Studying English at Oxford

We believe that Oxford offers you the best English course in the country, along with outstanding tuition, library, and IT facilities.

At Oxford you have the benefit of being taught both in your college and in the Faculty of English. The Oxford English Faculty is the largest department of English in the country, and contains some of the leading critics and writers in the subject. At Oxford, you will be tutored by active researchers, who will tailor the contents of a module to both your and their own interests, thereby creating a highly personalised academic experience.

Because Oxford tutors are also researchers, the University provides world-class library and IT facilities. Students reading English have access to one of Britain's major copyright libraries, the renowned Bodleian Library, and can borrow books from the English Faculty Library and their college libraries.

We believe that Oxford's combination of direction, choice, and personal attention gives it unique appeal. At the end of three years we hope you will have a wide but also deep knowledge of English literature and language, and that you will have specialised in the areas that you particularly enjoy.

What are Oxford colleges?

Oxford University has no central campus but is made up of over 30 colleges and halls spread across the city centre and beyond. These colleges are at the heart of Oxford's reputation as one of the best universities in the world and make it a very special place to study and live. Every student belongs to a college as well as being a member of their course department and the University. This means all Oxford students have the benefits of belonging to both a large, world-class university and to a small and friendly academic community.

Whichever college you go to, you will be studying for the same degree at the end of your course. Although all undergraduates belong to a college, it is the University of Oxford, not the colleges, which awards degrees.

Do you choose a college?

You can put a college's campus code on your UCAS form to specify a preference but you might still be shortlisted and offered a place by another college. This 'reallocation' helps us ensure that the best candidates, regardless of which college they select, are offered places. 

Visit the University of Oxford website to find out more >>

How do tutorials work?

Teaching at Oxford consists of a combination of tutorials and classes, which take place in your college, supplemented by lectures held at the English Faculty. These lectures are given by tutors from all colleges, so you have access to the expertise of tutors from the whole University as well as those in your college.

A tutorial is held with 1-2 students and a tutor, and you will have about three tutorials a fortnight. Theses are supplemented by classes with the whole of your college year group, held once or twice a week, along with the lectures at the English Faculty.

During most of your undergraduate career you will be studying one or two papers in each term (a ‘paper’ is a course on a particular topic or period of literature). It is usual to have one tutor for each paper, and this means that the tutor gets to know you and your work well, and is able to tailor the course according to your own individual interests, while guiding your progress throughout. 

Oxford tutors are active academic researchers at the forefront of their specialisms, and the tutorial system brings advantages both to students and tutors. 

Our students find that studying a tutor's area of research improves their own work; in addition, our third-year courses and dissertations enable students to work even more closely with tutors on current research areas, preparing them for graduate study. Our tutors also find that tutorial discussions often prompt them to reflect on their own research in new ways.

This Q&A with current English students at Oxford explores the tutorial experience (as well as discussing other aspects of studying at Oxford including the admission process):