The Visiting Student Programme aims to offer students as close an experience as possible to that of the regular degree students. At the heart of the Oxford teaching system is the tutorial, which is an hour-long meeting between one to three students and their tutor. Compared to systems where the main vehicle of teaching is the lecture or seminar, the tutorial system places great emphasis upon the independent study skills of the student. In general, students produce one essay (or ‘paper’) per tutorial which they either hand in to the tutor for marking or read out. The reading of the tutorial essay will lead into a general discussion of the subject matter being explored. Essays are not simply summaries of what a student has read in preparation for a tutorial, but critical engagements with a topic.
In each term visiting students pursue one primary subject (normally 8 tutorials) and one secondary subject (normally 4 tutorials). A few courses consist of tutorials supplemented by small-group classes. During the 8 weeks of term students also have access to University lectures, which they attend at the recommendation of their tutors or out of personal interest. Like regular undergraduate students, visiting students are taught by Fellows and Lecturers of Mansfield and other Colleges within the University, and advanced graduate students. The Oxford academic year is divided into three eight-week terms: Michaelmas Term runs from October to December, Hilary Term runs from January to March, and Trinity Term runs from April to June.
We try to give you the same experience as our second and third year undergraduates, and as far as possible you will follow the same course of study as they do, with the same academic care, except that you will not take examinations. You have the opportunity to follow a course of study in one subject, progressing through courses to more difficult and specialised work, or to pick from a range of disciplines.
Upon successfully completing their studies at Mansfield, visiting students are provided with an Official Transcript of Record, recommending them for credit at their home institution. In addition to providing details of the course taken and grades received, the Transcript includes copies of the termly reports provided by their tutors. It is important to note that Mansfield itself does not award credit: hence prospective visiting students should consult with advisers at their home institution before selecting tutorial options to be taken at Oxford, to ensure that their Oxford studies will be acceptable for the purposes of credit transfer. Responsibility for clearing tutorial choices with the home institution rests entirely with the student.