WILLIAMS-EXETER PROGRAMME AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY
Director, Professor CHRIS WATERS
Williams College offers a year-long programme of studies at Oxford University in co-operation with Exeter College (founded in 1314), one of the constituent colleges of the University. Williams students will be enrolled as Visiting Students at Exeter and as such will be undergraduate members of the University, eligible for access to virtually all of its facilities, libraries, and resources. As Visiting Students in Oxford, students admitted to the Programme will be fully integrated into the intellectual and social life of one of the world's great universities.
Although students in the Programme will be members of Exeter College, entitled to make full use of Exeter facilities (including the College Library), dine regularly in Hall, and join all College clubs and organisations on the same terms as other undergraduates at Exeter, students will reside in Ephraim Williams House, a compound of four buildings owned by Williams College, roughly 1.4 miles north of the city centre. Three students from Exeter College will normally reside in Ephraim Williams House each year, responsible for helping to integrate Williams students into the life of the College and the University. A resident director (and member of the Williams Faculty) administers Ephraim Williams House, overseas the academic programme, and serves as both the primary academic and personal advisor to Williams students in Oxford.
Students enrolled in the Oxford Programme must enroll for the full academic year, which consists of three academic terms, each of which includes eight full weeks of instruction: MICHAELMAS TERM (early October to early December), HILARY TERM (mid-January to mid-March), and TRINITY TERM (late April to late June). Students are expected to be in residence to write their first tutorial papers before the eight weeks of instruction begins and to remain in residence during the week after the term ends in order to sit their final examinations. Between the three terms there are two intervening four-five week vacations, during which students may be expected to continue reading as preparation for their upcoming tutorials.
THE TUTORIAL SYSTEM
Undergraduate instruction at Oxford University is largely carried out through individual or small-group tutorials, in which students meet weekly with their tutor to present and discuss an essay they have written, based on an extensive amount of reading undertaken from an assigned reading list they will receive at the beginning of each term. In addition to the weekly tutorial, students are from time to time encouraged to attend a pertinent course of lectures offered by the University that corresponds to the material being addressed in their tutorials.
Each student will plan a course of study for the three terms of the academic year in consultation with the director of the Programme. In his or her capacity as the Tutor for Visiting Students at Exeter College, the director, working closely with Exeter's subject tutors, will arrange the teaching for the students, monitor student progress, be in regular contact with the student's tutors, supervise the examinations that students will sit at the end of each academic term, and report on each student's academic progress to the Senior Tutor at Exeter College. There are no "add/drop" periods at Oxford; once a student has made a commitment to a particular tutorial course, and the director has then secured a tutor to teach that course, students cannot back out.
Over the course of the three terms, students are required to enroll in a minimum of FOUR full tutorial courses (each consisting of eight individual tutorial meetings and requiring the preparation of eight essays) and ONE half tutorial course (consisting of four individual tutorial meetings and the preparation of four essays). Some students choose to substitute a fifth full tutorial course for the half tutorial course and a few will decide to enroll in two full tutorial courses each term. The average course load undertaken by most students in residence in Oxford during the past has been five full tutorial courses or their equivalent.
GRADES AND CREDIT
Grades for each tutorial course reflect the grade assigned to all eight (or four) tutorial sessions, including their related essays, considered together, as well as the grade for the final examination on work accomplished in the individual tutorials and supplementary readings. Final examinations last three hours in the case of full tutorial courses and two hours in the case of half tutorial courses and are always sat in the ninth week of term, following the eight weeks of instruction each term. The final grade recorded on the Williams transcript is calculated by counting the grade for the tutorial meetings and essays as two-thirds of the grade and the final examination as one-third of the overall grade. For some tutorial courses (especially in writing and the studio arts), tutors may offer the student the option of a final paper or project in lieu of an examination.
Upon satisfactory completion of the requirements for the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University, students receive academic credit for a regular Williams academic year, the four tutorial courses replacing the regular eight semester courses the student would normally take at Williams, the half tutorial course replacing the Winter Study Course. Grades eventually become a part of their Williams transcript in the summer after their completion of the Programme and are included in the computation of their Grade Point Average.
Tutorial courses in Oxford may be used toward fulfilling the divisional distribution requirement; a student may earn a year maximum of three distribution requirements, with no more than one from each division, for the year. All tutorial courses at Oxford meet the Williams College "Writing Intensive" designation, except for those in the studio arts, mathematics, and the sciences.
Tutorial courses in Oxford may also be used to meet major requirements. Some departments at Williams will grant a two-course credit towards the major for each full tutorial course taken at Oxford, and one course towards the major for each half tutorial course taken at Oxford. Most departments, however, will grant a one-course credit towards the major for each relevant tutorial course taken at Oxford (whether a full or a half). Students are encouraged to check with their department chair(s) to confirm official department policy.
THE COURSE OF STUDY
Students are encouraged to pursue a course of study during their three terms at Oxford that both reflects the strength of the University's offerings and the interests of the Tutorial Fellows at Exeter College (go to the Exeter College website-www.exeter.ox.ac.uk-click on "About the College," then click on "The Rector and Fellows," and then on "Fellows arranged by subject"). In addition to the opportunity to pursue British and Commonwealth Studies, students in Oxford will be able to pursue tutorial work in fields which are represented only marginally or infrequently in the Williams curriculum (Classics, Theology, etc.) and in fields in which Oxford is particularly noted (English Literature, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Politics, etc.). Exeter also has a Fellow in English Literature (with interests ranging from the Renaissance-including Shakespeare-to the mid-nineteenth century) committed to teaching Williams students, and students are thus encouraged to consider undertaking at least one tutorial course in these fields as part of their course of study.
What follows is a list of tutorial courses normally available to students studying with the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford. The tutorials listed below (WIOX 311-382) represent a selection of some of the standard "papers" (courses) that comprise the Oxford degrees in various subjects and that are taught in tutorial format. Normally, but not always, tutors can be secured who can teach these subjects to Williams students, although demand, leave patterns, and other constraints, sometimes mean that not all of these subjects can be staffed in all terms. Students are normally free to choose the term in which they want to undertake most of these tutorial courses, although in some cases it is recommended that they enroll in them during the term in which the accompanying lectures are being delivered. Where this is the case, the suggested terms are listed in parentheses following the tutorial course description.
While many students enroll in the tutorial courses listed below (WIOX 311-382), roughly half the tutorial courses selected by students come under the heading of WIOX 390, a general rubric for more specialized tutorial work. This is described in more detail below.
NON-CREDIT FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY
In addition to their regular tutorial courses, students may begin or continue the study of a wide range of foreign languages on a non-credit basis through a variety of arrangements available through the University as well as a number of other educational and cultural institutions in the city of Oxford. The Programme normally subsidizes such study.
By virtue of the fact that, while in Oxford, they are officially Visiting Students at the University-and full members of Exeter College-Williams students are offered every opportunity to become fully integrated into student life in Oxford. Both Exeter College and Oxford University are home to an exceptional variety of sports clubs, debating societies, interest groups, cultural organizations, and social activities, virtually all of which are available to Visiting Student members of the University. Students are encouraged to participate fully in the social life of Exeter College-to dine in Hall as often as they wish, to frequent the College bar, to use the College's athletic facilities, and to become members of the various College clubs and organizations. Furthermore, Williams students also have access to the University's athletic events, concerts, theatrical productions, museums, and libraries. All Williams students in Oxford are provided with membership in the Oxford Union, which, in addition to its debating activities and club rooms, possesses dining facilities and the largest lending library in the University.
At the Ephraim Williams House, all Williams students are housed in capacious double rooms and enjoy full access to the House's library (recently expanded and refurbished), common rooms, laundry facilities, computer lab, and a large dining room, in which a weekly catered meal is served during the eight weeks of term. There are also a number of small kitchens in the House which students may use. All rooms are fully wired for high-speed internet access and are fully equipped with furnishings, bed linens, and a telephone. The grounds include a courtyard where basketball can be played, sheltered bike racks, barbecue facilities, a reflective garden and a gnome garden. A number of student jobs are available during the academic year for students who wish to earn a little spending money by helping to maintain the facilities and organize Programme activities. Ephraim Williams House is a short bike or bus ride (or a twenty-minute walk) from Exeter College and the center of town, and is within easy walking distance of the University parks and the local shops, restaurants and banks of Summertown. The Programme will partially subsidize student bus passes or bicycle purchase or rental to facilitate travel around Oxford.
Before the academic year begins-at the end of September and in early October-ten days of orientation activities are scheduled. Students are expected to be in residence for all of these many activities, some of which take place in Ephraim Williams House, others at Exeter College. At this time students will become acquainted with the workings of the Programme, of Exeter College, and of the University, and will be familiarized with the rules and regulations they are expected to abide by during their residence in Oxford.
Throughout the academic year, provision will be made for trips to a number of sites of historical, cultural, or political interest. In the past these have included the Cotswolds, Stratford, Stonehenge, Bath, Wells, Warwick Castle, Blenheim Palace, and various sites of interest in London. Students will also be given the opportunity to attend a number of theatrical productions and other cultural events. Oxford's proximity to London gives students ready access to that city's multiple attractions and many resources. The Oxford-London train service is frequent and the journey takes just over an hour. The buses to London run even more regularly (and are cheaper), and the one-way journey takes about ninety minutes. In recent years, students have also enjoyed a group overseas excursion at the outset of the break between Hilary and Trinity terms, in 2002 to San Sebastian and Bilbao, in 2003 to Nice and Monte Carlo.
During the summer before students arrive in Oxford, they will receive a copy of the latest edition of Ephs Among the Dreaming Spires, which will further explain the perks, policies, and procedures of the Programme, the rules and regulations they are expected to follow, and tips for how best to enjoy a fulfilling year in and around Oxford.
ILLNESS AND INSURANCE
Students must ensure they are covered either by the Williams College health insurance policy or by some other comprehensive health insurance plan (generally a family health insurance policy). While in Britain, students will be covered by the National Health Service (NHS) for routine visits at the Group Medical Practice used by Exeter College and for emergency hospital treatment. Prescription drugs are available through the NHS for a nominal fee. There are limited outpatient psychological counseling services available through the NHS and the Programme, although, as Visiting Students at the University, Williams students are entitled to make use of the University Counseling Centre. Any extensive or long-term counseling, however, would need to be covered by the student's personal health insurance policy. Finally, students are not likely to be covered under the NHS for medical services received in foreign countries, especially those countries that do not enjoy membership of the European Union.
The tuition and room fees paid by students on the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford are the same as those for a year spent in residence at Williams. Students are responsible for some of their own meals and for all of their personal expenses. They are also responsible for the cost of their air travel to and from Britain, although they may select to take the group flight to London arranged by the Programme at competitive rates. They are provided with three meals a day for the first four or five days in Oxford and with a weekly catered meal in Ephraim Williams House during the eight weeks of term. They may also eat lunch and dinner on any day of the week at Exeter. They will pay a small charge for lunch at Exeter, but dinner will be provided free of charge. Students will not be charged the full Williams board fee during their year in Oxford, but they will pay a proportion of the board fee to help cover these costs. For planning purposes, students and their parents should expect the cost of a year on the Programme to be roughly the same as a year at Williams. Financial aid eligibility will be figured on the usual basis of tuition, fees, room, board, and personal and book expenses, as if the student were at Williams for the year. Similarly, the normal self-help contribution would be expected. Since the academic year ends later at Oxford than at Williams, the summer earning expectations for students for the following year will be reduced by one half and the difference will be made up by additional Williams aid.
Admission to the Programme is on a competitive but flexible basis. Students must apply to the Dean's Office by the prescribed deadline (normally early in February) and, prior to applying, should consult with the chair of their major department. Any questions students might have about curricular offerings at Oxford can also be raised with the director of the Programme in Oxford. In addition to completing the formal application form, students can expect to be interviewed at Williams and will subsequently need to complete an application for Visiting Student status at Oxford University. All admissions to the Programme are subject to approval by Exeter College. Students can expect to be notified of acceptance before Spring Break. It is normally expected that they will have completed the College's distribution requirement by the end of their sophomore year. In making its decisions, the Admissions Committee of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University takes student GPA into account, expects all applicants to have demonstrated capacity for rigorous independent work and extensive essay writing, and looks favorably on those students whose intellectual maturity, curiosity and enthusiasm would best prepare them for a demanding course of study in Oxford. All applicants must identify two Williams faculty members who are willing to provide references (the Committee will contact those faculty members). Because of the emphasis at Oxford on weekly written work for each tutorial course, at least one of those faculty members should be able to offer an assessment of the applicant's writing ability.