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Colleges of Oxford

Course details

From £1120.00

Sun 02 Aug 2020 - Sat 08 Aug 2020

Colleges of Oxford


The Oxford Experience is a residential summer programme providing one-week courses in a variety of subjects aimed at non-specialists. It offers a choice of seminars each week over a period of six weeks.

The course explores the historic colleges and buildings of the University and city in the context of the origins of the town and growth of the University, ranging from the early medieval period to the 21st century. We shall look at the changing architectural styles of the buildings – churches, houses, colleges and institutions – in the context of the college gardens and the surrounding countryside. Following the chronology from medieval origins through to the modern period, the course will consist of illustrated talks with walks around historic buildings and streets of Oxford. On the last morning there will be a Victorian walk followed by an afternoon excursion to see modern colleges and views of the “dreaming spires” from the Oxford countryside.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.

Early medieval Oxford: the landscape setting, origins of the city and development of the late Saxon town; Norman Oxford, its castle and defences; the houses and churches of the medieval town.

The medieval university: the origins of the university in the late 12th century; student learning and life in academic halls; the curriculum; the arrival of colleges and their architectural impact on the town.

16th – 17th century Oxford: the late medieval university and the impact of the Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries on the urban scene; the rebuilding of Oxford in the 17th century, and the new science and learning.

18th – 19th century Oxford: building activity in a quiet century, and rapid growth thereafter; the creation of the dreaming spires in art and literature; new churches, laboratories and museums.

19th – 20th century Oxford: a walk round Victorian Oxford, with break for coffee. In the afternoon, a bus excursion to 20th-century Oxford colleges, and the historic landscape with views of Oxford and its famous skyline.


Field Trip

Destinations:   New College, Sheldonian Theatre, University Museum, St Catherine's College, Wolfson College, Wolvercote, & Boars Hill

Excursion Rating: Demanding
More than two hours' walk on even ground or up to two hours' walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.


Description Costs
Programme fee (no accom–incl. field trip, lunch and dinner) £1120.00
Programme fee (with single en-suite accom, field trip and meals) £1615.00
Programme fee (with single standard accom, field trip and meals) £1430.00


Mr Julian Munby


Julian Munby works on historic buildings and landscapes for Oxford Archaeology, has been researching the history of Oxford for many years, with a special interest in its buildings and in drawn views of the city. He has wide interests in cultural studies from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, and he is a regular lecturer for OUDCE.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Online registration closes on Friday, 1 May 2020 but please note that this course may be fully booked very quickly so early registration is recommended.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century.

The fee stated includes a bedroom with private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Most are single but a few twins are available*.

There is also a limited number of standard rooms available, which all have their own washbasin and shaver point but shared bath and toilet facilities. Most standard rooms are single but there are a few ‘twin sets’ (two single rooms opening off a sitting room)*.

*If you wish to book a twin en-suite room or a standard twin set room each person should complete an application form and email it to us at as these rooms cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form) together with a note of any mobility problems. Students should note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.


If accommodation is unavailable in a particular week, we also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals at the college, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.

If you wish to enrol on a non-residential basis please complete an application form and email it to us at as this option cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)