Since its founding in the Middle Ages, Oxford University has produced innumerable poets, novelists, scientists, philosophers, politicians, artists, actors, playwrights, scholars, lawyers, physicians, diplomats, assorted heads of state and twenty-five British Prime Ministers. Today Oxford is a vibrant intellectual community, blending ancient British traditions and modern cosmopolitan scholarship amidst some of the most dazzling architecture in Europe.
For undergraduates the university’s most distinctive feature is the opportunity it has long provided for informal intellectual exchange – the so-called tutorial method – with faculty intensely experienced in their disciplines. In this, as in other regards, there is nothing quite like Oxford anywhere else in the world.
The Bridgewater-at-Oxford Program is designed to give a brief taste of the Oxford experience to students currently attending other colleges or universities. Since it began in 1988, the program has enrolled students from a wide range of institutions besides Bridgewater including Arizona State, Auburn, Columbia, Harvard, Holy Cross, Howard, Hunter, Louisiana State, McGill, McMaster, Montréal, North Carolina, Oberlin, Oregon, Princeton, Queen's (Canada), Roger Williams, Tufts, Vassar, Western Ontario and Yale. All have found the experience uniquely rewarding.
One of the distinctive features of the Bridgewater-at-Oxford Program, which carries three credits in Art History, English History, English Literature or Political Science and Law, is that all of the classroom teaching is provided by Oxford faculty. Other American universities offer summer programs, but the instruction in these is usually provided by American professors. In contrast, Bridgewater-at-Oxford, with its small classes designed to foster the intellectual give-and-take which is the hallmark of the tutorial style of instruction, more closely resembles the typical Oxford educational experience. Indeed, the Bridgewater-at-Oxford Program has been singled out by a number of Oxford faculty and administrators as academically superior.
Outside class, students will find themselves enjoying the Oxford ambiance in a variety of ways: browsing in the multitude of bookshops (new and secondhand) scattered throughout the city, savoring cream teas at the Randolph, punting on the Thames, talking with local farmers in the Covered Market, strolling through Christ Church Meadow or the larger Port Meadow, attending Evensong at Christ Church or Magdalen, jogging in the University Parks, joining in the discussions with other students and “dons” in the King’s Arms or walking to the Trout, a pub established in the twelfth century. During the summer, plays are often performed in the gardens of the colleges, their casts ranging in expertise from gifted undergraduates to West End professionals “up” from London, and every night in Oxford there are numerous musical events.
The program will be housed from July 5 to 29 at Wadham College, one of the 35 colleges that make up the university. Located in the center of Oxford just a few yards from Blackwell’s Bookshop and the Bodleian Library – to which students in the program will be admitted by special arrangement – Wadham during the summer is a lively and friendly place with a variety of conferences and summer schools in session and opportunities for jogging, boating, tennis and squash nearby. Seven breakfasts and three dinners - Monday through Friday- will be served in Wadham’s magnificent Jacobean dining hall (students are on their own for lunches as well as Saturday and Sunday dinners) and each student will have a comfortable private room with a shared bath or shower.
There will be several day-trips to such places as Tintern Abbey,and London. In addition, students will attend a major theatrical production in London.
The cost of the program is $4,900.This price includes room, partial board (seven breakfasts and three dinners per week), tuition, admission fees and group travel in Britain. Further details on costs can be found here.
Last Modified: February 5, 2010