Liberal Arts tutorial courses

• meet with your tutor every week

• just one or two students in your tutorial

• develop independent study skills

• stimulating, detailed discussions

Liberal Arts Tutorial Courses in Oxford

St Clare’s tutorial classes are modelled on the Oxford and Cambridge tutorial system. This means each tutorial is a small class of one or two students that meets weekly with the instructor or tutor.

The tutorial is designed to encourage the student to take an active role in learning and to develop skills in self-directed and independent study. It provides the student with an opportunity to discuss particular topics in considerable detail with the tutor.

The role of the tutor is to ask questions, stimulate discussion and provide guidance to progress from a surface understanding and deepen conceptual understanding and analytical techniques. Syllabi are available upon request; email:

Contact the Department
We can discuss the tutorial system in more detail and explain how this exceptional style of learning can benefit your university studies.
Manuela Williams
Admissions Registrar
+44 1865 517706

Surfing in Cornwall

The students took a weekend trip to the seaside county of Cornwall where they were able to familiarise themselves with the challenging waves while trying their hand at surfing. The weekend was filled with laughter where they were first taught the technique of surfing...

Looking back at Autumn 2017

Highlights of the Adult Summer Courses at the International College, including study visits, excursions and social activities.

English Literature — Theatre Studies — Languages
English Tutorials

ELT4 Special Topics or Authors (Upper)
A study of one or two authors or special topic.

ELT5 Contemporary British Fiction (Upper)
This course will provide a rigorous introduction to the texts, contexts and intertexts prevalent in British fiction of the contemporary period. It will ask how and why the writers under consideration represent the particular modes of Britishness which characterise their work. In attempting to answer these questions, it will situate the fiction discussed as providing an extension of, and a commentary on, the cultural contexts upon which it draws. Due to its nature as a tutorial course, students will participate actively in discussion of the texts in question, significantly honing their skills as literary critics. Set texts (or sections thereof) and selected additional readings (often provided as handouts) will be assigned for reading before each class, usually with a set of questions or thematic areas to be considered as students read. Given the very focused nature of the tutorial setting, it is important that students arrive for each class fully prepared. There will be time set aside for discussion of written work in preparation, and after marking, at appropriate junctures throughout the course.

ELT7 Twentieth Century British and Irish Poetry (Lower or Upper)
“We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry”. (W.B. Yeats, Per Amica Silentia Lunae, 1917).

This course will explore twentieth-century poetry from Britain and Ireland. The focus will be on close readings of a range of exemplary modern and contemporary poems, framed in the context of modern British and Irish history and culture. Handouts of short critical essays, reviews and poems will be distributed prior to the tutorial, and students will be encouraged to respond to the primary texts from a variety of critical and cultural perspectives. Poets to be discussed include W.B. Yeats, Ford Maddox Ford, T.E. Hulme, Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Ivor Gurney, D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Patrick Kavanagh, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and Carol Ann Duffy.

ELT8 Playwriting (Upper)
The course is designed for writers who wish to explore writing for the stage. We will explore a range of modern and contemporary play texts to determine how a skilled playwright crafts a play. We will work with short writing exercises exploring particular themes and skills. In addition we will attend at least one piece of live theatre.

ELT11 A Taste for Travel (Upper)
This course aims to facilitate an understanding of the key themes and stylistic features of the travel writing genre. Students will explore a selection of critical approaches while examining a variety of travel narratives with aim of absorbing writing techniques utilised by published authors. Students will gain understanding in the creative nature of travel writing, as well as hone their own writing skills through regular in-class exercises. Weekly reading and writing assignments will feature in students’ final portfolios of written work. Included in this portfolio is a sustained piece of personal travel narrative. Students are encouraged to approach the lessons, and especially their own writing, with a thoughtful and inquisitive mind. The course will be taught using individual and collaborative learning techniques in a tutorial format.

Theatre Studies

THEAT1 Playwriting (Upper)
The course is designed for writers who wish to explore writing for the stage. We will explore a range of modern and contemporary play texts to determine how a skilled playwright crafts a play. We will work with short writing exercises exploring particular themes and skills. In addition we will attend at least one piece of live theatre.

Language Courses

St Clare’s is an International College and offers a wide range of language courses at all levels, for example French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese (Mandarin) and Latin. Contact us to discuss your options.

Theology — Religious Studies — Philosophy
Theology and Religious Studies

RELT1 Philosophy of Religion (Upper)
An in-depth examination of the theistic conception of God, considering the issues of religious discourse, the characteristics traditionally attributed to the divine being, grounds for belief and disbelief in God, and the Christian understanding of God as a trinity.


PHILT1 The Philosophy of Religions (Upper)
An in-depth examination of the theistic conception of God, considering the issues of religious discourse, the characteristics traditionally attributed to the divine being, grounds for belief and disbelief in God, and the Christian understanding of God as a trinity. This tutorial course, like the tutorial system in general, enables students to engage with new ideas and to hone their own, as well as to strengthen their skills in presenting arguments both orally and in writing. Students are expected to complete substantial reading between tutorials.

PHILT5 Mind, Death and Immortality (Upper)
This course aims to engage students on the subject of the self in the disciplines of philosophy of mind, sociology of religion, Continental philosophy and philosophy of religion. The notions of self and soul will be addressed from these perspectives and the relationship they share with regard to one another will be examined. Over the semester students will achieve a focused philosophical perspective of the nature of the self and its implications for the nature of the mind and what happens to us after we die. The course has an inter-disciplinary element taking on aspects of psychology and sociology within its themes. Students will gain a valuable insight into two of the greatest metaphysical questions: “What is the self?” and “What happens after we die?”

PHILT6 Ancient Philosophy (Upper)
This course aims to engage students on the central concerns of the philosophers of the Classical era. Focusing predominantly on the ancient Greeks, students will examine Pre-Socratic philosophy, the three great Athenian philosophers (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) and later schools such as the Stoics and the Epicureans. Over the semester students will develop an appreciation of the key elements of Classical philosophy such as early cosmology and the nature of virtue. The importance of this era of philosophical enquiry cannot be overemphasised and, for this reason, students will gain an understanding of the influence of these concerns upon modern and contemporary philosophy. The course will provide an insight into political, moral, religious and epistemological issues.

PHILT8 Special Topics

PHILT8 Philosophy and Ethics of Education (Upper)
The aim of this course is to situate contemporary theories of education within the classical philosophy of education. Students address epistemological issues around the nature of learning and the acquisition of knowledge. They are introduced to the most influential theories and theorists in the subject and consider some of the key questions in classical and contemporary philosophy. Thus they evaluate the key ideas which have come to shape current educational objectives, and consider the role of education in society, how it is delivered and the ethics of teaching. The course also observes education from a political and moral perspective. It discusses normative questions relating to educational goals and interests and analyses the rights and responsibilities of teachers, students and parents.

PHILT9 Special Topics (Upper)

Business — Economics — Political Science
Business and Economics

EBT1 Public Sector Economics (Upper)
This tutorial offers the student the opportunity to examine the reasons for government intervention in the free market economy and the various forms in which it occurs. Students will consider the different ways through which governments influence the behaviour of individuals, firms and markets. Emphasis will be on the study of real world applications in particular current United Kingdom and other European Union economies and governments.

Political Science

POLT2 Twentieth Century War Studies (Upper)
This course will introduce students to various concepts of modern warfare. It will focus on the evolution of war. The course will begin with the creation of a theoretical foundation for war in the 20th Century before examining the rise of those trends that have come to define it. The student will be introduced to the concepts of strategy and military history as well as the debates in strategic theory. In particular, the course grapples with questions concerning the pattern of development of military engagement. Students will also be expected to follow contemporary events related to the fields of war and conflict and analyse them in light of the course learning.

POLT3 Twentieth Century British Government and Politics (Upper)
This course aims to expand the student’s understanding of the constitution and government of the United Kingdom and Great Britain since 1900. The focus will be predominately historical with an emphasis on the rise of a working class and female franchise, war and appeasement, decolonisation and the European Community, economic crisis, management and mismanagement, nationalism and the four nations and the reinvention of party politics by Thatcher and Blair and the current coalition government.

POLT4 Special Topics (Upper)

History - Art History

HIT2 The End of the European Empires (Upper)
This course will introduce the student to the rapid collapse of formal European power in both Africa and Asia after the Second World War, although it will begin with a scrutiny of events and ideas put in train before 1945. Independence movements that challenged European hegemony will be examined, together with the variety of responses employed by the nation state in their international contexts. The nature of the political settlement, produced in former Colonial territories, particularly those of Britain and France, together with the residue of social, religious and economic legacies, will also be scrutinised in order to give the student a notion of what neo-colonialism actually means. The similarities and differences of decolonization phenomena experienced by Britain and France will reveal models and interpretations that can be utilized by the student.

HIT6 United Crowns – Divided Kingdoms: England, Scotland and Ireland in the Seventeenth Century (Upper)
The 17th century was an era of phenomenal political, social and religious change across the British Isles. No other period in the history of these islands has experienced such dramatic and dynamic changes that were felt at every level of the social ladder. This course opens with the arrival of a new dynasty on the English and Irish thrones, which was the first time that the crowns of all three Britannic kingdoms were united in a single person. However, the fact that it was only the crowns that were united, would become an all too apparent, and indeed problematic issue as the century progressed. The period being considered witnessed rebellion against the new Stuart dynasty in all three kingdoms, the execution of a legitimate sovereign, the establishment of a militaristic, pseudo-theocratic republic, the Restoration of the monarchy, the usurpation of another legitimate king, and the emergence of a parliamentary democracy by the eve of the Eighteenth Century. Even though they took place almost 400 years ago, the events of Seventeenth Century continue to have an impact to this day across the nation states that currently occupy the British Isles.

HIT7 Europe of the Renaissance, Reformation and Counter-Reformation (Upper)
This course examines one of the most tumultuous periods of European History. It provides an overview of religious metamorphosis and political development in sixteenth century Europe, as exemplified by the emergence of differing forms of Protestantism and of renewal within the Catholic Church. An understanding of the variety of factors contributing towards this change, and their inter-connections, will be developed through the study of the role of individuals such as Luther and Calvin; radical groups such as the Anabaptists; the work of the Jesuits and the role of the Papacy; and significant events such as the Council of Trent. Issues such as the impact of printing, the political, economic and social developments, which influenced the progress and success of the Reformation and the Catholic Reformation will also be considered.

HIT9 The English Civil War (Upper)
This course aims to introduce students to the 17th Century conflict between King and Parliament. Emphasis will be placed upon the causes, course and consequences of this conflagration. Political, military, social and economic history will be explored. The students will have the opportunity to concentrate on the issues and historical sources that most interest them for their papers and presentation. Oxford was the Royalist capital and, therefore, this area is rich in study visits, for example, Christ Church College, Archbishop William Laud’s library at St John’s College, the Ashmolean Museum, and St Mary’s The University Church.

Art History

AHT2 English Country Houses and Gardens (Upper)
The country house and garden is one of the most distinctive representations of English history and culture. They are the showpieces of English architectural history; a guide to the development of artistic style, taste and cultural values. They are a valuable historical source, providing a vivid demonstration of how households and societies were organized and articulated their values differently in distinct historical periods. The English country house and garden inspired painters, philosophers and writers – from Ben Jonson’s “To Penshurst” to Jane Austen’s novels. This course explores the country house through various periods of history, from the medieval manor house and Jacobean mansion to the Victorian country house. We will examine distinct architectural styles: Neo-classical, Palladian, Gothic and others, and also examine the complementary changes in thee English garden from the 17th century formal garden to the picturesque and designed landscape garden. Finally we will examine the English Country House and Garden as a place to visit and in the context of heritage and the articulation of the English sense of the historical past.

AHT3 Oxford Art and Architecture (Upper)
Students will have the opportunity to direct their own learning and research according to their interests. This course is designed to give students an opportunity to explore the direction and nature of change in the built environment of a city famed for its architectural beauty and history. There is a continuous tradition of civic, ecclesiastical and collegiate architecture spanning almost a thousand years. This is the background to any proposed conservation or change in the city. The topics listed below are an indication of the range of period styles and diversity of building types to be found in the city. Students will have the opportunity to focus on a particular architect, building, collection, or individual work of art for further independent study in greater depth.

AHT7 History of Photography (Upper)
This course will focus on the development of photography in Europe, America, and other areas of the world. Questions of interpretation and meaning will be asked of works which are visually and theoretically complex. This will involve an analysis of interviews, exhibitions, and criticism, in addition to the exploration of photographic media. Images will be assessed in their cultural and historical context, and an understanding of multiple layers of meaning will be encouraged. The various facets of photography will be explored, and their interrelations considered. The role of photography as fine art, commodity, popular media, documentary source, and a device for recording personal histories, will all be evaluated as essential aspects of its history. The major figures of this history will be considered, and their work evaluated in context and in terms of its influence. The course will also foster basic interpretive skills, and ask how we may effectively “read” a photograph. This will involve an evaluation of formal elements such as selection, focus, exposure, composition, and colour. Full use will be made of local galleries, including the Photographers Gallery in London. Various support material will be used, such as slides and DVDs.

AHT7 Special Topics (Upper)

Sociology - Mathematics
SOCT1 Sociology of Crime and Deviance (Upper)

The overall aim of the tutorial is to familiarize students with the areas of crime and deviance from a sociological perspective and to investigate their causes and effects. What leads someone to deviate from the norms and/or commit crime? How are these labels constructed? What are the consequences? How do these labels interact with the norms, values and rules in an interactive and dynamic fashion? This tutorial will include extensive discussion components and the exact balance of topics can be adjusted to reflect students’ interest.


MAT1 Special Topics (Lower or Upper)

Special requests

All students enrolled on the Liberal Arts programme are expected to choose one Tutorial course or one Language Tutorial course. In addition to the listed Tutorial courses, it may be possible to accommodate special requests. If a student must take a course while studying abroad to fulfil degree requirements, it may be possible to offer the required course as a tutorial. Recent examples of special requests include: The Pre-Raphaelites: Romantics and Dreamers; Music in Society; British Illustration; Film Adaptation and Jane Austin.

Tutorials are an Oxford tradition

This is a unique opportunity to challenge yourself

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