England Study Abroad Program at St Catherine's College
About St Catherine's College in Oxford, England
We're so excited that you're considering IFSA-Butler's program at the St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford for your semester or year abroad. Oxford is a beautiful city with a wonderful mix of the ancient and modern. St. Catherine's is Oxford's largest undergraduate college and We're sure you're going to love studying there!
What St. Catherine's has to offer
We look forward to working with you!
Academic StructureHow is the University of Oxford structured?
The University of Oxford is a federation of 44 autonomous colleges and halls that have separate grounds, their own tutors and administrators, and distinct personalities. The colleges organize admission, accommodation and tutorial instruction for students. College tutors and administrators have their offices in the college as well. Seminar and lecture halls and a college library are located in each college for academic purposes. The colleges are also responsible for providing sports and social facilities. Not only do students live, study, socialize and dine at their college, but they may also take their tutorials in their college. As a result, students often have a stronger allegiance to their college than to the university.
The university determines the general content of each discipline, organizes lectures, regulates degree exams, and provides excellent resources like the Bodleian Library, faculty (departmental) libraries, laboratories, museums, computing facilities and more.
Students are members of both their college and the university. Compared with American institutions, each of the member colleges is quite small, few having more than 500 students. The combined full-time enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students at Oxford is about 20,000 men and women who are among the brightest, most motivated students the world has to offer.
What does St. Catherine's look for in potential candidates?
St. Catherine's or Catz, as it is affectionately known, faculty members who review applications are primarily interested in the following:
Who are the tutors?
During their period of study at St. Catz, Visiting Students will be under the general supervision of the Tutor for Visiting Students, a Fellow of the college who is appointed to oversee the program. In addition to coordinating the study program, the advisor will be available for consultation on both academic and personal matters.
Oxford's tutorial system consists of an hour of in-depth discussion between one student or a pair of students and a tutor assigned by the college. Tutorials that take place once a week are called the primary tutorial, and tutorials that take place once every other week are called a secondary tutorial. Visiting Students take one primary and one secondary tutorial per term.
At the center of each tutorial is an essay that a student researches and prepares in the week prior to the meeting. In the traditional tutorial, students will read the essay aloud to the tutor, although today many tutors might ask to take the essay home with them or will request the essay early in order to read it before the meeting. Discussion of the essay will often lead to further conversation of the topic at hand or a related topic.
Tutorial meeting times are traditionally arranged between the tutor and the student upon arrival. Tutorials can also be held in a variety of locations: a college room, university building or even in the tutor's own home.
How do I prepare for a tutorial?
Preparing for a tutorial is much different than studying for a class or a test. It requires independence, self-discipline and self-motivation. The great advantage of the tutorial is that for an entire hour, a student has the undivided attention of an expert in the subject at hand. However, be prepared for the fact that Visiting Students, like degree students at Oxford, must become accustomed to self-directed study and working independently. Tutors will not simply offer facts and information because they will expect students to present their own thoughts and ideas!
When will I know if I've been accepted?
Will I be fully integrated into the Oxford Community?
Most importantly, Visiting Students are taught in the same manner and assessed by the same standards as other degree-seeking undergraduates at Oxford. Tutors expect the same quality of work from Visiting Students as they do from degree-seeking undergraduates. Visiting Students are considered alumni upon successful completion of their term or year abroad.
TutorialsWhere can I find a list of subjects and/or tutorials that the university offers?
Because of the individualized nature of the tutorial system, most colleges at Oxford do not have an online course catalog. Click here to review some tutorials past IFSA-Butler students have taken, along with the colleges at which each subject area is available. You may also request tutorials not found on this list. All tutorials are subject to availability.
Are there any tips for completing the tutorial request form?
Yes! Following are some of the things you should keep in mind as you complete the tutorial request form.
What if I need to take a required course?
Course RestrictionsYour tutorial topics should be limited to no more than two subjects, and those subjects should be related. For instance, the tutors reviewing your application will look more favorably at a tutorial request form that has choices limited to politics and history departments. They would not be as impressed with a tutorial request form that lists choices in chemistry, economics and art history.
CreditsHow many tutorials am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
Students take one primary (major) and one secondary (minor) tutorial every term. Students are not permitted to receive extra credit by taking two primary tutorials in one term. Butler University will award students 8 U.S. semester credit hours for each primary tutorial and 4 U.S. semester credit hours for each secondary tutorial. No credit will be awarded for additional work undertaken even if the Oxford College approves it.
Butler University will issue 12 U.S. semester credit hours for the Michaelmas (fall) term, 24 U.S. semester credit hours for the Hilary/Trinity (spring) two-term program and 36 U.S. semester credit hours for the academic year at Oxford.
Science and math students may be required to attend University lectures or to take one or more short tutorials. Regardless of the number of tutorials or lectures required, science students will earn the same number of credits (12 U.S. semester credit hours per term) as other students.
What are the registration conditions?
ExamsWhat do I need to know about exams?
Because of the differences in the academic systems, most students will not take exams at the University of Oxford. However, you will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program. Please refer to your program calendar to review the program dates.
How will my home university know what my tutorials were and what grades I received?
What are my housing options?
MealsHousing is self-catering, providing basic cooking facilities to prepare your own meals. There are no meal plan options at St. Catherine's, but students do have the option of eating in the dining hall on a pay-as-you-go basis. Further information about this is provided at the Oxford orientation.
Housing FAQsIs my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals (whether a meal plan or self-catered) and any commuting costs you may incur. Students are required to move out of their rooms during winter and spring breaks. If you wish to remain in residence during the vacation period(s), you must notify the college housing office upon arrival to make necessary arrangements. Staying in residence during the university breaks may incur additional costs not covered by the IFSA-Butler program fee.
When will I receive my housing assignment?
Although you will be housed in St. Catz housing, you will not receive your official address until you arrive in England for orientation.
Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.
Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.
Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.
Living and Studying Abroad in Oxford, England
Dates & Fees
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Important: Once you are abroad, please verify the program end date with the department(s) in which you are studying. Ending dates may vary from department to department, and you will be expected to complete all course obligations prior to your departure. Program housing is available only until the program end date.
Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
In the United Kingdom, exams are taken under formal conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals. Exams must be taken where and when scheduled.
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Academic Year and Fall Payments Due: July 1
Program Fee Bills
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. Rates are current as of 12/9/2016.
They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one or two meals out. If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate. If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
*Student Visa: U.S. citizens studying in the U.K. for less than six months (180 days) do not need to apply for a visa, but can instead enter the country as a student visitor at no cost. Student visitors are allowed to remain in the U.K. for up to six months but are not allowed to undertake any paid work or unpaid volunteer activities. Citizens of some countries may be required to obtain a student visa. If this applies to you, your IFSA-Butler program advisor will notify you. Detailed instructions regarding U.K. visas will be sent to all students upon acceptance.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
All Oxford housing has basic self-catering facilities. However, eating in the dining hall can be an important part of your Oxford experience. Meals are usually inexpensive as the cost is subsidize by the college. Past students have found it very affordable to eat in the dining hall at least once a day.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team
IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in England:
Program Advisor Aimee Formo is here to assist with the application process and to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Aimee completed her graduate degrees in history and library science at Indiana University, and her undergraduate degree in history at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She studied abroad with R-MWC’s program at the University of Reading, where she focused on 19th century social reform movements. Aimee joined the IFSA-Butler team to aid students who want to study abroad and experience all that England has to offer. Aimee can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4253.
Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.