People come to Oxford for many reasons. But above all, they come here to think. At Somerville, our tutors call on more than 140 years of ground-breaking academic excellence to ensure that you’ll learn to think with a depth and versatility greater than you ever thought possible.
But that’s not all. The education you receive at Somerville is deepened and strengthened via a unique blend of academic rigour, genuine support and unparalleled opportunity. Read on to find out more…
The Tutorial System
At the heart of your education sits the Somerville tutorial system, a learning experience that will both challenge and nurture you in the special ethos of academic rigour and genuine care which defines our community. Tutorials are one-hour classes occurring on a weekly basis which you’ll attend with one or, at most, two other students. The tutorial thus provides an unrivalled forum in which to develop and defend your thinking, pushing you to new heights of understanding and giving you the confidence to leverage your ideas in the world beyond Oxford.
‘In the tutorial, one is out in the open and compelled to draw on one’s powers. Intellectually, it is the equivalent of a sports training and equally necessary to get good results.’
Audrey Withers (1924, PPE), Editor of Vogue 1940-1960
Every student at Somerville receives their own personal tutor, who acts as the first point of contact for wellbeing and advice. This tutor changes from term to term and, because the tutors themselves are academics, they know better than anyone the challenges as well as the amazing possibilities of life at Oxford. You can learn more about tutors in our ‘Meet the Tutors’ section.
The Somerville Development Programme
One of the unique enrichment opportunities offered by Somerville College is the Development Programme. Through this, students can access workshops, study skills help and one-to-one mentoring from Programme Director, Claire Cockcroft. With workshops occurring on a weekly basis on topics including essay writing, time management, public speaking, and how to get a good night’s sleep, students receive the encouragement and support to take their studies, as well as their future careers, to the next level.
Our superb teaching and educational resources will enable you to excel at your studies, whatever might be affecting you or holding you back. If you get off-track at any time during your degree, we will respond sensitively to help you get things on course while supporting your wellbeing.
Additional Support for Disabilities
If you have a disability, you may be entitled to extra study skills support and mentoring through the Disabled Students’ Allowance and the University’s Disability Advisory Service. If you are unsure whether your condition qualifies, or what kind of support you might be offered, our Welfare and Disabilities Officer, Jo Ockwell, is always happy to speak to you. We are always listening to the disabled members of our community about what else we can do to make sure you feel supported and capable of achieving your full potential.
Subject-specific induction courses
Somerville is one of the few colleges to offer special induction courses for two subjects here at Somerville – Law and Physics –before the beginning of the First Year. These courses ensure all students have the right knowledge foundation in place to start their degrees successfully, regardless of prior teaching or variations in course content at A level. You don’t have to worry about the cost – we’ll pick up the bill for the extra nights. Nor are the courses compulsory – however, most students do attend and find the courses really helpful in preparing them for a successful first term.
In its commitment to tackling the pressing challenges of the world, Somerville must be regarded not merely as an avant garde institution of promise and ability, but one that is deeply committed to the fundamental canons of humanism.
Gopal Subramanium, FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL OF INDIA