The research course focuses on a specific topic, chosen by the student with the assistance of the academic staff. The topics span the history, literature, spirituality and scholarship of the middle ages and early modern eras. Topics are researched through the extensive Bodleian Library system, as well as the many world-class museums of Oxford. Students receive individual supervision from an academic expert while carrying out their research. The course culminates in a long essay that will be double-marked by the supervisor, as well as by a second tutor.
The purpose of the research course is to encourage independent research and critical thinking, as well as to prepare students for senior projects they may write at their home institutions. In addition, the Autumn research course offers students preparatory training in the type of academic writing that will be required in tutorials, while the Spring research course is a culminating experience, providing a capstone to the semester.
The Autumn research course, entitled The Making of Europe, 400 to 1750, considers the European history from the end of the western Roman Empire to the eve of modernity. The Spring research course, Europe and the World, considers European interaction with the wider world, and how European understanding (and misunderstanding) of the rest of the world contributed to the formation of European self-identities.
Lectures from renowned Oxford academics combine with other academic and experiential elements to provide a background to issues and events, and multiple approaches to discovery.
Oxford is a vital resource, and students engage with its wealth through talks, visits, or hands-on experiences. In addition, a specialist tutor leads field trips to other places of historical importance within easy reach of Oxford.