Live and study in the beautiful and renowned city of Oxford. A semester at Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) utilizes expert tutors, offers endless scholarly resources, grants access to the Bodleian library, and more. We invite you to walk the same paths and study in the same places as some of the greatest scholars in history.
Connect With SCIO
Dear Prospective Scholars,
Thank you for looking at Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford’s (SCIO) offerings. Whether you are considering a summer, semester, or year-long programme, we have great opportunities awaiting you.
Oxford: the name that conjures up notions of a great medieval city full of dreaming spires and stunning architecture, idiosyncratic practices, renowned authors who have made their way into the canons and literary reading lists, great theological debates, and major politicians. The mythic abounds. But even more, the concrete reality of a world-class academic institution is omnipresent: world-class research; major scientific discoveries; scholars across the disciplines whose works inform most, if not all, academic libraries; students sitting in cafés debating perennial issues and newly breaking ideas alike; and a rich and vibrant student life including music, sport, drama, and the opportunity to participate in any one of more than 600 clubs and societies.
Come sit in a tutorial where you meet one-on-one with a tutor engaged in serious conversation, testing ideas and joining together as junior and senior scholar. This is a learning experience like no other: there is no hiding (for tutee or tutor!), and you probe and digest ideas, coming to your own conclusions with the requirement to demonstrate that your view is valid and solid, even where it diverges from the views of other scholars or your tutor. To accomplish that goal, you will have access to one of the world’s great library systems. The Bodleian library is the centerpiece of a group of more than 100 libraries with holdings in excess of 13 million items.
With a base in Wycliffe Hall, one of Oxford’s permanent private halls, join a rich community of scholars who share life together in a variety of forms: from the life of the mind; to cooking a meal together; to traveling on SCIO trips to interesting places like Bath and Hampton Court Palace; or making your own forays into London, up to Scotland, or over to the continent during the mid-term break. Join, too, a community of faith that is engaged in serious learning, affirming the ability to participate in scholarship as Christians dealing with difficult and profound issues.
SCIO offers you the way into Oxford to participate in a great academic experience, prepare for graduate studies (for those headed in that direction), and build your CV with a recognized educational experience that matters to academic institutions and employers alike. As you review the materials on the website, we hope you see the possibilities and consider joining us. With the CCCU GlobalEd staff, you will have a resource at hand to help you put your best foot forward as you apply.
Yours with every best wish,
Designed specifically for students seeking an academically rigorous and robust experience, a semester at SCIO seeks to brighten the brightest of minds. Students at SCIO can spend one or two semesters in Oxford. SCIO and Wycliffe Hall require students to have a GPA of 3.7 or higher. In tutorials, students meet one-on-one with acclaimed Oxford scholars (often including widely-published authors, historians, former international ambassadors, and other celebrated scholars) to go head-to-head on subjects within the disciplines of history, literature, languages, philosophy, musicology, art, science, and more. Tutorials, lectures, and seminars are equivalent to upper-division courses, and students are expected to do advanced-level work. More specific information about the coursework offered at SCIO can be found in the table below.
There are three ways to put together a programme of study at Oxford so that a coherent and individual programme can be followed by each student.
Perhaps you are interested to see ways in which you can specialize your studies by theme or time period through an interdisciplinary focus. Thematic examples include “The Ancient World,” “Philosophy and the Human Mind,” “Religion and Literature,” and more.
Putting together studies in this way follows the traditional Oxford model: working within one discipline but specializing within it. Students select a primary and secondary tutorial from one of the disciplinary lists, take the seminar in the same discipline as the primary tutorial, and, where appropriate, choose British culture essays within that discipline.
Students put together a combination of courses to meet particular needs and interests. Selecting a primary and secondary tutorial from the disciplinary lists, students normally take the seminar that corresponds to the primary tutorial, and choose any British culture essays. This can be useful for meeting graduation requirements. Many students, however, find the programme works best when the various elements build on each other to make a coherent whole.
For the semester-long programme you have literally hundreds of different tutorial topics to choose from. You enroll in one primary tutorial which meets eight times and is worth six credits, and one secondary tutorial in a different topic; which meets four times and is worth three credits.
Students put together a combination of courses to meet particular needs and interests. Selecting a primary and secondary tutorial from the disciplinary lists, students normally take the seminar that corresponds to the primary tutorial and choose any British culture essays. This can be useful for meeting graduation requirements. Many students, however, find the programme works best when the various elements build on each other to make a coherent whole. More information on specific tutorials can be found below.
Your primary tutorial meets each week during the University term. You’ll attend lectures, conduct research, and write essays each week in preparation for your tutorials.
Your secondary tutorial meets every other week during the University term. Aside from the subject, secondary tutorials have all the same characteristics as primary tutorials.
A semester at SCIO is an intensive study experience. While all majors may apply, it requires a 3.7 GPA at minimum. As a student in the Oxford Semester Programme, you are a member of Wycliffe Hall, either as an Associate Member or a Registered Visiting Student.* This is your access point to a 900-year history, world-recognized academic excellence, and 119 libraries with their 11 million books and outstanding electronic resources. But there’s far more to Oxford than the books.
The main difference between U.S. and Oxford academics is Oxford’s acclaimed tutorial system: a series of hour-long sessions in which you and your tutor, one-on-one, will focus with undivided attention on your response to a single, daunting prompt. This is the system students often describe as the most intimidating and satisfying academic experience of their lives. It will change the way you read books, write sentences, and think—and students will often return home feeling like athletes who have trained at high altitude.
SCIO’s primary student residence is The Vines, a late-Victorian mansion on Headington Hill overlooking Oxford’s “dreaming spires.” Some students may also be housed at Wycliffe Hall, a large college residence north of the centre of town.
Both residences have large common spaces where students can work, study, laugh, and live. Both properties have substantial gardens where, when the weather is accommodating, students can relax and read, and, at The Vines, play football, croquet, or ultimate frisbee.
SCIO places great significance on nurturing the student community that develops over the course of the semester. The program is academically demanding, and the support network that develops between all the students is essential in helping everyone feel that they are staying on top of things! Every semester many students have shared that over their time in Oxford they have formed some of their strongest ever friendships. The opportunity to live with like-minded people in one of the most beautiful cities in the world is exciting, profound, and fun.
Students applying to the Semester Programme will complete a rooming preference questionnaire that helps SCIO place students in the most suitable room available. Most rooms are shared with 1-3 other students.
The Vines is a modest mansion on the crest of Headington Hill, situated on 1.5 acres of garden with stunning views of Oxford’s spires. Running parallel to the path of C.S. Lewis’s former commute, The Vines is a 35-minute walk into Oxford city centre, a 10-minute cycle ride, or a 5-minute walk to the nearest bus stop (with busses passing by every 6–7 minutes). It has a large kitchen, laundry facilities, a well-appointed common room and bathrooms for every 2-3 rooms.
- Laundry facilities
- IT and study room with work stations and printing facilities
- Large common room
- Dining room
- Large kitchen
- Wheelchair access and disability accommodation
- Prayer room
- Wireless network
Wycliffe Hall is situated a 10-minute walk away from the centre of town. The student residences are spread over four floors; each floor has its own bathroom facilities. There is also a large common room that is accessible to all Wycliffe and SCIO students, and there are laundry facilities, a kitchen, and a dining room in the basement of an adjacent building. The entire building is wirelessly networked, and there is a garden at the back.
- Laundry facilities
- Printing facilities
- Large common room with TV
- Large kitchen with dining area, plus a dining hall with kitchen staff (you are charged separately for each meal at the dining hall)
Students housed at The Vines can rent a bike without charge. If there are enough bikes, students living at Wycliffe Hall may also opt into this scheme at a subsidized cost on a first-come first-served basis. You will receive more information about bicycle rental upon acceptance to the program.
Libraries and Special Collections
Students on the Oxford Semester Programme have access to one of the greatest libraries in the world. Make use of Bodleian libraries and its large and rapidly growing physical and digital resources.
Additionally, Oxford’s museums and collections are world renowned and provide an important resource for scholars around the world.
Museums and Special Collections
SCIO’s spiritual mission is first to demonstrate that personal faith in Christ can flourish within an academically rigorous environment; can operate in a public university; and interacts with scholarship but not necessarily in ways that are obvious and easily labelled. Second, to help students acquire the maturity, vision, confidence, and skills to study in the public research university and to encourage scholarly reflection in religious contexts and in a public, non-religious environment.
Learning to study alongside and under those of different religious beliefs (or, in many cases, none) is challenging. We encourage this by offering ourselves as mentors/examples, creating an atmosphere of independence in which students can develop such a vision and ability, and offering nurture by staff who are engaged and committed.
All students are encouraged to find a church home in Oxford. Apart from the spiritual nourishment that comes from remaining involved in regular worship, church is a great place to meet other students and residents of the town, and creates opportunities for you to get to know the people in your community. Many students on the programme make a point of attending a church whose style is markedly different from that which they usually attend at home, while other students find it a great comfort to attend a service whose style is more familiar, and all students should think about what might best suit them while they are here.
Alongside the field trips organized as part of the program, a number of optional field trips are arranged by Oxford staff. These trips change from semester to semester. The costs associated with optional field-trips are the responsibility of each student but every effort is made to ensure costs are minimal. In the past, these outings have proven to be a great break from studying, a chance to explore more of the British landscape, and an opportunity to share in the community life of Oxford’s Semester Programme. You may also wish to follow an itinerary below on your own or with a friend!
The JCR committee is a distinctly Oxford institution and stands for the Junior Common Room. The JCR committee for the Semester Programme is a group of five to seven students from the programme — voted onto the committee by you once you have arrived — who help run fun events for all the Semester Programme students. It is always great fun to be part of the JCR committee, as you get a chance to make things happen the way you would like! The JCR committee has a sizable budget to help fund its various activities. Every JCR committee has its own way of running things, but usually every semester we have a variety / open mic night which showcases your talent. The JCR committee can also help organize activities that give you a chance to give something back to the community by helping in various charitable ways.
Every semester students enjoy competing alongside other students in Oxford in the various sports that take place while they are here. Sports that you can play include basketball, volleyball, football (soccer), archery, fencing, rowing, and table tennis. Nearly any sport that you enjoy is represented in Oxford.
Clubs and Societies
Oxford has numerous clubs or societies that cover almost any activity you can think of. There are several orchestras of varying standards and many choirs (some you have to audition for and some you do not). If you enjoy acting, why not audition for a role in a play? Juggling, beagling, hiking, caving, movies, politics, debating…you name it, there is a club somewhere in Oxford where you can meet other students from the University with similar interests. There are numerous Christian activities going on during Full Term, and you will find that you are always welcome to participate while you are here. The CS Lewis Appreciation Society is also popular!
Be prepared for all types of weather over your semester in Oxford. There will be sunny stretches when you can read and study outside in the sleepy warm sunshine, and other times when you can have a snow fight in the University parks! Whatever happens, you can guarantee that it will rain, so pack waterproof clothing.
Tea (and Food)
Drinking tea is a vital element in the rhythm of the English person’s day, and all students are encouraged to discover this for themselves. Its popularity is perhaps explained in part by the cakes and biscuits that traditionally accompany this drink. Students will be invited to tea at regular times during the week, and it is an important time to relax, catch up with each other, and recharge for the rest of the day!
Apart from some lunches organized as part of the program, all students will need to prepare their own meals while in Oxford. This means shopping at one of the main supermarkets, going to the weekly fresh farmer’s market, or visiting the Covered Market, established in 1774. Many students form food groups that take turns to cook for each other and eat together at the end of each day. It is a great way to share with others what they have discovered that day, and also to hear what everyone else has been doing!
There are plenty of places to eat out in Oxford, ranging from the affordable to the expensive. The café in St Mary’s Church is a fun place to visit, as the café itself is in the Old Congregation House, and was the University’s first “official” building. It dates from the 14th century and was built a couple of hundred years after the colleges first started taking in students.
When the semester is all said, done, debated, and graded, you’ll return home with a community of alumni that continually reconnect over the bond that Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford so passionately unites. Learn more about what alumni are up to on the SCIO website.
The Oxford Semester Programme is an interdisciplinary program that gives no preference to students in any particular field of study. However, a good academic record is necessary.
Students generally must have a GPA of 3.7 or higher on a 4.0 scale to be admitted to the program. Neither the SCIO nor Wycliffe Hall may vary this general requirement. However, students with GPAs of below 3.7 may be admitted in exceptional circumstances.*
The tutorial style in Oxford is very different from the North American system of education; many students find this a stimulating and challenging transition, requiring experience and maturity. The tutorials, lectures, and seminars are equivalent to upper-division courses. Students are expected to do advanced-level work, and therefore need to have sufficient preparation for the concentration chosen.
If your schedule won’t allow you to consider Oxford in your junior or senior year, you can apply for admission as a sophomore. The tutors in Oxford will be no less demanding, but, in a tutorial (just one student and a tutor), it is always possible to tailor the teaching to the student.
For more information on the the SCIO Semester Programme, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 202.548.5201.
*Such circumstances may include highly disrupted family circumstances or severe or prolonged illness. If students feel that their circumstances warrant special consideration, they should append to their application a letter of explanation and ask their recommenders to comment particularly on those circumstances. All information provided will be dealt with sensitively. Although exceptions may be made to the 3.7 GPA requirement, SCIO will not recommend to Wycliffe Hall the admission of any student who would be unable to thrive in Oxford’s extremely rigorous academic culture.
How Do I Apply?
Simply complete an online application for the semester during which you plan to participate. Each campus makes its own policies regarding off-campus study, so you should consult your academic dean, off-campus study coordinator, and/or advising faculty member at your school to ensure completion of all campus requirements.
Before your application can be reviewed for admission, you must submit all of the following materials:
- Completed online application form
- $50 application fee (payable by check or credit card)
- 1 faculty reference
- 1 character reference
- 1 honors director or department chair reference
- Official transcript(s) of all college course work
- Off-campus approval form
Fall 2021 Semester Dates:
|Application available until (or spots are filled)||May 15|
|SCIO begins on arrival||Sep 3|
|SCIO concludes||Dec 13|
Spring 2022 Semester Dates:
|Application available until (or spots are filled)||Nov 1|
|SCIO begins on arrival||Jan 7|
|SCIO concludes||Apr 18|
Once admitted into the program, you will be required to confirm your intent to participate by submitting a non-refundable $300 confirmation fee, which will be applied toward your program tuition.
You will also be required to complete additional confirmation and pre-departure materials, including but not limited to: waiver and liability forms, a medical information form, a housing form, and proof of international medical insurance. But don’t worry! We will send you all the details and instructions on your acceptance.
HOW MUCH DO I PAY & WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Typically, the only expenses Oxford Semester Programme participants pay directly to the CCCU are the application fee ($50) and the non-refundable confirmation fee ($300, deducted from the total housing fee at invoicing).
About six weeks before each semester begins, the CCCU sends participation invoices to each home campus. For the 2021-22 school year, that bill will feature the below Oxford Semester Programme costs.
|OXFORD SEMESTER PROGRAMME FEES
Associate Member Status*
|TOTAL SEMESTER FEES||$17,700|
|BALANCE OF SEMESTER FEES||$17,400|
|OXFORD SEMESTER PROGRAMME FEES
Registered Visiting Student Status*
|TOTAL SEMESTER FEES||$21,600|
|BALANCE OF SEMESTER FEES||$21,300|
*Students in the SCIO Semester Programme have the option of participating as Associate Member (AM) or Registered Visiting Student (RVS). More information about the difference between these two options can be found here: SCIO AM vs RVS Comparison Chart
Keep in mind the total program costs billed to you through your school may differ, depending on your campus’s policies.
Note: Schools or individuals who pay with a credit card will also be charged a credit card service fee.
Expenses Covered by the SCIO Semester Programme Fees:
- One-on-one tutorials in two subjects and seminar classes
- Field trips to historical destinations of academic interest
- Transcript or grade report from Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford
- Access to University libraries, including the Bodleian borrowing privileges where appropriate
- 17 hours of academic credit
- Status of either Registered Visiting Student or Associate Member, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
- Accommodation in student housing
- Use of programme computers, unlimited wireless internet access, and printing facilities
- Free on-site laundry facilities for those living at the Vines (must provide own detergent, etc.)
- Social events including multiple weekly afternoon teas with staff and other funded student events
- Optional bike rental for Vines residents
Additional Anticipated Expenses*:
- Travel between home and Oxford (estimated $800-1,200 from U.S.)
- International medical insurance (can be purchased through CCCU GlobalEd) valid in the U.K. for length of stay/programme dates. This is required for participation in CCCU GlobalEd’s international programs. Note: Some campuses will provide this for students studying abroad; check with your study abroad office to see if this is provided by your home campus.
- Meals (approx. $80/week)
- Use of laundry facilities for those living at Wycliffe Hall
- Personal medical expenses, if incurred, including preparatory vaccinations
- Personal discretionary expenditures, including personal travel (expect twice as much as normally spent during one semester in the U.S.)
- Optional bike rental for Wycliffe Hall residents (80 GBP)
- Passport required for program participation
- U.K. Student Visa, if applicable (year-long students and an occasional one semester student)
*Anticipated expenses are estimates, which will be updated should local costs shift significantly. You may spend more/less depending on your personal spending habits.
Participants are responsible for arranging travel to and from Oxford. Student housing check-in time is between 9am and 5pm on arrival day; departure is before 11am on checkout day. Student accommodations are closed outside of official program dates/times. Travel information from London’s major airports to Oxford Semester Programme housing is provided in a pre-departure packet.
HOW DOES BILLING WORK FOR OXFORD SEMESTER PROGRAMME PARTICIPATION?
The Oxford Semester Programme is an extension campus of each member institution of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU); each school grants the academic credit for program participation.
The CCCU invoices campuses for the cost of participation in the Oxford Semester Programme and in turn campuses bill their students following the campus’s established policies and procedures. (For example, some schools charge the exact fees of the off-campus program, other schools charge the campus tuition price, while others charge full on-campus fees plus an additional off-campus study fee. And there’s every variation in between!)
Since each school determines their own policies regarding off-campus study costs and the applicability of institutional scholarships and other aid, you should confirm your school’s policies with the Off-Campus Study Coordinator on your campus.
For the latest updates on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Response page.
Staff at Wycliffe Hall are available and equipped to provide support for students. Peter Heim is a registered social worker (England), student welfare officer, safeguarding lead, and learning and disability support officer. Katy Routh is a senior tutor, learning and disability support lead, and safeguarding deputy officer.
Nightline is a listening, support, and information service run for and by students, and it aims to provide every student in Oxford with the opportunity to talk to someone in confidence. They are available to everyone from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., but only during Oxford term time. Nightline does not provide advice or tell callers what to do; it is a service that listens and talks about whatever the caller wants, big or small, in complete confidence. Nightline also offers a wide range of information related to mental health and general health issues. You can contact Nightline from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. by phone (270270) or in person.
There are a number of world-class professional medical, surgical, and psychiatric facilities located in Oxford. You will be required to cover any medical expenses you incur while a student at SCIO. For semester students, we will require you to show proof of international medical coverage before your arrival in Oxford. We partner with Cultural Insurance Service International (CISI) to provide discounted international medical coverage. You can view the current schedule of benefits for our customized coverage through CISI here. Year-long students pay a one-time fee up front to participate in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). General pastoral care and support is provided by SCIO staff, who can also assist in helping students get connected to the specialized care they need.
Know Before You Go…
Studying off campus can be an exciting time filled with adventure and personal growth. Prepare yourself in advance for challenges you might face on the programme. Students at SCIO should anticipate:
- Walking in and around the city may include uneven terrain, such as cobblestone walkways, in unpredictable weather and frequent rain.
- Living in a residence of multiple occupancy with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and communal spaces. Living (and other) spaces are not air-conditioned, though this is very rarely problematic in the cool British summers. Living and other spaces are heated in winter.
- Wycliffe Hall is a 10-minute walk from the city centre. Students with mobility challenges are often housed here. This residence is only available during the spring and fall semesters.
- The Vines is located on a hill from which Oxford city centre is accessible via a 35-minute walk, a 15-minute cycle ride, or a 20-minute bus ride accessed via a 5-minute walk to the nearest bus stop (with buses passing by every 6–7 minutes). The Vines has a bathroom for use by students in wheelchairs and generally with limited mobility and can offer ground floor accommodation.
- Students are responsible for purchase and preparation of their own food, transportation, and chapel/church requirements.
- Traffic drives on the left side of the road.
- Students may be unused to cycling or to cycling in traffic. Full cycle orientation is given.
- Historic buildings can present difficulties to students with mobility challenges but professional staff help with such challenges.
- Living away from family, friends, and other support networks.
- Managing and following a demanding study schedule with substantial independence, and attending lectures, one-on-one tutorials, and day-long field trips.
- Experiencing potentially challenging personal, religious, and cultural learning, lectures, field trips, and assignments.
Oxford is generally a safe place in which to study and explore; nevertheless, you should minimize any risks by remaining alert and taking precautions. Read more on the University of Oxford website: Personal Safety. You can also familiarize yourself with any current travel or health advisories for the United Kingdom by visiting the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) websites.
Many of the faculty and staff have lived in Oxfordshire for years. During orientation, we will discuss basic guidelines to follow to help you feel confident and safe during your time here. If you have any questions prior to departure, please contact your admissions advisor.
You’ve probably heard a great deal about the U.K., but what makes Oxford stand out? Read the FAQ below to find out.
Where does the programme take place?
Will I get to travel throughout the semester?
What is the climate like?
What is the geography like?
Oxford revolutionizes the way students learn — the way they read books, write essays, make arguments, and think. Are you ready to enter this gauntlet and emerge as a newly minted scholar? Read the FAQ below to find out more.
What status should I choose? (RVS vs AM)
How many credits will I receive?
Where will I be taking classes?
What will I be studying?
Who will be teaching my classes?
Who will be in my classes: local or CCCU GlobalEd students?
What do you need to know before you step on that plane? Read the FAQ below to find out!
How will I get to and from the programme?
Will I need a passport?
Will I need a visa?
Will my family and friends be able to visit me during the semester?
Students are sometimes surprised by how different day-to-day life in Oxford can look. In this FAQ series, we’ll answer some common questions about living in Oxford.
Where will I live?
What will I eat?
How will I get around?
Will I be interacting with local people?
Will my cell phone work in England?
COMMUNITY AND SPIRITUAL LIFE
As you prepare for this uniquely challenging opportunity, know that you are not alone. Oxford and its faculty, staff, and fellow scholars will join you and equip you as you face the challenges—and celebrate the gifts—of life as a student in Oxford. Read these FAQs to find out more about the community and spiritual life of the SCIO Semester Programme.