Oxford Semester Experience
Launched in 1995, Mason Study Abroad's most prestigious program is the Oxford Semester Experience.
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Each semester, organized with our partner in Oxford, a small group of high achieving Mason undergraduate and graduate students are selected to study as affiliated students at one of a variety of University of Oxford colleges, alma mater of presidents and prime ministers. Each semester consist of two parts: a traditional course taught by the Mason attending academic director and the Oxford Term when students take part in traditional Oxford tutorials.
Participants in this program learn through Oxford’s unique tutorial system. The tutorial system gives participants unparalleled individual attention through weekly one-on-one meetings with an Oxford scholar. Each student is guided through an intellectual exploration of their chosen discipline. Tutorials are similar in structure to intensive directed reading courses or graduate independent studies at George Mason University.
Tutorials are offered in the social sciences, theoretical sciences, business, and the humanities. During tutorials, students are expected to do substantial independent library work and periodically produce written essays and oral presentations.
At the close of the program, participants produce a portfolio of their work. The portfolio consists of an essay reflecting their experience and copies of their tutorial work.
During the fall semester (Oxford’s Michaelmas term), the experience begins with a course taught by the Academic Director. Participants leave for England in late August or early September. This arrival date allows program participants adequate time to settle into living quarters and complete the academic director's course, an upper division course accompanied by field trips before the regular Oxford term begins. Once the regular Oxford term starts in October (terms are shorter and more intensive than George Mason's), each student will take two primary tutorials.
During the spring semester (Oxford's Hilary term), the experience begins with the Oxford term. Participants leave in early January. The regular Oxford term (tutorials) start immediately. Spring semester participants also take two primary tutorials. Tutorials end in early March and are then followed by a three week course taught by the Academic Director. This course utilizes skills developed in the tutorial.
The course taught by the Mason Academic Director is enhanced by visits to museums or sites related to the course topic. Topics change each semester based on the Academic Director's expertise and discipline.
The discipline for each credit depends on the content of the tutorial. Students seek credit approval from the appropriate department during the application phase of the program to ensure that credits will apply appropriately to their degree. Applicants create a paragraph description for each tutorial topic. The tutorial descriptions are reviewed by the appropriate department for credit approval. Credit approval is captured via the Oxford Semester Petition for Credit Form found in the application.
Undergraduates receive a total of 15 resident credits, three undergraduate semester credits for the academic director course and six undergraduate semester credits for each tutorial.
Course offered by the Academic Director in Spring 2018
ANTHRO: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Globalization and Making Sense of Things
Prof. Susan Trencher
This is an upper division anthropology course focused on anthropologically grounded definitions and analysis of Culture and cultures particularly in the context of claims and terms of globalization. We’ll start with an introduction to anthropology as a discipline that seeks to understand what it means to be human in all of time and space. This includes a brief introduction of the capacity of contemporary humans for symbolic activity as visible in cultural and social institutions. Elements of American and British cultures are used as a means to engender understanding, explanation, and reflection as we explore the ways in which the world makes sense as seen through different cultural lenses. In turn this effort is used as a means to explore the scope and current limitations of contemporary definitions and processes encapsulated in the term “globalization.”
Graduate students receive a total of 9 resident credits, three graduate semester credits for the academic director course and three graduate semester credits for each tutorial.
Former program participants have taken the tutorials found in this document and were able to obtain approval for the credits listed: Oxford Tutorials by Major. *Please note, course approvals are dependent upon the individual and the content of their tutorials. The approvals listed in the document are not guaranteed course approvals for every student. Students should speak to the department who offers the credit they wish to obtain towards their tutorial to inquire about credit approvals for their semester in Oxford.
Additional information on possible tutorial topics provided by our partner organization The Oxford Study Abroad Programme.
Undergraduate: Open only to Mason undergraduate students with a 3.50 grade point average or higher, or Mason Honors Program students and University Scholars with a 3.30 grade point average or higher.
Graduate: Open only to Mason graduate students with a 3.80 grade point average or higher.
Applications are completed online. Applicants will need to prepare the following materials to submit with their application. Applicants are encouraged to start an application even if all materials have not been gathered.
- Recent typed writing sample (no more than 5 pages)
- One page typed autobiographical statement of academic objectives
- Paragraph descriptions for four proposed tutorial topic selections (two first choices & two back ups) Sample Tutorial Descriptions
- Completed Oxford Resident Credit Petition Form (instructions and form in application)
- Names and email address of two recent George Mason University professors who have agreed to write academic letters of recommendation
- One passport size identity photo
- Applicants will upload a copy of their current Patriot Web transcript (graduate students and recent transfer students must also submit past official records from past schools)
- Upload a copy of meningitis vaccination record - this can be secured through Student Health Services
Students can start their application and complete it at a later time. Applications will not be considered complete until all application items are complete and the application fee has been paid.
Housing is located within a fifteen minute walk of the central area of Oxford, defined as St. Anne's College on the North, Magdalen Bridge on the East, the Railroad Station on the West and Folly Bridge on the South. More information can be found in the materials provided by our partner The Oxford Study Abroad Programme.
Program Cost: $19,995
- Cultural visits
- Excursion to London
- Pre-departure orientation
- Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation insurance
- Administrative services in Oxford and at George Mason University
- International airfare
- Domestic transportation to and from Oxford
- Personal expenses
While abroad at Oxford, students have access to the complete Oxford experience because they are directly affiliated with one of the school's individual colleges. As an affiliate, students can take part in the college's social, intellectual, and athletic activities. Examples include playing rugby, rowing on the crew team, or singing in the college choir.
Schedule an appointment
Dr. Susan Trencher