Academic work as a Visiting Student

Study at Oxford

The academic year at Oxford is divided into three terms: Michaelmas (early October to early December); Hilary (early-mid January to early-mid March), and Trinity (late April to late June). Each term comprises eight weeks of tuition but you are expected to arrive in the week before term begins. There are two five-week long vacations between the three terms. Spending a full academic year at St Hilda's College will give you the opportunity to gain as much as possible from the intellectually stimulating and academically challenging environment of the University of Oxford. Visiting Students do not sit University examinations but your progress at St Hilda's will be closely monitored with termly reports from your tutors which will be discussed with you and a college examination in June. The grades you receive during your time at Oxford are converted for accreditation at your home institution.

Choosing a course to study

Immersion in your chosen course(s) is a particular strength of Oxford teaching and learning. As a Visiting Student you will be asked to choose up to two complementary courses from this list: Both courses chosen must relate to your current studies at your home institution. You will then study one specific module (called a 'paper') in each of the two courses in each term.

Academic schedule and independent study

A unique aspect of learning and teaching at the University of Oxford is the world-renowned tutorial system. As well as attending lectures and classes, you will engage with your academic work within the tutorial system which is intellectually challenging, stimulating, and hugely rewarding.

You will typically attend a tutorial every week, or bi-weekly, for each class or paper you are studying. A tutorial usually lasts one hour, and each tutor either sees students individually or in pairs. It is a highly concentrated hour of discussion and debate, for which you will have prepared in advance. Your tutorials are supplemented by lectures, sometimes group tutorials and possibly laboratory practical classes, as appropriate, which are run by the University and will include students from across the University.

To make the most of this particular way of learning, you will need to be very motivated, organised and prepared. You will develop your independent study skills and learn to debate and defend your ideas. You are expected to undertake a considerable amount of independent study and research to prepare for your tutorials, which could include readings, research, essay writing and problem solving. For each of your tutorials you will be expected to independently prepare either an essay on a set topic, or a problem set (depending on the course) or another kind of assignment and you will discuss these during the tutorial. Your tutor will generally provide you with a reading list or other guidance to help you get started. 

Transcripts and grades

At the end of your time at St Hilda’s we will produce a transcript, based on the reports of the tutors who have taught you over the year, and any college examination you have taken, which we will send to you and your home institution. Your home institution will allocate and award you academic credit and a final grade for the work that you have done at Oxford. Please note that Visiting Students are not eligible to receive a degree or diploma from the University of Oxford and do not sit formal University examinations.

How to apply

To apply for a place at St Hilda's as a visiting student for the 2024/25 academic year, please complete the application form and send it to by 9am on Monday 25 March 2024.

Please don't hesitate to email with any questions.