What can I study at Hertford?
At Hertford, visiting students can study courses within the humanities and social and political sciences. Your main source of teaching and learning will be through our tutorial system.
Courses on offer
Very broadly, visiting students can study within the following subject areas:
- Humanities and social and political sciences: You won’t be limited only to the subjects we offer to our regular undergraduates. We don’t, for example, offer History of Art to our full-time undergraduates, but we can arrange teaching in this subject for visiting students.
- Human Sciences: Some courses from this syllabus are available to visiting students, such as anthropology, sociology, conservation, human ecology, health, disease and cross-cultural perspectives on gender.
- Mathematics: Some courses – such as linear algebra, differential equations, real analysis and statistics – are available for visiting students who have a very solid background in the subject.
Unfortunately, we do not organise tutorials for visiting students in the natural sciences, management or business. At Hertford, we encourage you to choose from the courses we teach as part of our degree courses to our own undergraduates. You can find out more about these courses on the undergraduate subjects page.
If you have a particular interest in a course not listed here, we can also see if there is someone researching that area within the University who would be happy to teach you. The Director of the Visiting Student Programme at Hertford, Dr Josephine Reynell, can help and advise on course choices. This is particularly important if you want to study a topic to help you prepare for a senior year thesis.
We suggest that you consult with your home university academic advisors before you choose subjects to study, in order to ensure that they fit with your degree requirements. It’s often a good idea to choose topics that link with your major so that you have a good body of background knowledge to bring to your studies here.
In your application form, you will need to choose two subjects to study in tutorials per term. If at this stage you are unable to narrow this down, do not worry. Although we need to know at the application stage what major topic you want to pursue (e.g. History or Politics), the exact topic can be narrowed down in discussion with the Director of the Visiting Students Programme once you have been accepted.
Tutorial topics previously studied by visiting students
Anthropology: Anthropology of Capitalism, Anthropology of Development, Anthropology of Trauma, Medial Anthropology, The Anthropology of Emotion.
Classics: Augustine in Latin, Aristotle in Ancient Greek.
Economics: China in the Global Economy, Development Economics, The Financial Crisis, Money and Banking.
English Literature: Arthurian Legend, Literature 1760-1830, Victorian Literature, Poetry of T.S. Eliot, Female Friendship in English literature, Modern American Feminist fiction, African American Writers before the and during the Harlem Renaissance, Toni Morrison, Post-colonial Literature, Modern British Drama, Shakespeare (Comedies, Tragedies, Histories), Jane Austen, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, the Romantic Poets, Creative Writing (short stories, drama, journalism, poetry), Literature and Psycho-analysis.
Geography: Urban Geography, Geography of the Environment, Human Geography.
History: Medieval History – The Age of Bede, British history 1330-1550, Intellect and Culture in Victorian Britain, Women, Gender and the Nation, Britain at the Movies,Witchcraft, French Revolution and Empire, The Near East in the Age of Justinian and Mohammad, Nationalism and Politics in Ireland, Global 20th Century History.
History of Art: Baroque Art, Women, Art and Patronage, Leonardo Da Vinci, Gothic Art, The Impressionists, the Pre-Raphaelites.
Human Sciences: Health and Disease, Statistics for Human Sciences, Biological Conservation, Demography, Human Ecology.
Law: (for students who have a law background) Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Human Rights Law, Competition Law, Roman Law, Trust Law.
Mathematics: Ordinary Differential Equations, Analysis, Calculus of Variations.
Music: Hip Hop, Music of Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Music and Capitalism.
Philosophy: Meta-ethics, Aristotle – Nichomachean Ethics, Knowledge and Reality, Hume,Philosophy of Social Science, Post Structural Philosophy, Hobbes, Kant.
Politics: Politics in the Middle east, Politics of Europe, Theory of Politics, Political Thought – The Soul of the 20th Century, International Relations, Latin American Politics, Political Thought, Political Sociology, Social Policy.
Sociology: Sociology of Industrial Societies, Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Education.
Theology: Old Testament Studies.
Please note that these are just some examples and not an exhaustive list of what you can study.
September pre-sessional seminars
These seminars make the fall term option comparable in substance and duration to an American semester. You will arrive in Oxford at the beginning of September to participate in the seminars which last for four weeks and which are academically rigorous experiences. Additionally, seminar participation helps you to familiarise yourself with the libraries, the University and the town and to become familiar with the expectations of University tutors prior to your tutorials, which commence in October.
The History Seminar
This is for students who apply via the College of William and Mary, Arcadia College of Global Studies or IFSA, for the fall semester only. You will participate in a seminar on the History of Modern Britain, run at Hertford College and led by Dr Aurelia Annat and Dr Luke Blaxill. Over the course of four weeks the seminars will map the broad pattern of political, cultural and social change between 1815-2015. The course is essentially chronological in structure, but also examines three complementary, intersecting themes and the academic debates surrounding them. These include 1) the changing character of politics, 2) the relationship between citizen and state, 3) changing subjectivities around class, race and gender. Discussions are stimulating and the seminar will give you a firm grounding in British political and cultural history from the 19th – 21st centuries. During the 4 weeks you will either write one essay of 4000 words, or two short research essays of 2000 words each, on a topic related to the syllabus material. The seminar is opened with a formal welcome dinner at Hertford. At the end of term all seminar participants get together for a traditional English cream tea hosted at Hertford College.
The September Humanities Seminar
This is for students who apply via Arcadia College of Global Studies or IFSA, for the fall semester only. The seminar is run jointly by Hertford and Worcester Colleges. The aim is to encourage you to think about why and how we study the humanities. The seminar’s organising theme is ‘Other Minds’. You will consider the way texts from various periods and cultures grapple with the problem of imagining the consciousness and experience of others, as well as critically examining the practices that the humanistic disciplines use to approach this issue. During the four weeks you will write two short research essays of 2,000 words each on a topic related to the syllabus material.
Instruction is led by faculty from the departments of Classics, English Language & Literature and Medieval & Modern Languages. Different tutors will teach each week of the course, providing a chronological sequence that moves from the idea of the ‘barbarian’ in ancient texts to the problem of representing consciousness in the modernist narrative. One of the highlights is a theatre trip to see a Shakespeare play performed either in London or Stratford-Upon- Avon. The Seminar is formally opened with a formal welcome dinner held at Worcester. At the end of term all seminar participants get together for a re-union traditional English cream tea hosted at Hertford College.
Residential life and pastoral care for seminar participants
If you are enrolled at Hertford College for either of the September seminars you will be accommodated in our undergraduate accommodation adjacent to the River Thames and Christ Church Meadow. You can take meals in our main dining hall. The halls of residence have fully-equipped kitchens to enable you to do your own cooking if desired. September is outside of full term but you will be welcomed and looked after by Hertford undergraduates who work with college as Residential Advisors. Dr Reynell, The Director of the Visiting Student Programme, is available in college for any students who want help or a friendly chat. The Visiting Student Administrator, Emma Budd, is also available together with other members of the Academic Office team.