The Somerville Development Programme provides students with the academic, personal and career skills to ensure that they fulfil their potential at Somerville and beyond. 

The programme is delivered through workshops, seminars, mentoring, internships and networking opportunities designed to equip students with the skills and tools to flourish academically and prepare for life after Somerville.

The programme is open to all Somerville students and, alongside our weekly life skills and academic seminars, it seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and collaboration across the college community. Whether you’re looking for advice on careers, chances to network, tips on study skills or the perfect volunteering opportunity, the Development Programme can help.

The Development Programme is based upon three pillars of support: academic skills, wellbeing, and personal development, with the latter extending to career development and internship opportunities.

1. Academic Enrichment

We provide writing workshops to support students with all aspects of academic writing and in the run up to exams, sessions to help you prepare effectively and write essays under pressure. Getting to grips with Reference Management tools, academic writing for non-native speakers, presentation tips and public speakingtraining are all part of our termly offering. We facilitate opportunities for students to present their research more widely through knowledge exchange initiatives and also to the wider community, through the Oxford Science & Ideas Festival.

2. Life Skills & Personal Development

Our life skills and personal development strand aims to transmit transferable skills, facilitate mentoring and support students’ career planning. We organise skills seminars with professionals – for example interview technique, public speaking and entrepreneurial training – and connect students with alumni in specific careers through our e-mentoring hub Aluminate. Alumni have joined panel discussions on international development, careers in the Civil Service, alternative careers in science to name but a few.

CV clinics are also available; the programme director holds one-to-one sessions throughout the year, in person or on Teams, to discuss CVs, internships, ideas for a Development Award and general advice to help you get the most from your time at Somerville and equip yourself for the world of work.

3. Wellbeing

Together with our College Welfare officer and University Counselling service, we arrange lunchtime seminars to support wellbeing, with open discussion groups enabling students to share personal perspectives and strategies that work for them. We arrange sessions to provide guidance for those struggling with time management, perfectionism and maintaining a health work-life balance. Connecting with others and acts of giving are recognised as ways to improve mental health and wellbeing. We connect students to volunteering opportunities within the community – working with the Oxford Hub – and also provide awards to support students undertaking unpaid volunteering, both home and abroad, during the summer.

Browse the latest Development Programme