Somerville English: About studying here
Somerville English students present and past have their say about what it’s like to study English here.
About the English community…
Rosanna Greenwood (current 2nd Year)
It is no myth that Somerville is the friendliest College in Oxford and the English department epitomises this; from day one I felt really at home with my literary family. I’ve loved reading familiar Victorian favourites and although the Old English was daunting to begin with, the support and advice from tutors and fellow students put me at ease and allowed my confidence to grow.
Freya Judd (recent graduate)
Somerville was a fantastic place to study English. Our tutors were supportive and encouraging, but also challenged us to rethink our viewpoints. There were lots of opportunities offered within set papers to pick authors and topics that you were specifically interested in, and the pastoral support was outstanding – no-one was ever left worried or behind! At Somerville, English students spend a lot of time together, in various classes, tutorials, and trips to exotic destinations like the Ashmolean museum, or Jane Austen’s house. You form the kind of supportive community that all the other subjects can only dream of.
About working with the English Tutors…
Rob Pepper (current 2nd Year)
I have loved the way in which the tutors have encouraged me to pursue an interest in texts of my own choice. Under their direction to relevant resources and through their insight into a broad range of material, I have been able to explore texts which move beyond the reading lists and have had the opportunity to develop a more personal response to the periods which we have studied.
Isabel Ireland (current 3rd Year)
I love the diversity of the English course at Somerville – we study such a broad range of literature. But most of all, it is the kindness and support of the tutors who encourage us to develop our own critical voices and explore what we love to read that makes it uniquely rewarding as well as a really friendly environment to study.
About the course …
Daunish Nergargar (current 3rd Year)
The most enjoyable aspect of studying English at Somerville is the freedom which students are given within each paper we study. The emphasis is always placed on what you find interesting, with tutors encouraging independent thought and exploration from the moment you start the course. Thanks to this support from tutors, my study of each time period has been informed by the topics and authors I’ve found most engaging, allowing me to pursue my degree in a way which I find personally enriching and enjoyable.
Niluka Kavanagh (recent graduate)
Studying English at Somerville was great. Firstly, the inclusion of Old English was a rare and special opportunity to study an area of English literature not offered at most other universities. Secondly, the tutors were lovely. In a subject like English, which involves a large amount of discussion, the tutors were approachable, inspiring and very helpful. No matter how many questions I had during my degree, I always felt there was someone I could discuss my ideas with. All in all, studying English at Somerville was a very rewarding experience.
Jack Cottam (current 3rd Year)
Studying the English Literature & Language course at Somerville has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The tutors make sure that every student is able to get the most out of their studies at Oxford. They are all incredibly helpful and accommodating, and each goes out of their way to help you find texts and topics which you enjoy. In my time at Somerville, I have been able to explore topics ranging from the criminal depictions of pirates in the eighteenth century, to Victorian working-class poetry written in the Lancashire dialect. As well as the expertise of the tutors, Somerville has one of the best libraries in Oxford for the English Literature & Language course, so the college really does offer everything that students need to do well.