in exquisite detail

Document Sample
in exquisite detail Powered By Docstoc
					1
When Oxford was
founded back in the
depths of the Middle
Ages, this was the
                         courses  in exquisite detail
                                                                                                 Want to know more
                                                                                                 about the course
                                                                                                 you’re interested in?
                                                                                                 Need help choosing
                                                                                                 one? Read on!


number of courses        which course?                                                                                        104
on offer. By that we
                         courses A-Z                                                                                          106
mean that you could
only study theological        Archaeology & Anthropology             106          with Politics                         144
matters. In fact this         Biochemistry                           108     History of Art                             146
was the case for              Biology                                110     Human Sciences                             148
hundreds of years
                              Chemistry                              112     Law                                        150
until the introduction
                              Classical Archaeology                          Materials                                  152
of other cutting
edge disciplines              & Ancient History                      114     Maths                                      154
like Philosophy and           Classics                               116          with Computer Science                 156
Classics.                          with English                      118          with Statistics                       157
                                   with Modern Languages             119          with Philosophy                       158
                                   with Oriental Studies             119     Medicine                                   160
                              Computer Science                       120     Modern Languages                           162
                              Earth Science                          122          with European & Middle                162
                              Economics & Management                 124          Eastern Languages                     163
                                   with Engineering (EEM)            126          with Linguistics                      163
                                   with Materials (MEM)              127     Music                                      164
                              Engineering                            128     Oriental Studies                           166
                              English                                130     Philosophy                                 168
                                   with Modern Languages             161          with Politics & Economics (PPE)       168
                              Experimental Psychology                132          with Physics                          170
                              Fine Art                               134          with Modern Languages                 171
                              Geography                              136          with Theology                         172
                              History (modern)                       138     Physics                                    174
                                   History (Ancient & Modern)        140     Theology                                   176
                                   with Economics                    141
                                   with English                      142
                                   with Modern Languages             142



                          WHAT’S
                          INSIDE                 Up here you’ll
                                                 find the name
                         There’s a lot of        of the course
                                                 and contact
                         information to digest   details for the
                         with courses, but       department
                         we’ve splashed
                         together these
                         pages with a view
                         to making it easier     If you can’t be
                         to comprehend. You      bothered to read
                                                 the whole thing,
                         should find detailed    there’s a handy
                         facts about each        box at the top of
                         course, personal        the page which            This column on
                                                 summarizes the            the right has a
                         perspectives from       course essen-             student profile ex-
                         students and handy      tials for you!            plaining what the            OXFORD UNIVERSITY
                         tips on applying.                                 subject’s like AND      ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                 2010-2012
                                                                                                                             103
                                                                           info on applying
                                                                                                             Deciding what
                                                                                                             course to take
                                                                                                             could be easy or
                                                                                                             very difficult. It
                                                                                                             just depends on
                                                                                                             who you are.




                               WHICH
                               COURSE?
                               Aside from deciding whether            on requirements for individual
                               or not to apply in the first           courses as well as thinking out-
                               place, the most important              side the box on what your op-
                               decision you make about ap-            tions are. For example, you don’t
                               plying to Oxford will be what          actually need Latin or Greek
                               course you want to study here.         A-Level to do Classics.

                               The admissions system is               Choice of career
                               designed to test your interest
                               in and potential at the subject.       With the exception of subjects
                               Once you’re here you’ll be study-      such as Medicine and Law, few
                               ing the course you choose inten-       of the degrees offered at Oxford
                               sively for at least three years. Put   are vocational. Even if you de-
                               simply, it’s worth spending some       cide while at university that you
                               time on your choice of subject.        want to be a doctor or a lawyer,
                                                                      remember that there are still op-
                               Decisions                              tions – law conversion and medi-
                                                                             cal conversion courses
                                                                                                             remember that while they            Oxford, but it’s not easy. While    Courses by Colour
                               “few of the degrees                           are intense but you can do
                                                                             them after your under-
                                                                                                             involve studying two comple-        starting to think about what        The coloured headings for each
                                                                                                             mentary subjects, they don’t        you’d like to study in advance      course tell you which ‘division’
                               offered at Oxford are                         graduate degree in any
                                                                                                             involve double the workload.        of the application deadline is      that subject is in:
                                                                             other subject. Employers
                               vocational”                                   are also increasingly inter-
                                                                                                             The courses are produced            important when applying to
                                                                                                             by the relevant departments         any university, it’s particularly      MATHEMATICAL,
                                                                             ested in whether you have
                                                                                                             co-operating, and as they have      relevant if you’re considering         PHYSICAL & LIFE SCIENCES
                                                                             a good degree rather than
                                                                                                             existed in most cases for many      applying here.
                                                                             what it is in; it’s perfectly
                                                                                                             years this process tends to run
                                                                             possible to do History &
                                                                                                             smoothly.                           The university admissions web-
                                                                      Languages at university and still
                                                                                                                                                 site explains what the require-
                                                                                                                                                                                        HUMANITIES
                               Although opinions of parents and       go on to a job in a completely
                                                                                                             Joint honours courses require       ments for individual courses are
                               teachers can be useful, make           different sector if you want to
                                                                                                             good time management skills         and department homepages
                               sure you apply for something           do so.
                               that you find interesting. Many
                                                                                                             owing to their inter-disciplinary   include more details on what           MEDICAL SCIENCES
                                                                                                             nature, but they provide a great    you’ll actually be studying –
                               degrees at Oxford don’t have           Joint honours
                                                                                                             opportunity for increasing your     it’s well worth taking a look
                               obvious A-Level equivalents
                                                                                                             understanding of two subjects.      at these before finalising your
                               (Archaeology & Anthropology,           If you’re thinking of applying
                               anyone?) so it’s worth checking        for a joint schools course then
                                                                                                                                                 decision about subject choice.         SOCIAL SCIENCES
                                                                                                             It can be possible to change
                                                                                                             course once you arrive in
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                                          OXFORD UNIVERSITY
104   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                            ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                                          2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      105
                                                                                                                                                                               “
                                                                                                                                                                               Eorann Lean
                                                                                                                                                                               Just finished, St Hugh’s
                                                                                                         The first year at a glance

ARCHAEOLOGY &                                                                                            Lectures
                                                                                                         c. 5 per week.
                                                                                                                                         Courses
                                                                                                                                         Introductions to World



ANTHROPOLOGY
                                                                                                                                         archaeology; and
                                                                                                         Tutorials                       Anthropological theory;
                                                                                                         Normally 1 per week.            Perspectives on human
                                                                                                                                         evolution; The nature of
                                                                                                         Exams                           archaeological enquiry.
                                                                                                         Four written papers taken                                             Arch & Anth was perfect for me.
36 Beaumont Street, OX1 2PG +44 (0)1865 278246 www.arch.ox.ac.uk                                         at the end of the year.                                               I wasn’t passionate about any
51/53 Banbury Road, OX2 6PE +44 (0)1865 274624 www.isca.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                               particular one of my IB subjects
                                                                                                                                                                               enough to study it at uni so I was
                                                             Interested in people? Then Ar-           dating techniques to conflicts     three tutorials with essays every     looking for something different
                                                             chaeology and Anthropology is            between different methodologi-     fortnight. The lecture load is        that would keep me enthused
                                                             for you! It’s essentially the study      cal approaches; ‘An introduc-      relatively light due to the focus     for 3 years. Everyone doing the
                                                             of people, past and present: how         tion to anthropological theory’    on reading, which is especially       course has a different subject
                                                                                                                                         important as you more or less         background, which makes tutori-
                                                             civilizations lived, developed cul-      is pretty much what it says on
                                                                                                                                         begin this subject from scratch       als really interesting as people
                                                             tures and interacted.                    the tin; and ‘Perspectives on
                                                                                                                                         at the beginning of the course.       approach topics from different
                                                                                                      Human Evolution’ covers the
                                                                                                                                         First-years also do five weeks        angles.
                                                             Human existence is a large subject       evolution through Australopith-
                                                             area but that’s what’s great about       ecus and Homo erectus et al to     of fieldwork in the summer
                                                                                                                                                                               The course is very small meaning
                                                             the course, its diversity. It incorpo-   Homo Sapiens, and also looks       vacation - usually a two-week
                                                                                                                                                                               the group gets to be quite close
                                                             rates bits of philosophy, psychol-       at specific evolutionary aspects   archaeological dig organised by
                                                                                                                                                                               – some of my closest friends
                                                             ogy, sociology, geography, history,      such as bipedalism and the         the department that everyone
                                                                                                                                                                               are from arch and anth, rather
                                                             linguistics, physiology and more         start of ‘modern behaviour.’       attends, and then three weeks
                                                                                                                                                                               than college. It’s quite a daunting
                                                             besides. The balance between                                                             chosen by you.
                                                                                                                                                                               course as you start with little to
                                                             Archaeology and Anthropology is
                                                             fairly even within study.                “it’s essentially the                          Most people pick
                                                                                                                                                                               no knolwedge. But reading widely
                                                                                                                                                                               will reward you since tutorials are
                                                                                                      study of people”                               another archaeo-
                                                                                                                                                                               about bouncing ideas aound with
                                                             There are two archaeological and                                                        logical dig (these are
                                                                                                                                                                               people filling in on areas you’ve
                                                             two anthropological papers in the                                                       easier to get on) at
                                                                                                                                                                               missed in reading, and if you like
                                                             first year. ‘An Introduction to World                                                   sites varying from
                                                                                                                                                                               theoretical approaches, you’ll
                                                             Archaeology’ covers topics like the                                                     a Pleistocene cave
                                                                                                                                                                               really enjoy Arch & Anth. Why
                                                             beginning and spread of farming,                                            in France to a shipwreck in the       wouldn’t you love a subject where
                                                             and theories on the creation and         The second- and third-years        Caribbean. Others do anthro-          in one tutorial you learn that hu-
                                                             collapse of states and cities while      have four core papers divided      pological fieldwork like primate      mans have tight cervixes because
                                                             ‘The nature of Archaeological En-        equally between Archaeol-          studies in South Africa. Money        of bipedalism and in another you
                                                             quiry’ covers topics ranging from        ogy and Anthropology, though       for the trips is available from       explore the importance of fashion
                                                                                                      overlap between the two is the     colleges and the Institute. There     for male status in West Africa!
                                                                                                      aim of the course. There are       are exams at the end of first-
                               Arch & Anth                                                                                               year, which are purely qualifiers
                                                                                                      also three option papers which
                               offers the chance
                               to travel and                                                          can be used to give bias to one    for second-year. Finals at the
                                                                                                      subject or keep things even.       end of third, and a thesis due in
                               get hands-on
                               experience                                                             There are loads of options and     Easter of the third Year, decide      Applying
                               with real-world                                                        new ones often crop up with        your final grade.                     Course requirements
                               artefacts                                                                                                                                       No formal requirements, but a mix
                                                                                                      tutors’ interests – for example:
                                                                                                      Environmental Archaeology,         Arch & Anth is a fantastic            of arts and science A-Levels will
                                                                                                      Culture and Society of West        course offering diversity of          prepare you well.
                                                                                                      Africa or Medical Anthropology.    knowledge and options that al-
                                                                                                                                         low you to tailor it to your inter-   Colleges that offer Arch & Anth
                                                                                                      The workload for Arch and          ests. It opens up the world and       Harris Manchester, Hertford,
                                                                                                      Anth in 1st-year is typically      its people to you and provides        Keble, Magdalen, St Hugh’s, St
                                                                                                      four lectures a week with oc-      invaluable skills for a range of      John’s and St Peter’s
                                                                                                      casional practical classes and     employers.
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                                  OXFORD UNIVERSITY
106   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                              107
                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                    Stephanie Meader
                                                                                                                                    Fourth-year, Merton




BIOCHEMISTRY
                                                                         The first year at a glance
                                                                         Lectures                    Exams
                                                                         c. 9 per week.              Five written papers taken at
                                                                                                     the end of the year.
                                                                         Practicals
                                                                         Between 7 and 8 hours per   Courses                        I liked both Biology and Chem-
                                                                         week.                       Molecular cell biology;        istry at A-level but didn’t want to
South Parks Road, OX1 3QU 01865 275263                                                               Biological chemistry;          specialise in either as I thought
www.bioch.ox.ac.uk                                                       Tutorials                   Biophysical chem; Organic      this would be too restrictive, so
                                                                         Normally 1 per week.        chem; Elementary maths         therefore opted for Biochemistry.
                                                                                                                                    This gave me the best out of both
Your first year is split up into    tutorials, which help you make                                                                  subjects! Biochemistry is more
Organic Chemistry (focuses          the transition into the university                                                              about applying Chemistry to
on carbonyl compounds),             level work load. Normally I have                                                                enzymes and biological macro-
Maths (not really beyond A-         the afternoons to myself except                                                                 molecules like DNA.
level), Biophysical Chemistry       for when labs are timetabled. In
(thermodynamics and radio-          first year, you have labs every                                                                 The Friday labs are enjoyable too
activity), Biological Chemistry     Friday afternoon; in the second                                                                 – I quite liked them as I knew that
(enzyme mechanisms) and             and third years, you have only                                                                  once I finished the experiments,
Molecular Cell Biology (pro-        a few days of labs per term but                                                                 I would have the weekend for
tein synthesis and genes).          they are much more in depth.                                                                    lie-ins!
                                    And in fourth year, you do your
Then for next two years you                                                                                                         There is of course more to uni-
prepare for Part I finals, which                                                                                                    versity life than work and if you
you take at the end of your         “you get loads of                                                                               manage your time properly then
third year. Here the course is                                                                                                      you have lots of free time to do
split into six sections, which
                                    scheduled contact                                                                               other things. In my second year,
include learning about tech-        time”                                                                                           I was JCR Vice President, which
niques such as X-ray crystal-                                                                                                       was a lot of fun and involves
lography and how to analyse                                                                                                         organising events. Also, I casually
experimental data.                                                                                                                  do some sport but I tend to pick
                                    Part II project for a couple of                                                                 up a new one each term! I have
There is a whole paper devoted      months, which really allows you                                               Biochemistry
                                                                                                                                    done rowing, netball, kickboxing
to transcription, translation and   to see if you are cut out for be-                                             opens up the      and rugby so far.
DNA replication, while another      ing a proper scientist!                                                       living universe
focuses more on energetics
and metabolism, such as the         You get to choose what area
importance of glycolysis (which     you would like to work in so                                                                    Applying
was actually a finals question!)    most people tend to prefer this                                                                 Course requirements
At this level, you are expected     part of the course to the previ-                                                                Chemistry A-Level. While
to read relevant articles in        ous years where you have no                                                                     not required, the university
scientific publications, such as    choice in what you study. Some                                                                  recommends having another
Cell. This is because lots of de-   of the work is challenging and                                                                  science at A-Level and Maths at
tails in science are constantly     can be overwhelming when                                                                        least to AS-Level.
changing so textbooks quickly       you have to revise it all but you
become out of date!                 should remember that everyone                                                                   Colleges not offering Biochem
                                    struggles with something!                                                                       Balliol, Harris Manchester, Jesus,
The work is different to A-                                                                                                         Keble, Mansfield, Merton
levels, but you get lots of         Good luck with the application
scheduled contact time like         process!
lectures, labs, classes and
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY
108    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                         ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                   109
                                                                                                                                                          “
                                                                                                                                                          Imran Khan
                                                                                                                                                          Graduated, Christ Church




BIOLOGY
                                                                                   The first year at a glance
                                                                                    Lectures                         Exams
                                                                                    c. 8 per week.                   Three written papers taken
                                                                                                                     at the end of the year.
                                                                                    Practicals
                                                                                    Between 6 and 9 hours per        Courses
                                                                                    week.                            Cells and genes;
                                                                                                                     Organisms; Populations;
South Parks Road, OX1 3PS (0)1865 281 214                                           Tutorials                        Computing and data
www.biology.ox.ac.uk                                                                Normally 1 per week.             handling.
                                                                                                                                                          What I enjoyed most about
                                                                                                                                                          the biology course was the
                                            The first year of the Oxford         biologists together much           butterflies in Madagascar or          enormous range of stuff I
                                            Biology course is broken into        more than other large subjects     Bahaman sea life. In third year       ended up doing, and could
                                            three: Organisms is a quick          and strong bonds are formed        you study pretty specialised          specialise in.
                                            tour of life, covering microbiol-    across the University. Since       stuff. Lectures drop to a few
                                            ogy, invertebrates, vertebrates                                                     a week but there’s        Everyone starts off with the
                                            and plants. Cells and Genes                                                         much more inde-
                                            looks at enzymes, genetics
                                                                                 “it’s exciting to study                        pendent reading
                                                                                                                                                          same modules, but by the
                                                                                                                                                          second year you can choose
                                            and other topics familiar from       cutting-edge science”                          (think journal arti-      to concentrate on things
                                            A-level Biology, while Popula-                                                      cles, not books) and      as small as cell nuclei or as
                                            tions zooms out to look at in-                                                      one or two quite          large as entire populations of
                                            teractions between organisms.                                                       intense tutorials. It’s
                                                                                                                                                          animals, so you’re guaranteed
                                                                                 super-geniuses tend to opt for     exciting to study cutting edge
                                                                                                                                                          to be able to follow your own
                                            Expect two lectures a morning,       medicine and science-geeks         science, with tutors explaining
                                                                                                                                                          interests.
                                            two practical afternoons and         for Biochemistry, biologists       new discoveries or inviting you
                                            one tutorial a week – lots, but      tend to be remarkably normal.      into their lab for practicals.
                                                                                                                                                          There’s also a great cama-
                                            manageable, especially with                                             You’ll produce an extended
                                                                                                                                                          raderie across the depart-
                                            the departmental cafe serv-          In your second year, you’ll        essay for each course, and
                                                                                                                                                          ment - a stark contrast to
                                            ing wonderful tea and toast          study Evolution, along with        this plus the dissertation and
                                                                                                                                                          other subjects, where you only
                                            to hungover undergrads. The          Quantitative Methods and           second-year finals mean 50%
                                                                                                                                                          know the people in your own
                                            highlight of the first year is the   three further options from         of your degree is done before
                                                                                                                                                          college! It’s definitely one of
The natural                                 week-long jaunt to Wales featur-     animals, plants, disease, cells    ‘proper’ finals at the end of
                                                                                                                                                          the friendliest subjects, stu-
world is as                                 ing bug-hoovers, sand dunes          and environment. Statistics is     Year three.
                                                                                                                                                          dents and tutors alike.
vibrant a thing                             and pubs with scant regard for       the only course everyone must
to study as you                             closing time laws. This trip, plus   do for three years and involves What’s different about an Ox-
could hope for                              the trauma of dissections, brings    a weekly lecture and computer ford biology degree? In many
                                                                                 practical. Nobody enjoys it,       ways it’s more traditional than
                                                                                 but it’s useful for dissertations, others, focusing on whole
                                                                                 further study and employabil-      beings and their interactions
                                                                                                                                                          Applying
                                                                                 ity, so everyone just knuckles     rather than cellular biology          Course requirements
                                                                                 down. At the end of this year      more familiar from A-level. The       Biology A-Level. While not
                                                                                 you sit finals in Evolution and    relaxed department and very           required, the university
                                                                                 one of your options.               social year group help keep           recommends studying another
                                                                                                                    your feet on the ground and           science (or Maths) at A-Level.
                                                                                 In the summer of your second       your head above water when
                                                                                 year, you produce a disser-        it gets tough. If you love the        Colleges not offering Biology
                                                                                                                                                          Corpus Christi, Exeter, Harris
                                                                                 tation on the topic of your        natural world, then Biology
                                                                                                                                                          Manchester, Lincoln, Mansfield,
                                                                                 choice. About half the year        at Oxford could end up being
                                                                                                                                                          Oriel, St Edmund Hall, Trinity,
                                                                                 don their white coats for lab      three years of thoroughly good
                                                                                                                                                          University
                                                                                 placements in Oxford; others       fun.
                                                                                 do exciting field studies like
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                            OXFORD UNIVERSITY
110   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                              ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                            2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                        111
                                                                                                                                                      “
                                                                                                                                                      James Rawstron
                                                                                                                                                      Fourth-year, New




CHEMISTRY
                                                                                 The first year at a glance
                                                                                  Lectures                        Exams
                                                                                  c. 8 per week.                  Four written papers taken
                                                                                                                  at the end of the year.
                                                                                  Practicals
                                                                                  Between 7 and 10 hours          Courses
                                                                                  per week.                       Inorganic chemistry;
                                                                                                                  Physical chemistry; Organic
South Parks Road, OX1 3QH (0)1865 275906                                          Tutorials                       chemistry; Mathematics for          I only had one interview and it
www.chem.ox.ac.uk                                                                 Normally 1 per week.            chemistry.                          began with chemistry ques-
                                                                                                                                                      tions - no small talk - although
                                                                                                                                                      the tutors were friendly and the
                                           Chemistry is a varied, exciting      always find areas of interest.     ‘Finals’ in both second- and       whole thing felt quite relaxed.
                                           and challenging degree with          In the first year there is also    third-years.
                                           many of the transferable skills      a compulsory Maths course
                                                                                                                                                      The questions started off fairly
                                           that employers are looking for       which you are examined on        Chemistry is not just lectures,
                                                                                                                                                      easily and got steadily harder
                                           in today’s job market.                                                            but labs too. Two af-
                                                                                                                                                      – the idea is to see how you
                                                                                                                             ternoons each week
                                           The course itself is split along     “there is every chance                       are spent in labs
                                                                                                                                                      think and adapt to new con-
                                                                                                                                                      cepts they give you rather than
                                           three main divisions: Organic,       that you’ll make a                           in first year, while
                                                                                                                                                      be able to regurgitate facts
                                           Physical and Inorganic. Each of                                                   in second- and
                                           these is studied generally over      unique discovery!”                           third-years there’s
                                                                                                                                                      from your A-Level course.
                                           the first three years (Part 1) and                                                more flexibility
                                           as you progress opportunities                                                     about when to go         I find the structured nature of
                                           arise to specialise into the areas                                                and which experi-        the Chemistry course makes it
                                           you find most appealing. These       along with the three areas       ments to attempt. In the past        easy to fit in sport and going
                                           could be anything from looking       of “pure” Chemistry. For this    these used to be dreaded for         out with a bit of organisation.
                                           at organic reactions used every      reason A-level maths is, I       being smelly (Inorganic), time
                                           day to produce pharmaceu-            think, essential. Further Maths  consuming (Organic) or just          For example, I’ve rowed for
                                           ticals (Organic), state-of-the       is not but many who do this      plain dull and never working         my college having never
                                           art catalysis using transition       find it useful. A-level Physics  (Physical) but recent invest-        rowed before and since have
                                           metal complexes (Inorganic) or       can also be quite handy but      ment and upgrades should             coached other crews. I’ve
                                           getting down to the nitty-gritty     the lecturers are very good at   improve matters in time for the      also played cricket, football,
                                           of hardcore Quantum Theory           going over Physics/Biological    Academic year 2009/2010 and          darts, pool and even croquet
                                           (Physical). However, the breadth     things for anyone who didn’t     beyond.                              for college –think of a sport
                                           of the course means you can          do these A-Levels.                                                    and there’s probably an inter-
                                                                                                                 However, the main attraction of      college competition for it.
                                                                                Teaching is divided between      the Oxford Chemistry course is
Industry,                                                                       lectures and tutorials. Lectures the fourth year “Part II” project.
technology and
our modern way
                                                                                rigorously cover the syllabus    Here you join a real, working        Applying
of life depends                                                                 requirements; however, with      research group and do real,
on the work of                                                                  10-12 lectures a week, usually   genuine research. Again the          Course requirements
chemists                                                                        beginning at 9am, the struc-     variety is huge, from cancer         Chemistry A-Level. The university
                                                                                tured nature of the course can   research (one of the groups          recommends having another
                                                                                leave some envious of arts       has the largest ever grant for       science at A-Level or Maths.
                                                                                students!                        Cancer Research UK) to Hy-
                                                                                                                 drogen storage in fuel cells to      Colleges not offering Chemistry
                                                                                Tutorials with your college                                           Harris Manchester, Mansfield.
                                                                                                                 looking into how birds navigate
                                                                                tutors iron out any individual   when they fly south for winter!
                                                                                problems. Exam wise, ‘Pre-       At the end of the year you
                                                                                lims’ must be passed in first-   write a report on your findings
                                                                                year (virtually everyone passes, and there is every chance of
                                                                                don’t worry), and there are      making a unique discovery!
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                        OXFORD UNIVERSITY
112   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                          ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                        2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                    113
                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                                    Tim Chubb
                                                                                                                                                                    Graduated, Somerville
                                                                                                             The first year at a glance
CLASSICAL ARCHAEOLOGY                                                                                        Lectures               Exams



& ANCIENT HISTORY
                                                                                                             4-6 per week.          Four written papers taken
                                                                                                                                    at the end of the year.
                                                                                                             Classes
                                                                                                             1-2 per week.          Papers
                                                                                                                                    Aristocracy and democracy
                                                                                                             Tutorials              in the Greek world 550-450
                                                                                                             Normally 1 per week.   BC; Republic to Empire in       One of the best things about
36 Beaumont Street, OX1 2PG (0)1865 278 246 www.arch.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                    Rome 50 BC to 50 AD.            doing CAAH is that because it’s
66 St Giles’, OX1 3LU www.classics.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                    such a small course, you get to
A relatively new course to           In the first summer of the          Faculty, University and College                                                            really know everyone doing the
                                                                                                                                                CAAH brings you
be offered at Oxford, Classi-        course, students are required       travel grants enable students                                          actively in touch   subject.
cal Archaeology and Ancient          to participate in a dig and do      to do whatever interests them                                          with the ancient
History (CAAH) is a really           some field work. The Classics       for both the excavation and the                                        world               The advantage of this is not
interesting alternative to           and Archaeology departments         site/museum report, regardless                                                             only that everyone is really
Classics for those interested        have links with lots of digs in     of cost.                                                                                   eager and willing to share es-
in the Ancient World.                Britain, as well as in Greece,                                                                                                 says, but also that you have a
                                     Italy and the Med, so it’s an      Aside from the obvious advan-                                                               ready-made social circle of like
Prospective CAAH students            opportunity to participate on      tage of offering no shortage of                                                             minded people outside of col-
will realistically need to achieve   really interesting digs at impor-  travel and adventuring oppor-                                                               lege. The downside is that, as is
AAA at A-level but aren’t                                                        tunities, the strength                                                             my case, there may be no other
required to have taken any           “there are                                  of the CAAH course is                                                              CAAH first years at your college
subject related to the classical                                                 that it was custom de-                                                             - so finding your way around to
world.                               opportunities to go                         signed by some of the                                                              begin with can be a bit daunt-
                                                                                                                                                                    ing. Despite being called ‘Diet
                                     to digs at important                        world’s leading Classi-
                                                                                                                                                                    Classics’ by Classicists, CAAH
Unlike Classics, CAAH places                                                     cal scholars. As such,
no emphasis on the relentless        archeological sites”                        students of the ancient                                                            should not be seen as a soft
study of the Ancient languages                                                   world can analyse and                                                              option or an easy way into
or of philology and philosophy.                                                  consider it objectively,                                                           Oxford and, in fact, CAAH stu-
Instead, you’ll be offered a per-                                                without the archaeo-                                                               dents will be expected to do the
spective of the ancient world                                                    logical or historical                                                              same amount of work in eight
entirely balanced between an         tant sites. You’ll usually be with bias that is the affliction of any                                                          tutorials that Classics students
historical and an archaeologi-       a friend or two from Oxford as     study of the past.                                                                          cover in twelve.
cal approach. In the first year      well.
you’ll take four courses, two
taught in classes of 6 – 10, two     The other requirement
in tutorials.                        outside of tutorials and
                                     classes for the course is                                                                                                      Applying
Study in the first year is divided   the completion of a site or
                                                                                                                                                                    Course requirements
equally between Roman and            museum report, which is
                                                                                                                                                                    No formal requirements. A mix
Greek, and history and archae-       submitted halfway through
                                                                                                                                                                    of arts and sciences at A-Level
ology, and gives you a really        the third year. Lying some-                                                                                                    would be useful.
good general interdisciplinary       where between a disserta-
understanding of all aspects of      tion and a research paper,                                                                                                     Colleges not offering CAAH
the classical world so that at       the site/museum report                                                                                                         Harris Manchester, Hertford,
the end of the year you’re able      gives you the opportunity                                                                                                      Jesus, Mansfield, New, Pembroke,
to choose six courses in which       to write on a subject of                                                                                                       Queen’s, St Catherine’s, St
you’re really interested for your    your own choosing and, of                                                                                                      Edmund Hall, St Hugh’s, St
final two years of study.            course, to visit the mu-                                                                                                       Peter’s, Trinity
                                     seum or site in question.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY
114    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                         ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                   115
                                                                                                                                                “
                                                                                                                                                Jessie Lund
                                                                                                                                                Third-year, Christ Church




CLASSICS
                                                                         The first year at a glance
                                                                         Lectures                          Exams and courses
                                                                         c. 7 per week.                    Your first exams are taken
                                                                                                           in the second year with
                                                                         Classes                           Classics, and the course
                                                                         Between 1 and 2 hours per         structure is extremely
                                                                         week.                             variable, so it’s best to
                                                                                                           check with the faculty find
                                                                         Tutorials                         out out what options are             Classics was not the obvious
66 St Giles’s. OX1 3LU                                                                                                                          choice when I was choosing
                                                                         Normally 1 per week.              available.
www.classics.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                           a degree course, but it was
                                                                                                                                                definitely the right choice. I have
                                Classics is one of the most           arduous, but you have to read        feeling of having finished them,     learned so much about so many
                                interesting, varied and chal-         many more texts. Course II           and the pride you gain in hav-       different elements of ancient
                                lenging degrees at Oxford,            candidates, those who didn’t         ing survived! Uniquely, Clas-        civilization, and have been
                                and unlike Classics at many           have the chance to learn             sics gives you three exam-free       taught and lectured by world-
                                other universities, the subject                                                        summers in Oxford.       renowned experts.
                                is open to all, whether you           “Classics gives you
                                have studied Latin and Greek                                                            After Mods come         Despite a disastrous relation-
                                to A-level or not.                    three exam-free                                   Greats (or ‘Finals’),   ship with GCSE History, I even
                                                                                                                        and at this point the   discovered my inner historian!
                                If you’re interested in literature,
                                                                      summers in Oxford”                                degree becomes          The course is definitely chal-
                                language, history, philosophy,                                                          your own. With very     lenging – it is considered one
                                art, archaeology, politics or                                                           few restrictions, you   of the most challenging in the
                                linguistics (or any combination                                                         can choose from         University – but it is extremely
                                of the above!), Classics offers       Latin or Greek, start the course     a huge variety of papers. You        rewarding and interesting in
                                a fascinating and unparalleled        with two terms of intensive          can specialise in literature and     equal measure, and highly
                                insight into the worlds of Classi-    language classes (in groups          linguistics, or branch out into      respected by employers. And as
                                cal Greece and Rome, studying         of 10-15) in your chosen first       political philosophy and papyri;     well as all of those useful ‘trans-
                                everything from the pots they         language. The volume of text         you can focus all your energies      ferable skills’ (which Classics
                                painted to the wars they waged.       that you study in Classics can       on Roman history, or delve into      gives you in spades) you get to
Through
                                                                      seem daunting, but with a little     the intricacies of Greek litera-     read about subjects as diverse
Classics, you’ll
                                The course comes in two forms.        application it’s both manage-        ture. There really is something      as the Peloponnesian War, trials
learn how many
links there are                 For those that have done an-          able and the best possible           for everybody.                       for adultery in the Hellenistic
between ancient                 cient languages, there is Course      way to immerse yourself in the                                            period, homicidal tragic hero-
civilization and                                                                                                                                ines and Julius Caesar’s alleged
modern society                  I: the language work is far less      ancient world. Plus, there’s lots    While, as mentioned above,
                                                                                                                                                comb-over!
                                                                      of help and support available        there are no specific subject
                                                                      from both college and faculty.       requirements for Classics,
                                                                                                           what is necessary is a clear
                                                                      The four-year course is divided      and passionate interest in the       Applying
                                                                      into two halves. In the first five   Classical world, and an abil-
                                                                                                                                                Course requirements
                                                                      terms, you’ll be studying for        ity to think for yourself. The       No formal requirements, but the
                                                                      Moderations (Oxford lingo for        interview process for Classics       University recommends studying
                                                                      your first set of exams). These      includes a short test in each        Latin or Greek for A-Level.
                                                                      are made up of compulsory            ancient language you’ve stud-
                                                                      literature and language papers,      ied, or a language aptitude          Colleges not offering Classics
                                                                      plus one philosophy paper and        test if you’ve done neither. The     Harris Manchester, Hertford,
                                                                      one special subject that you         interviewers interested in how       Keble, Lincoln, Mansfield,
                                                                      can choose. Classics ‘Mods’          you think and how eager, will-       Pembroke, St Catherine’s, St
                                                                      are probably the hardest ex-         ing and able you are to learn        Edmund Hall, St Peter’s
                                                                      ams in the University (not least     new things. With these quali-
                                                                      because of the sheer number          ties, you can make the most of
                                                                      of them) but nothing beats the       this extraordinary course.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                  OXFORD UNIVERSITY
116    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                     ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                   2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                               117
                                                                                      JOINT
                                                                                                                                                                      “
                                                                                                                                                                      Imogen Sutton
                                                                                                                                                                      Second-year, Merton
                                                                                     SCHOOLS



CLASSICS
 66 St Giles’s. OX1 3LU
                                                                                                                                                                      Classics and Modern Lan-
                                                                                                                                                                      guages is a particular godsend
 www.classics.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                      for those who, like me, have
                                                                                                                                                                      difficulty making decisions.
                                                                                               Classics and Oriental Studies
Classics and English                                                         Combining                                                                                After English, History, Latin
                                                                             Classics with
                                                                                                                                                                      and Spanish at A level, I had
                                                                             another subject   With this option, you get to        Greek before, but you do have
Classics and English students         idea, because there you get to         can be very                                                                              begun to despair of finding a
                                                                                               explore areas of the ancient        to satisfy a Language Aptitude
are a rare breed. Although the        meet other C&E students. How-          rewarding                                                                                course that combined what I
                                                                                               world not normally open to          Test. Unsurprisingly, then, you
course is primarily literary,         ever, the first-year course (which                                                                                              loved from all of them, so the
                                                                                               classicists – and will always       don’t need to have studied the
there’s the opportunity to do         is basically Renaissance litera-                                                                                                joint course was something of
                                                                                               have one up, therefore, on the      Oriental language you intend
some history and philosophy;          ture minus Shakespeare, and                                                                                                     a revelation. Here, at last, was
                                                                                               full-timers. However, you’ll        to read either. Tutors will look
also, you learn how to apply the      set books in Greek or Latin) is                                                                                                 a degree where subjects as
                                                                                               also have access to cultures        for your linguistic ability and
two disciplines’ radically differ-    very coherent because it allows                                                                                                 diverse as early Greek phi-
                                                                                               that frequently get left out        commitment (yes, the course
ent academic methodologies            for some crossover between                                                                                                      losophy, modern linguistics, art
                                                                                               of Oriental Studies degrees.        is pretty tough) at interview.
to each other, which is great         your essays in each discipline.                                                                                                 and archaeology in the Roman
                                                                                               Double bonus. Hooked yet?
fun and very stimulating. You’ll                                                                                                                                      Empire, and European cinema
                                                                                               Go read the Oriental Studies        After your first five terms, you
follow a different course from        After your first year exams, you                                                                                                could take their place alongside
                                                                                               section.                            can combine subjects taken
the Single honours English and        choose options freely – only two                                                                                                more established studies in a
                                                                                                                                   from the Classics options with     unique whole. The emphasis
Classics people, which can be         of the papers are compulsory.                            The first five terms of this four   one of eleven Oriental lan-
lonely at times: this makes go-       At this point it’s really up to you,                                                                                            on individual learning can seem
                                                                                               year course are the same as         guages – from Persian, to He-      daunting, but in a course that
ing to the (semi-optional) Critical   and your tutors should help you                          the first five terms of the four    brew, via Egyptian, Akkadian,
Commentary classes a good             to decide.                                                                                                                      always leads on to something
                                                                                               year Classics course, and the       Arabic, Aramaic and Syriac,        new, the workload is rarely too
                                                                                               same rules apply – you don’t        Armenian, Coptic, Old Iranian,
Classics and Modern Languages                                                                  have to have done Latin or          Pali, Prakrit or Sanskrit.
                                                                                                                                                                      discouraging.

                                                                                                                                                                      Ancient patterns of thought and
With this joint school you can        four-year option tends to prove                                                                                                 expression are found in almost
take original directions in explor-   more popular. The course is                                                                                                     every aspect of western culture,
ing the rich and fascinating cul-     quite literature-focused, though                                                                                                which gives you a definite head
tures of the ancient world, and       ongoing translations and gram-                                                                                                  start in most modern languages
the dynamism of its still living      mar make sure language doesn’t                                                                                                  papers, while the diverse ap-
descendants.                          get forgotten. Later there’s                                                                                                    proaches of newer disciplines
The scope for choice is there         the possibility of combining                                                                                                    provide fresh ways of looking
right from the start, with two        the two disciplines in a special                                                                                                at traditional material. When a
alternative versions of the           bridge paper (such as Ancient                                                                                                   friend of mine in tutorial applied
degree. In the longer, five-year      and French Classical Tragedy)                                                                                                   a little-known discovery of the
course, the first five terms are      or an extended essay of your                                                                                                    Russian Romantics to the hero
the same as for Classics, which       own making. The year abroad                                                                                                     of a Latin epic, it added an
allows plenty of time to ex-          provides a fantastic opportunity                                                                                                original stimulus to everyone’s
pand your study of the ancient        to hone your language skills to                                                                                                 understanding, as our tutor was
world before applying what            perfection, as well as being free                                                                                               first to admit!
you’ve learned to more modern         from any formal assignment to
literature. Overall, though, the      explore what really interests you.

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                       OXFORD UNIVERSITY
118    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                          ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                        2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                    119
                                                                                                          The first year at a glance
                                                                                                          Lectures                       the end of the year.
                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                                    Tom Perry
                                                                                                                                                                    Third-year, St John’s
                                                                                                          c. 10 per week.

COMPUTER                                                                                                                                 Courses




SCIENCE
                                                                                                          Practicals                     Functional programming;
                                                                                                          Usually 2 sessions per         Design and analysis of
                                                                                                          week.                          algorithms; Imperative
                                                                                                                                         programming; Digital
                                                                                                          Tutorials                      hardware; Calculus and
                                                                                                          Normally 2 per week.           linear algebra; Discrete
                                                                                                                                         mathematics, logic and     For me computer science
                                                                                                          Exams                          proof; Probability
Parks Road, OX1 3QD +44 (0)1865 273 838                                                                                                                             was the perfect choice; it was
                                                                                                          Five written papers taken at
www.comlab.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                                                 maths without the maths! Of
                                                                                                                                                                    course it isn’t as simple as
Computer Science degrees            second year and you get some        are advertised by members of                                                                this, and there is still some
vary a lot between universi-        choice on what you study. The       the department, so you won’t                                                                mathematics involved, but
ties. It’s a relatively new field   core modules will still be tuto-    be stuck if you can’t think of                                                              the emphasis is on logic and
and can be approached in            rial based, but the additional      one. The project’s mark is then                                                             applied mathematics, such
many ways. At Oxford work           ones will be supplemented           combined with the 2nd and                                                                   as algorithm complexity and
focuses on a lower level; you       with classes instead. These are     3rd-year exam results to finish                                                             Fourier transforms.
won’t learn the best ways           like large tutorials, containing    off your bachelor’s degree.
to program in the latest            between 5 and 15 students,                                                                                                      The course also offers a lot
and greatest programming            depending on the popularity of    The optional 4th-year mas-                                                                    of choice which is great. My
language, but you’ll learn the      the course. Like the 1st year     ters course comprises of four                                                                 favourite field is Artificial Intel-
foundations of the subject                                                        advanced courses,                                                                 ligence and I was able to base
and how to apply it to vari-          “your project could be                      which are usually                                                                 my project, and the majority
ous situations.                                                                   examined as take-                                                                 of my options, around this
                                      anything you want”                          home projects, and                                                                subject. Courses in databases,
This course is still very new                                                     another main project                                                              security and graphics are also
to Oxford and it changes a                                                        which should be                                                                   available, as well as more
lot as it is still being tweaked.                                                 more advanced then                                                                research oriented ones.
Currently It’s a three-year-long    you sit exams in everything       those taken up by 3rd-years.
course, with exams every year,      you studied, but the results will                                                                                               This choice means you can go
and an optional masters year        make up around 40% of your        A-level Maths is a must for                                                                   into many different jobs, or re-
at the end. The first year is       final degree classification.      ComSci, and if you have it,                                                                   search, with a solid knowledge
completely made up of core                                            Further Maths is also a huge                                                                  of the field.
modules, so there is no choice      The 3rd year is where every-      help. Your third subject can be
in what you can take! These         thing opens up. There are         anything really, though Elec-
modules will contain courses        no compulsory courses, so         tronics or Computing could be
that introduce you to logic and     every module you take will be     beneficial.
programming, as well as some        class-based, and you                                                                                                            Applying
maths programmes. All the           will also undertake a                                                                                                           Course requirements
work in your first year will be     project. This will ac-                                                                                                          Maths A-Level is a must, and it
tutorial-based which means          count for about one third                                                                                                       is recommended that you have
you will enter the 2nd year with    of your third year, and                                                                                                         Further Maths or another science.
a solid understanding of the        so is expected to take
base material. At the end of        about a term’s worth of                                                                                                         Colleges not offering ComSci
the year you sit exams which        work. Your project could                                                                                                        Brasenose, Christ Church,
won’t have any effect on your       be anything you want,                                                                                                           Corpus. Exeter, Harris
final grade, but you’ll need to     though discussing it                                                                                                            Manchester, Hertford, Jesus,
pass to continue into the 2nd       with your tutor is a must                                                                                                       Lincoln, Magdalen, Pembroke,
year.                               to make sure it has the                                                                                                         Queen’s, St Edmund Hall, St
                                    potential to get a decent                                                                                                       Hilda’s, St Peter’s, Trinity, Wadham
Things start to loosen up in the    grade. Sample projects
                                                                Com Sci attracts
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                        a mix of techies,                                                                                             OXFORD UNIVERSITY
120    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                scientists and                                                                                           ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                   121
                                                                forward-thinkers
                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                    Jack Matthews
                                                                                                                                                    3rd Year, St Peter’s
                                                                                The first year at a glance
EARTH                                                                           Lectures                        Exams




SCIENCES
                                                                                c. 10 per week.                 Four written papers taken
                                                                                                                at the end of the year.
                                                                                Practicals
                                                                                Between 10 and 14 hours         Courses
                                                                                per week.                       Chemistry and physics
                                                                                                                of the earth; Geological
                                                                                Tutorials                       materials; Earth surface            As someone who hadn’t stud-
                                                                                Normally 1 per week.            processes; Maths for earth          ied Geology before, I was a little
Parks Road, OX1 3PR +44 (0)1865 272 00
                                                                                                                sciences; Fieldwork.                worried that I would be behind
www.earth.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                                  everyone else, but soon rea-
                                                                                                                                                    lised that the course accommo-
 Geology rocks, as
 they say, and Earth
                                         E   arth Sciences at Oxford
                                             is the perfect subject
                                         for anyone interested in the
                                                                             year alone.
                                                                             In the first year, everyone will
                                                                             have a tutorial in maths once
                                                                                                                there is no perfect combina-
                                                                                                                tion, and students with a range
                                                                                                                of subjects and interests study
                                                                                                                                                    dates for all levels of previous
                                                                                                                                                    experience.
 Sciences is certainly
 one of the most                         anatomy of planet Earth, and        a week, and at least one other     Earth Sci.                          The best thing about Oxford
 exciting subjects                       in discovering how it has           tutorial. In general, your col-                                        has to be the many opportuni-
                                         changed through time.               lege tutors will be accommo-      Also, on the subject of Geol-        ties that are open to you; as I
                                                                             dating to your requirements,      ogy A-Level; if you don’t have       write this I’m looking out over
                                         With a small, friendly and close-   and are happy to organize         it, don’t be put off. On aver-       the Isle of Skye completing my
                                         knit department, you’ll soon get                                                  age less than half       geological mapping project,
                                         to know, not only your fellow       “if you don’t have                            the people on the        and in a month I will be in
                                         class mates, but also the many                                                    course have studied      Newfoundland acting as a field
                                         world-class researchers as well.    Geology A-Level, don’t                        Geology at A-Level,      assistant to a Postgraduate
                                                                             be put off”                                   and the first year       palaeontology researcher.
                                         The first two years of the                                                        course is designed
                                         course cover a broad and                                                          to make sure that        Outside of geology there is still
                                         fascinating range of subjects,                                                    everyone is catered      plenty of time for other things;
                                         many of which are reinforced                                                      for, regardless of       many geologists get involved
                                         by practicals. Students can         tutorials in the subjects that    what they have studied before.       with different clubs and societ-
                                         then begin to specialize in their   you may not be so confident                                            ies across Oxford – and all of
                                         third and fourth years. There       in. Tutorial work takes different Although it’s quite a lecture-       them join the university geology
                                         are also a number of field trips,   forms, from essay writing to      and practical-intensive course,      society; Geolsoc!
                                         including Pembroke, Arran and       question papers, to discussion, Oxford offers opportunities
                                         Oxfordshire quarries in the first   but all of these allow contact    to take part in all areas of the
                                                                             with people in the department     subject, not only in the lecture
                                                                             who are working at the cutting    theatre but also in the field. For
                                                                             edge of modern Geology.           example, recent students have        Applying
                                                                                                               gone to Canada to do their un-
                                                                             The only A-Level that’s re-       dergraduate mapping projects         Course requirements
                                                                             quired is Maths, and for good                                          Maths A-Level. Although not a
                                                                                                               with the Canadian Geological
                                                                                                                                                    formal requirement, the University
                                                                             reason; the Maths course in       Survey.
                                                                                                                                                    recommends Chemistry and/or
                                                                             the first year has its own exam
                                                                                                                                                    Physics A-Level and suggests that
                                                                             paper. Although it’s generally    No article on Earth Sciences
                                                                                                                                                    Biology, Geology or Further Maths
                                                                             regarded as one of the harder     at Oxford would be complete
                                                                                                                                                    may be helpful.
                                                                             papers, don’t be put off, the     without mentioning the Oxford
                                                                             lecturers are always willing      University Geological Society;       Colleges that offer Earth Sci
                                                                             to take questions, and the        everyone from the department         Exeter, Hertford, St Anne’s,
                                                                             tutorial support is excellent.    gets involved for the many           St Edmund Hall. St Peter’s,
                                                                             Other useful A-Level subjects     events in the calendar includ-       University and Worcester
                                                                             include Chemistry, Physics,       ing a Christmas and a summer
                                                                             Biology, Geology, Geography       meal, field trips, talks, and
                                                                             and Further Maths. However,       other social events.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY
122    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                         ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                   123
                                                                                                                                                                            “
                                                                                                                                                                            Angel Sarmiento
                                                                                                                                                                            3rd Year, Merton


ECONOMICS &
                                                                                                             The first year at a glance
                                                                                                             Lectures                     Courses




MANAGEMENT
                                                                                                             c. 6 per week.               Introductory economics;
                                                                                                                                          Introducton to
                                                                                                             Tutorials                    management; Financial
                                                                                                             Normally 2 per week.         management (course
                                                                                                                                          design is in progress).           I am Mexican, and studied the
                                                                                                             Exams                                                          IB in Mexico City. I struggled
Park End Street, OX1 1HP www.sbs.ox.ac.uk                                                                    Three written papers taken                                     to choose between PPE and
www.economics.ox.ac.uk                                                                                       at the end of the year.                                        E&M but after rightly choos-
                                                                                                                                                                            ing moneymaking over ethics,
                                                                                                                                                                            I was soon part of the Oxford
Anyone with a love for Eco-           tions. Your choices can make       a lot though.                                                              E&M makes you           high-life, becoming Merton JCR
nomics and a desire to live           your own personal course           Prepare to graduate with a lot                                             very employable         Treasurer, co-chair of the student
under the dreaming spires             almost a pure Economics de-        of caché from E&M. Year after                                              and in difficult        union’s International Students’
quickly arrives to a cross-           gree, one focused on practical     year, The Times ranks the Saïd                                             economic times          Campaign, sound engineer at
roads. Oxford, rightly, refuses       development issues, an “MBA        Business School, housed in a                                               such as these, that’s   student radio station Oxide,
to teach the subject by itself,       on steroids”, a theoretical,       sleek glass building with the                                              pretty handy. Oink.
                                                                                                                                                                            and WorldMUN delegate. I also
offering PPE or its younger           academic degree… it’s your         best facilities in the Univer-                                                                     slaved away compiling extensive
cousin, E&M.                                                                           sity, as giving the                                                                  electronic notes for exams, and
                                         “The E&M mindset is                           best undergradu-                                                                     then spilled coffee on the laptop
Both put economic theory into                                                          ate management                                                                       a week before first-year exams.
perspective, in different ways.          widely sought-after”                          education of the                                                                     Not recommended.
Management is broad, eclectic                                                          UK. It’s been said
and theoretical, giving you tools                                                      it’s the undergrad                                                                   The summer after my first year, I
to understand organisations                                                            programme with the                                                                   completed an internship in Chen-
ranging from anthropologi-            call. It’s also your call in terms highest after-graduation start-                                                                    nai, India, working for a leading
cal surveys to profit-and-loss        of workload. You get enough        ing salary in Europe.                                                                              technology firm and visiting the
statements. You spend most            reading material and guidance                                                                                                         country. Sometime, while all this
of your time reading academic         to spend months pursuing any       The relevance of the E&M                                                                           was happening, in between the
papers or books, discussing           particular area. However, you      mindset is, moreover, widely                                                                       essays and the parties and the
them, and writing 2,000-word          can usually get respectable        sought-after by non-profits,                                                                       best conversations of my life, my
essays.                               2.1s with a workload relatively    academia, government, and                                                                          whole perception of the world
                                      light for Oxford.                  businesses of all kinds. E&M is                                                                    changed. I didn’t get much sleep
Economics, on the other hand,                                            fun, academically challenging,                                                                     though. Essay followed by black-
mixes shorter, technical ques-        E&M-ists are certainly not         and makes you as employable                                                                        tie cocktails followed by show
tions with longer essays that         slackers, though! The workload     as any degree could.                                                                               recording. To be frank, at Oxford,
require you to defend a view-         is countered by the dynamism                                                                                                          everything is more interesting
point. Unlike other major under-      of the student body. To truly                                                                                                         than sleeping.
graduate Economics courses,           make the most of your degree,
the emphasis is more on the           you must understand how
critical, intuitive understanding     organisations work in the real
of the subject than on analytic       world. This calls for summer                                                                                                          Applying
mathematical tools.                   internships, leadership roles                                                                                                         Course requirements
                                      in student bodies, and inno-                                                                                                          No formal requirements, but the
The E&M course is set apart by        vative projects like Idea Idol,                                                                                                       University strongly recommends
its flexibility. You get no choices   an entrepreneurship initiative.                                                                                                       taking Maths for A-Level.
in your first year, surveying in-     E&M-ists tend to be involved,
stead the vast area covered by        engage in teamwork, and love                                                                                                          Colleges not offering E&M
the course in basic detail. Af-       to socialise and network. The                                                                                                         Corpus Christi, Lincoln,
terwards, you study Micro and         more academically inclined, or                                                                                                        Magdalen, Mansfield, Oriel,
Macroeconomics, plus six op-          solitary, also enjoy themselves                                                                                                       Somerville

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                              OXFORD UNIVERSITY
124    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                 ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                               2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                           125
                                                                                JOINT
                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                                    James McNiven Young
                                                                                                                                                                    Third-year, New
                                                                               SCHOOLS
ECONOMICS &
MANAGEMENT
 66 St Giles’s. OX1 3LU
 www.classics.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                    What first struck me about Ox-
                                                                                                                                                                    ford were the countless opportu-
Engineering, Economics & Management                                                                                                                                 nities it has provided constantly
                                                                                                                                                                    throughout my student career.
EEM is often unfairly re-             Engineering areas. Despite this,
                                                          tion that replaces the alternative   working in industry, gaining     load does occasionally feel as
                                                                                                                                                                    Rarely does a week pass by
garded as the hardest course          the course is still very much
                                                          of a fourth year engineering         skills and contacts and pos-     if you are doing two courses
                                                                                                                                                                    where I’m not trying out a new
in Oxford - fortunately this          Engineering-dominated with
                                                          project (see Engineering). The       sibly even securing a graduate   at once. Despite this, it is
                                                                                                                                                                    sport, seeing famous speakers
rumour is completely un-              over 75% in the second- and
                                                          placement lasts 24 weeks and         job if you impress.              also one of the few courses         or attending the latest club night.
founded. Although the course          third-year exams. Many tutori-
                                                          can be organised with any            It’s not a coincidence that      at Oxford that provides both        So far, I’ve really enjoyed the
does bear the requirement of          als and lectures are still taken
                                                          company a student is interested      EEM is the degree most highly    theoretical and hands-on            breadth of the EEM course and
being able to string a sen-                                          in working with. The      regarded by graduate employ-     experience, and teaches             also the flexibility of the course
tence together combined with          “the fourth year               downside of having to     ers spanning the sectors such    invaluable skills that are easily   structure. The workload is chal-
the ability to do maths, this is                                     write a 20,000 word       as Engineering and manage-       transferable to whatever you        lenging, but pleasant enough
hardly unique to the subject.         placement is a widely          management report         ment consultancy- the work-      plan to do next.                    that it’s accompanied by a sense
                                      popular option”                on the placement is                                                                            of accomplishment rather than
What is unique, however, is the                                      offset by the unparal-                                                                         frustration. Even better, most
flexibility of the programme, the                                    leled experience of       Materials, Economics & Management                                    of my lectures are over by 12,
unquestionable advantage it                                                                                                                                         which leaves the rest of the day
gives you in the job market and       with your fellow                                         As with EEM, you can apply       Materials is analogous to that      free for other exploits.
the opportunity to carry out a        Engineers, however                                       to read MEM either on entry      of EEM and Engineering, and
fourth-year placement.                you gain a couple of                                                                                                          I’m involved with student drama
                                                                                               or after your first year, and    MEM suits ambitious, hard
                                      lectures a week and                                                                                                           productions, row for my college,
                                                                                               the first year is common to      working Materials applicants        write for the college newspaper,
As an EEM-ist, the first year         have the option to
                                                                                               Materials Science. The rela-     who’d like a more vocational,       play in an orchestra and last year
follows the same syllabus as          escape a couple of
                                                                                               tionship between MEM and         business-orientated degree.         I was Entz Officer on my col-
that of a first year Engineer         labs.
with ten lectures a week, a few                                                                                                                                     lege’s JCR committee- meaning
hours of labs and a couple of         Fourth year is                                                                                                                I spent most of my time planning
tutorials. The first year aims to     where the course                                                                                                              parties for the rest of the college.
                                      distinguishes itself                                                                                                          In few places is the phrase ‘work
give students a broad base of
                                                                                                                                                                    hard, play hard’ more appropri-
knowledge and covers several          from many others
                                                                                                                                                                    ate!
disciplines of Engineering. As        at Oxford. Not only
a side note, many colleges            is there complete
allow you to switch between           flexibility to take a
Engineering and EEM after your        range of options
first year- but if you’re consider-   across the whole
                                                                                                                                                                    Applying
ing this, check it out with your      spectrum of EEM,                                                                                                              Colleges offering E,E&M
chosen college first. From the        there is also the                                                                                                             Balliol, Christ Church, Exeter,
second year onwards, Econom-          fourth year place-                                                                                                            Hertford, Jesus, LMH, Mansfield,
ics and Management begin to           ment. The fourth                                                                                                              New, St Anne’s, St Catz, SEH,
play a part in the course, re-        year placement is a                                                                                                           St Hugh’s, Trinity, Wadham,
placing a few modules from the        widely popular op-                                                                                                            Worcester

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY
126    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                         ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                   127
                                                                                                                                                                     “
                                                                                                                                                                     Hereward Mills
                                                                                                                                                                     Third-year, Univ
                                                                                                            The first year at a glance


ENGINEERING
                                                                                                            Lectures               Exams
                                                                                                            c. 10 per week.        Written papers taken at the
                                                                                                                                   end of the year.
                                                                                                            Practicals
                                                                                                            c. 5 hours per week.

                                                                                                            Tutorials                                                It wouldn’t be accurate to say
Parks Road, OX1 3PJ +44 (0)1865 273 000                                                                     Normally 2 per week.                                     I was set on studying Engi-
www.eng.ac.uk                                                                                                                                                        neering from an early age. It
                                                                                                                                                                     wasn’t until a Headstart course
Engineering at Oxford is a          Thermodynamics, Fluid Me-         quite theoretical. The lectures                                                                after AS-Levels that I became
four year course leading to a       chanics, Structures, Materials,   provide a strong basis for learn-                                               Engineering    convinced by Engineering. The
Masters degree, accredited          Dynamics and Control. You’ll      ing new topics and it’s possible                                                   has made    appeal then became obvious:
                                                                                                                                                   human feats of    based in maths and physics;
by the major engineering in-        continue having two lectures a    (though not very efficient) to get                                             construction
stitutions (depending on your       day, albeit with much fewer ear-  through the course without ever                                                 all the more   theory re-enforced by practical
module options). Through-           ly ones. There are no exams in    taking any books out of the                                                      impressive    work and all easily supported
out the course, the lectures        your second year, only a couple   library. The tutorial worksheets                                                               by a Year In Industry placement
given on the core material are      of extended coursework essays     – one per tutorial, usually twice                                                              in my gap year, summer work
supplemented by practical           and week-long assessed prac-      a week – generally take about                                                                  and sponsorship both easily-
work and tutorials.                                                               ten hours each to get                                                              found.
                                    “the department has                           through and are cov-
                                                                                                                                                                     There’s a good balance be-
The first year is geared towards                                                  ered in depth during
giving you a good grounding in      great facilities”                             the tutorials them-                                                                tween structured teaching and
the fundamentals and making                                                       selves (along with                                                                 independent study: a gradual
sure everyone, including those                                                    broader discussion on                                                              shift from the ‘just-past-A-
who didn’t take Further Maths                                                     related topics). The                                                               levels’ timetables of 1st year to
at A-level, is on the same level.   ticals which are pretty fun – you Engineering department has                                                                     the 4th year individual research
The first year exams (Prelims),     can spend a week in a brewery     great facilities – the obliga-                                                                 project where your time is your
don’t count towards your            learning about Chemical Engi-     tory department library along                                                                  own. This means you need to
final degree class but you do       neering, for example or make a    with labs and workshops for all                                                                develop some self-discipline
need to pass them to stay on        solar-powered car.                areas of Engineering (comput-                                                                  but that does come in useful
the course. In many colleges,                                         ing, thermodynamics, electron-                                                                 when combining other interests
subject to your Prelims results,    You start to specialise in the    ics, you name it), and a decent                                                                with lab preparation, tutorial
you can decide to take up EEM       third year when you choose        café. It’s a pig-ugly building, but                                                            work and Saturday night B-
at the end of your first year. In   two options from Mechanical,      the view’s alright from inside.                                                                movies with friends!
your first two terms you’ll have    Civil, Information, Chemical,
two lectures each day (first        Electrical and Biomedi-
year lectures often start at 9am    cal Engineering. You
unfortunately) and six full days    also undertake a group
of practicals spread across the     design project, which                                                                                                            Applying
term. You can get away with         can involve anything from                                                                                                        Course requirements
skipping a few lectures since       offshore wind farms to                                                                                                           Maths and Physics A-Level are
attendance isn’t taken, but         wireless communication                                                                                                           required. You don’t have to have
you’ll find the tutorial work a     systems. This prepares                                                                                                           Further Maths, but it is useful.
lot more difficult unless you’re    you for your fourth year,
prepared to spend time in the       when you work on an                                                                                                              Colleges not offering
library doing your own research.    individual project worth                                                                                                         Engineering
                                    four papers.                                                                                                                     Corpus Christi, Harris
In the second and third years,                                                                                                                                       Manchester, Merton, Queen’s, St
all Engineers study core papers     On the whole, the Oxford                                                                                                         Peter’s
in Maths, Electrical Systems,       Engineering course is
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY
128    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                         ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                   129
                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                                    Chris Baraniuk
                                                                                                                                                                    Just finished, Somerville




ENGLISH
                                                                                                  The first year at a glance
                                                                                                  Lectures                        Courses
                                                                                                  c. 6 per week.                  Introduction to literary
                                                                                                                                  studies; Victorian OR
                                                                                                  Tutorials                       Modern literature; Old
                                                                                                  Normally 1 per week.            English OR Middle English
                                                                                                                                  literature; Special author
                                                                                                  Exams                           OR special topic.                 There are two things I’ve fallen in
Manor Road, OX1 3UQ +44 (0)1865 271 055                                                           Four written papers taken                                         love with in my life. One is female
www.english.ox.ac.uk                                                                              at the end of the year.                                           and the other is the English
                                                                                                                                                                    course at Oxford. I chose English
                                                                                                                                                                    because I enjoyed reading and
So you like reading. That’s a good      Iris Murdoch, JRR Tolkien, Philip                                                     later highlights of English at Ox-    thinking about poems and novels.
start, and if you decide to study       Pullman and others also studied                                                       ford include the extended essays      If the same basic attributes are
English at Oxford you’ll get to do      or taught gives the atmosphere a                                                      (coursework) on individual authors    part of you, then you should
masses of book-worming within a         unique and gratifying edge - the        English is the                                and topics in the third year. Also,   definitely think about applying. If
wonderfully wide range of periods       place is awash with literary tradi-     sort of subject                               there is an exam paper devoted        you’re worried about the amount
                                                                                where you can                                 entirely to Shakespeare which,        of reading there is, don’t be. Yes,
and authors.                            tion, and that is open to everyone
                                                                                take your work                                though challenging, is one of the     there’s a lot, but I never managed
                                        and very stimulating.
                                                                                anywhere                                      most immersive and imaginative        to read everything on our reading
The thing which makes studying
                                        As far as the actual work load                                                        areas of study you could possibly     lists or go to that many lectures
English at this level so rewarding
                                                                                                                              conceive of.                          and it didn’t make any difference.
is the Oxford course’s combina-         goes, don’t let anyone tell you that
                                                                                                                                                                    The great thing about this course
tion of set periods for study – and     arts courses are a doss – you’ll be
                                                                                                                              Don’t worry about Old and Middle      is that you get to choose how to
a real freedom to focus on the          expected to write at least one if not
                                                                                                                              English either. You’ll have to        do it – how much time to spend
texts and topics which interest you     two essays every week during term.
                                                                                                                              study one if not both of these, but   at lectures or faculty classes, and
                                             However, unlike many subjects,                                                                                         how much to spend on your own
“the place is awash                          English tends to be flexible and                                                 they’re very rewarding aspects
                                                                                                                              of the subject which teach you        background reading.
                                             therefore enjoyable. Also, you
with literary                                don’t have to spend hours and                                                    about the origins of the language
                                                                                                                                                                    The best thing, though, is the
                                                                                                                              we use today and there are some
tradition”                                   hours in labs and there are far
                                                                                                                              pretty cool texts like the blood-
                                                                                                                                                                    extremely wide range of ideas you
                                             fewer lectures than in science                                                                                         get to explore. From culture-theo-
                                             subjects.                                                                        and-gore-filled Beowulf or the
                                                                                                                                                                    ry to feminism or history, there are
                                                                                                                              philosophically spiritual Cloud of    little bits of everything that teach
most. Plus, the analytically-rigorous   In first year you get a real smorgas-                                                 Unknowing.                            you not just about books but,
standard expected from tutors and       bord of literature to sink your teeth                                                                                       essentially, the world and how
lecturers will be something you         into - from Anglo-Saxon                                                               Put down that book and apply!         people exist within it. There are
begin to hone from your very first      poetry to the modernist                                                                                                     very few subjects quite like it.
essay and continue to develop until     novel. Check with the
your last – and beyond.                 college you’re applying
                                        to so you know what
Reading books and writing essays        the English tutors there
forms the core of what you actu-        plan to teach in the first                                                                                                  Applying
ally do as an English student. You      year - it varies slightly,                                                                                                  Course requirements
probably expected that, but there       but all of the options                                                                                                      English Language or Literature
are many important things about         are very enjoyable.                                                                                                         A-Level. Additionally, it might be
the Oxford English course which         You sit ‘Moderations’                                                                                                       helpful (but it is not necessary) to
you should know about which go          at the end of first year                                                                                                    have a foreign language or history.
beyond the obvious.                     which, as long as you
For a start, studying literature in     pass, let you continue                                                                                                      Colleges not offering English
a city where men and women like         into the next part of the                                                                                                   Queen’s
Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene,            course. Some of the

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY
130    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                         ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                   131
                                                                                                                                                        “
                                                                                                                                                        Stefano Bell
                                                                                                                                                        Just finished, Queen’s



EXPERIMENTAL
                                                                                The first year at a glance
                                                                                 Lectures                          Courses
                                                                                 c. 6 per week.                    Psychology; Philosophy;




PSYCHOLOGY
                                                                                                                   Neurophysiology; Statistics;
                                                                                 Tutorials                         Physiology (three-term
                                                                                 Normally 2-3 per week.            course including practical
                                                                                                                   work).
                                                                                 Exams
                                                                                 Three written papers taken                                             Considering I dropped both
South Parks Road, OX1 3UD (0)1865 271444                                                                                                                Biology and Maths like horrible
www.psy.ox.ac.uk                                                                 at the end of the year.
                                                                                                                                                        weighty stones after GCSEs,
                                                                                                                                                        I was a little nervous when
                                           Unfortunately, studying            a scientific discipline and as      you shouldn’t worry too much          Oxford told me they would
                                           psychology carries a terrible      such puts a great deal of em-       about your A-level choices.           make up two thirds of what I
                                           curse: every single person         phasis on studying, criticising     The course structure also             would be studying for the next
                                           you meet will either 1) ask        and formulating experiments.        takes the wide range of appli-        six months.
                                           you if you can read their                                                           cants into account,
                                           mind, or 2) suggest that you       “your first year is                              meaning that your        Fortunately my fears were
                                           psychoanalyse them because                                                          first “year” is really   unfounded when it turned out
                                           they’re “really mental”. Fear      really a crash course                            a two-term crash         that most people were in the
                                           not, though, because the ex-       in psychology”                                   course in psychol-       same boat, and the first two
                                           perience of studying Experi-                                                        ogy, neurophysiol-       terms of the psychology course
                                           mental Psychology at Oxford                                                         ogy and statistics       are basically to get everyone
                                           more than makes up for this                                                         geared towards           up to standard and make sure
                                           slight annoyance.                  This may seem a bit daunt-          sitting first year exams known        that you are well and truly
                                                                              ing at first (especially when       as Prelims.                           ready for the cheekily eclectic
                                           The first thing that you might     your neurophysiology lec-                                                 world of psychology.
                                           notice that sets this course       turer shows you a picture of a      Though this means that your
                                           apart from other universities is   microscopic roll of protein and exams this year are a term                Though the course at Oxford
                                           that curious word “experimen-      tells you that it’s the basis of    earlier than pretty much any          is admittedly heavily scientific
                                           tal” tacked onto the front. Far    every single thought and feel-      other subject, it does afford         and you get a fair few glowers
                                           from anything sinister involving   ing you’ve ever experienced),       an entirely exam-free summer          if you ever mention Freud or
Taking an                                  putting people in boxes full of    but it’s a really excellent way     term, during which time you           Jung in tutorials (as I discov-
experimental                               snakes and electrocuting them      of making you think about           can press your nose against           ered the hard way), most of
approach to                                until they say they hate their     what you’re studying: evaluat-      library windows and leer at all       the work is essay-based and
psychology
is immensely
                                           mother, what this means is that    ing everything as you go along the suckers who didn’t take                all the tutors encourage you to
rewarding                                  Oxford treats psychology as        and taking nothing for granted psychology.                                really get involved with evaluat-
                                                                              (like the Matrix. But without                                             ing the material you’re covering
                                                                              that guy from Bill and Ted).        After Prelims, there are three        and come up with new ideas.
                                                                                                                  terms of the “Part 1” course,
                                                                              Accordingly, the University         which focuses exclusively on
                                                                              suggests that you take some         Psychology in all its won-
                                                                              sort of science at A-level and      derful forms, from social to
                                                                              while this isn’t essential, it will perceptual, ending once again         Applying
                                                                              probably be very helpful. Psy-      in exams just before summer
                                                                                                                                                        Course requirements
                                                                              chology, Biology and Maths          term. The final four terms of
                                                                                                                                                        A science at A-Level.
                                                                              should basically cover any          the course are taken up with
                                                                              background you could want           “Part 2”, which allows for            Colleges not offering Exp Psy
                                                                              for first year work, but in all     more focus on whatever spe-           Balliol, Exeter, Keble, Lincoln,
                                                                              honesty, psychology students        cific areas you’re interested in,     Mansfield, Merton, Oriel, St
                                                                              come from so many different         as well designing and running         Peter’s, Trinity
                                                                              backgrounds of subjects that        your own research project.
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                          OXFORD UNIVERSITY
132   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                            ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                          2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                      133
                                                                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                                                                                                         Sean McManus
                                                                                                                                                                         Just finished, Pembroke




FINE ART
                                                                                                                                                                         I found the ‘double life’ sce-
                                                                                                             The first year at a glance                                  nario to be pretty accurate; the
                                                                                                                                                                         distinction between college
                                                                                                             Tuition                      Assessment
                                                                                                                                                                         friends and subject mates did
                                                                                                             This takes the form of       Practical studio-based
                                                                                                                                                                         seem more pronounced as a
                                                                                                             lectures, workshops, group   work; human anatomy;
                                                                                                                                                                         Fine Art student, but at the end
                                                                                                             discussions of student       three submitted essays;
                                                                                                                                                                         of the day, I met some fantastic
                                                                                                             work as well as tutorials.   one written paper in the
                                                                                                                                                                         people through both avenues
                                                                                                                                          history and theory of visual
                                                                                                                                                                         and I wouldn’t trade my experi-
High Street, OX1 4BG (0)1865 276940                                                                                                       culture since 1900
                                                                                                                                                                         ence for anything.
www.ruskin-sch.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                         I really love Oxford, both as a
Thinking this could be the           virtually no contact with your      The Ruskin school itself is                                                                     university and a place to live.
dossy way to get an Oxford           college during the day, which       relatively small, with about
degree? Forget it. The course        you spend either at the Ruskin      twenty people in each year, but                                                                  I’m consistently impressed
is identical to other BA Fine        on the High Street, or in the       this is beneficial in many ways.                                                                by how active it is - there’s so
Arts courses in demanding            workshops. This might mean          The school has many practical
                                                                                                                                                                         much stuff going on for a city
time, motivation, and com-           that you feel you are leading       advantages – large working
                                                                                                                                                                         that’s physically not very big -
mitment.                             a “double life”, mixing with        spaces, good tutors, a lot of
                                                                                                                                                                         and always surprised by how
                                     people from the Ruskin during       visiting tutors, places to ex-
                                                                                                                                                                         little the people conform to the
Competition for places is fierce     the day and having another          hibit, college assistance and of
                                                                                                                                                                         stereotype I used to have in my
and applicants have to be fairly     social life back at college – but   course many galleries to visit in
organised to have amassed a          this is no bad thing.               Oxford and nearby London.                                                                       head.
portfolio of work early enough
in their foundation course or        Most students work hardest
                                                          The school has a friendly atmo-
A-levels to make the deadlines.      on their studio work, and meet
                                                          sphere, and no particular style.
The interview procedure is not                                    In fact, the emphasis
too daunting though, as long                                      is more on the indi-
as you are comfortable talking       “you never need to           vidual to develop their                                                                                Applying
about your own work (most            specialise if you don’t      own style, so everyone                                                                                 Course requirements
artists’ favourite subject) with                                  produces very different                                                                                No formal requirements, but it’s
four or five of the Ruskin’s least   want to”                     work and there’s less                                                                                  recommended that you have Art at
scary tutors.                                                     antagonistic competi-                                                                                  A-Level and a related arts stubject.
                                                                  tion.
The Ruskin School of Fine Art                                                                                                                                            Colleges offering Fine Art
and Drawing is a department          regularly with visiting tu-                                                                                                         Balliol, Brasenose, Christ Church,
of the university. While stu-        tors and artists who are                                                                                                            Exeter, LMH, Magdalen, New,
dents studying other courses         always on hand around the                                                                                                           Pembroke, Queen’s, St Anne’s, St
will attend tutorials within their   studios, working part-time                                                                                                          Catherine’s, St Edmund Hall, St
college, Fine Art students do        while they pursue their                                                                                                             Hugh’s
all their work within the School.    own careers. There is
Your college will, however,          room for experimentation
provide you with accommo-            in the first year, and in fact
dation and a materials grant,        the beauty of this course
whilst the Oxford University         is that you never need
reputation gains you access to       specialise if you do not
otherwise closed parts of most       want to.
museums and art galleries.           It is possible to work in
                                     all three areas – painting,
Most colleges only accept one        printing and sculpture – up
or two Fine Artists per year,        until the third year and
which can make you some-             mixing two disciplines is
thing of a celebrity. You have       very popular.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                           OXFORD UNIVERSITY
134    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                              ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                            2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                        135
                                                                                                                                          “
                                                                                                                                          Edison Huyhn
                                                                                                                                          Third-year, Jesus

                                                                       The first year at a glance


GEOGRAPHY
                                                                        Lectures                      Exams
                                                                        c. 7-9 per week.              Four written papers taken
                                                                                                      at the end of the year.
                                                                        Classes
                                                                        c. 4-6 hours per week.        Courses
                                                                                                      Earth systems processes;            When my geography teacher sug-
                                                                        Tutorials                     Human geography; Critical           gested applying to Oxford, I was a
South Parks Road, OX1 3QY (0)1865 285070                                Normally 1 per week.          thinking for geographers;           bit apprehensive to say the least.
www.geog.ox.ac.uk                                                                                     Geographical techniques.            However, now in my third year I
                                                                                                                                          can say that although it wasn’t
                                                                                                                                          what I expected, it was definitely
The emphasis at Oxford is very          statistics. This places      ‘Spaces of Capitalism’ to        velop your own preferences
                                                                                                                                          a good thing. While we covered
much on independent learning, so        the onus firmly on you       ‘Forensic Geography’, ‘Social    and specialities. You expand        some familiar topics such as
rather than being frog-marched          to structure your work-      Segregation’ and ecology.        on this by undertaking a            ecosystems, the majority of first-
around on field trips with clip-        load and allows you to                                        dissertation in the summer          year consisted of new and equally
boards, you’re given information        study at whatever times      After first year, you continue   between your second and             interesting topics such as feudal-
and left to explore and discover        suit you best. Tutors        to study core options that       third years.                        ism and geopolitics. In the second
things by yourself.                     within the Department        provide a solid base for your                                        year, we got to choose options
                                        are at the very top of       degree, but the lecture load     Many students choose to             which ranged from Environmental
People study Geography from a           their field with consis-     falls considerably, so you       go abroad for their research,       Policy to African Societies! So
wide range of academic back-            tently excellent levels of   have more scope for wider        which is an excellent oppor-        while we increased the breadth
grounds, almost any of which can        teaching, and are willing    reading and a chance to de-      tunity to get your hands on a       of our knowledge in our first year,
be useful; for example, Biology         to go out of their way to                                             University travel grant     specialisation in topics that par-
can be helpful in studying Ecology,     help you develop both                                                 and experience a new        ticularly interest us, be it physical
                                             academically and                                                 culture. Paris, Nepal,      or human geography, is possible
“the first year covers a                     personally within                                                Mexico and China are        in our second and third years.
                                             your degree.                                                     just a few of the places
range of physical and                                                                                         visited by Geography        Overall, geography at Oxford
                                                                                                              students as part of         taught me about the interrelation-
human geography”                             The first year cov-
                                                                                                              their research, and         ships between the human and
                                             ers a broad range
                                                                                                              many find they learn        physical side of the discipline. If
                                             of both physical
                                                                                                              more writing their          you’re interested in the contem-
                                             and human ge-
                                                                                                              dissertation than at        porary challenges we’re all faced
                                             ography, which
                                                                                                              any other time in their     with today, this course will provide
Maths helps with Statistics while       makes the workload                                                                                you with a good starting point!
English makes it easier to plan and     particularly varied. This                                             degree.
structure your essays. A-level work     also includes studies on


                                                                                                                      G
is often covered again in more depth    ideas within geography
and detail and no particular combi-     based around famous                                                                eography
                                                                                                                           is all about
nation of subjects at school will put   theorists in the subject
                                                                                                                      how life exists
                                                                                                                                          Applying
you at a disadvantage.                  and the chance to ex-                                                         within earth’s      Course requirements
                                        plore spaces in science,                                                      environment         No formal requirements. The
Depending on your college and the       which involves museum                                                                             university recommends studying
arrangement of your course you          trips both within and                                                                             Geography for A-Level.
can expect one or two tutorials a       around Oxford. The
week, with one essay set for each,      second and third years                                                                            Colleges offering Geography
and around ten hours of weekly          allow you to specialise                                                                           Brasenose, Christ Church, Jesus,
lectures in your first year. Most of    further by selecting an                                                                           Keble, Mansfield, St Anne’s, St
the afternoons are left free with the   option to be studied                                                                              Catherine’s, St Edmund Hall, St
exception of one, usually dedicated     each year, and can                                                                                Hilda’s, St John’s, St Peter’s,
to a practical class in mapping or      include anything from                                                                             Worcester

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                            OXFORD UNIVERSITY
136    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                               ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                             2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                         137
                                                                                                                                                          “
                                                                                                                                                          Anne Irfan
                                                                                                                                                          Just finished, Hertford
                                                                                     The first year at a glance


HISTORY (modern)
                                                                                      Lectures                          Courses
                                                                                      c. 5 per week.                    History of the British Isles;
                                                                                                                        General history; Historical
                                                                                      Tutorials                         methods; Quantification
                                                                                      Normally 1 per week.              (one of a choice of foreign
                                                                                                                        texts); Optional Subject;
                                                                                      Exams                             America in the sixteenth
                                                                                      Four written papers taken         century.                          I always loved studying history
Broad Street, OX1 3BD +44 (0)1865 277 256                                             at the end of the year.                                             at school, but I sometimes felt
www.history.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                                      frustrated by the limited topics
                                                                                                                                                          available at GCSE and A-level.
                                            History is one of the most inde-       In the first year, you take four    graduates then write a 12,000      University enabled me to look at
History is                                                                         papers, including ‘British          thesis; the only constraint
                                            pendent courses at Oxford, in                                                                                 the parts of history which really
extremely popular
                                            more than one way.                     History’ and ‘General History’      – aside from word count – is       interested me, and I felt that I grew
at Oxford, with
nearly 300                                                                                                                         that it must be        both academically and personally
undergraduates                              There is a choice about every          “you work most                                  based on indepen-      as a result. The amount of inde-
taking the course                           paper you take which gives you the                                                     dent research, so      pendent work which the course
each year.                                  opportunity to study what really       independently on                   the          the topics which       involves intimidated me at first but
                                                                                                                                   people choose          I quickly appreciated how flexible
                                            interests you. The only require-       thesis”                                         range widely.          it was and I was able to balance
                                            ment is that over the course of your
                                                                                                                                                          work with socialising.
                                            first two years, your choices must
                                            include one medieval, one early                                                        The Oxford History
                                                                                                                                   course is also in-     My favourite part of the course
                                            modern and one modern paper.                                                                                  was definitely writing my thesis
                                            Within this there is a considerable    (looking at themes in events         dependent in that it is largely
                                                                                   across Europe in a given             self-taught. You will have one    in the second term of third-year. I
                                            range across different periods and                                                                            found that many of the skills I had
                                            even places.                           period). There is also a skills      or two one-hour tutorials a
                                                                                                                                                          developed in the first two years
                                                                                   paper, where you study either        week, possibly a class, and a
                                                                                                                                                          at Oxford were now needed in a
                                                                                   a foreign text (requiring an         few lectures.
                                                                                                                                                          practical sense, to explore a topic I
                                                                                   A-level in French, German or
                                                                                                                                                          was passionate about; many of my
                                                                                   Italian), ‘Quantification’, ‘Ap-     Therefore most of your study
                                                                                                                                                          friends on the course felt the same,
                                                                                   proaches to History or His-          time is spent reading and         and topics chosen ranged from
                                                                                   toriography’; and an optional        researching independently. In     bias in the British security forces in
                                                                                   subject, which is the first op-      this respect, Oxford is one of    1940s Palestine, to the Welsh Ref-
                                                                                   portunity to draw directly on        the best places to study his-     ormation, to the abolitionist press
                                                                                   primary sources. These four          tory, because its libraries and   in the antebellum USA. I would
                                                                                   papers are examined at the           resources are so fantastic.       definitely recommend the History
                                                                                   end of the first year, although      You work most independently       course to anyone who enjoyed His-
                                                                                   your marks do not count to-          on the thesis, where most of      tory A-level and wants to explore
                                                                                   wards your final degree.             the work is independent with      their own areas of interest further.
                                                                                                                        a supervisor giving you only 5
                                                                                   The seven papers which               hours’ guidance.
                                                                                   do determine your degree
                                                                                   result are then taken over the       This might all sound daunt-
                                                                                   course of the second and             ing but it really gives you       Applying
                                                                                   third years.                         a chance to spread your           Course requirements
                                                                                                                        wings and develop your own        No formal requirements necessary
                                                                                   In the third year, you will take     interests, which is important     but it is recommended you have
                                                                                   a Special Subject, which is          in a subject as diverse and       History A-Level.
                                                                                   driven by a list of set texts        wide-ranging as History. It’s
                                                                                   and assessed by both a long          this which makes Oxford so        Colleges not offering History
                                                                                   essay (6,000 words) and              distinct and such a special       Harris Manchester
                                                                                   an exam. All History under-          place to study it.
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                             OXFORD UNIVERSITY
138   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                               ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS    139
                                                                                                                                                                             2010-2012
                                                                        JOINT
                                                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                                                                                         Oliver Ford
                                                                                                                                                         Third-year, New College
                                                                       SCHOOLS


HISTORY
Broad Street, OX1 3BD www.history.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                               I have greatly enjoyed my two
                                                                                                                                                         years (so far!) studying Ancient
                                                                                                                                                         and Modern History at Oxford.
                                                                                                                                                         Like Modern History, only more
History (Ancient and Modern)                                                     History & Economics                                                     fun and interesting, is how I
                                                                                                                                                         perceive my subject - and some
                                                                                                                                                         of my Modern Historian friends
The Ancient and Modern His-        happened, or if indeed it hap-                History and Economics is            edge across subject boundar-        even agree! Due to the some-
tory (AMH in its jargonised        pened at all!                                 the ultimate wide-ranging           ies. The course also leaves         what exclusive nature of the
form!) course is pretty much                                                     social studies course.              plenty of room for pursuing         course (there are only thirteen
the same as straight History.      A focus at all times on the                                                       individual interests. You can       other Ancient and Modernists in
                                   primary sources fosters techni-               It looks at societies at every      choose one or two further           my year) there can sometimes
In the first year, however,        cal and comprehensive skills                  stage in their development,         subjects from a choice of           be confusion about what it is I
instead of studying a period       that are applicable in many                                                       almost 50 papers and write a        do. but there is a certain pride
                                                                                 from the “birth of a nation”
of British history, an Ancient     other areas, not least of all the                                                 thesis on any subject you like.     attached to being one of the few
                                                                                 to modern state, sometimes
                                   modern papers, a considerable                                                                                         select Ancient Historians in the
paper is taken, and there are                                                    peering in closely to study the
                                                                                                                                                         University.
further Ancient options when       advantage when it comes to                    individual acts of great histori-   Because there are no labs,
choosing other papers. By the      second year and the source-                   cal figures, sometimes taking       and just three lectures a week,
                                                                                                                                                         The exhausting variety of the
time you reach finals, any-        based Special and Further                     a bird’s eye view of how entire     there’s a lot of flexibility when
                                                                                                                                                         course is perhaps its biggest
where between a third and a        subjects. The comparative                     societies are shaped by eco-        it comes to working hours –
                                                                                                                                                         selling-point, but I also love the
half of what you have studied      element is also unique, as the                nomic theory.                       you’ll have three essays a fort-
                                                                                                                                                         fact that I work on my own terms,
will have been Ancient History.    themes of Ancient History are                                                     night, but you can work when
                                                                                                                                                         and even within specific modules
                                   repeated, and the language                    But the course offers more          it suits you, not some lecturer.
                                                                                                                                                         my tutors are often willing to let
Studying Ancient History           and imagery of the ancients                   than diversity and social stud-     There is also a social ele-
                                                                                                                                                         me dictate what essays I write for
poses fresh challenges for         are (often quite nakedly) reiter-             ies. “Bridge papers” in social      ment to the course: because
                                                                                                                                                         tutorials. The respect I am shown
the historian, which can be        ated by more modern states –                  and economic history help           you share papers with more
                                                                                                                                                         in that regard differentiates Ox-
very rewarding. AMH has an         ancient history helps you look                integrate what you learn in the     people than anyone in Oxford
                                                                                                                                                         ford from my school and maybe
investigative flavour due to the   at modern history in a whole                  specialist history or econom-       – History, PPE and E&M, 700
                                                                                                                                                         even from other universities.
                                              new way.                           ics papers, and you quickly         people in total – you meet lots
“a focus on primary                                                              find yourself applying knowl-       of new people each term.
                                                                                                                                                         While the academic side of
                                             Ancient and Mod-
sources fosters                              ern History is also
                                                                                                                                                         things is always billed as the
                                                                                                                                                         priority, the AMH course is not so
technical skills”                            an attractive choice                                                                                        demanding on your time that you
                                             because the limita-                                                                                         will not be able to dive head-first
                                             tions that Modern                                                                                           into all aspects of Oxford life,
                                             Historians have                                                                                             and the lessened emphasis on
at times fragmented nature         on the papers that they can                                                                                           lectures means that staying up
of the evidence, and unlike        choose do not exist for Ancient                                                                                       long into the early hours writing
when studying Modern History,      and Modernists picking their                                                                                          music, clearing up after a play, or
the Ancient Historian must         options. Specialisation or di-                                                                                        frittering the hours away drinking
often stop to consider when        versity on an impressive scale                                                                                        coffee will not have a crippling
a potentially crucial event        are both valid options.                                                                                               effect on your degree.

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                           OXFORD UNIVERSITY
140    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                              ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                            2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                        141
                                                                                      JOINT
                                                                                                                                                                      “
                                                                                                                                                                      Ben Karlin
                                                                                                                                                                      Fourth-year, New
                                                                                     SCHOOLS


HISTORY
 Broad Street, OX1 3BD www.history.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                           Having read little, and studied
                                                                                                                                                                      even less, French literature
                                                                                                                                                                      before deciding on my course
                                                                                                                                                                      choice, I was apprehensive
History & English                                                                              History and Modern Languages                                           about opting for French at
                                                                                                                                                                      Oxford, where I pictured
                                                                                                                                                                      gown-clad tutors mocking my
History and English at Oxford      want. I’ve avoided medieval                                 History and Modern Lan-           The two subjects are studied
                                                                                                                                                                      struggles to understand some
– like most other people I         literature, for example, while                              guages at Oxford combines         alongside each other and
                                                                                                                                                                      devilishly complex text.
know doing the course, I           still taking in the history of the                          two of the University’s           combinations can come in
chose it because I couldn’t        period.                                                     oldest and most traditional       structured ways; such as the
decide between the two. Of                                                                     areas of study.                   foreign text options in first        I also wanted to study History,
course, it might be a good        However, the real strength of                                                                  year History, or they can be         and wavered between the two
idea to think of another rea-     Oxford HENG that few other                                   Choice is limited by the          personal and informal; taking        before this course basically
son for your UCAS form.           universities offer is the infa-                              requirement to take certain       an historian’s view of a work        fell into my lap via a previous
                                  mous Bridge Papers, where                                    language papers and the first-    of literature and its context,       version of this publication.
However, that initial indecisive- you study the subjects si-                                   year set texts. However, these    or reading something in your         I’ve never regretted it – be-
ness really does pay dividends. multaneously. This is really                                   have been well chosen and         chosen language for a History        sides sounding just a tiny bit
As a HENG student (as we are      enriching, and often the most                                besides the fact that they’re     essay. The only time you have        exotic when I tell people what
bizarrely known) we have an al- cutting-edge teaching you’ll                                   enjoyable to read and study,      to combine the two subjects          I do, the course has kept me
most outrageously wide choice get. Currently, you can choose                                   they also provide an excellent    is for the Bridge Essay, which       engaged and challenged as I
in modules. I’ve dropped          between ‘Writing the (Indian)                                basis for later years. Here the   you will write during your           find ways to combine the two
the Shakespeare for Salman        Nation, c. 1800 - 2000’, ‘Litera-                            literature side of the course     Year Abroad. This extended           disciplines. And the tutors, it
Rushdie, and the Tudors for       ture and the Public, c. 1350-                                (the most significant) be-        essay must, as you may have          turns out, are actually lovely.
                                             1430’, and ‘Repre-                                comes far more elastic, with      guessed, ‘bridge’ elements of
                                             senting the City, 1588                            period papers and set texts       History and the literature of        It’s hard work, but if you can
“I’ve avoided medieval                       -1640’, and options                               ranging from Medieval French      your chosen language. This is        manage your time leaves
literature while still                       are changing all the                              troubadours to modern Italian     a fairly intimidating brief but      plenty of time for other in-
                                             time.                                             cinema.                           an exciting one. The choice          terests and socialising – I’ve
taking in the history                                                                                                            of title is entirely your own        found time to play plenty of
                                                                                                                                                                      sport (largely ineptly) and serve
of that period”                               A good way to work                                                                 and topics range from poetic
                                                                                                                                                                      on my college’s student com-
                                              out whether, and why                                                               responses to the Battle of Ag-
                                              you want to study                                                                  incourt, to German literature        mittee.
                                              both English and                                                                   after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
                                              History is through                                                                                                      Oxford offers amazing op-
late nineteenth century Latin      theory: something you can find                                                                Because of the focus on              portunities and studying a
America. Scandalous, but very      in meaty books, of course, but                                                                literature, this is not a course     course with this much variety
liberating! Both faculties are     most importantly in challenging                                                               to take because you want to          and depth opens even more of
becoming increasingly inter-       your assumptions, asking your-                                                                study History but don’t want         them up to you.
national in scope, and you can     self ‘simple’ questions such as                                                               to give up your language.
connect your course choices        ‘what makes a historical novel                                                                However, it is a course that
as much or as little as you        different to historical writing?’                                                             can be very rewarding as
                                                                        Travel the
                                                                        corridors of time                                        you see more and more links
                                                                        and literature                                           between the two subjects.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                in these joint                                                                                          OXFORD UNIVERSITY
142    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                        courses! Or                                                                                        ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                         2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                     143
                                                                        something.
                                                                        JOINT
                                                                                                                                                  “
                                                                                                                                                  Hannah Cusworth
                                                                                                                                                  Second-year, Brasenose
                                                                       SCHOOLS

HISTORY &                                                                        The first year at a glance
                                                                                 Lectures                       Courses




POLITICS
                                                                                 c. 5 per week.                 Selection from History of
                                                                                                                the British Isles OR general
                                                                                 Tutorials                      history; Theories of the
                                                                                 Normally 1 per week.           State; Optional Subject;
                                                                                                                Tacitus to Weber OR
                                                                                 Exams                          another Optional Subject;
Broad Street, OX1 3BD www.history.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                        It took me far too long to decide
                                                                                 Four written papers taken      Introduction to political
www.politics.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                             which college to apply to, in
                                                                                 at the end of the year.        institutions.
                                                                                                                                                  hindsight I wish I hadn’t worried
                                                                                                                                                  so much. The more you become
H    istory & Politics is a course
     where you find out what
events and social trends cre-
                                       those that didn’t.
                                       Both sides of the degree
                                       are taught in a similar way,
                                                                                                               having a set course they want
                                                                                                               you to follow, but most people
                                                                                                                                                  involved in societies the more
                                                                                                                                                  you realise it doesn’t necessar-
                                                                                                               find that the joint honours for-   ily matter what college you’re
ated the world in which we now         there is a set of lectures                                              mula provides more freedom         at. Doing History and Politics
live and you explore what can          for each paper and you                                                  of choice, for example, you        means you have quite a lot of
be done to solve the politi-           normally have one or two                                                aren’t required to sit a me-       free time (that probably should
cal problems that confront us          tutorials a week each term.                                             dieval history paper; and for      be spent in the library) and so
today; from the fact that almost                                                                               finals there’ll probably be more   you can fit in quite a lot of other
one in three children in Britain       There’s a lot of reading to                                             options that you want to take      things around your degree.
live in poverty to the AIDS epi-       do, but tutors rarely expect                                            than space to take them.
demic in Africa.                       you to finish the reading                                               Since only around 50 students      I mainly became involved in
                                       list - that’s probably one                                              are accepted each year to read     student politics because it’s
There is a huge variety of papers      of the biggest differences                                              History & Politics, you soon get   generally more interesting help-
on offer and excellent resources       from A-Level - so don’t be                                              to know people on your course      ing to run a campaign than just
are at your fingertips for this sub-   overwhelmed by the long                                                 from different colleges and        reading about how they’re run,

                                                                                           H
ject; from hardened world-expert       lists you’re given.                                                     being part of both the History     but also because there are so
                                                                                                &P deals
tutors to a bewildering array of                                                                               department and Politics faculty    many different political societies
                                                                                                with
libraries.                             Another big change is that                                              means you get the benefits of
                                                                                           society’s                                              it’s difficult not to get involved.
                                       essays aren’t intended to                           biggest political   doing two degrees but only do
A significant number of people         be perfectly crafted pieces                         movements and       the work of one.                   Although you spend most of
take the course without hav-           of work, they’re gener-                             issues.                                                the term half exhausted you’re
ing studied Politics before, so        ally a starting point for the                                                                              shocked when you get to the
don’t think you need Politics for      tutorial discussion. But this                                                                              beginning of the vac and realise
A-Level to get in. The first-year      doesn’t mean that you can                                                                                  how much you’ve done in 8
Politics course is intended as an      get away with doing noth-                                                                                  weeks.
                                                ing - it just means
“essays aren’t                                  you shouldn’t worry
                                                if your write-ups
intended to be                                  don’t come out                                                                                    Applying
perfectly crafted”                              great every week,                                                                                 Course requirements
                                                especially in first-                                                                              No formal requirements. Although
                                                year.                                                                                             not required, having History
                                                                                                                                                  A-Level is recommended and
                                                The structure of the                                                                              subjects like Politics, Sociology
introduction and those who have        first-year course changes                                                                                  and Government and Politics
studied it for A-Level don’t nec-      slightly from college to                                                                                   could be helpful also.
essarily have any advantage over       college, with some colleges
                                                                                                                                                  Colleges not offering H&P
                                                                                                                                                  Exeter, Oriel, Somerville


       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                    OXFORD UNIVERSITY
144    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                       ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                     2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                 145
                                                                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                                                                                                         Rachel Dedman
                                                                                                                                                                         Just finished, St. John’s




HISTORY                                                                                         The first year at a glance
                                                                                                 Tuition                          Courses




OF ART
                                                                                                 This takes the form of a         Approaches to visual
                                                                                                 combination of lectures,         culture in world art;
                                                                                                 classes or discussions           Antiquity after Antiquity;
                                                                                                 as well as tutorials. There      European art 1400-1800;
                                                                                                 are also frequent trips to       Supervised extended essay              The thing that grabbed me about
St Ebbe’s, OX1 1PT +44 (0)1865 286 830                                                           museums and exhibitions.         on an image, object or                 the History of Art course at Oxford
                                                                                                                                  building in Oxford.                    was the positivity and energy of
www.hoa.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                         the department, as well as the
                                                                                                                                                                         friendly attitude of the tutors. At
                                                         History of Art is one of those       the classical. Meanwhile the        to meet, work with, and learn
                                                                                                                                                                         the open day, what was stressed
                                                         courses that combines different      ‘Approaches to Visual Culture’      from world experts and use
                                                                                                                                                                         most by one Professor was the
                                                         disciplines in a uniquely fasci-     module engages with scholarly       world-class libraries and
                                                                                                                                                                         catchphrase “If it’s visual and it’s
                                                         nating way. You’ll get to grips      theories such as style and se-      resources. It doesn’t get much
                                                                                                                                                                         interesting, we’ll have a go at it!”
                                                         with visual material while also      miotics through to the philoso-     better than this.
                                                         digesting conceptual ideas and                                                                                  I loved the excitement they clearly
                                                         critical theory: from Pliny the                                                     The year group is
                                                         Elder in the second century to
                                                                                              “you’ll have the                               small, usually only         had at the opportunities Oxford
                                                                                                                                                                         offered for studying the visual arts,
                                                         Ernst Gombrich in the twenti-        chance to meet, work                           12 people take the
                                                                                                                                                                         and I felt it too. The undergradu-
                                                         eth.                                                                                course each year.
                                                                                              with and learn from                            Weekly lectures,            ate degree is still young and is not
                                                                                                                                             then, are more like         yet bogged down by 400 years
                                                         In first-year the Antiquity mod-     world experts”                                 seminars – discus-          of tradition that it cannot change.
                                                         ule leaves you with a thorough                                                                                  Instead, the course is flexible and
                                                         grounding in the Classical tradi-                                                   sion, debate and
                                                                                                                                             questions continue          open-minded, allowing you to
                                                         tion, but goes beyond Ancient                                                                                   study anything from the Renais-
                                                         Greece by exploring the many                                                        with speakers over a
                                                                                              phy of photography.                 cup of tea after their talk. The       sance to modern advertising,
                                                         re-appropriations of the antique
                                                                                                                                  relationship we have with tutors       from Anthropology to architectural
                                                         throughout time. Picasso’s Cubist
                                                                                              From the Ashmolean to               is more personal and direct            design. The informal attitude and
                                                         aesthetic may seem to be a world
                                                                                              Modern Art Oxford to the            than in many other courses,            small year group were a world
                                                         away from the Apollonian ideals of
                                                                                              Pitt-Rivers Museum - the            and the atmosphere more                away from the stuffy atmospheres
                                                         fourth-century BC Athens, but the
                                                                                              variety of resources in Oxford      informal. We take trips around         of other Universities’ HOA Depart-
                                                         course explores the many visual
                                                                                              is remarkable, and range from       the colleges and architecture of       ments. I knew Oxford had the
                                                         and contextual connections that
                                                                                              the traditional to the contem-      Oxford as well as to exhibitions       resources, the attitude and
                                                         exist between the modern and
                                                                                              porary to the anthropological.      in London.                             the people that would make it the
                                                                                              The first year extended essay is                                           perfect place to study.
                                   The subject
                                   brings you into                                            a chance to make the most of        Additionally, in establishing
                                   contact with                                               these amazing private and pub-      the Edgar Wind Society for Art
                                   different cultures,                                        lic art collections, and research   Historians in 2009, first- and         Applying
                                   civilizations and                                          and write about any object          second-years have collabo-
                                   beliefs                                                    in Oxford you like. This could      rated to create a basis for great      Course requirements
                                                                                              be anything - even something        events, publications and an            An essay-based A-Level. Though
                                                                                              about whose cultural back-          inter-disciplinary approach to         not required, History, Art, History
                                                                                              ground you know nothing when        art.                                   of Art, English or a foreign
                                                                                                                                                                         language A-Level would also be
                                                                                              you begin. The project can be
                                                                                                                                                                         helpful.
                                                                                              daunting but ultimately you         All in all, History of Art is a very
                                                                                              should find it a rewarding and      special subject, and Oxford an
                                                                                                                                                                         Colleges that offer History of Art
                                                                                              revealing experience.               extraordinary place to study it.
                                                                                                                                                                         Christ Church, Harris Manchester,
                                                                                                                                  The city never fails to surprise
                                                                                                                                                                         St Catherine’s. St John’s, St
                                                                                              While you undertake research        and delight, and the course            Peter’s, Wadham, Worcester
                                                                                              like this, you’ll have the chance   only gets better and better.
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                            OXFORD UNIVERSITY
146   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                              ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                            2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                        147
                                                                                                                                     “
                                                                                                                                     Sonia Chandaria
                                                                                                                                     Third-year, Mansfield


HUMAN
SCIENCES
58a Banbury Road, OX2 6QS (0)1865 274702
                                                                                                                                     I chose Human Sciences because
                                                                                                                                     it was an opportunity to study
                                                                                                                                     science without spending hours
www.human-sciences.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                          in a laboratory. The multidisci-
                                                                                                                                     plinary approach to understand-
                                                                                                                                     ing humans complemented the
The course title ‘Human Sci-                                                                   depending on what options             broad range of subjects I learned
                                                                           Human Sciences                                            in secondary school, having done
ences’ does not reflect the          The course at Oxford begins           allows a            you pick but expect approxi-
diverse nature and breadth of        with the Preliminary year where                           mately 3 tutorials/classes and        the International Baccalaureate.
                                                                           scientific way of
disciplines incorporated into        you study for five papers that        understanding       some lectures on average every
                                                                                                                                     The diverse nature of the course
the course.                          provide the knowledge basis           societies           fortnight. In addition, there are a
                                                                                                                                     keeps things interesting. Lectures
                                     for the following two years. As                           few afternoons of non-examined
                                                                                                                                     incorporate numerous faculties
Tutorials and essays are quite       a fresher you study Animal Be-                            laboratory work in the first year
                                                                                                                                     from anthropology to zoology,
varied in both style and content     haviour and Physiology, Genet-                            and a visit to the Natural History    and you also visit lots of different
which makes for a very satisfy-      ics and Evolution, Anthropology                           Museum in the second year.            libraries in search of resources.
ing academic experience but          and Geography, Sociology and                                                                    I love the fact that even if there
hard work! Expect to develop         Demography and Statistical                                The tutors are generally friendly     is a small aspect of the course
many different skills ranging        Analysis.                                                 and approachable and as we are        I may not like, it’s almost cer-
from biological to sociological to                                                             quite a small faculty, you get to     tain that I will have moved on to
statistical. The course is equally The course is quite heavily                                 know them and your fellow Hu-         studying something completely
suitable for both males and        lecture loaded especially in the                            man Scientists fairly well. Due to    different in a week or two. I
females although at present, it is first two years but gets lighter                            the broad nature of the course,       would recommend the course to
largely dominated by females.      towards the end. Arguably the                               Human Scientists end up doing         anybody wanting to understand
                                   most enjoyable aspect of the                                an unimaginable range of differ-      the connections between humans
Sixth form Biology, Geography      course is the opportunity to                                ent things upon completing their      in biological and social contexts.
and Maths (Statistics in par-      write a dissertation on almost                              undergraduate degree ranging          For those thinking of applying, I
ticular) are useful but none are   anything you like while applying                            from further research, to being       would find particular aspects of
prerequisites to study Human       at least two of the various disci-                          civil servants to working with        the course that interest you and
Sciences. If you haven’t studied   plines covered over the years. In                           NGOs.                                 monitor what the media is saying
                                           addition to that, the sec-                                                                about the issue.
“the choices for the                       ond and third years are
                                           spent studying five core
option papers are very                     modules and two option                                                                    Applying
broad“                                     courses. The choices                                                                      Course requirements
                                           for the option papers                                                                     No formal requirements. Biology
                                           are very broad, giving                                                                    and Maths could be helpful for
                                           you the opportunity to                                                                    parts of the course though they
                                           specialize in something                                                                   are not required.
any of these subjects in the past  interesting.
don’t worry – the course is taken                                                                                                    Colleges offering Human Sci
by students who have often         In general, expect on average 3                                                                   Harris Manchester, Hertford,
studied totally different subjects tutorials (and therefore essays)                                                                  Magdalen, Mansfield, Merton,
to each other and by the end of    every two weeks and about 8-12                                                                    New, St Catherine’s, St Hugh’s, St
the first year everybody be-       lectures a week for the first two                                                                 John’s, Somerville, Wadham
comes ‘on par’ with each other.    years. In the final year it will vary

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                       OXFORD UNIVERSITY
148    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                          ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                        2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                    149
                                                                                                                                                                             “
                                                                                                                                                                             Dan Lowe
                                                                                                                                                                             Third-year, St Edmund Hall




LAW
                                                                                                        The first year at a glance
                                                                                                         Lectures                         Courses
                                                                                                         c. 8 per week.                   Criminal law; Constitutional
                                                                                                                                          law; A Roman introduction
                                                                                                         Tutorials                        to private law; Research
                                                                                                         Normally 1-2 per week.           skills programme.

                                                                                                         Exams                                                               Law was by no means what I had
St Cross Road, OX1 3UL +44 (0)1865 271 490                                                               Three written papers taken                                          been intending to study when I
www.law.ox.ac.uk                                                                                         at the end of the year.                                             picked my A-Levels. From the
                                                                                                                                                                             age of twelve I had wanted to
                                                                                                                                                                             study sciences, but as I became
                                                                 The first thing you notice           law student, but in some ways       validity of the State of Kosovo,
                                             Law is an intense                                                                                                               more involved in campaigning
                                                                 when you come to study law           that’s great as you get a real      Environmental, Family, Tax or
                                             course, but it                                                                                                                  and charity work, I realised that a
                                             is extremely        at Oxford is how varied the          feeling of in-the-trenches soli-    even Medical Law and Ethics
                                                                                                                                                                             social sciences degree would be
                                             varied and offers   subject is.                          darity with the other lawyers at    to name a few.
                                                                                                                                                                             far more helpful.
                                             great career                                             your college. In others ways,
                                             opportunities
                                                                 Unlike most subjects, you take       not so much, but again every        What I can’t seem to get over
                                                                                                                                                                             On starting my first module I was
                                                                 your first-year exams at the end     student at Oxford will curse        is how relevant my subject is.
                                                                                                                                                                             most certainly in for a culture
                                                                 of the second term, meaning          their workload at least once.       Sadly, I only studied Land Law
                                                                                                                                          after moving back into halls,      shock. I had a week to write a
                                                                 there’s very little time to accli-                                                                          2,000 word essay, the reading
                                                                 matise to the work schedule.         Other subjects you study            but when I next negotiate a
                                                                                                      include Administrative Law          tenancy, I won’t be so readily     list for which was about a page
                                                                                                      (less boring than it sounds, it’s   taken for a ride by the landlord   long. Nevertheless I persevered
                                                                 You begin by studying Criminal,
                                                                                                                                                     (not that I was last    and time management became a
                                                                 Constitutional and Roman law
                                                                                                                                                     time or anything…).     tacit skill.
                                                                 so in any one week you may be        “you start                                     Also European,
                                                                 writing about the importance of
                                                                 an independent judiciary, just       with Criminal,                                 Admin and Con-          The law course covers so much
                                                                                                                                                     stitutional give you    ground, in retrospect it’s a little
                                                                 how many times you have to hit       Constitutional and                             a really thorough       shocking. One week I could be
                                                                 someone before it stops being
                                                                                                                                                                             writing an essay on what hap-
                                                                 self defence or whether Quin-        Roman law”                                     grounding in politics
                                                                                                                                                                             pens if you were fooled into mak-
                                                                 tus or Primus owns a particular                                                     and public policy so
                                                                                                                                                     when the PPEists        ing a contract and at the same
                                                                 swarm of bees.
                                                                                                                                                     start nattering off     time discussing ‘what is law’ with
                                                                                                                                                     about the US consti-    my classmates, only for the next
                                                                 It’s important to mention that the
                                                                                                                                                     tution you won’t        term to poke holes in a will and
                                                                 work comes thick and fast for a
                                                                                                      about Public bodies, rather         feel isolated, though I can’t      suggest what sort of punishment
                                                                                                      than accountancy), Land Law         guarantee interested.              is suitable for people who dump
                                                                                                      (useful for when you start liv-                                        toxic waste. I couldn’t be study-
                                                                                                      ing out), Contract, Torts (per-     The last thing that’s impor-       ing a more relevant course.
                                                                                                      sonal injury and negligence,        tant to say about law is that
                                                                                                      i.e. ‘have you been injured in      you don’t have to become a
                                                                                                      an accident that wasn’t your        lawyer after the degree. In my     Applying
                                                                                                      fault?), Jurisprudence (phi-        tutorial group alone there are     Course requirements
                                                                                                      losophy), European, Trusts          aspirations for teaching, the      No formal requirements, but the
                                                                                                      (wills, that sort of thing) and     civil service and the stage.       university recommends taking
                                                                                                      two other options. The options      Nevertheless, within the law,      GCSE Maths and a mix of arts and
                                                                                                      available come from a wide          the variety of practice areas is   sciences at A-Level.
                                                                                                      range of topics, you could          huge, so no matter what your
                                                                                                      find yourself taking Public         interest, graduate opportuni-      Colleges not offering Law
                                                                                                      International and exploring the     ties are superb.                   Offered by all colleges.


      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                                OXFORD UNIVERSITY
150   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                                2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                            151
                                                                                                                                                      “
                                                                                                                                                      Femi Fadugba
                                                                                                                                                      Fourth-year, St Catz
                                                                               The first year at a glance


MATERIALS
                                                                               Lectures                           Exams
                                                                               c. 10 per week.                    Four written papers taken
                                                                                                                  at the end of the year.
                                                                               Tutorials/classes
                                                                               Normally 2 per week.               Courses
                                                                                                                  Structure of materials;
                                                                               Practicals                         Properties of materials;            It’s been a three-continent journey
                                                                               2 or 3 afternoons per week.        Transforming materials;             for me as I’m preparing to start the
Parks Road, OX1 3PH (0)1865 273 700
                                                                                                                  Maths for materials.                last year of my Materials Science
www.materials.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                      degree at Oxford. I was born in
                                                                                                                                                      Togo and moved to the US when
                                      Materials Science is obviously        Second-year largely involves          place over a prolonged period       I was four to be near my Nigerian
                                      different to any subjects you’re      studying these subjects in            of time is a real opportunity       family in the area. Our family then
                                      likely to have studied before         depth, which go on to form            to develop your own research        moved to Rwanda at which time
                                      university, so it can initially be    the four core papers which are        technique, particularly if you’re   I attended boarding school in
                                      challenging to understand all         tested in Finals at the end of        keen on further study after         the UK. I’ve found the fact that
                                      the concepts you’re taught in                                                          an undergraduate         there are only about 30 Materials
                                                                                                                             degree.
                                      your first term at Oxford.            “you’re not expected                                                      students in each year group to be
                                                                                                                                                      very welcoming. We typically get
                                      Most people, however, soon find       to know about                                    Experimental work        to know each other very quickly.
                                      their understanding of the subject                                                     makes up a big part
                                      grows quickly – students aren’t
                                                                            Materials science                                of the course regard-    Annual departmental trips and the
                                                                                                                             less of what stage
                                      expected to have any knowledge        before you arrive“                               you’re at – two or
                                                                                                                                                      opportunity to work closely with
                                      of Materials Science before they                                                                                fellow Materials students are also
                                      arrive so your tutors won’t hold it                                                    three afternoons per     hugely useful, not only in terms of
                                      against you. The first-year course                                                     week are typically       developing friendships but also
                                      is organised to provide a founda-                                                      spent on practical       in that you get to learn with fel-
                                      tion in topics such as mathemat-      the third year of the course.         work, with topics usually           low students. Unlike some other
                                      ics, crystallography and mechani-     During the third year you can         co-ordinated with the lecture       courses Materials really gives
                                      cal properties of materials. You’ll   also attend lectures on different     schedule. Students also get to      you the opportunity to constantly
                                      also study processes used to alter    advanced topics – while they’ll       go on industrial visits during      see how you’re doing, especially
                                      the properties of materials (sadly    be tested via two separate ad-        the term, giving you the chance     via practicals where you can see
                                      not including alchemy), meaning       vanced papers, questions are          to network as well as see the       the theoretical side of the course
                                      that by the end of the first year     limited to different topics and       social relevance of Materials       translated into practice. Although
                                      you’ll have covered a lot which       only a few must be answered.          Science for yourself.               the workload can be heavy the
                                      you won’t have come across at                                                                                   nature of the course makes it very
                                                                            While there is little choice in       A lot of students admitted for      rewarding.
                                      school.
                                                                            what you can study, there is          the course inevitably have a
Materials is                                                                some flexibility in advanced          loose idea about what it actu-
all about how
                                                                            papers meaning that you have          ally involves, but many go on
metals and other
substances
                                                                            the chance to branch out into         either to further study or to
                                                                            areas of specific interests. One      careers where their degree will
behave chemically
                                                                            of the strongest points of the        prove invaluable. The course        Applying
                                                                            course is the opportunity to do       offers a range of clear career      Course requirements
                                                                            a research project in your final      paths, as well as the ones          Maths as well as either Physics or
                                                                            year. A lot of students really en-    typically open to most Oxford       Chemistry at A-Level.
                                                                            joy the flexibility and individual-   graduates. If you’re looking
                                                                            ity of the research project, as       to incorporate your scientific      Colleges offering Materials
                                                                            well as the fact that they’re         knowledge into day-to-day           Corpus Christi, Mansfield,
                                                                            often exploring completely            use then you should definitely      Queen’s, St Anne’s, St Catherine’s,
                                                                            novel fields of science. The fact     consider applying for Materials     St Edmund Hall, Trinity
                                                                            that the research project takes       Science.
      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                         OXFORD UNIVERSITY
152   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                           ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                         2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                     153
                                                                                                                                                                           “
                                                                                                                                                                           Yu Gao
                                                                                                                                                                           Just finished, St Hugh’s




MATHS
                                                                                                                   The first year at a glance
                                                                                                                   Lectures                    Courses
                                                                                                                   c. 8-10 per week.           Algebra; Geometry;
                                                                                                                                               Analysis; Probability and
                                                                                                                   Tutorials/classes           statistics; Mechanics;
                                                                                                                   Normally 2-3 per week..     Mathematical methods and
                                                                                                                                               applications.
                                                                                                                   Exams                                                   My busiest day at Oxford
St Giles’, OX1 3LB (0)1865 273525                                                                                  Four written papers taken                               included 3 lectures and 1 tuto-
www.maths.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                 at the end of the year.                                 rial. The rest of the day could
                                                                                                                                                                           be packed with quite a few
I discovered my passion for             the college library, there’s the     third year counts 40% and 60%                                                                 activities. I had time to row
Mathematics at A-level. After           Radcliffe library which holds the    respectively. It is a rather steady                                                           in the morning, practice pool
3 years of sweating away                most obscene amount of books         progress compared to many                                                                     with the University team at
doing problem sheets and                which cover every branch of          other subjects whose exams are                                                                Colors, and spend my evening
brainstorming with the most             maths. Also, there’s the internet.   in their third year.                                                                          at the Oxford Union listening to
elite tutors in the world, what         Most of us have learnt that we                                                                                                     Kim Cattrall and drinking with
do I think about Maths?                 could finish the problem sheet  Looking back now, I did find                                                                       friends in the Union bar.
                                        without stepping outside our    myself working quite hard from
I am still loving it! The 3 pillars     rooms.                          time to time, and so did most of                                                                   Student-produced shows and
of support that nowhere else                                            my friends. However, don’t be                                                                      musicals are on throughout
could offer apart from Oxford                                                       put off by that. What                                                                  the year. Almost every shop
are the comical lecturers, crazily      “your project could be                      we remember most                                                                       and restaurant offers student
smart tutors, and the sheer                                                         was the brilliant times:                                                               discounts. And there’s no need
number of books stored in               anything you want”                          dressing up for bops;                                                                  to pay for gym membership
every library just for you.                                                         attending formal hall,                                                                 as sports teams are keen to
                                                                                    balls and theatres;                                                                    recruit potential candidates to
We attend lectures with math-                                                       and, heading home                                                                      train and develop your skills.
ematicians from every college.                                                      on our way back                                                                        My passion for pool was found
Depending on your options, you                                                      from a night out. So if                                                                when I started playing in our
will have different lecture time-       After all the work comes the    you enjoy a challenge, and are                                                                     college bar (we also have a
tables. But in your first year, it is   most crucial part – tutori-     looking for fun times, I would                                                                     table football and darts team).
from 11am to 1pm for everyone.          als. There are normally 2 or 3  definitely recommend a degree
Most of us take notes, although         tutes a week (with 1 or 2 other in Mathematics at Oxford!                                                                          I rowed and coxed in my 3
softcopy is also provided later         students), depending on                                                                                                            years at Oxford, even after I
on the web. Don’t expect to             how many sheets you                                                                                                                have graduated, I would say
understand everything in the            have done. Here is where                                                                                                           this is the one thing I miss
lecture, there’s always time to         all your queries, confu-                                                                                                           most!
revise the notes a few hours            sions, and misunder-
before the deadline when                standings get cleared up.
you have to start doing your            Your tutors will verbally
problem sheets. The problem             explain everything to you,
sheets are designed to comple-          which I found enormously                                                                                                           Applying
ment the course, thus the notes         helpful.                                                                                                                           Course requirements
should cover the questions on                                                                                                                                              Maths A-Level. The University
the sheet (although it may not          Mathematicians have ex-                                                                                                            also recommends having Further
be obvious at first). You may           ams every year. However,                                                                                                           Maths at A-Level if possible.
find borrowing some of the              first year’s result doesn’t
books on the recommended                count (towards your final                                                                                                          Colleges not offering Maths
reading list helpful. Remem-            result), it is more like a                                                                                                         Harris Manchester
ber, if there are not enough in         test-run. Second and

        OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                           OXFORD UNIVERSITY
154     ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
        2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                               ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                             2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                         155
                                                                      JOINT
                                                                                                                                                 “
                                                                                                                                                 Anne-Marie Imafidon
                                                                                                                                                 Third-year, Keble
                                                                     SCHOOLS



MATHS
St Giles’, OX1 3LB (0)1865 273 525
                                                                                                                                                 I always enjoyed maths and
                                                                                                                                                 maths-related subjects at
                                                                                                                                                 school as well as playing
www.maths.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                               around with computers. The
                                                                                                                                                 Maths and Computer Science
                                                                                                                                                 course at Oxford was, there-
Maths & Statistics                                                             Maths & Computer Science                                          fore, a godsend. Even better
                                                                                                                                                 was the even split between the
                                                                                                                                                 two disciplines so I didn’t have
So you’re thinking about           slightly. Maths-and-Stats-ers               Maths and Computer Sci-          all teaching in first year is
                                                                                                                                                 to sacrifice aspects of one for
Maths and Stats? Just like         must study some Probability                 ence at Oxford is a little-      done in college tutorials. In
                                                                               known but rigorous course        second year this changes         the other.
the other Mathematicians,          and Statistics throughout
Maths-and-Stats-ers fall           their degree, but are offered               with roughly 30 students in      slightly towards departmental
                                                                               a year.                          tutorials and classes and by     There are large areas of
into the gap between the           additional options in Statisti-
                                                                                                                third year most teaching is      overlap and the course has
Sciences and Arts. You             cal subjects, on top of all or
                                                                               We divide our time between       done departmentally. This        allowed me to look at these
won’t find whole days of           most of the options available
                                                                               the two disciplines almost       does however vary wildly         in depth, whilst also spending
our week spent sweating            to Maths students. In the third
                                                                               equally for the first year and   by college. There are also       time on favourites like Data-
away in labs, nor will you be      and fourth years, there’s a
                                                                               then for the following years     practicals to be done for        bases, Intelligent Systems and
lugging a suitcase of books        huge variety of options with
                                                                               are free to choose a bias        computing courses as well as     Linear Algebra. There’s a big
around.                            the opportunity to do a dis-
                                                                               towards one. The mathemati-      the normal tute sheets to be     jump from A-level, but the first
                                   sertation or your own Statis-
                                                                               cal side of the course is a      handed in.                       term of first-year eased the
What you will find is that         tics project in final year.
                                                                               subset of the course done by                                      journey and I was enjoying the
there are plenty of lectures to
                                                                               the mathematics students, as     The optional fourth year         new approaches by the begin-
attend throughout the week -       Maths-and-Stats-ers can also
                                                                               is the computing side. And       poses a slightly new system      ning of second term. Comput-
usually 2 or 3 per day. These      expect to gain exemptions to-
                                                                               whilst we only have time to      of working and has more          ing practicals also kept things
are pretty daunting at first,      wards the Actuarial qualifying
                                                                               do some courses on both          emphasis on self-study and       lively and in later years actu-
but you soon get used to just      examinations, and the course
                                                                               sides, all of them are open to   research. There is the op-       ally involved a virtual dancing
rushing to copy everything         is accredited by the Royal                                                                                    competition!
                                                                               us to do in later years.         portunity to undertake either
down and (if you’re a good         Statistics society - a great
                                                                                                                a Mathematical or Comput-
student!) thinking about it lat-   head-start to those thinking of                                                                               Getting one-to-one, in-depth
                                                                               With regards to workload,        ing Project on a field of your
er. You’ll also get set problem    a related career.                                                            choice.                          feedback on everything you do
                                                                               each week you may have
sheets, which will test your                                                   8-12 hours of lectures                                            makes all the hours you put in
understanding of the material      Because Maths and Stats is a                (mostly mornings or mostly       Further Maths and Maths          worth it. If something doesn’t
delivered, and these will form     relatively small course (around             afternoons depending on          A-level (or equivalents) are     seem to make sense, there is
the body of your work.             30 people per year), you can                which year of study you          pretty much the only require-    always someone on hand to
                                   also expect to get to know                  are in) and 4-5 tutorials (or    ments for the course al-         help.
What makes Maths and Stats         some of your fellow students                ‘tutes’) of varying lengths.     though an interest in com-
special then? For the first        - and that’s when you realise,                                               puting and logical thinking
four terms, nothing really!        even though there can, at                   Most courses ask for a tute      will definitely help you along
The course is identical to the     times, be a fair amount of                  sheet every other week; each     and enhance the experience.
straight Maths course, which       work, you’ll find Maths-and-                demands roughly 3 hours of       Previous programming expe-
consequently makes it easy         Stats-ers getting involved                  study and each question is       rience or awareness is also a
to switch between the two          in sport and drama, student                 explained and discussed at       big help, but plenty of people
courses. After the fourth term,    politics, journalism, and more,             length at the corresponding      pick these skills up as they
the courses start to diverge       right across the University.                tutorial or class. Normally      proceed in the course.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                   OXFORD UNIVERSITY
156    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                      ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                    2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                157
                                                                                         JOINT
                                                                                                                                                                         “
                                                                                                                                                                         Tim Williams
                                                                                                                                                                         Fourth-year, Merton
                                                                                        SCHOOLS

MATHS &
                                                                                                               The first year at a glance
                                                                                                               Lectures                    Courses




PHILOSOPHY
                                                                                                               c. 8-10 per week.           Algebra; Analysis; Elements
                                                                                                                                           of deductive logic;
                                                                                                               Tutorials/classes           Introduction to philosophy.
                                                                                                               Normally 1-2 per week..
                                                                                                                                                                         I did this course since I really
                                                                                                               Exams                                                     enjoyed mathematics but didn’t
                                                                                                               Four written papers taken
St Gile’s, OX1 3LB (0)1865 273525 www.maths.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                     want to do it all of the time.
                                                                                                               at the end of the year.                                   I didn’t mind writing essays,
Merton St, OX1 4JJ (0)1865 276926 www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                         and so Maths and Philosophy
                                                                                                                                                                         was the best of both worlds.
Maths and Philosophy offers           any way to get out of Russell’s       Theory, or indeed anything else                                                              I enjoyed maths at A-level,
genuine variety, as they span         paradox?’ lie at the heart of         that you dare to try! Philoso-                                                               although I was more than happy
the arts-sciences divide,             mathematical philosophy.              phy finals exams are all sat at                                                              to say my goodbyes to statistics
although you’ll find the two                                                the end of third year, although                                                              and mechanics. I particularly
subjects have much in com-            The workload between the two          Maths finals are split over the                                                              enjoyed the overlap of the two
mon.                                  subjects is divided fairly evenly.    second and third, which means                                                                subjects, especially trying to get
                                      Sometimes you will need to be         that (unlike the arts students)                                                              my head around various logical
You must be able to do math-          proactive to ensure coordina-         you have to suffer exams every                                                               paradoxes.
ematics (admissions tutors will                                                        summer.
                                                                                                                                                                         It took me a while to get to grips
base most of their decision on
this); if you are happy research-
                                      “the two subjects                                Sometimes the
                                                                                                                                                                         with what a good philosophy es-
                                                                                                                                                                         say looks like, and indeed what
ing and writing essays, and           actually have a lot in                           pedantic approach                                                                 good mathematics looks like as
find yourself talking about life,                                                      taken by both sub-
the universe and all that after a     common”                                          jects, combined with
                                                                                                                                                                         well – don’t panic, this is what
                                                                                                                                                                         the first year is for!
glass of wine, then more likely                                                        the abstract topics
than not the philosophy will                                                           involved, can prove                                                               In a typical week, I have about
take care of itself.                                                                   a little frustrating.                                                             ten maths lectures, and two
                                      tion between both sides of the        However, at its best, Maths                                                                  maths problem sheets and one
Many of the people who do             course – but this gives you           and Philosophy is imagina-                                                                   philosophy essay to do for tu-
this course will not have done        extra flexibility. If you think you   tive, inspiring, challenging and                                                             torials in each. Tutorials can be
any philosophy before, which          would like to do a fourth year or     rewarding – and the only equip-                                                              intense, but are often rewarding.
can make it difficult to decide       postgraduate studies in maths,        ment a maths and philosopher                                                                 I usually find my terms get franti-
whether it is likely to be for you.   then be sure to pick your op-         needs is a pencil and paper!                                                                 cally busy, not just with work,
Philosophy tends not to be            tions carefully: you will get the                                                                                                  but all the other things to do –
emotive or metaphorical, since        chance to do any of the pure                                                                                                       there is always something going
                                                                                                                                                                         on to interest anybody.
it is a precise venture where         maths options available in the
much turns on subtle shades           straight maths course, but you
of meaning – but there is still       will not do any applied maths
much scope to be creative and         at all.
imaginative within philosophy.                                                                                                                                           Applying
                                      In your first year you will get a
                                                                                                                                                                         Course requirements
It is a good idea to be interest-     general introduction to philoso-                                                                                                   Maths A-Level. You don’t
ed in the overlap between the         phy and logic, and from there                                                                                                      have to have Further Maths at
two subjects: which includes          the full spectrum of philosophy                                                                                                    A-Level, but the university would
the philosophy of mathematics,        options is available to you. You                                                                                                   recommend that you do.
and a hefty slice of mathemati-       will be well equipped to tackle
cal logic. Questions such as          some of the more technical                                                                                                         Colleges not offering Maths &
‘What is a number?’, ‘Do              courses such as Logic and                                                                                                          Philosophy
mathematical truths have a            Language, or the thematic op-                                                                                                      Lincoln, Oriel
special status?’, and, ‘Is there      tions such as Ethics or Political
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                           OXFORD UNIVERSITY
158    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                              ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                            2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                        159
                                                                                                                                                                    “
                                                                                                                                                                    Danielle Fraser Solomon
                                                                                                                                                                    Second-year, Queen’s




MEDICINE
                                                                                                             The first year at a glance
                                                                                                             Lectures                   assessments) taken at the
                                                                                                             c. 10-12 per week.         end of the year.

                                                                                                             Tutorials/classes          Courses
                                                                                                             Normally 2-3 per week..    Organisation of the
                                                                                                                                        body; Physiology
                                                                                                             Exams                      and Pharmacology;
                                                                                                             Four written papers (and   Biochemistry and medical    On arriving at Oxford I had an-
South Parks Road, OX1 3PL (0)1865 221689                                                                                                                            swered the question ‘Why medi-
                                                                                                             three computer-based       genetics; Patient/Doctor
www.medicine.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                                               cine?’ so many times at interview
                                                                                                                                                                    that I had lost all sight of what
Studying Medicine at Ox-            85% of applicants are usually      usually a mixture of lectures                                                                the genuine answer was. To be
ford is a very unique experi-       successful. For some people,       and practicals between 9am                                                                   honest, my real motivation was
ence. Unlike a lot of medical       this is a much appreciated op-     and 2pm combined with a                                                                      quite simple. I wanted to be a
                                                                                                                                                                    doctor. Most medics that I meet
degrees, the Oxford degree          portunity to go and experience     couple of tutorials a week.
                                                                                                                                                                    from every university feel exactly
is split into three clear divi-     life at another medical school,    However, this still leaves you
                                                                                                                                                                    the same way, which can make it
sions; the first two years,         and the group of medics who        with a fair amount of free time,
                                                                                                                                                                    very difficult to choose between
known as First BM, consist-         join the Oxford clinical school    and medics always manage to                                                                  the different medical schools.
ing of the scientific basis         from Cambridge are always a        be well represented in every                                                                 Applying to Oxford, however,
to medicine, the third year         welcome addition!                  sports team, musical group,                                                                  turned out to be one of the best
research degree, and three                                                        drama production                                                                  decisions I have ever made.
years of clinical school at the     “most medics                                  and extra-curricular
John Radcliffe Hospital.                                                          activity, and also have                                                           The fact that we study the
                                    subscribe to the                              very healthy social                                                               scientific basis of medicine in
Years one and two provide an                                                      lives.                                                                            such detail makes the Oxford
insight into the scientific basis
                                    ‘work hard, play hard’                                                                                                          medical degree both unique and
behind medicine which most          philosophy“                                   The Medical Society                                                               incredibly interesting, and I found
people find incredibly interest-                                                  is one of the most                                                                our research year to be the best
ing, and although First BM                                                        popular subject soci-                                                             part of the course so far. I have
involves far less patient contact                                                 eties in the university,                                                          also really appreciated the time
than the first two years of most                                                  with its own welfare                                                              we are given to get to grips with
                                                                                                                                                                    medicine before being unleashed
other medical courses, it is a      Unlike the preclinical course,     provision, sports teams and
                                                                                                                                                                    on patients. It’s not all work,
brilliant foundation to the three   most of the clinical years are     even an annual ball. Overall,
                                                                                                                                                                    either. Something I’m particularly
years of clinical study. The        spent at the John Radcliffe and    medics tend to subscribe to the
                                                                                                                                                                    looking forward to is taking part
Medical Sciences degree taken       other District General Hospi-      ‘work hard, play hard’ philoso-                                                              in the annual medics’ pantomime
in the third year involves a        tals, learning via rotations in    phy, something which generally                                                               next year!
research project and the study      various specialisms.               leads to an absolutely unforget-
of a chosen aspect of science.                                         table six years.
The scope of this part of the       Although studying medi-
course is far less broad than       cine often comes across as
the first two years, allowing       quite a daunting prospect                                                                                                       Applying
medics to study their area of       – both due to the length of
                                                                                                                                                                    Course requirements
interest in a lot more depth.       the course and the amount                                                                                                       Chemistry A-Level and Maths,
                                    of work required – most                                                                                                         Biology or Physics. It’s a good
During third year, medics have      medics would agree that                                                                                                         idea to check with admissions
to apply to the Oxford, Cam-        it’s not as bad as you think                                                                                                    tutors at your chosen college for
bridge and London clinical          it’s going to be! The level                                                                                                     more details.
schools. Although no Oxford         of contact time is much
student is guaranteed a place       higher than that required                                                                                                       Colleges not offering Medicine
at the clinical school, around      for many other degrees,                                                                                                         Harris Manchester, Mansfield
                                                                   Medicine is a
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                           challenging but                                                                                           OXFORD UNIVERSITY
160    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012                                                   exceptionally
                                                                                                                                                                        ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                  161
                                                                   rewarding course
                                                                                                                                                                     “
                                                                                                                                                                     Leonore Sagan
                                                                                                                                                                     Fourth-year, Wadham
                                                                                                    The first year at a glance
MODERN                                                                                              Lectures                       Courses




LANGUAGES
                                                                                                    c. 3-6 per week.               Practical language work;
                                                                                                                                   LInguistics options
                                                                                                    Tutorials/classes              (phonetics, general
                                                                                                    Normally 2-3 per week..        linguistics, grammar) OR
                                                                                                                                   Single language options
                                                                                                    Exams                          (Introduction to film             Greek & Philosophy
                                                                                                    7 or 8 written papers taken    studies, literary theory etc.).
Wellington Square, OX1 2JF (0)1865 270750                                                           at the end of the year.                                          I am a Londoner, but have lived
www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                                               in both Greece and Spain in the
                                                                                                                                                                     past. I went to the Broomfield
Studying Modern Languages at             practise grammar on the computers
                                                                                                                          European and Middle                        School in North London and then
                                                                                  English is the                                                                     did my A-Levels at the Latymer
Oxford is about so much more than        and your listening skills too, if you    sort of subject                         Eastern Languages                          School in Edmonton.
just learning how to speak them.         so choose in your spare time.            where you can
                                                                                  take your work                          EMEL offers the chance to study two        After dreading the ‘Oxford experi-
In fact, it could be said, that that     Your average week as a linguist          anywhere                                often very different languages, as well    ence’ and obsessing over the
particular part of the course doesn’t    consists of several lectures, transla-                                           as different cultures, literary and his-   stereotypes, I became immersed
really take priority until your third    tion and grammar classes and                                                     torical traditions, art and architecture   in Oxford life in the very first term
and fourth years, when you get the       literature tutorials. In comparison                                              from two separate continents. In the       and became SU President at
chance to go abroad for a year and       to most arts students, linguists                                                 first year, the Middle Eastern language    Wadham College in my second
then are preparing for your final ex-    get quite a lot of contact time with                                             is taught from scratch through regular,    year. I also seized one of the many
ams. Instead, the main focus for the     various tutors. This can be annoy-                                               intensive language classes. The            opportunities in Oxford to study
first two years of the course is on      ing if you are the only arts student                                                                                        abroad, and participated on an
                                                                                                                          European language follows a similar
literature. The Modern Languages         to have a 9am class that day, but                                                                                           exchange programme to Sarah
                                                                                                                          pattern to the Modern Languages
course at Oxford is therefore ideal      it’s also nice because it means                                                                                             Lawrence College in New York
                                                                                                                          course. The year abroad may be taken       where I focused on the oral nature
for students who love speaking dif-      you spend a lot of time with fellow                                              in the second or third year and usually
ferent languages and also love read-     linguists.                                                                                                                  of African American women’s
                                                                                                                          involves the academic year in one          writing.
ing and discussing literature. Tutors                                                                                     country and two summers in the other.
often say that it’s only by reading      Your year abroad is up to you to
                                                                                                                                                                     Having left my dislike of logic be-
the literature of a foreign language     organise and can be an incredibly                                                Modern Languages                           hind me in my first year, I am now
that you will gain a true understand-    exciting and rewarding time. It’s                                                                                           particularly interested in Political
ing of that language. There’s nothing    also a good break from Oxford life                                               and Linguistics                            Theory, contemporary women’s
like a novel for giving you an insight   before returning for Finals. Most lin-                                                                                      writing in Greece, and Greek and
into how people at a certain point in    guists will do a teaching assistant-                                              Linguistics is the study of language,     European Cinema. Having applied
history felt, acted and lived.           ship or go to univer-                                                             and you’ll find that anyone you speak     to a variety of universities for a
                                         sity abroad, but some                                                             to about the subject can’t really         number of courses (from law to
In the first year the course is quite    also do internships                                                    help but be fascinated by it. At Oxford, you         English) I am glad I decided on
strict and you don’t have much           and work placements                                                    can study Linguistics alongside any of the           philosophy and modern languag-
choice in terms of options, but in       and pretty much all                                                    languages offered by the Modern Language             es, as it has given me the flex-
the years after that there are loads     come back having                                                       Faculty, apart from Czech and Polish at the          ibility I need to pursue my many
of options ranging from European         thoroughly enjoyed                                                     moment. It’s important to note that Linguistics      fascinations.
cinema to Linguistics and there’s the    themselves and hav-                                                    is taught from scratch – you aren’t expected to
chance to write an extended essay        ing made some great                                                                                                         I have spent an exciting sum-
                                                                                                                have any prior knowledge of the subject other
and focus on an area that particu-       friends. It’s a unique                                                                                                      mer working for an MP and some
                                                                                                                than anything you’ve read for fun or found           political campaigns, and look for-
larly interests you. The libraries are   opportunity when                                                       interesting! The Modern Language element is          ward to returning to Oxford to dive
excellent, stocking every kind of        compared to other                                                      very similar to the full Modern Languages de-        into some medieval epic poetry.
book you could want. As well as          courses, and gives                                                     gree in that it is split between language and lit-
newspapers and magazines in for-         you a fantastic insight                                                erature, but is obviously only half the workload     I hope to go on to study Inter-
eign languages, there’s a foreign film   into the countries                                                     – you’ll find that you do the same amount of         national Relations and maybe
library, and there’s also a very mod-    where your language                                                    language work as the full Modern Languages           embark on a career in politics.
ern Language Centre where you can        is spoken.                                                             degree but only half of the literature.
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                       OXFORD UNIVERSITY
162    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                          ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                        2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                    163
                                                                                                                                                “
                                                                                                                                                Jasper Minton-Taylor
                                                                                                                                                Second-year, St John’s




MUSIC
                                                                              The first year at a glance
                                                                              Lectures                       practical exam taken at the
                                                                              c. 4-6 per week.               end of the year.

                                                                              Tutorials/classes              Courses
                                                                              Normally 1-2 per week..        Issues in the study of
                                                                                                             music; special topics;
                                                                              Exams                          Musical analysis;                  I was surprised by the freshness
St Aldate’s, OX1 1DB +44 (0)1865 276 125                                      Three written papers, a        Techniques of composition;         of the course at Oxford and by
www.music.ox.ac.uk                                                            ‘take-away’ paper and a        Keyboard skills; option.           the diversity of subjects on offer
                                                                                                                                                to study. Applying was the most
                                                                                                                                                daunting thing I ever did, but
To be a musician at Oxford is        treat it critically.                  dents perform outside of the      projects and optional modules      that’s because I didn’t know any-
to be infinitely special. Stu-       Ethnomusicology, the study of         degree all the time; in choirs,   ranging from the history of        one going there or who had gone,
dents from other disciplines are     the music of other cultures, is       orchestras and chamber            jazz to the psychology of mu-      and didn’t read such things as the
awe-struck by your performing        also compulsory in the 1st-year,      ensembles.                        sic form a typical profile. This   alternative prospectus.
ability, your grasp of complex       and, as above, trains the critical                                      year there was even a course
musical terms, and the fact          academic voice and helps you to       After the first year, four        on the Beatles!                    Oxford is such a vibrant place
that you get to study a subject      see music in a different light.       compulsory modules and four                                          that most of the stereotypes and
where art, and high art at that,                                           optional modules make up the      So, whether traditionalist or      myths surrounding the university
is the principal focus. Well,      The tutorial system adds a lot to       BA Hons course. Interesting       adventurist, throw aside any       are false. Don’t be put off, the
something like that anyway.        the character of the music course       compulsory history modules,       pre-judgements you may have        only thing tutors care about is
                                   at Oxford. Every music student          analysis, musical thought         – Oxford has heaps to offer        your passion for the subject and
The music course, like most other gets at least two tutorials a week,      and scholarship, extended         for the musically-minded.          your academic potential. If you
university music courses, is set   where a three-, two- or one-on-                                                                              enjoy your subject and do well
                                                                                                                                                academically, that is more than
for the first year, which you have one meeting with a tutor allows
                                                                                                                                                enough reason to apply.
                                          you to debate and ponder.
“the syllabus at Oxford At most colleges, every                                                                                                 Try and do further listening (which
                                          music student gets a piano
is at once traditional                    (electric or upright) in their
                                                                                                                                                you probably do anyway), read
                                                                                                                                                around the subject if you can,
and surprisingly                          room too.                                                                                             and make sure that the essays
                                                                                                                                                you write to give in are on areas
forward-looking”                            If following the perfor-                                                                            of music you feel confident about
                                            mance options, you also                                                                             talking on. Usually those subjects
                                            get £220 a term for instru-                                                                         are ones which you find interest-
                                            mental lessons. Although                                                                            ing. Good luck!
                                            performing doesn’t form a
to pass with 40% to get on to the    huge part of the degree, Oxford is
BA Hons course. Unlike many          an intensely musical city, and stu-
other 1st-year music courses,
the syllabus at Oxford is at                                                                                                                    Applying
once traditional and surprisingly                                                                                                               Course requirements
forward-looking.                                                                                                                                Music A-Level is essential and you
                                                                                                                                                might find studying another essay-
Keyboard skills and techniques                                                                                                                  based subject is also helpful.
of composition form part of the
former characteristic. Although                                                                                                                 Colleges not offering Music
difficult, these disciplines help                                                                                                               Balliol, Corpus Christi, Harris
you to approach music prop-                                                                                                                     Manchester, Keble, Mansfield,
erly, and both appreciate it and                                                                                                                Oriel, Trinity, Wadham
                                                                                                                                 The extra-
                                                                                                                           currcular music
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                  OXFORD UNIVERSITY
                                                                                                                           scene in Oxford
164    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012                                                                                                                is thriving
                                                                                                                                                     ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                   2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                               165
                                                                                                             “
                                                                                                             Leonie Northedge
                                                                                                             Fourth-year, St John’s


ORIENTAL
STUDIES
Pusey Lane, OX1 2LE +44 (0)1865 278 200
www.orinst.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                             Because it’s unusual, I often get
                                                                                                             asked why I chose to do Arabic.
                                                                                                             It’s a mix of reasons – I thought it
                                                                                                             would be interesting, and enable
                                                                                                             me to travel. I liked the idea that
                                                                                                             I would be able to study lots of
It’s a faculty with an admit-        off. Classes are always small –   Oxford’s approach does have           different disciplines (literature,
tedly arcane name, but don’t         fewer than 10 students – which    its peculiarities: for example, al-   history, religious studies, anthro-
think Oriental Studies is an         means plenty of opportunity to    most all the courses include the      pology, etc.) rather than be limited
obscure choice. It encom-            ask questions or get help.        study of both the modern and          to studying literature like you
passes degrees in a diverse                                            classical forms of languages.         often are in European languages.
range of Middle and Far              Degrees in modern languages       But it’s possible to tailor your      Although I’d never been to the
Eastern languages – and just         also include a substantial pe-    degree towards your interests         Middle East and didn’t speak any
because you didn’t do any of         riod of study-abroad time. It’s   through options and writing a         Arabic when I started, I’ve loved it
these at school doesn’t mean         definitely one of the most excit- dissertation on a topic of your       all the way through.
choosing them for university         ing parts of an Oriental Studies  choice. For many students,
is a crazy idea!                     course. Despite the challenges    an undergraduate degree in            The year abroad which I spent
                                     which will inevitably crop up in  Oriental Studies can feel like        in Damascus, Syria, was defi-
Anyone with an interest in lan-                                                  it’s only the beginning:    nitely one of the highlights. As
guages and a desire to develop                                                   unfortunately after four    well as studying and volunteering
a more global outlook should         “this is a degree that                      years you still won’t       in Damascus I travelled all over
                                                                                                             Syria and the Middle East. Getting
consider Oriental Studies. All of                                                be quite fluent! But
these degrees – which include
                                     makes you stand out                         whether you develop
                                                                                                             back to Oxford is a bit strange,
                                                                                                             but enjoyable as I’ve been able
Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Egyp-      from the crowd”                             a life-long passion or      to pursue my interests, taking
tology, Hebrew and Jewish                                                        turn your attention         courses in modern Middle Eastern
Studies, Ancient Near Eastern                                                    elsewhere once you          history and anthropology, as well
Studies, Sanskrit, Chinese                                                       graduate, a degree in       as preparing to write a disserta-
and Japanese – offer great           far-flung lands, it’s some of the Oriental Studies will give you a      tion. The most important thing is
language skills and the chance       most fun you’ll have at univer-   great university experience and       to be genuinely interested in the
to explore many aspects of a         sity, with great opportunities    a degree that makes you stand         subject, and that will show in your
culture.                             to explore the country you’re     out from the crowd.                   interviews.
                                     studying in and to make friends
While the various degrees of-        you’ll never forget.
fered in Oriental Studies differ
substantially from each other        Being immersed in a                                                     Applying
(see the faculty website for         language is an incredibly                                               Course requirements
details of syllabuses) they typi-    effective learning method,                                              No formal requirements, but a
cally start in the first year with   and the knowledge you                                                   language would be useful.
intensive language study and         gain from your year abroad
some introduction to a region’s      can be applied to more in-                                              Colleges offering Oriental
history and society. Starting        depth study of the culture.                                             Studies
a language with little resem-        Oriental Studies degrees                                                Balliol, Christ Church, Harris
blance to your own is certainly      mostly include courses in                                               Manchester, Hertford, LMH,
a challenge, but the intensity of    a number of disciplines,                                                Mansfield, Pembroke, Queen’s, St
study (with perhaps 10 hours         which can be both en-                                                   Anne’s, St Catherine’s, St Hilda’s,
a week of language classes           joyable and frustrating.                                                St John’s, University, Wadham
as well as homework) will pay        It should be noted that        Your year abroad
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                            will take you to                                    OXFORD UNIVERSITY
166    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                    the heart of your                              ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                 2010-2012
                                                                                                                                             167
                                                                    subject
                                                                                                                                                                          “
                                                                                                                                                                          Sanjay Nanwani
                                                                                                                                                                          Third-year St Peter’s


PHILOSOPHY,                                                                                                 The first year at a glance
POLITICS &
                                                 PPE
                                                                                                            Lectures                     Courses
                                                                                                            c. 6-8 per week.             All three branches of


ECONOMICS
                                                                                                                                         PPE are studied in equal
                                                                                                            Tutorials/classes            measure during the first
                                                                                                            Normally 2-3 per week..      year.
                                                                                                                                                                          PPE was an obvious choice for me
                                                                                                                                                                          from the start. Two years on, I have
Merton Street, OX1 4JJ 01865 276926 www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk                                                 Exams
                                                                                                                                                                          never looked back. The course is
Broad Street, OX1 3BD www.politics.ox.ac.uk                                                                 Three written papers taken
                                                                                                                                                                          as fulfilling as its name suggests:
Park End Street, OX1 1HP www.economics.ox.ac.uk                                                             at the end of the year.                                       late morning lectures (emphasis on
                                                                                                                                                                          ‘late’), and the exceptional Social
PPE at Oxford has a                 mented by Oxford’s brilliant        PPEists have gone on to excel                                                                     Science Library (be it its architec-
reputation for being a tough        online catalogue of journals        in business, charity, medicine,                                                                   ture, resources or staff).
nut to crack. There is some         and other electronic resources.     art, finance, and of course,
truth to that. Over the             As Oxford’s biggest and most        academia. Indeed, there is even                                                                   Every day I continue to admire and
years, however, you will be         popular course, the sheer num-      a Wikipedia article dedicated to                                                                  be inspired by intelligence, drive
equipped with the world’s           ber of PPEists means that there     listing notable Oxford PPEists.                                                                   and achievements of those around
finest sledgehammer, and            is never anyone too far away        There is genuinely no template                                                                    me, not only my friends but also
leave savouring the unique          who shares the joys, and sym-       or mould for a ‘typical’ PPEist;                                                                  my lecturers and tutors (who often
texture and rich flavour of the     pathises with the challenges,       everyone - from the nerdy to                                                                      are the very authors of the course’s
tasty nut inside.                   of the course. Social butterflies   the cool (with the caveat that                                                                    core texts). And I continue to be
                                    out there will be delighted to      they are not mutually exclusive,                                                                  impressed by how little people
The course structure is as flex-    know that the many lectures         in true PPE style) - is welcome.                                                                  conform to the Oxford stereotype.
ible as it is wide. In your first
year you will devote equal time     “there is no ‘typical’                       That you have read                                                                       PPE is what you make of it, in
to each of the course’s three                                                    this far is a reasonably                                                                 more ways than one. I have
branches; when you pass your        PPE-ist; everyone is                         good indicator of your                                                                   thoroughly relished the indepen-
                                                                                                                                                                          dence that comes with studying
Prelims (for which you either       welcome”                                     determination. That’s
                                                                                                                                                                          a social sciences degree, but it of
get a Distinction, Pass or Fail),                                                a good start. PPE at
you may choose to drop one of                                                    Oxford is a refreshing                                                                   course demands responsibility and
the three branches or continue                                                   course that promises                                                                     discipline. If you fancy an educa-
with all. The workload remains      and classes you can choose to       much, and then delivers as                                                                        tion that is enriching, stimulating
the same either way, and every-     attend (or not) present count-      promised. Whether you fancy                                                                       and rewarding, this is a world of
one still graduates with a PPE      less opportunities to meet          sweetened or salted nuts, the                                                                     opportunity that awaits you.
degree.                             fellow PPEists from across          aftertaste is always deeply
                                    the university. Most lectures in    satisfying...
A love for reading is certainly     your first year take place in
                                                                                                                                                       Not all PPE-ists
handy, to put it mildly. With an    the hallowed Examination
                                                                                                                                                       are aspiring
                                                                                                                                                                          Applying
average of two essays (and          Schools on the High Street,
                                                                                                                                                       politicians        Course requirements
tutorials) a week, the volume       where the acoustics and
                                                                                                                                                                          No formal requirements. While not
of work is demanding but            setup provide for a condu-
                                                                                                                                                                          required to apply, Maths and/or
always manageable. While a          cive learning environment.
                                                                                                                                                                          History A-Levels could be helpful.
background in any of the three
subjects (or Mathematics)           Not all PPEists are aspir-                                                                                                            Colleges not offering PPE
is certainly useful it is by no     ing politicians (though                                                                                                               Offered by all colleges.
means a prerequisite.               admittedly those with
                                    such ambitions are in no
The Social Science Library and      short supply). The op-
Philosophy Library have all the     portunities go far beyond
materials you could possibly        Westminster, Wapping or
want and these are comple-          Whitehall. Generations of
       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                            OXFORD UNIVERSITY
168    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                               ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                             2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                         169
                                                                                         JOINT
                                                                                                                                                                                  “
                                                                                                                                                                                  Neil Dewar
                                                                                                                                                                                  Fourth-year, Exeter
                                                                                        SCHOOLS



PHILOSOPHY
Merton Street, OX1 4JJ (0)1865 276 926
www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk
                                                                                                                                                                                  I was thinking of doing Physics,
                                                                                                                                                                                  but was tempted by something
Physics & Philosophy                                                                                          Philosophy & Modern Languages                                       like PPE; when I looked over
                                                                                                                                                                                  the page in the prospectus
Physics & Philosophy offers a         the first-year maths gets put to      up to you in fourth year – some   Philosophy and Modern            to watch the film adaptation       and saw Physics & Philosophy,
useful get-out to the terminal-       good use in quantum physics,          physics options and a free pick   Languages is the perfect         of the book? As with the other     it seemed like a great way of
ly indecisive, preventing you         thermal physics and electro-          of the philosophy faculty’s of-   choice for anyone who has        languages taught at Oxford,        covering my bases.
from ever needing to make             magnetism; then in third-year,        ferings, from which you can do    multiple and varied interests    the departments are hives of
that difficult arts/sciences          you choose your physics from          pretty much whatever you like.    and not willing to compromise    activity, often host to lectures   I was a bit concerned about
choice.                               a selection of topics covering                                          between them.                    from the most distinguished        the reputed workload, but it’s
                                      atomic physics, condensed-        There’s a fair bit of work in-                                         poets, authors and critics in      actually fine – I’ve still had time
In first-year physics, you’ll study   matter physics, general relativity,
                                                                        volved, and you’ll have the rare      The language aspect of the       the world. As for philosophy,      to do plenty of extra-curricular
classical mechanics, special          laser physics and more.           joy of experiencing both 9am          course consists of language      you’ll often be taught by those    stuff, make friends, go out and
relativity, and a whole bunch of                                        lectures and late-night essay         and translation classes          who have written the very          generally enjoy Oxford. To see
maths. The philosophy side cov-       The second- and third-year        crises. However, the practical-       where you get to work in         books you’re quoting from.         if the course is your cup of tea,
ers logic; a grab-bag of things                                                     work demon has            small groups; this is perfect                                       it’s worth having a look at a
like free will, mind & body,                                                        much less impact on       for meeting people study-        The year abroad is spent in        couple of pop physics books
knowledge and identity; and           “Physics & Philosophy                         Phys-Phil’s than on       ing the same course as you       any country where your re-         before you apply, especially
your first bit of the philosophy      is a great course with                        their poor straight-      from across the colleges.        spective language of study is      since a lot of them will stray
of physics, in the shape of a                                                       physics counterparts.     The literature and philosophy    spoken. It’s almost completely     over into the philosophy; look-
(surprisingly bitchy) 17th-cen-       a lot of depth”                               Only three days have      aspects of the course are both   up to you what you choose to       ing at pop philosophy won’t
tury dispute over the nature of                                                     to be spent under-        based on lectures and weekly     do: from working, to study-        hurt either.
space and time. In second year,                                                     ground in the physics     tutorials. Tutorials become      ing at a university abroad, to
                                                                                    labs, and you get that    discussions with peers, where    simply living the gap year you     For all that it seemed a strange
                                                    philosophy is       out of the way in your second         you can choose what to read      wish you’d taken (while learn-     mix when I first came across
                                                    rolled together:    year (though if you want more,        next, or, perhaps you’d prefer   ing the language of course).       it, I’m really glad I applied for
                                                    you’ll do more      then there’s the option of a                                                                              Phys/Phil: at no point in the
                                                    philosophy of       practical project later on).                                                                              last two years have I thought
                                                    physics (on spe-                                                                                                              that there’s another course I’d
                                                    cial relativity and Although (and perhaps because)                                                                            rather be studying.
                                                    quantum phys-       there tend to only be one or two
                                                    ics), philosophy    Phys-Phil’s per college, there’s
                                                    of science, and     a strong sense of community
                                                    some more gen- among the Phys-Phil’s across
                                                    eral philosophy.    the university.                                                                                           Applying
                                                    There’s also the
                                                                                                                                                                                  Colleges not offering Phys &
                                                    option to do any All in all, Physics and Philosophy
                                                                                                                                                                                  Phil
 Science and art                                    random philoso- is a course with a lot of depth to
                                                    phy paper you       it; if you want to know how the                                                                           Keble, Lincoln, Jesus, St Anne’s,
 come together
 in this unique                                     want. Finally,      Universe is bolted together, it                                                                           Mansfield, Merton, Pembroke,
 subject
                                                    everything is       could be the course for you.                                                                              Harris Manchester

        OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                                   OXFORD UNIVERSITY
170     ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
        2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                       ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                                     2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 171
                                                                                   JOINT                                                                           Applying
                                                                                  SCHOOLS                                                                          Course requirements



PHILOSOPHY
                                                                                                                                                                   No formal requirements. You
                                                                                                        The first year at a glance                                 may find it useful to have taken
                                                                                                        Lectures                      Courses                      Religious Studies for A-Level,




& THEOLOGY
                                                                                                        c. 6-8 per week.              Introduction to Philosophy   however.
                                                                                                                                      (General philosophy, moral
                                                                                                        Tutorials/classes             philosophy, logic); plus     Colleges not offering
                                                                                                        Normally 1-2 per week..       two or three options from    Philosophy & Theology
                                                                                                                                      Theology.                    Balliol, Brasenose, Corpus
                                                                                                        Exams                                                      Christi, Exeter, Hertford, Lincoln,
Merton Street, OX1 4JJ (0)1865 276 926 www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk                                          3 or 4 written papers taken                                Magdalen, Merton, New, St
St Giles’, OX1 3LW (0)1865 279 790 www.theology.ox.ac.uk                                                at the end of the year.                                    Anne’s, St Catherine’s, St
                                                                                                                                                                   Edmund Hall, St Hilda’,St Hugh’s,
                                                                                                                                                                   Somerville, University, Wadham
The study of Theology at             Your Philosophy modules       The course is very flexible,
Oxford certainly isn’t solely        can avoid religious topics,   which means you have a
targeted at those who                looking at individual thinkers,
                                                                   lot of choice over when to
believe, nor those want              questions surrounding the     work. Usually you’re given
the facts concerning the             philosophy of mind and        two essays per week, one
religions they are studying.         its relation to the body,     for Philosophy and one for
One of the best things               science, art and literature.  Theology. Only having a week
about it is that your studies        The Philosophy department     to do essays means that you
challenge faith and provoke          in Oxford is the largest in the
                                                                   need to manage your time
debate on many issues.               UK, and contains many of the  effectively, but this doesn’t
                                     leading thinkers in the world.mean you need to spend all
That said, if you really want        The Theology department       your time working!
to challenge orthodoxy, from         is smaller, but still teaches All the good points of
religious teachings on morality      a wide range of options       Theology apply to this course,
to the intellectual credibility of                                            and the first two
faith in a god at all, it may be     “Physics & Philosophy                    terms are spent on
that Philosophy and Theology                                                  exactly the same
is more the degree for you.          is a great course with                   papers, but it carries
Studying these subjects              a lot of depth”                          the extra rigour of
together helps bring new                                                      additional analysis.
insights to each. It also allows                                              It suits those whose
complementary developments                                                    interest is in doctrine
in your analytical and logical       including non-Christian       and its analysis and defence,
skills, along with a huge range      traditions.                   and in the philosophy of
of specific skills, all of which                                   religion, rather than primarily
are popular with graduate            Applicants for Philosophy and the historical and literary
employers.                           Theology will be required to  aspects of the subject.
                                     send in two essays
In this subject you can              and will also have
analyse and criticise the            to sit a written test
claims of religion – a great         of one hour when
opportunity to take stock of         they come up for
your own faith, if you are a         interview. This tests
believer, and a stimulating          your analytical skills
exercise in the application of       and you can get
theory for any philosopher.          a specimen test
However, by combining the            from the colleges’
two courses, you have a huge         admissions offices.
range of flexibility of study.

       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                                     OXFORD UNIVERSITY
170    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                        ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                                      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                  171
                                                                             The first year at a glance
                                                                             Lectures                       Courses
                                                                                                                                                “
                                                                                                                                                Alice Taylor
                                                                                                                                                Just finished, Jesus
                                                                             c. 10 per week.                Classical mechanics




PHYSICS
                                                                                                            & special relativity;
                                                                             Tutorials/classes              Electromagnetism & circuit
                                                                             Normally 2-3 per week.         theory; Mathematical
                                                                                                            methods I; Differential
                                                                             Practicals                     equations, waves & optics;
                                                                             Normally 1 day per week.       Astronomy; Complex
                                                                                                            analysis; Quantum ideas.
                                                                             Exams                                                              The physics course at Oxford is
                                                                             Four written papers, a short                                       not exactly an easy ride and when
Parks Road, OX1 3PU (0)1865 272200                                           paper, satisfactory lab                                            I came here, especially not having
www.physics.ox.ac.uk                                                         record.                                                            done Further Maths, I was some-
                                                                                                                                                times overwhelmed by the huge
The physics course in Oxford is       is a weekly lecture from one of                                                                           leap from what I’d done at school.
                                                                                                        (whether it’s the three- or four-       Fortunately, having tutorials every
unlike any other because from         the researchers here, so you                                      year course) you do a research          week ensured I was up-to-date
the word go you study phys-           learn about cutting-edge topics                                   project in your field of interest. In   on work and I got used to the
ics directly with world-class         in physics.                                                       first year you do one day in the        workload very quickly, loved what
researchers. This means that                                                                            lab every week, working with a          I was learning, and found plenty
straight away you get to know         In second-year the course is sim-                                 partner through an experiment,          of time to have fun and forget
someone who might be work-            ilar, but with less maths, allowing                               with demonstrators there to help        physics.
ing on the Large Hadron Col-          you to get to grips with some                                     you out!
lider at CERN or analysing data       exciting physics like quantum                                                                             I’ve been involved in student
from the Hubble telescope.            mechanics, and providing you                                                                              political societies, dabbled in
                                                                                                        Some people love labs and               bringing science and art together
                                      with a strong knowledge base                                      others get through doing the
Receiving feedback on your work       that allows you to go on into any                                                                         at my college’s arts society and
                                                                                                        bare minimum, but you do get a          spent a lot of time taking advan-
on a weekly basis in tutorials,       branch of physics. In the third                                   choice of experiments, and it’s         tage of Oxford’s nightlife. In col-
and having the chance to probe        and fourth years you then get                                     a great way to sample different         lege you have the chance to meet
experts with questions on work        to specialise further and study                                   fields, using lasers in the optics      the brightest people from every
you find difficult, confusing or      particle physics, astrophysics or                                 lab, high field magnets in general      field, encouraging discussion and
fascinating allows you to ad-         whatever grabs your attention at                                  physics and solving complicated         debate on any topic, so you’re
vance at an amazing pace.             a really advanced level.                                          equations in computing labs.            not always focused on physics (if
                                                                                                                                                you don’t want to be)! Also there
The first year of the course is       For physics you have to apply                                                                             are university or college societ-
                                                                                                        This teaches you skills essential
roughly 50% maths to give you         to either the three-year BA or                                                                            ies for whatever you’re interested
                                                                                                        if you hope to carry on in physics      in. I’ve not been left bored for a
the techniques you need for the       the four-year MPhys course, but                                   research, industry, IT or the huge
rest of the course, but you also      don’t worry as you really don’t                                                                           second and have loved studying
                                                                                                        range of other fields available to      my subject to the highest possible
get to study electromagnetism         have to make this decision until                                  Oxford physics grads!                   standard.
                                              the beginning of third
                                              year. Many people find
“you get to learn                             it easier to apply to the                                                  Physics puts you
                                              MPhys as then your stu-                                                    in touch with the
about cutting-edge                            dent loan is already guar-
                                                                                                                         way the universe       Applying
                                                                                                                         functions
topics in Physics“                            anteed if you decide stay                                                                         Course requirements
                                              for the fourth year, and                                                                          Physics and Maths A-Level
                                              it’s very simple to switch                                                                        are both essential to apply. It’s
                                              to the BA if you decide                                                                           recommended but not required
and special relativity amongst        the MPhys isn’t right for you.                                                                            that you have the Mechanics
                                                                                                                                                modules in Maths and/or Further
other subjects, so don’t worry
                                                                                                                                                Maths.
if you’re keen on getting to the      Along with lectures and tutorials
more ‘physicsy’ stuff. Another        you have practical labs in the first
                                                                                                                                                Colleges not offering Physics
great part of the Oxford first year   three years and in your final year                                                                        Harris Manchester, Pembroke


       OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                  OXFORD UNIVERSITY
174    ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
       2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                     ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                   2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                               175
                                                                                                                                                           “
                                                                                                                                                           Richard Williams
                                                                                      The first year at a glance                                           Just finished, Trinity




THEOLOGY
                                                                                       Lectures                        Courses
                                                                                       c. 4-6 per week.                Christian creation; study
                                                                                                                       of religions; Old Testament
                                                                                       Tutorials/classes               texts; New Testament
                                                                                       Normally 3-4 per week.          texts; Church history;
                                                                                                                       Introduction to philosophy;
                                                                                       Exams                           New Testament Greek;                Initially I didn’t think I’d end up
                                                                                       3 or 4 written papers taken     Biblical Hebrew; Classical          studying Theology. I considered
                                                                                       at the end of the year.         Arabic; Pali.                       History, Languages, and Oriental
41 St Giles, OX1 3LW +44 (0)1865 270 790                                                                                                                   Studies; but I realised that since
www.theology.ox.ac.uk                                                                                                                                      it was the religious elements in
                                                                                                                                                           these subjects that interested me,
                                           “Oh, so you want to be a                nese monasteries. That said,       In the second and third years        I decided to go straight to the
                                           priest?!” This dreaded ques-            the course here is traditional     you specialise in either Bibli-      source and explore in depth how
                                           tion, the bane of the theolo-           and you take plenty of classes     cal studies, Church history or       religious minds and movements
                                           gian’s social life, is usually met      on the Bible and the history       another religion, with ad-           work.
                                           with a resounding “no”.                 of Christian thought. While        ditional helpings of whatever
                                                                                   this rigorous and compulsory       else catches your eye. This          Picking which ‘track’ I’d take was
                                           While there are, indeed, ministry-      groundwork isn’t all fun and       allows you to concentrate            difficult. I really enjoyed Biblical
                                           minded types among our ranks,                                                           your expertise in       studies here, as the historical criti-
                                           the subject offers a refresh-                                                           one particular field,   cism and literary analysis encour-
                                           ingly wide range of dispositions        “theologians are an                             while also continu-     ages fresh appraisals of every
                                                                                                                                                           text. However, in the end I opted
                                           among its students, be they ag-         extremely diverse                               ing with the more
                                                                                                                                                           for Religious Studies and special-
                                           nostic, atheist, liberal Christian or                                                   general courses in
                                           ardent proselytiser. The theolo-        breed”                                          the Gospels, Old        ised in Hinduism. There were only
                                                                                                                                                           two people in my year who took
                                           gians, then, are an unpredictable                                                       Testament texts,
                                                                                                                                                           this option and my teaching was
                                           and extremely diverse breed. The                                                        early doctrines, and
                                                                                                                                                           one-to-one, allowing me to really
                                           above, perennially-posed ques-                                                          issues in modern        focus on what I found interesting. I
                                           tion is pretty much the only cross      games, there’s something           Christian theology.                  covered some fantastic scriptures,
                                           we bear, and the perks of the           there for everyone: after all, it                                       ritual possession ceremonies, and
                                           subject more than make up for it.       does cover over three thou-        While the course is engineered       the history of Tantric orgies. Good
                                                                                   sand years of human devotion       to provide you with a compre-        times. The work here is rigorous,
                                           The oldest subject in Oxford            alone, and the God-talk could      hensive sense of the subject at      but the journey from ignorance to
                                           (and, indeed, the world), Theol-        go on forever - literally. First   large, the Oxford system also        an informed position is immensely
                                           ogy covers a lot of ground, from        year work (Prelims) varies col-    allows room for you to cultivate     satisfying.
                                           Anglo-Saxon missions to Chi-            lege to college, according to      your personal interests and
                                                                                   the interests of your main tutor. angles of approach. So, every-
                                                                                   This could include introductory    one will have to take the paper
                                                                                   work to the Old and New Tes-       on modern thought, but it’s          Applying
                                                                                   taments, early Church history,     very much up to you whether
                                                                                                                                                           Course requirements
                                                                                   or the doctrine of Creation, but   you focus on doctrinal ques-
                                                                                                                                                           There are no official requirements,
                                                                                   also involves a language, and      tions of sin and hell, or histori-
                                                                                                                                                           but an A-Level in Religious
                                                                                   most theologians go through        cal enquiries into the person
                                                                                                                                                           Studies would be useful, and
                                                                                   the fast-paced course in Bibli-    of Jesus, or the relevance of
                                                                                                                                                           perhaps a combination of arts
                                                                                   cal Greek.                         liberation theology today. In        subjects.
                                                                                                                      ‘one’ topic, then, your disci-
                                                                                   We take our exams before Eas- pline will re-focus every week,           Colleges offering Theology
                                                                                   ter, so your first summer term     from literature, to philosophy,      Christ Church, Harris Manchester,
                                                                                   in Oxford is spent (weather        to history, to anthropology.         Keble, Lady Margaret Hall,
                                                                                   permitting) lapping up the                                              Mansfield, Oriel, Pembroke,
                                                                                   sunshine by the river, or, for the Theology may be the oldest           St John’s, St Peter’s, Trinity,
                                                                                   really keen, learning Hebrew.      subject, but it’s far from dusty.    Worcester

      OXFORD UNIVERSITY                                                                                                                                               OXFORD UNIVERSITY
176   ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
      2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                 ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS
                                                                                                                                                                               2010-2012
                                                                                                                                                                                           177

				
DOCUMENT INFO