The Scholar's Semester In Oxford


Through work with academic tutors, students at SSO hone their skills and delve into their individual areas of scholarly interest. Keat's "city of dreaming spires" provides the arena for a rare opportunity to engage in scholarly fellowship and development.

The year-long Scholar's Semester in Oxford (SSO) is designed for students who want to study intensively and to a high standard.  Students develop their academic writing and research skills and explore the disciplines and interests of their choice. As Visiting Students of the University of Oxford and members of Wycliffe Hall, students study in the oldest university in the English-speaking world. 

Concentrations for study are available in:


SSO welcomes applications from students who enjoy the academic challenge and desire to sharpen their research and writing in their subject areas.  To be eligible students must:

  • Have a 3.7 GPA or above
  • Junior standing
  • Possess a strong commitment to academics and Christianity 


A total of 17 credits are possible each term.

Fall or Michaelmas term is divided into 3 required components:

Spring or Hillary term is divided into 3 required components:

  • Thesis (4 credits)
  • Primary and Secondary Tutorials (6 and 3 credits)
  • Further Studies in the British Landscape (4 credits)

For the British Landscapes Course students may elect to take credit in one of six ways:

English Literature and the British Landscape Theology and the British Landscape
History and the British Landscape Art History and and the British Landscape
Philosophy and the British Landscape Musicology and and the British Landscape

For the tutorials the SSO has 18 interdisciplinary thematic concentrations:

The Ancient World Modern Studies Philosophy of Human Morality
Late Antiquity History and Philosophy of Science Philosophy of Language
Medieval Studies History of Art Philosophy and the Ancient Greek World
Renaissance Studies Gender Studies Religion and literature
Enlightenment Studies (in English Literature) Colonialism and Postcolonialism Religion and science
Victorian Studies Philosophy of the Human Mind Religion and Society

Any student wishing to fulfill a thematic core requirement such as Aesthetics Sensibilities and PracticesCivic Responsibility, or Human Person with their fall semester session of British landscapes must talk with the Core division representative before hand. Please see the Global Education Office for assistance.

While Oxford is a full-year program, with the recommendation of their advisor students may petition to participate for one semester only.

Global Understanding core credit can be fulfilled by this semester program when students participate in COR210 pre-departure and COR211 upon re-entry. Lab fees apply 


The cost is generally equal to a 16-credit semester at Gordon and includes:

  • Tuition (17 credit hours) & Fees
  • Room
  • Laundry facilties
  • Full use of University libraries; university ID, access to lectures and seminars, etc.
  • Program-related travel
  • see website for details.

Not included in regular tuition costs are such items as:

  • Board (approx. $80/week)
  • Travel to and from Oxford
  • Personal expenses
  • Books
  • Personal medical expenses, if incurred
  • Passport (required)
  • Visa (required for year-long programme)

Please note that board is not included in the Best Semester costs. Accordingly, Gordon College will not bill students for board.

Should the costs of the Best Semester Oxford Program exceed the cost of Gordon's tuition, room, and comprehensive fees, students are responsible for the difference.

Note: The exchange rate currently favors the British. Plan your budget accordingly when thinking about personal expenses.  


Gordon students wishing to apply for SSO must:

  1. Submit an online seat application to the GEO by DECEMBER 5
  2. Submit an academic paper (please see note below) to the GEO by DECEMBER 5
  3. Schedule a formal interview with the GEO.

Decisions on applications will be communicated after formal interviews (usually held between December 10-15). After approval students should proceed with application to Best Semester. The BEST SEMESTER's application must be submitted by February 1.

Guidelines for the paper to be submitted to the GEO in support of the seat application: Students should submit a paper in the discipline they wish to study in Oxford (a history major should submit a history paper, and so on). The paper should provide a strong example of the student's analytic and writing skills and be written for a 200-level class or above (no TGC papers, please). Clean, hardcopy (no professor comments, no email attachments). Minimum 6 pages. Maximum 25.

Online Seat Application for Best Semester

This application requests information that will be used to evaluate your eligibiity for an off-campus program. The College reserves the right to grant seats to applicants based on proven academic performance, moral maturity and personal motivation.

Please fill out the application form below with your information. Your responses to these questions will be used in evaluating your applications for a seat in an off-campus program. We encourage you to take your time and write considered responses to the personal statement questions.

1. Date of application:

2. Program:

3. Semester:

4. International Best Semester Programs fulfill Global Understanding when taken with COR210 before hand and COR211 afterwards. Do you wish to use this off-campus semester to fulfill Global Understanding Core?

Yes. I will register for COR210 New Perspectives in Crossing Cultures 1 (pre-departure) and COR211 New Perspectives 2 (re-entry).
No-BUT. Although I am fulfilling the Global Understanding Core in other ways, I DO want to attend the New Perspectives sessions.
No. I am fulfilling the Global Understanding Core through another course.
Not Applicable. My program is domestic.

5. Last Name:

6. First Name (Given Legal):

7. Middle Initial:

8. Gordon College ID #:

9. Gender:


10. Date of Birth:

11. Place of Birth:

12. Country of Citizenship:

13. Valid Passport:

Not necessary for my program

14. If yes, what is the expiration date on your passport?

15. Full Name exactly as it appears on passport:

16. Email Address:

17. Campus Mailing Address:

18. Campus Phone/Cell:

19. Parent/Guardian (Last, First, MI):

20. Parent/Guardian Phone:

21. Parent/Guardian Email

22. Parent/Guardian Address in full:

23. Emergency Contact if other than Parent/Guardian: (Provide Name, Address, Phone and Email in full)

24. Off Campus study can affect your eligibility for institutional, federal and state financial aid. Please check with your Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility status should you be accepted into an off-campus program.

I receive Financial Aid and will meet with my Financial Aid Officer to determine which forms of financial aid are transferable to this program.
I am not currently receiving any forms of financial aid.

25. Do you have any chronic physical conditions that require regular medical attention or that may be relevant for consideration in a program that requires physical activity such as walking, etc.?


26. Do you have allergies to foods, plants, etc.? Are there any prescription or non-prescription medications that you take regularly that you would anticipate needing while you are attending this program?

27. Do you have any learning disabilities you would like the program faculty to be aware of?


28. Current Class Level:


29. Expected Graduation Date:

30. Major Field of Study 1:

31. Major Field of Study 2:

32. Minor Field of Study:

33. Current GPA (Grade Point Average) as of most recently completed semester:

34. Name of Major Advisor:

35. Major Advisor’s Email:

36. Name of Faculty Reference:

37. Faculty Reference’s Email:

38. Name of Student Affairs Reference (someone in your campus Student Development or an RD - not an RA):

39. Student Affairs Reference's Email:

40. What is your motivation for participating in the program for which you are applying? How does the program meet your academic, personal and/or professional goals? (250 word minimum)

41. What in your past experience (international, educational or other) has prepared you for success in this program? What qualities or strengths do you possess that will contribute to your success in the program? (250 word minimum)

42. In the context of your own personal journey of faith, reflect upon your willingness to engage culturally diverse expressions of Christian experience. What is your experience with such engagement? (250 word minimum)

43. The program for which you are applying is structured with conditions of greater personal freedom than is normally the case in a Christian college environment. How are you likely to respond to this greater freedom? (250 word minimum)