Tutorial Choice Overview

Choosing Your Oxford Tutorial

Some important considerations to take away from the tutorial structure is that you should try to choose to study a topic:

  • You are significantly interested in, such that you would be motivated to work for 20 hours a week alone on the topic.
  • You feel confident speaking about at length, or growing your knowledge and confidence to speak about.
  • That you think might produce work product that could be useful in a future project, such as a long piece of research writing.

For some students, the tutorial is a good opportunity to test the waters and learn whether a topic of study will be suitable for graduate work, or would be an area the student should concentrate in as a major or minor.

Navigating Oxford's Tutorials

Now that you know these basic considerations, you might be ready to suggest a topic. Read on to see how to develop that suggestion for your tutorial choice form.

All of Oxford’s Undergraduate teaching is divided into four divisions in which the various departments are held. It can be helpful to identify which division your tutorial is likely taking place in:

  1. Humanities
  2. Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences
  3. Medical Sciences
  4. Social Sciences

The reason for this is that the types of courses available and tutorial conventions vary by division and department. These pages are also divided by division and then department with special suggestions and notes for each department’s tutorial course offering. You can see on the site that if a tutorial has been recently taken by a Stanford student, the title will link to the recent syllabus(es) in Box to help you get a better picture of the tutorial. Remember, we offer over 800 tutorial choices and have only 120 or so students per year, so do not be intimidated if there is not a recent syllabus of your dream tutorial!

Although the following pages describe tutorial offering by department, it’s important to remember that tutorial topics are still ‘umbrellas’ under which you and your tutor are free to design a course that caters to your interest. With that in mind, please look at past syllabuses as examples of what sorts of directions a tutorial can take.

It is true, though, that if you have a tutorial topic in mind that does not appear to have a departmental ‘home’ in the Oxford system you might not be able to get a faculty member who is a specialist in your area. This can be the case especially for very specific or interdisciplinary tutorial topics. If you find yourself in this situation it is a good idea to speak with academic support at Stanford and to contact the Oxford program director to think about similar alternative tutorials.