The tutorial is the heart of undergraduate teaching at Oxford. It is an hour long conversation between a tutor who is engaged in research and one student who has spent the week reading and writing an essay in answer to an assigned, searching question.

The tutorial gives students the chance to read in depth, to formulate their views on a subject, and to consider those views in the light of the detailed, analytical conversation in the tutorial. Students may choose their tutorials from a range of hundreds of topics within classics, English language and literature, history, history of art, modern languages, musicology, philosophy, and theology.

Students attend University lectures in conjunction with their primary and their secondary tutorials. Such lectures are offered by noted scholars who have published extensively in the field on which they are lecturing and also by political figures, leaders in other governmental and intergovernmental institutions, creative artists, and speakers from the professions and civil and armed services.

Tutorials are equivalent to upper-division courses, not introductory courses. Students normally need to have sufficient preparation for the subject chosen so that they can work at the expected advanced level. Students wanting to study British history, for example, need to have done some history work, though not necessarily in British history. Similarly, students wanting tutorials in Latin may never have studied Latin, but will have an aptitude for languages and experience of literary studies.


Primary Tutorial

Each week during the University term students have their primary tutorial.

Secondary Tutorial

Students have their secondary tutorial every second week during the University term and they choose a different subject from that studied for the primary tutorial: but in all other respects secondary tutorials have the same characteristics as primary tutorials.

Tutorial Topics

Tutorials topics are listed under ten topics (disciplinary concentrations).  Detailed tutorial descriptions can be downloaded from each disciplinary concentration page.

For help on selecting tutorials follow through the links to thematic concentrations listed on the Academic concentrations page.


Credits: 6 + 3 semester credits

More information is available in the SCIO Prospectus.