students look at massive old books

Why is this a Humanities Program?

The humanities are disciplines which explore human expression in all its rich variety: literature, language (both modern and classical), philosophy, history, art, music, theater.  These are cultural and intellectual projects with long histories: understanding them is diminished if one assumes that the present is inherently more valuable or interesting.  Thus our understanding of the humanities encompasses the whole of human history, and in particular a belief that the study of pre-modern societies and cultures is deeply worthwhile.  Examining human activities and assumptions beyond our immediate environment is especially valuable, particularly in the context of study abroad.  This shapes the nature of our program.  It is possible to choose from a very wide variety of tutorials in the humanities (and some social sciences), covering topics up to the present day.  However, it is not possible for students at North American institutions to focus on North American topics. We welcome students from all majors: there is no expectation that they are majoring in the humanities.  However, having a general interest in arts and culture will help to get most out of the program as a whole. This was also mean that you will be able to best take advantage of the wonderful resources on offer in Oxford, from world-class museums and galleries, to a wealth of specialized libraries and archives.

All students will work on at least one pre-modern course while they are here.  The research projects cannot focus on a period later than the eighteenth century, and most seminar offerings are prior to the nineteenth century.   Our tutorial topics cover the whole world (with the exception of North America); our seminar and research projects focus on Europe, not because we subscribe to any narrative of European preeminence, but because we are a study abroad program based in a European city.  In addition, our lectures, field trips, and other enrichment activities, are designed with these broad interests in mind.