Launched in 1995, the Oxford Semester Experience is GEO's most prestigious program.
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 Oxford colleges. The world-famous University of Oxford is the prestigious alma mater of many presidents and prime ministers.
Each semester consists of two parts: a traditional course taught by the attending Mason faculty (Academic Director) and the Oxford Term when students take part in traditional Oxford tutorials. Oxford's unique 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. Oxford tutorials are designed as 1-on-1, or small group, intensive learning experiences between the Mason student and Oxford faculty
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, which consists of a two-page reflection of their experience and copies of their tutorial work.
Click through the brochure tabs to learn more about this program. Tab explanation below:
- Overview: Brief history and explanation of Oxford program, tab explanations
- Academics: Program eligibility, tutorials clarification, credit information, Mason Faculty course information
- Housing: location, Oxford Experience
- Financial Info: Program inclusions and exclusions, program payment deadlines, financial aid information, link to scholarships
- Application Resources: Program dates, Application materials and samples, visa information
- Contact: Mason faculty and GEO contact information
In order to participate in this program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- GPA: 3.0 for undergraduate and graduate students
- Students will attend Oxford in Associate Member status
Oxford Semester Experience is offered fall and spring semester. Each semester consists of two parts: a traditional course taught by the attending Mason Academic Director and the Oxford term when students take part in traditional Oxford tutorials.
- Graduate students receive a total of 9 resident credits: three graduate semester credits for the Academic Director course. The graduate student will take two tutorials, three graduate semester credits for each.
- Undergraduate students receive a total of 15 resident credits: three undergraduate semester credits for the Academic Director course. The undergraduate student will take two tutorials, six undergraduate credits for each.
- 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. The course is upper-level and 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. Once the regular Oxford term starts in October (terms are shorter and more intensive than Mason's), each student will take two primary tutorials.
- Spring Semester (Oxford's Hilary term): The experience begins with the Oxford term. Participants depart the U.S. 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 Mason Academic Director. This course utilizes skills developed in the tutorial.
To see the tutorials taken by former program participants and the Mason credits they were able to obtain approval for, see: the Oxford Tutorials by Major
*. Note: You are not limited to these courses. These are examples of what previous participants have taken while at Oxford
*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 to inquire about credit approvals for their semester in Oxford.
Academic Director Course
During the fall semester, the experience begins with the course taught by the Academic Director (AD). During the spring semester, the experience ends with the course taught by the AD.
AD courses vary by term as the AD position is rotated through a variety of Mason's best professors. AD courses are accompanied by field trips and vary based on the AD's expertise. See below for a description of the upcoming AD course:
Course offered by the Academic Director in Fall 2021:
Dates may vary slightly year-to-year. Confirmed dates will be at the bottom of the page in the Dates/Deadlines section and will be communicated by GEO. Below is the schedule for Michaelmas and Hilary term:
Fall Semester (Michaelmas term)
Spring Semester (Hilary term)
- Arrival date: late August / early September
- Mason course: month of September
- Travel week: last week of September
- Oxford orientation: First week of October
- Oxford tutorials/lectures begin: Second week of October
- “Official” end of Oxford term : First week of December
- Move out date: Mid-December | around December 20 each year
- Arrival date: mid-January (date varies slightly year-to-year)
- Oxford orientation: Immediately upon arrival (day after program start date)
- Oxford tutorials/lectures begin: mid-to-late January
- “Official” end of Oxford term: mid-March
- Travel week: After Oxford tutorials, mid-to-late March
- Mason course: end of March through mid-April
- Move out date: mid-April | around April 20 each year
Students participating in this study abroad program will automatically fulfill the Mason Global Understanding core requirement.
Housing is located within a ten-to-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. Students will be housed in shared units with other Oxford students. More information can be found in the materials provided by our partner, The Oxford Study Abroad Programme (OSAP). All of the housing provided by OSAP are historic and full of English charm.
All housing units have a kitchen, with an oven, stove, microwave, kettle, toaster, cookware (a baking tray, saucepans, frying pans, knives, assorted utensils, a chopping board), plates, bowls, cups, glasses and cutlery.
The Oxford Experience
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.
Mason students will attend Oxford as Associate Status members. Associate Member status for undergraduates offers affiliation in the Junior Common Room (JCR). The Junior Common Room is the equivalent of the Student Union of each college at Oxford University. Graduate students with Associate Member status will be affiliated with the Middle Common Room (MCR) of an Oxford college where they can socialize with Oxford University graduate students.
Fall 2021: $19,995
The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges will be put on your student account for this program, including a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge which together equals the published Program Cost for this course.
- Cultural visits
- Excursion to London
- Pre-departure orientation
- International emergency insurance
- Administrative services in Oxford and at George Mason University
- Passport and visa fees
- International airfare*
- COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure
- COVID-19 testing while abroad
- Domestic transportation to and from Oxford
- Personal expenses
- Required textbooks and/or course materials
*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to go upon arrival. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights.
When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
Students on GEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $2500 must be received by November 20 in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by December 10. The final payment is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $2500 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Confirmation of Financial Aid" form completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the Final Payment deadline. The "Confirmation of Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have been accepted to the program. Participants may not use VA Benefits for this program.
Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:
Fall/Academic Year: April 10
Spring/Calendar Year: October 10
*See the bottom of this page for the exact deadlines for the upcoming term(s).
Applications are completed online. You can start an application by clicking the "apply now" button at the top right or bottom of the page. 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. Below are the materials needed to complete the application:
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.
- Recent typed writing sample (no more than 5 pages)
- One page typed autobiographical statement of academic objectives
- Prompts and guidance for the statement of purpose can be found in the application
- Paragraph descriptions for four proposed tutorial topic selections (two first choices & two back ups)
- Completed Oxford Resident Credit Petition Form
- Names and email addresses 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 official records from past schools)
- Upload a copy of meningitis vaccination record - this can be secured through Student Health Services
Once accepted into a program, it will be your responsibility to apply for a student visa and/or residence permit (if required, based on your citizenship). You will receive details on this with your acceptance letter. Do not apply for a visa until after you have been officially accepted. Visit the UK Border Agency's website for further information.