Oxford Semester Experience
Launched in 1995, Mason Study Abroad's most prestigious program is the Oxford Semester Experience.
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 Fall 2017
SOCI 395: SEMINAR IN THE COMPARATIVE SOCIOLOGY OF SCANDAL
Prof. Mark Jacobs
This course will explore why scandal has become a chronic condition of our contemporary political, economic, and civic life. One objective of this seminar is to survey elements of a comparative theory of scandal in the U.S. and U.K.. Answering such questions as is this healthy or unhealthy for civil society? Are scandals "real" or "manufactured"? Are they “normal” or “abnormal”? Are they individual or collective? How can "respectable" people live with themselves while aiding or abetting scandalous behavior? Why so much attention to the sorry antics of celebrities? How to appoint accountability for wrongdoing when the very means to conceive and appoint accountability are eroding? Why, for example, has there been so little meaningful accountability for the global financial crisis? In what cases do the "resolutions" of scandal only reinforce underlying conditions of corruption? In what cases do they produce genuine reform? How to British scandals differ from U.S. ones?
Another objective is to conduct a practicum that enables students to encourage and assist each other in their independent research projects. Students will conduct original research--case studies, comparative analyses, contributions to a theory of scandal--based on primary archival evidence. The instructor will suggest additional readings to each student on an individualized basis, according to the student's particular research interest. The course will culminate with the presentation of student research in progress.
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 their tutorials and those listed in the document are not guaranteed approvals for every student. Students should speak to the department they wish to obtain credit towards 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.
Application MaterialsApplications 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
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.
Academic DirectorDr. Mark Jacobs
|Term||Year||App Deadline||Decision Date||Start Date||End Date|
|Spring Semester||2018||10/08/2017 **||Rolling Admission||TBA||TBA|
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.