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IWP-Oxford Study Abroad Program

Oxford - View From New College Tower, Photo by IWP student AlexIWP 660
Four credits

Qualifying students have the opportunity to participate in an intensive, four-week program of tutorials at the University of Oxford in England, which is coordinated through the Oxford Study Abroad Programme.  Successful completion of this program will count toward four-credits of IWP coursework as a general elective (Each tutorial session is equivalent to one credit since thirty hours of work are expected for each hour with an Oxford don).

Study takes place on the campus of New College, founded in 1379 and one of the oldest colleges of Oxford University.  This unique program includes but is not limited to the following features:

  • An Oxford-themed seminar: weekly one-on-one tutorials with an Oxford don that include critique and discussion of student essays; Access to various lectures by Oxford academics and leading figures in British politics;
  • The option to attend performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Stratford) and the Globe Theatre (London); and
  • Tours of museums in Oxford, London, and Cambridge.

As one IWP student attests, “Studying under esteemed Oxford professors, the students focused on topics ranging from British Counterterrorism Operations to Modern Naval Strategy…Although the month-long program centered around the Oxford tutorials, the students also had the opportunity to attend various academic lectures including one with Keith Jeffery – professor and author of the first Official History of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).  Cultural immersion was another key aspect of the program.  Living in the heart of England brought ancient, renaissance, and modern history to our doorstep.  Day trips to the ancient Roman baths in southwest England, Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Churchill War Rooms in London brought the foundations, transformation, and challenges of the Western world to light.”

To be considered for this program, students must submit an application along with an essay on why they wish to participate in the IWP-Oxford Study Abroad Program, what are their academic goals for the program, and how it would complement their current program of study at IWP. The students must also have been enrolled in one of IWP’s M.A. programs, have a high GPA, and be in good academic standing.  Space is limited to ten students per session.

Please note that a student must take a minimum of six credits to qualify for financial aid. For those interested in the Oxford program, IWP has made special accommodations by offering an additional four-credit course to be taught during this time period. If you wish to learn about how to receive financial aid for this program, please contact

Further Information

The Washington International Studies Council provides a more detailed explanation of what to expect with the Oxford Study Abroad Programme:

“Summer students typically enroll in a four- or five-meeting tutorial course (with a one-hour tutorial occurring each week at which the student will submit an essay for discussion). This workload is the equivalent of four or five semester credits at most American universities. Students who stay for more than six weeks may take two or more courses (up to two tutorials per week).

“Your academic impression of Oxford will be formed mainly by your experience in tutorials – and how well this functions is bound up largely with the choice of subject. Because tutorials are arranged in a one-on-one setting with an Oxford University academic, the content can be quite flexible-and almost any academic subject may be studied. In effect, the student “designs” his or her academic program, although the choice of subjects must be limited by certain important factors.

“The tutorial system is completely unsuitable for study on the introductory level: the idea that a tutorial, especially a secondary one, might be a good way to have a taste of a subject is quite misguided. All Oxford courses are taught at the U.S. advanced level, equivalent to junior, senior or MA years at leading U.S. colleges (Harvard, Stanford, etc.). For example, to ask for a secondary tutorial in Logic without having any background in philosophy would be very foolish.

“Bear in mind that your Oxford tutor will be used to dealing mainly with British students who are required to specialise at a much earlier age than in the United States, beginning even at high school. The best subjects to choose to study at Oxford are thus those where you already possess a good basic knowledge. If you need to take a subject at an introductory level for credit requirements then you should do so at your home university, where such a course will certainly be provided.

“It is equally important that you take account of Oxford’s particular strengths, both in terms of tutors and of material, and that you do not take subjects here which you could do more easily, and probably with better provision, at your home university. For example, asking to study the Literature of the Deep South and some arcane subject of the American Civil War really misses the point of your coming to a foreign country to study, whereas an examination of Matthew Arnold’s poetry and the causes of the English Civil War would allow you much better choice of tutors and more material with which to work. Of course, you will be studying in a geographical locality in which these topics would come to life.

“We want to stress that when you plan your Oxford courses you should not think about what you would normally study next term at your home college. You could take those courses later. You should think about how you can best make use of Oxford’s almost unique opportunities.”

IWP students at Oxford