Oxford University Summer School for Adults

The Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA) 2024 programme is now closed to new enrolments. Courses are available to book on our Inspiring Oxford summer school, taking place in the historic Brasenose College.

Programme overview

The Oxford University Summer School for Adults (OUSSA) is a residential summer programme held at Rewley House central Oxford, offering sixty week-long accredited courses for adult learners (18 years and over).

These cover a wide range of subjects including literature, archaeology, architectural history, creative writing, history of art, philosophy, biological sciences, theology, psychology and more.

Programme features

Participants are taught in small seminar groups of up to 12 students, and receive two one-on-one tutorials with their tutor.

During the course you will:

  • Participate in classes taught by tutors with a proven background in adult education
  • Gain experience of studying at university level
  • Develop new skills
  • Have access to on-site library and IT facilities to support you with your academic work
  • Be part of a diverse student body encompassing a wide range and many nationalities
  • Experience a friendly and supportive learning environment 
  • Have the opportunity to attend guest lectures and participate in social events

Listen to what students have to say in the video, below:

Programme timetable

The daily timetable will normally be as follows:


14.00–16.30 - Registration

16.30–17.00 - Orientation meeting

17.00–17.30 - Classroom orientation for tutor and students

17.30–18.00 - Drinks reception

18.00–20.00 - Welcome dinner

Sundays – Fridays

09.00–10.30 - Seminar

10.30–11.00 - Tea/coffee break

11.00–12.30 - Seminar

12.30–13.30 - Lunch

13.30–18.00 - Afternoons are free for tutorials, individual study, course-related field trips or exploring the many places of interest in and around Oxford.

18.00–19.00 - Dinner (There is a formal gala dinner every Friday to close each week of the programme)

Social programme

A range of optional social events will be offered throughout the summer school. These are likely to include: a quiz night, visit to historic pubs in Oxford, visit to Christ Church for Evensong and after-dinner talks and discussions.

Beyond the summer school, Oxford is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a busy cultural and social scene offering a wide variety of plays and shows, concerts, films and exhibitions.

Coursework and accreditation

Participants are required to undertake preparatory reading and complete a pre-course assignment of 1,500 words. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing your ideas and is mandatory. The pre-course assignment is typically due in the first week of June.

You will be assessed during the summer school by either a 1,000 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. Participants will attend two one-on-one tutorials with their tutor during the week.

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars (12 during the week) and individual tutorials (2 during the week). Students also conduct private study when not being taught and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research interests.


OUSSA is an accredited summer school taught at undergraduate level; each one-week course carries 10 CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points at FHEQ (Framework for Higher Education Qualification) Level 4. Credit is awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. Students will receive a transcript of the amount awarded. Replacement transcripts are available for a nominal sum.

Learn more about CATS points.

Certificate of Higher Education

A maximum of 30 credits earned from OUSSA can be transferred towards our flexible Certificate of Higher Education.

This part-time programme lasts between two and four years depending on how intensively you want to study.  Study when and where it suits you by gaining credit from short courses, including short online courses, weekly classes and OUSSA, and build your way to an Oxford University award.

Find out more about the Certificate of Higher Education


View full details of accommodation at the Department.

Please note that twin rooms are only available on a shared occupancy basis. If you wish to book a twin room each person should complete an application form and email it to us at oussa@conted.ox.ac.uk as these rooms cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: OUSSA, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)

If you need a room on a ground or lower floor please indicate this on your enrolment form or contact the programme administrator prior to your arrival.


We also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals (lunch and dinner) at Rewley House, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.

Disabled participants (including those with mobility difficulties)

Disabled students who have registered or are planning to attend OUSSA summer programme with the Department should please contact the Programme Administrator, via email at oussa@conted.ox.ac.uk, to discuss any support needs.

Students with a mobility impairment can consult the University Access Guide and should contact the Programme Administrator at oussa@conted.ox.ac.uk to request any accommodations they need in this regard. There is a special access ramp and a self-contained bedroom suite on the ground floor, equipped for use by people with mobility problems with an adjoining room for carers. Two public disabled parking bays provided by Oxford City Council are situated on Wellington Square close to the Department. If you need this accessible room, please indicate on your enrolment form, or contact the Programme Administrator prior to your arrival.

If you would like more information about support available to students with disabilities, please see: www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/students-with-disabilities.

How to enrol

Most courses fill quickly so early registration is strongly recommended. If your preferred course is fully booked, you may wish to add yourself to the waiting list and the Programme Administrator will contact you should a place become available.

Please note, the programme is only open to those over the age of 18.

Single accommodation, double room for 1 person and non-residential places may be booked online by clicking on the 'Book now' button in the 'Course details' box of each course page.

Those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an enrolment form as these rooms cannot be booked online. Please send the completed enrolment form to the email address below. Both the PDF and Word option of the form below are editable, so you can complete them online before saving and sending to us as an email attachment. You do not need to print and scan them. (Please use these forms only if you are booking for two people for a twin or double)

Online enrolments require payment in full at the time of registering.

Those who do not wish to register online or who have specific requirements (e.g. the accessible bedroom) should contact the Programme Administrator directly at oussa@conted.ox.ac.uk or OUSSA, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK

English language requirements

As students are expected to participate fully in seminar discussions and are required to produce written work it is important that applicants can demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency in the four language skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence of their proficiency in the form of an original certificate or a certified copy that is not more than two years old on the date the summer school starts. These applicants must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • IELTS Academic - minimum overall score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 in each of the four components
  • TOEFL iBT - minimum overall score of 100, with not less than 25 in each of the four components
  • Cambridge English: C1 Advanced - grade C or above.

For further information on English language qualifications:

The requirement to provide English language test scores may be waived in either of the following circumstances:

  • If you have completed a full-time degree-level programme at a recognised institution where teaching and assessment throughout the course was undertaken entirely in English, and the programme was completed with a gap of no more than two academic years to the course to which you are applying. If you studied this course in a country that is not majority English speaking, you will need to provide evidence that the course was taught in English. This can either take the form of a link to the appropriate page of the institution’s website or a statement from the institution confirming this.
  • If you have worked for a minimum of two years in a majority English speaking country where the main language for the role was English, and your role involved daily professional use of each of the four language components (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

Student visas

OUDCE welcomes international students on all its courses. However, it is the responsibility of successful applicants to ensure that they conform to UK immigration law.

If you are not a UK or Irish national, you might need to apply for a visa before coming to the UK depending on which passport you hold. You can check if you need a visa before coming to the UK on the UK Government’s website. We strongly recommend that you establish whether you will require a visa before submitting your application.

The Programme Administrator will provide non-UK/Irish nationals enrolled on the summer school with a standard format pdf letter by email confirming enrolment and course details once their fees have been paid in full. These letters are issued on a request only basis.

If you will require a visa, you should ensure your summer school application is submitted as early as possible to allow yourself sufficient time to complete the visa application process (see current visa processing times).

For legal reasons the Programme Administrator is not permitted to provide any visa advice to applicants; any queries should be addressed to student.immigration@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Information regarding visiting the UK to study is available on the UK Government’s website as well as Oxford University’s Student Immigration website.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have taken the necessary steps to enable you to be admitted to the UK. The university takes no responsibility for a visa being denied at any point before or during a course.

Please note that the standard cancellation policy applies in all cases. (See "Cancellations", below.


All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Details of fees can be found on each individual course page. Tuition and meals are included in the programme fee, with both residential and non-residential options available.

Course change administration fee: Please note that course transfers may be permitted in exceptional circumstances; however, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions, an administration fee of £50 will be charged.

Please be aware that all payments (and refunds) are subject to exchange rates at the time of processing.

Payment terms

  • If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking
  • If submitting an application form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date


Concessionary rates are available on a non-residential basis for those that qualify, more information can be found here

Unfortunately we do not offer any specific scholarships or funding opportunities for OUSSA programme, but you can visit our departmental funding webpage, where you may be able to find a particular source of funding that matches your requirements alongside meeting the funding criteria.

Cancellations and refunds

1. Cancellation by you

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to oussa@conted.ox.ac.uk or by post to OUSSA, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid.
  • Cancellations received up to and including 30 April 2024 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2024 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2024 - no refunds will be made.

2. Cancellation by us

Where there is good reason, OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course by giving you notice in writing at any time before the course is due to start. In these cases, we will endeavour to offer a transfer to another available course if practical and acceptable to you, subject to payment or refund of any difference in the course fees. Alternatively, we will refund the course fees that you have already paid. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred. The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2024. If it is likely that the course may be cancelled, anyone affected will be notified by email within 7 days; if you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2024, you should assume that your course will be running. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course at short notice in exceptional circumstances that would prevent the course from being delivered e.g. tutor illness. In these rare instances, we will notify you as soon as possible and arrange a transfer to another available Oxford Experience course. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

3. Travel insurance 

The Department cannot be held responsible for any costs you may incur in relation to travel or accommodation bookings as a result of a course cancellation, or if you are unable to attend the course for any other reason. You are advised to check cancellation policies carefully and to purchase travel insurance.

IT requirements

Although it is not required, most students bring a laptop to Oxford to assist them with their studies.

For residential students, wireless internet access is available in all bedrooms; for all students, wireless access is available in communal spaces of the college.

All students will be eligible to use the computers and printer at the Department for Continuing Education, Rewely House, computer room.

Upcoming courses

Summer schools • Short courses
  • Sat 06 Jul 2024 – 13 Jul 2024
Summer schools • Short courses
  • Sat 06 Jul 2024 – 13 Jul 2024
Summer schools • Short courses
  • Sat 06 Jul 2024 – 13 Jul 2024
Summer schools • Short courses
  • Sat 06 Jul 2024 – 13 Jul 2024
Summer schools • Short courses
  • Sat 06 Jul 2024 – 13 Jul 2024
  • 9:00am – 12:30pm