricula using the arts. Visual and media literacy are emphasized.

EDUC 2 Children’s Literature for Educators (Lower)

This course explores the historical development of childhood as a social construction and of children’s fiction as a literary genre. Special attention is devoted to cultural concepts of childhood inflected in children’s fiction, and to the relationship between actual and implied child readers and adult authors/narrators. The course covers fairy tales, novels and picture books, as well as topics related the subject of children’s literature, such as publishing. Priority is given to understanding theoretical approaches, especially of ‘the child’ and the text’s aim to delight and/or instruct the child reader.

EDUC 3 U.S. History for Educators (Lower)

This survey course covers the history of the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. The course focuses on economic development; reform movements; immigration; the fate of American liberalism; struggles over issues of racial, ethnic, and gender inequality; and the emergence of the United States as a world power. The themes will be addressed through primary and secondary source readings.

EDUC 4 Comparative Education (Upper)

The course focuses upon a research topic which the students conduct principally at the University of Oxford. Students are tutored in research methods and academic writing at the University and are introduced to a range of key themes in UK education, from which to choose their own research topic. These include gender, assessment, creativity, equality of opportunity, private v public education, social class, ethnicity & diversity, inclusion, immigration & English as a Second Language (ESL) and special needs. Throughout the course, the students will be asked to draw on their experience gained in UK classrooms, by completing a learning log of their experiences in the classroom. Students will be expected to summarize classroom experiences and compare and contrast UK and US education systems; and make basic comparisons of educational issues in the US, the UK and internationally. They will also be provoked to take an active and critical position on the various reading tasks requested of them as these relate to their classroom experience. They will also
engage in peer feedback – reflecting upon each other’s presentations of their ongoing research projects. N.B. This course is also offered on the Summer Education Programme.

EDUC 381 Multicultural and Philosophical Foundations of Education (Upper)

The aim of the course is to enable students to acquire the background and skills necessary to adjust their teaching techniques and strategies to promote academic success for all students in the culturally diverse classroom. This course will address issues that develop sensitivity and skills for effective cross-cultural practices. Multicultural and multiethnic education and issues will be explored from a comparative education perspective.

EDUC 382 Psychological Foundations of Education (Upper)

The course is designed to introduce psychological principles, theories, and methodologies to issues of teaching and learning in schools. The purpose of the course is to help you, as a teacher candidate, understand the principles and theories of human development and learning. The course also stresses to develop research-based teaching and learning principles used in a classroom setting to facilitate learning. The course intend to establish firm understanding of key issues in educational psychology such as learning processes, instructional designs, developmental mechanisms, motivation, socio-cultural foundation of learning, individual differences, assessment, research methods, atypical development, social, moral and personality development.

Communication Studies — Political Science

Communication Studies

CM2 Rhetoric (Upper)

The course begins by examining the Classical schools of rhetoric, particularly in Athens around the time of Plato and Aristotle. Focusing on Plato’s critique of the Sophists and Aristotle’s detailed analysis of rhetoric, the tone and arrangement of speeches at this time provides a good foundation for the other parts of the course. Students will also spend a good deal of time studying the key elements of persuasive language and rhetorical ornamentation. Moving gradually into the modern era, the course then alternately examines philosophical reasoning, argumentation and their impact upon renowned political speeches through into the 21st Century.

CM3 Film Studies (Upper)

Cinema is truth twenty-four times a second. (Jean-Luc Godard) The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the theory, history and criticism of film. We will be discussing different ways of interpreting film, and applying some of these ideas to various selected texts. Some of the analytical models we will employ, such as semiotics or psychoanalysis, will explore the complex language of the medium (how film communicates); others, such as genre and auteur criticism, will examine the ideological relationship between cinema and society (what film communicates). Special emphasis will be placed on the multiple relationships between Hollywood and the national cinemas of Europe, and between literature and film. There will be DVD screenings throughout the course, and excerpts from a diverse range of exemplary films will be shown in class: both classic and contemporary, and from Hollywood as well as Europe.

CM4 Cross Cultural Communication (Upper)

As Jean-François Lyotard remarked in 1979, ‘eclecticism is the degree zero of contemporary general culture.’ While Lyotard was describing a high postmodern sensibility provoked by the breakdown of the perceived ‘grand narratives’ and cultural cohesion of the modernist period, his observation remains highly relevant even today, although it might be useful to amend it slightly, to suggest that interculturalism is the degree zero of contemporary culture. This course will take its starting point from this idea, seeking to examine, analyse and understand society, the arts and the media today as necessarily underpinned by the interrelation of a wide range of cultural spaces and identities. Drawing on discourses and theories from cultural studies, sociology, literary studies, anthropology and media studies, it will interrogate how we define ourselves with and against ‘others’, and the implications of this, both positive and problematic. It will particularly focus on the unstable and evolving nature of communicative cross-cultural exchanges in social, national, transnational and gendered identities, and will then progress to consider how and to what ends these negotiations are represented in, and furthered by, a wide range of cultural products and practices including television, journalism, new media, film, music and tourism. In so doing, it will equip students with a theoretical and practical framework through which to approach, interrogate and understand cross- cultural issues, both locally and internationally. Students will be expected to take an active part in
their learning, and will debate issues in class, keep a journal containing weekly entries related to the topics covered, give two presentations to the class (one before the half term break and one after), and develop an extended essay on a topic of their own choice.

Political Science

POL1 Introduction to Politics (Lower)

This course aims to provide a broad introduction to the purpose, character and organisation of modern political life. Beginning with the basic question of what is politics and why does politics occur, the course will cover a range of topics including the nature of the modern state, political ideologies, machinery of government, and politics beyond the territorial state. Students should acquire an understanding of the terminology and language of politics, and will be encouraged to take a critical view of the topics covered, through both oral and written work.

POL2 Comparative World Political Systems (Upper)

The course aims to provide a theoretical and analytical understanding of the main types of political systems. Comparison of different political systems will allow students to develop their knowledge of modern political institutions and well as to understand the role and implementation of comparative methods in political science.

POL3 The European Union (Upper)

This course will focus on the European Union, its history, structure, and current role in international politics. We will consider the relevance of the EU as both an economic and political union. Beginning with the historical circumstances which led to the creation of the EEC in the 1950s, the course will seek to answer whether the EU is a truly democratic institution. We will consider the evolution of EU institutions and assess the effectiveness of the European Parliament. Other topics to be covered include the advantages and disadvantages of the enlargement process; the political phenomenon of “Euro-scepticism”; the relevance of the European Court of Human Rights; the impact of the EU single market and the single currency; and the “Turkish question”.

POL5 Political Ideologies (Upper)

This course will focus on the most influential political ideologies, illustrating their key themes, values and goals. Ideologies are responses to concrete social and political problems aspiring to orient people’s understanding and behaviour. The course will also introduce the ideas and writings of some prominent representatives of major ideologies. The interpretive abilities of the participants will be developed through close textual readings and analysis of influential political texts.

POL6 Terrorism (Upper)

This course will investigate, analyze and assess the main characteristics and dynamics of Terrorism, a complex political and historical phenomenon. Terrorism will be considered from a philosophical, historical, political and sociological perspective in an attempt to understand its most hidden aspects. The aims of this course are to illustrate, assess and explain Terrorism as modern phenomenon, indicating its main purposes, causes and goals.

POL7 International Relations (Upper)

This course is designed to introduce students to enduring issues in the field of International relations: the nature of war and conflict; the sources and restraints on the cooperative interactions among states; and the functioning of the international political economy. In particular, we will focus on new forms of violent conflict and how the changing security agendas have created a new necessity for fresh thinking on conflicts and development. We will consider a number of contending theoretical approaches to these issues and we will also analyse the impact on the international political arena of more topical issues including terrorism, globalization, environmentalism and the role of the United States in the current international system.

History — Art History — Visual Arts


HI1 Kings, Queens, Parliament and Peoples (Upper)

This course provides a survey of the historical links between British sovereigns and their subjects. It charts the development of this relationship from the Middle Ages to the era of parliamentary monarchy and intends to inform students how monarchs increasingly came to share their power and responsibility with the Lords and Commons of the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. At times the relationship between crown and parliament became strained due to various political, financial and religious reasons, leading at one point to open warfare between the two greatest institutions of the realm. This course therefore, shall provide a comprehensive appraisal of the evolution of the system of governance in Britain, examined through the perspective of the actions and motives of the monarchs and those politicians of the time.

HI2 Absolutism, Enlightenment and Revolutions (Upper)

The aim of the course is to provide the student with a thorough knowledge of the main features of Europe’s development in this period from the perspective of the intellectual changes wrought by the Enlightenment. It is intended that the student should become familiar with the variety of interpretations available on key topics. The course also aims to familiarise students with historical methodology and to give students an opportunity to study closely topics which they find of particular interest.

HI5 European History from 1945 (Upper)

This course covers European History from 1945 to the present day. Beginning with an assessment of the condition of Europe as a whole at the end of WW2, it will involve a study of the division of Europe into East and West, and the subsequent development of the continent. It will consider the impact of the Cold War on individual countries. Three key themes will be the movement for union in Western Europe, the collapse of the communist systems of the East and issues affecting all Europe since the end of the Cold War.

HI6 Topics in British History 1714 – 1990 (Upper)

This course covers the development of modern Britain through its main constitutional, political, social and economic changes. The course will proceed chronologically but there will be ample opportunity for students to concentrate on topics of particular interest. The major themes will be the development of parliamentary democracy; the economic decline of Britain from being the most developed industrial country in the world and the impact of the experience of Empire and later decolonization.

HI7 War, Fascism and Communism: Europe Divided, 1914-1945 (Upper)

Fascism and Communism stalked the ‘Dark Continent’ of Europe throughout the terminal dates of
this course; while Communism lasted into the 1980s and 1990s before fading in infamy. The rise of these very modern forms of totalitarianism coincided with the end of empires and the rise of fresh nationalisms expressed in anti-colonial movements that plagued European nation states up to and beyond the Second World War. This course explores the interaction of war and ideology and looks for origins of totalitarianism in the late nineteenth century while pointing ahead to legacies of nationalisms in the post-war period. It is intended that the student should become familiar with historical methodology and the variety of interpretations available on key topics. Students will have an opportunity to study closely topics which they find of particular interest.

HI8 War and Peace in the Middle East (Upper)

This course will introduce students to the evolution of war and peace in the Middle East. The aim of the course is not to provide a comprehensive examination; rather the course will provide an outline which can form the basis for further study. This will include an understanding of some of the conceptual, narrative, and methodological issues inherent in studying war and peace in this area. On completion of the course students will be familiar with the conflicts of the Middle East and be able to engage critically with current events and narrative sources related to the region. The student will also gain a detailed understanding of some of the military aspects of several of the Arab-Israeli wars. Students will also be expected to follow contemporary events related to the fields of war and conflict and analyse them in light of the course learning.

Art History

AH4 Art History Survey: Renaissance to Modern (Lower)

This Course will take advantage of the excellent resources here in Oxford, including extensive collections in the Ashmolean Museum and Christ Church Picture Gallery. We will also visit Modern Art Oxford, Oxford’s exhibition space for twentieth-century and contemporary art. Throughout the course students will have ready access to outstanding examples of architecture in the city spanning a thousand year period. One major outcome is that participants will become familiar with a wide range of art works at first hand. During classes they will be introduced to different ways of approaching and understanding art. Students will also develop their skills in researching and writing about art and architecture for themselves.

AH5 English Art and Architecture (Upper)

This is a survey course which will cover the principal developments in English Art and Architecture from the beginning of the Jacobean period to the end of the Victorian era. It will be a location- specific class, with introductory lectures to help students approach the study of architecture and painting. The works of art and architecture will be studied in relation to their social, political and historical background. Studying this course at St Clare’s will give students the opportunity to see major works at first hand.

AH8 Modern and Contemporary Art (Upper)

This course will focus on the development of modern and contemporary art in Europe, America, and other areas of the world. Questions of interpretation and meaning will be asked of works which are often accused of alienating the general public. This will involve an analysis of written manifestos, interviews, and criticism, in addition to the exploration of visual media. Movements will be assessed in their cultural and historical context. Much contemporary art has been seen as outrageous and/or transgressive, and we will consider the extent to which this is a new development or whether it has been a common feature of modern art. This theme will be expanded to assess the role of the artist in countries such as China and Iran. The multi-media nature of modern art will be recognised, and works of video, installation, sculpture, and performance will be explored. Particular emphasis will be placed on the rise of photography, and its importance in modern practice. The course will also foster basic interpretive skills, and ask how we may effectively ‘read’ an artwork. On a meta-level, the meaning of ‘art history’ itself will be briefly explored, and we will evaluate the idea that ‘reading’ visual media is analogous to reading text. Full use will be made of the Modern Art Oxford gallery – a centre that attracts artists of international standing. Other venues will include the Pitt Rivers museum, the Ashmolean museum, and London galleries.

Visual Arts

STA1 Fundamentals of Drawing (Lower)

This course aims to initiate the students’ practical abilities in drawing. The course will look at various aspects of drawing and use what Oxford has to offer, by visiting museums and galleries. The course will develop a wide and eclectic approach to information gathering, increased visual awareness of the world around and independent and original creative thoughts and processes.

STA2 Advanced Drawing (Upper)

This course aims to further develop the students’ practical abilities in drawing and allows students to pursue independent and original creative projects.

STA3 Painting (Upper)

This course aims to initiate/develop the students’ practical artistic abilities and general knowledge of the history of Western Art, using what Oxford has to offer. The course will develop a wide and eclectic approach to information gathering, increased visual awareness of the world around them and independent and original creative thoughts and processes.

STA4 Advanced Painting (Upper)

This course aims to further develop the students’ artistic abilities and allows students to pursue independent and original creative projects.

STA5 Photography (Lower)

This course explores photography’s function and meaning in visual culture. It will both engage with the status of photography as a highly constructed medium and interrogate the way it operates to shape cultural understanding and mediate experience. It provides an exploration of the specificities of photographic practice, informed by contemporary critical theory, with emphasis on questions of meaning, power and identity and the production, distribution and consumption of the photograph within various media. It addresses the artificial divide between theory and practice by teaching the two elements in conjunction thereby emphasizing their inseparability. The look or style of almost every photograph is the result of institutional rules, conventions and modes of practice. Even the camera itself is a ‘theoretical’ construct, based on the Renaissance idea of monocular perspective, which in no way reflects how our eyes work when seeing. In this way we can see how theory informs, or rather constitutes modes of practice.

This is an exceptional opportunity to study in Oxford

Learn in seminars of 12 students or less instead of lecture rooms of 200 students.


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St Clare's, Oxford