Academic Life

Studying at Hertford College

What does it involve? 

The Oxford Tutorial – what is it?

The tutorial system is one of the hallmarks of Oxford University teaching. Visiting students highlight tutorials as one of the most rewarding aspects of their time abroad.  This is because a tutorial is an intensive and very personal form of teaching, lasting for an hour at a time and based upon independent study.  It is intellectually stimulating, effectively developing a student’s analytical abilities and enabling students to pursue their own particular interests in a topic. Learn more about how we teach.

To find out about the various form tutorials can take you can investigate the online version of the book The Oxford Tutorial, ‘Thanks you taught me how to think, (edited by David Palfreyman and published by Thanet Press) or seek out a hard copy of the book in Blackwell's Bookshop.

How many tutorials will I have a term?

Visiting students have the same programme of tutorials as full time Oxford undergraduates. During the 8 week term each student has 12 one hour tutorials. These are divided into two sets which cover two different subject topics. For example, a student might choose to do a primary tutorial in English Literature and a secondary tutorial in Philosophy.  The primary set will consist of 8 tutorials and the secondary set will consist of 4 tutorials. Unlike our regular undergraduates, visiting students do not have to take exams.  The Tutor for Visiting Students is responsible for your academic studies and will help you choose your tutorial topics.

How big is a tutorial group?

Our regular undergraduates are taught in groups of two or three and often this is the case for visiting students as well.  However, as visiting students may have less background in a subject than our own students (due to the difference in the degree systems betwen Britain and other countries), a tutor may choose to give visiting students a one-to-one tutorial.

Who are the tutors?

Your tutors will be college employed academics from across the university. Click to read more about Tutors teaching Visiting Students

Faculty lectures and special lectures

As a registered visiting student you are entitled to attend all lectures within the university.  As well as subject lecture lists, Dr Reynell will guide you to the Special Lectures (Hilary Term 2018).

These lectures usually take place at 5pm and are open to the whole university.  They are often given by leading public figures or by eminent academics from the University of Oxford and UK and International universities.


As a registered visiting student you will be given a university card which gives you access to the main university library,  Bodleian Library, as well as to the faculty libraries and to Hertford College library. During your first week in Oxford you will be given special library inductions showing you how to use the libraries and how to access on-line journals and resources.

Hertford Library

University Libraries


At the end of each term the subject tutors write a report for each visiting student, in the same way that they do for Oxford undergraduates.  The report comments on the effort that the student has put into their work and assesses that student’s total progress throughout the term.  An overall percentage mark, together with an alphabetical grade, is given for the term’s work which includes both the essays written and the student’s contribution to tutorial discussions. These reports are typed up by the International Programmes' Office into a transcript which is sent back to each student’s home university for accreditation.

The grades you get as a visiting student go onto your transcript. You should check with your home university as to whether the grades also feed into your GPA as this varies from institution to institution.


The amount of credits you are awarded for your academic work depends upon your home university so you need to check this with your study abroad office.  In general, you gain one credit per tutorial so at the end of each Oxford term you are awarded 12 credits. 

What students can study and list of Tutorials

The September Seminar in the Humanities