Studying at St Peter's (Visiting Students)
The links below will give you some information on courses available in some of the subjects that can be studied by Visiting Students at St Peter's.
As an Oxford student, you will find that you are given a great deal of freedom to follow your own interests and work independently. The courses you take will be chosen in consultation with your tutor, usually in an initial meeting at the start of term.
Formal teaching consists of one or two tutorials each week: each tutorial lasts one hour, and will usually consist of a discussion of the written work you have produced that week, and of the reading you have been advised to do. You will be taught either on your own or with one or two other students. In addition to tutorials, you will be expected to attend the relevant lectures. Lectures are designed to enhance your study of a particular period/topic. Oxford also has a vast number of extra seminars, talks, readings, workshops, discussion groups and so forth, all of which will be open to you.
In the course of each eight-week term, Archaeology and Anthropology students will be expected to take 12 tutorials. The recommended division is to take 8 tutorials in one subject and 4 in another. In order to gain overview of the core and option courses that are on offer in the Schools of Archaeology and Anthropology, have a look through the Archaeology & Anthropology course webpages.
The Oxford Biochemistry department is one of the largest in Europe, with sub-departments in Cell and Chromosome Biology, Genes and Development, Molecular Biophysics, Molecular and Systems Biochemistry and Glycobiology. This breadth of interests is reflected in the 4-year undergraduate course offered by the department, leading to an MBiochem degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.
Lectures, tutorials (usually 1-2 per week) and practical classes provide a thorough grounding in core disciplines pertinent to contemporary molecular and cellular biochemistry. Year 1 consists of 5 papers including molecular and cellular biology, biological chemistry, biophysical chemistry, organic chemistry and elementary maths and statistics. Years 2-3 consists of 4 core papers: structure and function of macromolecules, energetics and metabolic processes, genetics and molecular biology, cell biology and integration of function. An additional paper is concerned with data handling and interpretation.
Visiting students usually integrate into the second year of the biochemistry course, covering all the core disciplines of molecular and cellular biochemistry described above. In discussion with the biochemistry tutors at the college, additional bespoke courses can be arranged to compliment the student’s interests, previous academic courses and aspirations.
Teaching consists of lecture classes in addition to 1-2 tutorials per week, usually with other St. Peter’s biochemistry undergraduates. Oxford also has a vast number of extra seminars, talks and workshops relevant to biochemistry students, including those organised by the thriving research centres within the biochemistry department and Medical Sciences Division of the University.
More information is available via the Oxford University website.
The course is divided into modular options (listed below) and you can follow the lectures, practicals and tutorials in these topics. The Biology tutors in College teach on some of these options and will arrange, in discussion, a selection of topics to compliment your interests, previous academic courses and aspirations. The final term will be spent on a research dissertation project. Please find further information on the course website.
Adaptations to the Environment
Cell & Developmental Biology
Plants and People
Biological Sciences teaching at St Peter's is currently supported by three tutors: Prof Mike Bonsall, Dr Robert Grant-Downton and Dr Catherine Head. Further information is available on the college website.
Earth Sciences is the study of the planet we live upon. We combine physics, chemistry and biology with geology, geography and palaeontology to answer fundamental questions about the origin, development, and future of the Earth.
You will receive a rigorous training in the way that our planet works, as well as addressing some of the major issues of our times:
- The origin of the Solar System, the Earth, and Life
- Physics and chemistry of the Earth’s interior
- Plates, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes
- Interactions between the atmosphere, oceans and the solid earth
- The climate system
- The fate of glaciers and ice sheets
- Chemical and biological evolution of the oceans
- Natural hazards
- Natural resources
The Oxford Earth Sciences department has received the top grading in all teaching and research assessments since national assessments began. A major reason for the success of our undergraduate course is its close link between research and teaching. The emphasis on teaching in Oxford is not just about feeding you information, or getting you through exams: its more about training you to think, to solve problems and to apply your understanding to new situations. You will be taught by some of the world’s best Earth Scientists, with unparalleled access to tutors and lecturers, both formally in the classroom, and more informally on our many field trips.
Our combination of lectures, practicals, field teaching, and tutorials provide an unrivalled education in the Earth Sciences. More information on the various course modules can be found here.
Oxford has a unified Engineering Science department. Visiting students will usually study a relatively broad curriculum and can take courses across all engineering disciplines.
Details of the Oxford Engineering course can be found here. Typically, visiting students will take a range of courses from the second, third and fourth year of the standard Oxford course, tailored to their educational background. They usually also complete an individual project during their stay in Oxford. Details of Engineering Science at St Peter’s can be found here.
As an Oxford student, you will find that you are given a great deal of freedom to follow your own interests and work independently. Each course you take will be designed in consultation with your tutor, usually in an initial meeting at the start of term.
Formal teaching consists of one or two tutorials each week, either on your own or with another student. Each tutorial lasts an hour, and will usually consist of a discussion of the written work you have produced that week, and of the reading you have been advised to do. In addition to tutorials, you will have the chance to attend any lectures you choose. Oxford also has a vast number of extra seminars, talks, readings, workshops, discussion groups, theatrical events and so forth, all of which will be open to you.
As a Visiting Student, you have considerably more flexibility than registered undergraduates because they study specified courses leading to final examinations. You are more likely to be taught on your own or with another Visiting Student than with the undergraduates at St Peter's. However, if you wish to be more fully integrated into the 2nd year - the year you will be associated with - you can take the same courses as students in that year. There are survey courses of particular literary periods - those primarily studied in the 2nd year are: Medieval literature, Literature in English 1550-1660, Literature in English 1660-1760 and Literature in English 1760-1830.
In the course of each eight-week term, we expect you to take 12 tutorials. The normal division is to take 8 tutorials in one subject and 4 in another. Those taking a double major, or with a major or minor in English, will have a similar workload divided over the two disciplines.
List of courses
Literature in English 1550-1660
Literature in English 1660-1760
Literature in English 1760-1830
Romantic Literature/Romantic Poetry (1780-1830)
Literature in English 1910 - the present
Wordsworth and Coleridge
Tennyson and Browning
Twentieth-Century British and Irish Drama
Irish Literature, 1900 - present day
Toni Morrison/African American fiction
Literature and Empire
Decadence and the 1890s
Nineteenth or Twentieth Century Children's Literature
Formal teaching consists of one tutorial a week, mainly with other undergraduate students. Each tutorial lasts an hour, and will usually consist of a discussion of the written work you have produced that week, and of the reading you have been advised to do. In addition to tutorials, you will have the chance to attend lectures at the School of Geography and the Environment. Oxford also has a vast number of extra seminars, talks and workshops relevant to geography students, including those organised by the thriving research centres within the School of Geography and the Environment: Environmental Change Institute, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and Transport Studies Unit.
For a full list of course subjects, please refer to the departmental website. You will discuss the best course options with your assigned Tutor before commencing your studies.
As an Oxford historian, you will have the opportunity to study the past from the last days of the Roman Empire (c.300AD) to the present day. With more than one hundred historians working across the University, you can study the history of the world from an unparalleled range of thematic and geographic vantage points.
Teaching and Learning
The tutorial system is at the heart of history tuition in Oxford. Usually, you will have one weekly tutorial and one fortnightly tutorial; either on your own or with another student. Your tutors will offer you guidance on which topics to pursue and how to navigate the vast historical literature available to you. Each tutorial lasts an hour, and centres on the written work you have submitted and the reading you have been assigned that week. Tutorials are a collaborative space to challenge received wisdom, test original ideas, and explore new periods and concepts. We also help you to hone the craft of historical writing through regular feedback on your submitted work. We find it particularly stimulating to teach visiting students with experience of different teaching backgrounds out of which they bring new insights to discussion.
In addition to tutorials, you are also welcome to attend any lecture you choose. Many lecture series are specially designed to introduce you to the key historical works and interpretations of the papers on offer (see below), but there is a wide variety of extra seminars, talks, workshops, and special lectures hosted by staff and students alike that take place around the University – all of which are open to you.
Your choices are not constrained by the research specialisms of the historians at St Peter’s, we will arrange tuition with a specialist historian from across the University.
As a single honours student, you will be fully integrated with our second-year historians. The year is structured as follows
Hilary Term: 1 paper of either British or European and World History*, or a Further Subject*, and the “Making Historical Comparisons” strand of Disciplines of History.
Trinity Term: 1 paper of European and World History
* Subject to Faculty capacity
As a Joint Honours student you can choose to combine your historical studies with another subject such as Politics, English, Modern Languages, or Economics. You can therefore balance the paper choices above in combination with papers from your partner subject.
A full list of courses and related information can be found here.
Management at Oxford is studied jointly with at least another subject, mostly Economics but also Engineering. As a visiting student you may be able to take combinations with other subjects, but taking management as a single subject is usually not possible.
Management courses are usually taught in tutorials, normally on your own or with another student. Each tutorial lasts an hour, and will consist of a discussion of the written work you have produced that week, and of the reading you have been advised to do. You will normally take one tutorial per week in Management and one in another subject. In addition to tutorials, you will have the chance to attend any undergraduate lectures you choose. Oxford also has a vast number of extra seminars, talks, and events, all of which will be open to you.
List of Courses
The following courses are taught in college and are likely to be on offer most years:
- General Management
- Strategic Management
- Technology Management
- International Business
- Intellectual Property Management
Tuition for courses in other areas of management would need to be arranged with tutors for other colleges, and we cannot guarantee that it will be possible. Please note that for Finance and Accounting in particular there is usually excess demand. Tuition in those subjects is not available for Visiting Students in most years.
Most of the teaching of Mathematics in Oxford is done in lectures, followed by tutorials. Tutorials are hour-long lessons in college between a tutor, often a senior member of the College, and a small group of students (typically a pair).
This form of teaching is very flexible and personalized, allowing a tutor time with the specific difficulties of the group and allowing the students opportunities to ask plenty of questions. Some more specialised courses are taught in classes instead of tutorials.
Visiting Students in Mathematics generally have the ability to take courses ranging over the first three years of the Mathematics and Statistics syllabi.
A full list of available courses can be found on the Mathematical Institute website.
Beginner and intermediate courses in foreign modern languages are not offered at St Peter’s. Students interested in these options may be able to join courses in the University's Language Centre, subject to availability.
For students with credits in Advanced French (equivalent to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), the following courses are available:
1. Advanced Translation. In all three terms: fortnightly classes translating from French into English.
2. Philology. Term-long courses of four fortnightly tutorials:
(a) Medieval French Language
(b) (c) Medieval French Literature
All Visiting Students in French take "1. Advanced Translation". Those combining French with another subject choose one course per term from "2. Philology". Those taking French on its own choose two courses per term from this list.
Students also have the option to attend any lectures which interest them. It may be possible to arrange teaching outside the college on literary subjects and periods other than those listed above.
For students with credits in Advanced German (equivalent to Goethe-Institut level C1), the following courses are available:
1. Advanced translation. In all three terms: weekly classes translating from German into English and vice versa.
2. Literature. Term-long courses of four fortnightly tutorials:
(a) Goethe and Schiller.
(b) Hölderlin and Kleist.
(c) The literature of German Romanticism: Novalis, Tieck, Hoffer, Eichendorff.
(d) 19th-century realism: Büchner, Storm, Fontane.
(e) Prose fiction of the Klassische Moderne: Mann, Schnitzler, Musil, Kafka.
All Visiting Students in German take "1. Advanced translation". Those combining German with another subject choose one course per term from "2. Literature". Those taking German on its own choose two courses per term from this list.
For one term out of three, it may be possible to arrange teaching outside the college on literary subjects and periods other than those listed above.
Although knowledge of Portuguese is desirable, texts can be taught using English translations if necessary. These courses must be taken in combination with another subject.
Literature and Culture of the Portuguese-Speaking World (term-long courses of four fortnightly tutorials):
(a) Modern Brazilian Literature (1880-2010)
(b) Special Author: Machado de Assis OR Clarice Lispector
(c) Special Author: Pepetela OR Mia Couto
(a) Brazilian Cinema
(b) Contemporary Brazilian Literature
(c) Lusophone African Literature
(a) Special Author: Clarice Lispector OR Machado de Assis
(b) Women's Writing from Portugal, Brazil and Mozambique
It may be possible to arrange teaching outside the college on literary subjects and periods other than those listed above.
As a visiting student at Oxford, you will have the freedom to choose from a wide range of topics and to work independently. You will be able to work with your tutor to design a course that suits your needs and interests.
Specialising in Neuroscience will involve attending the neuroscience lecture series with the undergraduate 2nd Year medics. However, you will also be able to attend 3rd Year Neuroscience lectures if you wish. Formal teaching will involve tutorials, approximately 8 per term during Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. You will have four core tutorials per term on sensory and motor systems.
You will also attend another four tutorials per term on a range of neuroscience topics. Each tutorial lasts for an hour and will typically involve a discussion on the written work that you have produced that week on a specific topic with one or two other students and your tutor.
Formal teaching will also involve a piece of written work, supervised or coordinated by your college tutor. This is an extended essay aimed at allowing you to investigate a topic of your choice in depth. The essay requires you to assess and integrate information from primary resources and will help develop your skills in critiquing published scientific literature.
During Trinity term, there is the option of completing a lab-based project. You will be required to complete a short research project and write a report.
There is a wide range of neuroscience research being carried out at Oxford, and you will be welcome to attend lectures and seminars on the latest research delivered by scientists at Oxford and from around the world.
Core topics covered:
- Gross structure of the CNS
- Somatosensory system
- Olfaction and gustation
- Motor pathways
- The cerebellum
- The basal ganglia
- The thalamus and the cortex
- The limbic system
As a PPE student over the year you will have a chance to either study all three subjects, or study any combination of two out of the three subjects. There is a broad choice of courses to choose from in each subject, and tutors will help you to plan your studies. PPE students normally take two courses per term.
Most PPE courses are taught in tutorials, typically with one or two other students, but some of the more quantitative courses may be taught in small classes or as a combination of tutorials and classes. Tutorials usually last an hour, and consist of a discussion of the work the tutor has asked you to prepare, as well as of the literature you have been advised to read. The tutorial is a structured discussion between you, your tutorial partner and your tutor. Tutorial discussion will allow you to discuss and develop your ideas on the subject, as well as learn from the tutor and tutorial partners. For each tutorial you will be assigned some work, usually an essay to write, a problem set, or practical statistical work for quantitative courses. In addition to tutorials there will be lectures for each course.
As a PPE student, over the year you will have a chance to either study all three subjects, or study any combination of two out of the three subjects. There is a broad choice of courses to choose from in each subject, and tutors will help you to plan your studies. PPE students normally take two courses per term.
More information concerning the courses you can normally choose from are available via the following links: Philosophy, Politics, Economics. Please note that these lists are subject to small changes from year to year, and that some courses may require a core course as a prerequisite.
Visiting students can choose from the lecture courses offered by the Physics Department supported by weekly tutorials in college. Physics undergraduates typically have two tutorials per week throughout the second and third year. For all year groups, the second half of the summer term is taken up by revision classes and alternative arrangements are made for Visiting Students. The more advanced fourth year courses are taught by classes organised by the Department. In addition to the mainstream courses, students can also carry out practical work in the teaching laboratories or study Physics and Philosophy.
The topics covered in the second year are quantum mechanics (including mathematical physics and introductory atomic physics), thermal physics (including thermodynamics, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics), electromagnetism and optics. Students give a short talk on a physics subject, which is an assessed part of the course for Oxford undergraduates but is optional for Visiting Students.
The six lecture courses in the third year are Flows and Complexity; Special Relativity; Atoms, Molecules & Lasers, Condensed Matter Physics, Nuclear and Particle Physics and General Relativity. It is possible to follow a mixture of second and third year courses, but lectures may clash in some cases. There are also short optional courses and many talks by visiting speakers.
Full details are given in the Physics Course Handbook which can be sent out electronically by request. Visiting Students may chose to carry out experimental work on the practical course. Several Visiting Students have successfully arranged projects with particular research groups.
More generally, being in Oxford for a year provides an opportunity to find out about the many areas of active research in the Physics Department.
The study of Theology and Religion develops skills in many different areas of humanities, including philosophy, history, language, and literary and textual criticism. The Oxford course attracts students from a great variety of intellectual and religious or non-religious backgrounds.
Students may choose to focus on the origins and development of Christian theology, or on the study of other major world religions such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. They may also study topics such as the nature of religion, and the anthropology, psychology, or sociology of religion. Theology and Religion may either be studied as a single subject, or combined with Philosophy or Oriental Studies.
Paper options within Theology and Religion are available here.
Visiting students normally take FHS papers (that is, papers sat by Oxford undergraduates in their second or final years of study). We try to offer all subjects offered by the faculty subject to tutor availability.