The Oxford Semester

Academic Excellence in a Traditional Setting


Undergraduate Program-Application Open Until October 10!

Launched in 1995, the Center for Global Education's most prestigious program is the Oxford Semester. Each semester, organized with our partner in Oxford, a small group of high achieving Mason undergraduate students are selected to study as affiliated students at one of a variety of University of Oxford colleges, alma mater of presidents and prime ministers.

The individualized attention of the tutors is still the most remarkable aspect of my experience. It is unbelievably flattering and inspiring to have a tutor so dedicated to your own individual academic pursuits when you are the only one in the class! - Fall 2013 Participant

2009 Group

2011 Oxford Semester Participants on Excursion to Hampton Court Palace

The Academic Experience

Participants in this program learn through Oxford's unique tutorial system. The tutorial system gives participants unparalleled individual attention through weekly one-on-one, or one on two, meetings with an Oxford scholar. Each student is guided through an intellectual exploration of their chosen discipline. Tutorials are similar in structure to intensive directed reading courses or graduate independent studies at George Mason University.

Tutorials are offered in the social sciences, theoretical sciences, business, and the humanities. During tutorials, students are expected to do substantial independent library work and periodically produce written essays and oral presentations.

At the close of the program, participants produce a portfolio of their work. The portfolio consists of an essay reflecting their experience and copies of their tutorial work.

During the fall semester (Oxford's Michaelmas term), the experience begins with a course taught by the Academic Director. During the spring semester (Oxford's Hilary term), the experience ends with this course.

Oxford Campus
The Oxford Semester semester program is a tradition unlike any other at Mason.

The course taught by the GMU Academic Director will be enhanced by visits to museums or sites related to the course topic. Topics will change each semester based on the Academic Director's expertise and discipline.

"I gained too many skills to enumerate through my work in the program. Research skills, writing skills, analytic skills and time management skills are among some of the many practices that the program was able to help me hone."

Eligibility and Application Procedures:

The Oxford Semester program is the Center for Global Education's most competitive and reputable study abroad program. It is only open to Mason undergraduate students with a 3.50 and above GPA, or Mason Honors Program students and University Scholars with a 3.30 and above GPA. If you fall into one of these categories, then you are an excellent candidate to compete for the opportunity to study for a semester at the prestigious University of Oxford.

Besides a complete online application, additional application materials are due in the Center for Global Education Office by September 26, 2014 for the spring 2015 term and February 23, 2015 for the fall 2015 term.

Application materials

* Patriot Web copy of transcript
* Two academic letters of recomendation from George Mason University Professors. Professors should use their department letter head and write about their experience with your sense of inquiry and intellect. This is a research and writing intensive program. Any details relating to those areas are ideal. Ask your professor to put the reccomendation letter in a sealed envelop with his or her name written across the seal. Collect the recomendations. Submit to the Center for Global Education.
* Writing sample - no more than five pages
* Autobiographical essay/statement of academic purpose (500 words) - This should include why you think you would benefit from the Oxford tutorial form of instruction.
* Four proposed tutorials with description (about four sentences long for each proposed tutorial)
* Oxford Petition for Resident Credit form - You need a couple of weeks to complete this form. You will need to have your tutorial topics completed to do this.
* Two official passport size photos - identical and on photo paper

Collect and sumbit these materials to the Center for Global Education, Johnson Center Room 235. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Post Acceptance

* Oxford Housing Preference form
* Copy of the information page of your passport
* Copy of the front and back of your health insurance card, valid for the course of the program
* $2,500 Deposit (deducted from the final program fee)

Other Activities and Details

While abroad at Oxford, students have a complete Oxford experience because they are directly affiliated with one of the school's individual colleges. As an affiliate, students can take part in the college's social, intellectual, and athletic activities. Examples include playing rugby, rowing on the crew team, or singing in the college choir.

If admitted to the program, fall semester participants leave for England in late August. This arrival date allows program participants adequate time to settle into living quarters and complete the academic director's course, an upper division course accompanied by field trips. Professor Julie Christensen is the fall 2015 Academic Director.

Once the regular Oxford term starts in October (terms are shorter and more intensive than George Mason's), each student will take two primary tutorials.

Spring semster participants leave in early January. The regular Oxford term (tutorials) will start immediately. Each student takes two primary tutorials. Tutorials end in early March and are then followed by a three week course taught by the Academic Director. Professor John O'Connor is the spring 2015 Academic Director.

Undergraduate students earn a total of 15 hours of George Mason resident credit - 3 hours for the course taught by the academic director and 6 hours for each tutorial.

Returning students are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about CGE's Oxford Semester Program. Several alumni have gone on to do graduate work abroad.

Tutorials--I'm a fan of the tutorial system. I kept having to pinch myself that I was actually part of a college and could study at the Bodleian--awesome! There was always something interesting going on--lectures, theater, music, etc.

I further refined my research capabilities. Learned to change the way I structure essays. In the past I tended to take notes, highlight, gather all the knowledge, my thoughts, sit down and just write. Go back and edit it later. I have now learned to add a step prior to writing. I now organize my thoughts on to paper. I do not like outlining, as I will invariably stray from it, but by preparing my notes into tidbits I want to use, I can seamlessly add in quotes or references on the fly.

Academic Director

The spring 2015 Academic Director is Dr. John O'Connor, Professor, New Century College

The fall 2015 Academic Director is Dr. Julie Christensen, Associate Professor and Chair, Modern and Classical Languages


Late August 2015 - Mid-December 2015

Tentatively January 13 - April 12, 2015

You should plan to leave the United States at least one day prior to the program start date to arrive in Oxford for arrival day, the first day of the program. You can schedule your return to the United States from Oxford for the last day of the program or choose to travel independently.

Do not purchase international airfare until you are advised by your Program Officer.

Program Fee

Spring 2015 Semester fee $19,995
The Center for Global Education Program Fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Cultural visits
  • Excursion to London
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation
  • Administrative services in Oxford and at George Mason University

Mason students may also financial aid to cover a program's cost. Discuss this with your financial aid counselor early in your study abroad planning process.

How to Apply

Consult the How to Applysection for detailed instructions.

Start by completing the online application. Pay the $200 registration and processing fee.

Note that all supplemental documents are required by the application deadline except the copy of your passport and health insurance card. Incomplete applications will not be considered. You should collect all your supplemental application documents and submit them to the Center for Global Education after you have completed your online application.

Contact the Program Officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.

*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.