FALL 2013: Study Abroad at Hertford College, Oxford University
Eligibility: Applicants must have a GPA of 3.4 or above.
A complete application consists of the following items:
- Application form (.doc) due no later than March 15.
- Personal statement about your academic interests (See information about Personal Statement below.)
- Two pieces of academic work that you have completed and handed in at Princeton (in the subject areas in which you intend to study)
- Offical transcript
- Two letters of recommendation from Princeton faculty who have taught you (in sealed envelopes with the recommender's signature across the flap)
- Two passport-sized photos
Once admitted, students should complete the Princeton study abroad approval form, due by May 1.
The Personal Statement
Teaching at Oxford is characterized by the tutorial system, whereby, for each tutorial, students prepare a 2000 word essay. This forms the starting point for discussion between tutor and student in the regular one hour tutorial meeting. Students are given 12 tutorials during the eight week term. As each tutorial requires roughly 25-30 hours of research the kind of student who thrives in this system and gets the most out of it is intellectually curious, passionate about their chosen topic of study, asks interesting and innovative questions, has the ability to work independently, is highly self motivated and capable of organizing their own research time in libraries.
Your short personal statement about your own intellectual interests and academic goals is therefore extremely important in helping Hertford choose which students will be best suited to the tutorial system. The statement should be about 400-500 words long. Hertford is looking for people with intellectual imagination and curiosity and so you are free to craft the statement as you see fit. Ideally your statement will include coverage of the following issues (in whichever order you prefer).
- Your intellectual interests – what are you interested in studying and why?
- Is there a particular question or issue which has fired your imagination as a result of the studies you have done so far, or which you would like to address in your forthcoming studies? What is it?
- What are the reasons for choosing the particular tutorial topics in your application?
- Why do you want to come to Oxford University to study?
- Why do you think you would be particularly suited to the individual form of study offered by the tutorial system?
- How will coming to Oxford University for a term contribute to your broader academic goals?
Choosing your tutorial topics
You can choose from a wide range of topics within the humanities and social science area. Do look at the Oxford University degree course outlines, available on this website, as these give you a clear idea as to what topics are taught. It is easiest to get teaching if you have chosen a specific course that is taught to Oxford undergraduates. However, if you have a real passion for a particular topic which does not fall exactly within the course outlines then do please indicate this on your application form and we will do our best at Hertford to see if this matches the research interests of any of our university tutors.
While some students choose topics which fall under the category of political science, as this links well with the course at the Woodrow Wilson School, other students choose to branch out and use their opportunity at Oxford to explore something different. English Literature is one such popular choice and works extremely well – after all, what better place to study English literature than in its cultural context. If you choose to do this but have no previous background in the subject chosen please indicate on your application form that you would like an Introductory course on the subject. Shakespeare and Modern British drama are popular topics to study and of course as well as having its own very good theatre, and many student theatres, Oxford is an easy journey away from the excellent theatres of London and Stratford.
Tutorial choices can always be fine tuned once you have been accepted, and the Tutor for Visiting Students at Hertford is more than happy to enter into an email conversation to advise you.