Maintaining its faithful tradition, SCIO continues to offer students the opportunity to study in Oxford in 2024-25 and beyond.

We welcome you to the “city of dreaming spires” and a summer at Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO). As a student in Oxford, you’ll discover what so many people across the world have found to be the most academically exhilarating experience of their life. Study in the heart of an ancient academic city and challenge your mind and heart.

Connect With SCIO


Dear Prospective Scholars,

Thank you for looking at Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford’s (SCIO) offerings. Whether you are considering a summer or semester programme, we have great opportunities awaiting you.

Oxford: the name that conjures up notions of a great medieval city full of dreaming spires and stunning architecture, idiosyncratic practices, renowned authors who have made their way into the canons and literary reading lists, great theological debates, and major politicians. The mythic abounds. But even more, the concrete reality of a world-class scholarship is omnipresent: with research; major scientific discoveries; scholars across the disciplines whose works inform most, if not all, academic libraries; students sitting in cafés debating perennial issues and newly breaking ideas alike; and a rich and vibrant student life including music, sport, and drama.

Come sit in a tutorial where you meet one-on-one with a tutor engaged in serious conversation, testing ideas and joining together as junior and senior scholar. This is a learning experience like no other: there is no hiding (for tutee or tutor!), and you probe and digest ideas, coming to your own conclusions with the requirement to demonstrate that your view is valid and solid, even where it diverges from the views of other scholars or your tutor. To accomplish that goal, as a researcher yourself, you will have access to one of the world’s great libraries, the Bodleian Library with holdings in excess of 13 million items.

Join a rich community of scholars who share life together in a variety of forms: from the life of the mind; to cooking a meal together; to traveling on SCIO trips to interesting places like Bath and Hampton Court Palace; or making your own forays into London, up to Scotland, or over to the continent during the mid-term break. Join, too, a community of faith that is engaged in serious learning, affirming the ability to participate in scholarship as Christians dealing with difficult and profound issues.

SCIO offers the opportunity to participate in a great academic experience, prepare for graduate studies (for those headed in that direction), and build your CV with a recognized educational experience that matters to academic institutions and employers alike. As you review the materials on the website, we hope you see the possibilities and consider joining us. With SCIO staff, you will have a resource at hand to help you put your best foot forward as you apply.

Yours with every best wish,

Stan Rosenberg
Executive Director

Stan Rosenberg, PhD

Stan Rosenberg, PhD

Executive Director

Ana-Maria Pascal, PhD

Academic Director and Senior Tutor
Jordan Smith_SCIO Headshot

Jordan Smith, MA

Director of Administration and Student Affairs
Jonathan Kirkpatrick, DPhil

Jonathan Kirkpatrick, DPhil

Principal Lecturer and Director of Studies in Classics & the History of Art

Kelly McClinton, PhD

Junior Dean, The Vines

Anneke Flower

Operations, Finance, and Properties Administrator

Mitch Mallary, PhD

Academic Administrator

Sarah Campbell

Marketing and Admissions Manager

The SCIO Summer Programme offers students an opportunity to choose two seminars in which participants explore topics in small groups, meet with a tutor for one on one tutorials, and explore the British Isles. The SCIO Summer Programme fuels intellectual minds at all levels of education: undergraduate, post-graduate, professorial, and beyond.

Required Courses Credits
Total Credits 6

Seminars & Tutorials

All students participate in two different seminars. Each summer seminar consists of three discussion classes, four gobbets classes (gobbet is Oxford’s word for a small mouthful of text for close reading or translation and then discussion), and two tutorials. Discussion classes (1 hour) and gobbets classes (45 minutes) are with the seminar leader and a small but varying number of participants. For each class, students read all or parts of assigned texts and then discuss them. Students are evaluated by seminar leaders on the basis of written work. Seminars can be taken for undergraduate credit.

As part of their seminars students participate in individual tutorials during the second part of the programme. While meeting one-on-one with their seminar leader, students develop, discuss, and defend an essay related to the students’ seminar topic. Tutorials are individual meetings of one hour between the seminar leader and each of the seminar participants. In preparation for each tutorial, the student reads assigned texts and writes an essay of 2,000 words in response to a question set by the seminar leader.

ALL SCIO SUMMER PROGRAMME STUDENTS MUST COMPLETE their pre-programme reading before arriving at Oxford. Once your seminars have been confirmed, please ensure you make a prompt start with this reading or you will not be able to make the most of your discussion classes and tutorials.

Field Trips

All students attend field trips and accompanying lectures. Field trips are day-long excursions led by an expert guide to places that have a special significance for the British culture and history, such as Stonehenge and Salisbury, the Cotswolds, Bath, Portsmouth, and Saint Albans.

The SCIO Summer Programme seminars give you the chance to explore your chosen subject in-depth with an expert member of faculty and a small group of committed students. Below, you will find a general description of each seminar that we offer. Once seminar allocation has been confirmed, you will receive advice, about any preparatory reading that you should do.

All students participate in two different seminars. Each summer seminar consists of three discussion classes, four gobbets classes, and two tutorials (gobbet is Oxford’s word for a small mouthful of text for close reading or translation and then discussion). Discussion classes (1 hour) and gobbets classes (45 minutes) are with the seminar leader and a small but varying number of participants. For each class students read all or parts of assigned texts and then discuss them. Students are evaluated by seminar leaders on the basis of written work.

All SCIO Summer Programme students must complete their pre-programme reading before arriving at Oxford. Once your seminars have been confirmed, please ensure you make a prompt start with this reading or you will not be able to make the most of your discussion classes and tutorials.


Welcome to the home of some of history’s greatest thinkers. With discussion classes, lectures, one-on-one tutorials, and access to the world-renowned Bodleian Libraries, every student spends a lot of the time reading … and reading … and reading! If working at one of the best research establishments in the world excites you, then this is the programme for you! The only thing you will do as much as read, is write.

During each tutorial you answer a different question working with an extensive reading list. All students appreciate the chance to focus and specialize. It is exhilarating, head-spinning, and, sometimes, feels a little overwhelming, which is why the programme staff spend so much time making themselves available not only to support and encourage, but also to challenge you to push for new levels of academic achievement.


The Vines, a modest mansion on the crest of Headington Hill, is situated on 1.5 acres of garden with stunning views of Oxford’s spires. Running parallel to the path of C.S. Lewis’s former commute, The Vines is a 35-minute walk into Oxford city centre, a 10-minute cycle ride, or a 5-minute walk to the nearest bus stop (with buses passing by every 6–7 minutes). Equipped with a large kitchen, laundry facilities, and a well-appointed common room and bathrooms for every 2-3 rooms, The Vines will be your home away from home during the programme.

  • Free laundry facilities
  • Library with work stations and free printing facilities
  • Large common room
  • Dining room
  • Large kitchen
  • Wheelchair access and disability accommodation
  • Prayer room
  • Free WiFi throughout the property
SCIO Housing - The Vines

Further details for The Vines

SCIO is a member of ANUK (Accreditation Network UK) which promotes high standards in private rented residential accommodation. Wycliffe Hall operates under a similar system to promote high standards in its residential accommodation. In student housing matters, SCIO abides by ANUK’s guidelines on equality, and works to ensure that no person will be treated less favourably than any other person or group of persons on grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, gender, disability, appearance, age, marital status, sexual status, or social status. In addition, at The Vines and its Lodge, SCIO abides by ANUK’s code of standards for larger residential developments which governs practical matters. Its performance, with respect to equality in housing matters and to practical matters at The Vines and its Lodge, is regularly reviewed by an independent assessor approved by ANUK. 

The Vines has been adapted to accommodate students with physical disabilities. This includes the following ground floor facilities: accessible single and double occupancy rooms, an accessible bathroom, all common rooms, kitchen, and both main entrances are equipped with ramps for wheelchair access. SCIO is committed to making reasonable arrangements to enable students to participate as fully as possible in all areas of the programme. Further information about accessibility accommodations are available upon request. Please send any queries to

The Vines is mixed gender housing, with both single and shared rooms available.  Students are only assigned roommates of the same gender and, likewise, bathrooms facilities are only shared with students of the same gender.


Students are placed in rooms based on their answers to a housing questionnaire that is part of the application process. Rooms range in capacity from singles to quadruples. Below are some examples of typical rooms in the Vines:

Common rooms

In addition to students bedrooms, there are many common rooms that are shared with everyone living at the Vines. At the Vines offers areas for students cook, study, and relax together in a tight knit community.

Lounge room

Library and study room


Dining room

The grounds

Students have full access to the grounds at The Vines. This includes a large back garden with tables and chairs for studying and eating and plenty of space for sporting activities and relaxing.

large grass area with tables and chairs with large house in background large grass area with tables and chairs

Internet Access

Free high speed broadband internet is available throughout the Vines. The Vines has an average download speeds of 50mbps and an upload speed of 18mbps. Login information for the Vines will be provided to you when you move in and is posted throughout the property. The wireless network is checked regularly to ensure there is proper coverage throughout the property.

Environmental Sustainability at the Vines

SCIO is committed to reducing our environmental impact and we encourage our students to follow sustainable practices. We do this through:

  • Providing recycling and composting bins and guidance on how to properly recycle at our student housing. Instructions for what can be recycled and composted is posted on the notice board by the main kitchen. An orientation about recycling and composting will be provided by the Junior Dean during the start of the programme.
  • Encouraging students to walk and cycle while travelling around Oxford and to take mass public transit while traveling greater distances. Bicycles are provided free of charge to all residents of the Vines to use throughout the programme term.

Libraries and Special Collections

SCIO Summer Programme students have access to one of the greatest libraries in the world. Make use of Bodleian libraries and its large and rapidly growing physical and digital resources.

Additionally, Oxford’s museums and collections are world renowned and provide an important resource for scholars around the world.

Museums and Special Collections

  • The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology houses the University’s extensive collections of art and antiquities. Established in 1683, it is the oldest museum in the U.K. and one of the oldest in the world. It also houses an exceptional collection of prints which can be viewed by any member of the public upon special arrangement.
  • The University Museum of Natural History houses the University’s scientific collections. With 4.5 million specimens it is the largest collection of its type outside the national collections.
  • The Pitt Rivers Museum holds one of the finest collections of anthropology and archaeology.
  • The Museum of the History of Science is housed in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. It contains an excellent collection of historic scientific instruments from around the world.
  • The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments celebrates the development of musical instruments in the western classical tradition from the medieval period to the present. 
  • The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Britain. It contains the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world.
  • The Harcourt Arboretum is an informal garden, where the public can enjoy walks and riding their bicycles. It is six miles south of Oxford and forms an integral part of the Botanic Garden’s plant collection.
  • The Christ Church Picture Gallery houses an important collection of Old Master paintings and almost 2,000 drawings in a gallery of considerable architectural interest.
  • Modern Art Oxford is the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in the Southeast region of Britain.

Spiritual Life

SCIO’s spiritual mission is first to demonstrate that personal faith in Christ can flourish within an academically rigorous environment; can operate in a public university; and interacts with scholarship but not necessarily in ways that are obvious and easily labelled. Second, to help students acquire the maturity, vision, confidence, and skills to study in a public research university and to encourage scholarly reflection in religious contexts and in a public, non-religious environment.

Learning to study alongside and under those of different religious beliefs (or, in many cases, none) is challenging. We encourage this by offering ourselves as mentors/examples, creating an atmosphere of independence in which students can develop such a vision and ability, and offering nurture by staff who are engaged and committed.

All students are encouraged to find a church to attend in Oxford. Apart from the spiritual nourishment that comes from remaining involved in regular worship, church is a great place to meet other students and residents of the town, and creates opportunities for you to get to know the people in your community. Many students on the programme make a point of attending a church whose style is markedly different from that which they usually attend at home, while other students find it a great comfort to attend a service whose style is more familiar, and all students should think about what might best suit them while they are here.

See, Experience, Explore

Alongside the field trips organized as part of the programme, there are opportunities for students to explore other parts of the UK. The costs associated with non-academic trips are the responsibility of each student. In the past, these outings have proven to be a great break from studying and a chance to explore more of the British landscape. You may also wish to follow an itinerary below on your own or with a friend!

Exploring Oxford and Beyond


Oxford is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. While in Oxford you will have access to libraries that have been established for over 800 years, as well as the city’s its museums, bookshops, and entertainment venues. Discover some of the amazing art available on view in Oxford with an art-walk: explore Christ Church Picture Gallery, and visit the famous “Light of the World” by Edward Burne-Jones hidden away in the chapel at Keble College. Over your time at Oxford, various plays are put on in the evenings, which are fun to attend as a group.

Blenheim Palace

Spend the day wandering the grounds of Blenheim Palace: a world heritage site, home of the eleventh duke of Marlborough, and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The palace dates from 1705 and is set in a park designed by Capability Brown. Next to the grounds is the village of Bladon, where we visit Winston Churchill’s grave. Complete the afternoon with tea at the wonderful Bladon Tea Rooms in Woodstock.

Port Meadow

Enjoy a beautiful afternoon stroll (weather permitting) through Oxford’s Port Meadow—frequented by grazing horses—and end at the famous Trout Inn for a meal of fish and chips.


Stroll through the Roman streets of Bath, taking in all of its architectural beauty. Visit the Roman Baths and the great Abbey, and follow in the footsteps of one of Bath’s most famous inhabitants, Jane Austen. End the day with tea at Sally Lunn’s tea-room in the oldest house in Bath.

C.S. Lewis’s Home

Enjoy an afternoon visit to The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’s home in Headington. After touring the house and grounds, visit his parish church, Holy Trinity, where he is buried and commemorated with beautifully etched Narnia windows.


Burford is a small historic village with one of the most prized parish churches the country, dating from the 1100s (although the site has been a place of Christian worship since the 600s). Walk through the countryside to visit the deserted medieval village of Widford, a once-thriving community that was wiped out by the plague during the 14th century and never recovered. The 12th-century church is all that remains, and is situated in the middle of a field without any access except by foot.


Once a major political and ecclesiastical centre, Dorchester is now a sleepy town with one of the most fascinating churches (once an abbey) in the country. Walk through the woods and up an Iron Age hill fort (dating from the 4th century BC) with some of the most spectacular views in Oxfordshire. Plus another f14th-century church to explore along the way! Cross the Little Wittenham Bridge, used for the official World Poohsticks Championships.


During their time in Oxford, many students find themselves drawn to sites and attractions in London, which is less than an hour by train, or 90 minutes by bus. In one day, students often manage to explore aristocratic London and the royal parks, and go past Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster, and Downing Street before stopping to spend some time in the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalger Square. After lunch, you can walk around some of the older part of the City of London, including an optional climb up the Monument (a large Corinthian column with panoramic views over London from its top) and a walk past the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Then go to St Paul’s Cathedral for evensong, where you can hear one of the finest all-boys choirs in the world. Don’t forget to have dinner before heading back home. Phew! And that is only a minute selection of the many opportunities there are to explore whatever might be your heart’s desire in this remarkable city. Some students have chosen to supplement their research by taking advantage of their free access to the holdings of the British Library in London and the National Archives at Kew, near London.




Summers in Oxford are typically cool and mild and compare to what you could experience in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. You will enjoy plenty of moments full of sunshine, allowing you to read and study outside in the sleepy warm sun. You should also be prepared for some rain and misty days though, so be sure you have a rain jacket and trusty umbrella.

Tea (and Food)

Drinking tea is a vital element in the rhythm of the English person’s day, and all students are encouraged to discover this for themselves. Its popularity is perhaps explained in part by the cakes and biscuits that traditionally accompany this drink. Students will be invited to tea at regular times during the week, and it is an important time to relax, catch up with each other, and recharge for the rest of the day!

Apart from a few lunches and dinners organized as part of the programme, all students will need to prepare their own meals while in Oxford. This means shopping at one of the main supermarkets, going to the weekly fresh farmer’s market, or visiting the Covered Market, established in 1774. Many students form food groups that take turns to cook for each other and eat together at the end of each day. It is a great way to share with others what they have discovered that day, and also to hear what everyone else has been doing!

There are plenty of places to eat out in Oxford, ranging from the affordable to the expensive. The café in St Mary’s Church is a fun place to visit, as the café itself is in the Old Congregation House. It dates from the 14th century and was built a couple of hundred years after the colleges first started taking in students.


When the programme is all said, done, debated, and graded, you’ll return home with a community of alumni that continually reconnect over the bond that Oxford so passionately unites. Learn more about what alumni are up to on the SCIO website.

The SCIO Summer Programme is an interdisciplinary programme that gives no preference to students in any particular field of study. However, a good academic record is necessary: generally a minimum GPA of 2.9 on a 4.0 scale is required, though in the case of non-traditional students this may be reviewed (note this GPA requirement differs from that of the SCIO Semester Programme), and SCIO may accept any exceptional student it believes can meet the rigorous demands of the program.

SCIO aims to provide an inclusive environment which promotes equality, values diversity, and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected to assist them in reaching their full potential.

The SCIO Summer Programme is designed for rising college sophomores, juniors, and seniors; non-traditional students; teachers; and those enrolled in continuing education programs.

How Do I Apply?

Simply complete an online application for the semester during which you plan to participate. Each campus makes its own policies regarding off-campus study, so you should consult your academic dean, off-campus study coordinator, and/or advising faculty member at your school to ensure completion of all campus requirements.

Before your application can be reviewed for admission, you must submit all of the following materials:

  • A completed online application form
  • $50 application fee (payable by check or credit card)
  • Two faculty references
  • One character reference
  • Official transcript(s) of all college course work
  • Off-campus approval form


Once admitted into the programme, you will be required to confirm your intent to participate by submitting a non-refundable $500 confirmation fee, which will be applied toward your program tuition.

You will also be required to complete additional confirmation and pre-departure materials, including but not limited to: waiver and liability forms, a medical information form, a housing form, and proof of international medical insurance. But don’t worry! We will send you all the details and instructions on your acceptance.

Summer 2025 Term Dates:

Rolling Admissions

Application available until (or spots are filled) May 31
SCIO begins on arrival June 13
SCIO concludes July 12


Typically, the only expenses SCIO Summer Programme participants pay directly to the CCCU are the application fee ($50) and the non-refundable confirmation fee ($500, deducted from the total housing fee at invoicing).

Program Fees:
About six weeks before the term begins, the CCCU sends participation invoices to each home campus. For the 2023-24 school year, that bill will feature the below SCIO Summer Programme fees. 

Instructional Fees $4,990
Room $2,625
Confirmation Deposit ($500)

Keep in mind the total programme costs billed to you through your school may differ, depending on your campus’s policies.

Note: Schools or individuals who pay with a credit card will also be charged a credit card service fee.

Expenses Covered by SCIO Summer Programme Fees:

  • Tuition for recommended 6 hours of credit, including one-on-one tutorials, seminar classes, and a lecture series
  • Room and partial meals
  • International medical coverage for the duration of the programme
  • All necessary expenses for official field trips
  • Use of programme computers, unlimited wireless internet access, and printing facilities
  • Free on-site laundry facilities (must provide own detergent, etc.)
  • Social events including afternoon teas with staff and other funded student events

Additional Anticipated Expenses*:

  • Travel between home and Oxford (estimated $800-1,200 from U.S.)
  • Meals
  • Books
  • Personal medical expenses, if incurred, including preparatory vaccinations
  • Local transportation
  • Personal discretionary expenditures

International Travel

Participants are responsible for arranging travel to and from Oxford. Student housing check-in time is between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on arrival day; departure is before 11 a.m. on checkout day. Student accommodations are closed outside of official programme dates/times. Travel information from London’s major airports to SCIO Summer Programme housing is provided in a pre-departure packet.


The SCIO Summer Programme is an extension campus of each member institution of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU); each school grants the academic credit for program participation.

The CCCU invoices campuses for the cost of participation in SCIO Summer Programme and in turn campuses bill their students following the campus’s established policies and procedures. (For example, some schools charge the exact fees of the off-campus program, other schools charge the campus tuition price, while others charge full on-campus fees plus an additional off-campus study fee. And there’s every variation in between!)

Since each school determines their own policies regarding off-campus study costs and the applicability of institutional scholarships and other aid, you should confirm your school’s policies with the Off-Campus Study Coordinator on your campus. As summer billing often differs from semester billing, it’s possible your home campus will require that CCCU GlobalEd bill you directly. In direct-bill situations, please refer to our General Policies for payment deadlines.

*Anticipated expenses are estimates, which will be updated should local costs shift significantly. You may spend more/less depending on your personal spending habits.

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Health Services

Staff at SCIO are available and equipped to provide support for students. Our staff have decades of experience working with study abroad students in Oxford as well as other locations around the world. SCIO has staff members that are trained in mental health first aid and medical first aid. Where needed, SCIO has relationships with local counselling services to refer students that need to meet with a counsellor while in Oxford.



Oxford is generally a safe place in which to study and explore; nevertheless, you should minimize any risks by remaining alert and taking precautions. Students will be briefed about safety protocols during programme orientation. You can also familiarize yourself with any current travel or health advisories for the United Kingdom by visiting the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) websites.

Many of the faculty and staff have lived in Oxfordshire for years. During orientation, we will discuss basic guidelines to follow to help you feel confident and safe during your time here. If you have any questions prior to departure, please contact your admissions advisor.


Know Before You Go

Studying off campus can be an exciting time filled with adventure and personal growth. Prepare yourself in advance for challenges you might face on the programme. Students at SCIO should anticipate: 

  • Walking in and around the city may include uneven terrain, such as cobblestone walkways, in unpredictable weather and frequent rain.  
  • Living in a residence of multiple occupancy with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and communal spaces. Living (and other) spaces are not air-conditioned, though this is very rarely problematic in the cool British summers. Living and other spaces are heated in winter. 
  • The Vines is located on a hill from which Oxford city centre is accessible via a 35-minute walk, a 15-minute cycle ride, or a 20-minute bus ride accessed via 5-minute walk to the nearest bus stop (with buses passing by every 6–7 minutes). The Vines has a bathroom for use by students in wheelchairs and generally with limited mobility and can offer ground floor accommodation. 
  • Students are responsible for purchase and preparation of their own food and transportation.  
  • Traffic drives on the left side of the road. 
  • Students may be unused to cycling or to cycling in traffic and this should be considered before cycling in Oxford.
  • Historic buildings can present difficulties to students with mobility challenges but professional staff help with such challenges. 
  • Living away from family, friends, and other support networks. 
  • Managing and following a demanding study schedule with substantial independence, and attending lectures, one-on-one tutorials, and day-long field trips. 
  • Experiencing potentially challenging personal, religious, and cultural learning, lectures, field trips, and assignments. 


You’ve probably heard a great deal about the UK, but what makes Oxford stand out? Read the FAQ below to find out.

Where does the programme take place?

“Oxford still remains the most beautiful thing in England, and nowhere else are life and art so exquisitely blended, so perfectly made one.” —Oscar Wilde

The programme is located in Oxford, one of the oldest and most prestigious university cities in the world. You will study in and enjoy all the benefits of the great city of Oxford. The SCIO offices are in North Oxford, a 15 min walk to the city centre. The Vines is located in the Headington neighborhood, a 30 min walk to the city centre.

Oxford is located 60 to 90 minutes from the centre of London by train or bus.

What is the climate like?

Weather in Oxford is much like weather in the Pacific Northwest of the US. Mild, cool summers, with rain and misty days are not infrequent.



What is the geography like?

The area surrounding Oxford is rural with farmland, but Oxford itself is a city with a small-town feel. Bordering the academic castles are cobbled streets with small shops; bicyclists weave in and out of traffic. The libraries contain so many volumes that the stacks must be housed below ground—so as you walk, you walk over books. It is flat enough that you can bike everywhere and small enough that you can walk nearly anywhere in Oxford in around 30-45 minutes!


Will I get to travel throughout the summer?

Day trips to local historical sites are a part of your program. On staff-led field trips, you will explore the city of Oxford as well as places outside Oxford like Salisbury, Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, or Bath. You may also wish to travel in your free time to London, a short bus or train ride away, or any number of other local destinations.



The most eye-opening feature of the SCIO Summer Programme is often not the traveling, nor even the cultural immersion, but the intensive, world-renowned studies. Read this FAQ series to find out more about the programme’s academics.

How many credits will I receive?

You will receive six credits for your coursework at SCIO. During your five weeks you will attend two seminars, with associated tutorials, for three credits each.


Where will I be taking classes?

Your coursework will take place largely at the SCIO offices, but you may also meet in local museums, cafes, etc. Much of your free time will be spent in the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest, most extensive, and most prized library collections in the world. Prepare yourself to see, smell, touch, and learn from books whose wisdom has withstood the test of time.


What will I be studying?

A complete list of SCIO Summer Programme seminar topics can be found in the Seminars section. Topics range from “Faith and Reason in the British Enlightenment” to “Creative Writing” to “C.S. Lewis” and his classic literature.

You will participate in seminar discussions during the first three weeks of your time in Oxford. Following your seminar sessions, you will meet with your seminar tutor for two one-on-one sessions to develop, defend, and discuss an essay on a topic of your choosing related to your seminar. The tutorial system at Oxford is the most distinct element of Oxford’s teaching. As an Oxford Summer Programme student, you will have unparalleled access to the mind and mentorship of an Oxford faculty member who will help you hone your writing and critical thinking skills, preparing your for graduate studies or professional work.

The lecture series, The Christian Tradition in the British Isles, explores the development of Christianity across the nation’s landscape, covering the Celtic people of Britain to the Roman province of Britannia. These lectures, along with three field trips to historic places throughout England, provide the historical context of your academic work and experience in Oxford.


Who will be teaching my classes?

You will be taught by SCIO staff and/or other Oxford scholars. SCIO staff pairs you with scholars that are experts in the field you are studying. These are scholars of the highest order: well-regarded and well-published.


Who will be in my classes: local or CCCU GlobalEd students?

Your seminar groups will be comprised of students of the SCIOSummer Programme, who will be from a variety of institutions, primarily North American universities. Your tutorials will be one-on-one discussions with your tutor.



What do you need to know before you step on that plane? Read the FAQ below to find out!

How will I get to and from the program?

You will purchase your flight to the UK a few months before the programme. If you are accepted, we’ll send you more details on when to book the flight and how to find your way to your new home for the semester. Once you arrive in the UK, London’s Heathrow airport is a 90-min bus ride away from Oxford.


Will I need a passport?

Yes! Make sure to check the expiration date. You will need a passport that does not expire within six months of your return from the programme. If you do not have a passport yet, you should apply for one as soon as possible, as their can sometimes be delays for passport processing.


Will I need a visa?

Well, that depends on your nationality. Usually, US and Canadian citizens coming to study in the UK for less than six months do not need to apply in advance for a visa. There is a helpful checklist on the UK government website. SCIO staff will be able to guide you towards further information if required, but cannot advise on the actual visa application process. 



Your day-to-day to life in Oxford will look quite different than your current one—but how so? In this FAQ series, we will answer some common questions about daily life at the Oxford Summer Programme.

Where will I live?

You will live in The Vines, a modest mansion on the crest of Headington Hill, situated on 1.5 acres of garden with stunning views of Oxford’s spires. Running parallel to the path of C.S. Lewis’s former commute, The Vines is a 35-minute walk into Oxford city centre, a 10-minute cycle ride, or a 5-minute walk to the nearest bus stop (with buses passing by every 6–7 minutes). It has a large kitchen, laundry facilities, a well-appointed common room, and bathrooms for every 2-3 rooms.

What will I eat?

The SCIO Summer Programme provides a few lunches over the course of the term; all other meals you will be responsible for buying or preparing yourself.

You are free to prepare your meals in the kitchens of the Vines, and, of course, there are myriad cafés and pubs in Oxford—including the famous Queen’s Lane Coffee House (reputedly the oldest café in Europe) and The Eagle and Child, where Tolkien and Lewis met with other Inklings.

And then, of course, there is tea. In Oxford you will become accustomed to (if not dependent upon) the tea culture. Be prepared to sit, sip, and share with your friends and SCIO staff several times a day. Many students acquire such a taste for tea, and for the social rejuvenation of these respites, that they bring the custom home with them at the programme’s end.


How will I get around?

Walking (start breaking in your shoes now!), local buses, or cycling. Oxford is city of bicyclists and pedestrians. Buses are also easily accessible (The Vines is less than a 5 minutes walk to the nearest bus stop), but many students prefer the freedom and pace of foot travel.

For travel outside of Oxford, the UK has an extensive network of trains and buses that can get you to most anyplace you will want to visit.


Can I attend church?

Absolutely! We encourage you to find a church home in one of the many local cathedrals, house churches, or other diverse places of worship. Not only will these communities support you spiritually, but they will connect you to other students, faculty, and families in Oxford. Upon arrival SCIO will provide a list of local churches that students have attended in the past.


What is the program community like?

Your new community will be made up of 25 to 35 other students from various schools throughout the world. As expats, you’ll form quick bonds within a British culture that seems familiar upon first glance but soon reveals fascinating differences in custom, humor, faith, and more.


Will I be interacting with local people?

On a daily basis! While your lectures will be with other North American college students, you’ll be studying in the library with, purchasing coffee from, walking/biking alongside, and attending church among local people.



How can you get in touch with new classmates and local friends, and how can you keep in touch with your old ones? In the FAQ below we discuss common questions related to communication and technology.

Will my family and friends be able to visit me during the semester?

Because your time in Oxford is relatively short, we do not recommend that you invite friends or family to visit you. However, as Oxford and the British Isles in general are a wonderful destination for short visits from North America, we do encourage you to share Oxford with friends and family before or after your term!


Will my cell phone work in England?

That depends on your cell phone provider. Make sure to talk to your service provider about your options.

If your phone is unlocked and compatible with overseas SIM cards, you can purchase this card upon arrival. Many students choose this option as it is often much more cost effective than paying to use your US provider’s service in the UK.


Contact Us

Have questions or want more information about Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford?
Please call us at 202-546-8713 ext. 402 or fill out the form below, and one of our team members will contact you soon!

Stan Rosenberg
BA (Colorado State University), MA, PhD (Catholic University of America), FISSR

Stan Rosenberg is the founding director of Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO), the U.K. subsidiary of the CCCU. He is also on the faculty of theology and religion at the University of Oxford, and a fellow of the International Society of Science & Religion. He has published on Augustine’s thought, early Christianity and Greco-Roman science, and ancient preaching and popular religion. Stan is on the editorial board of the journal Religions, and on advisory councils for BioLogos and the Museum of the Bible. He has overseen numerous science and religion projects for faculty, funded by major granting bodies, and directs the Logos program on biblical manuscripts, texts, and reception. Recently, he co-organized a funded project that led to his edited book, Finding Ourselves after Darwin: Conversations on the Image of God, Original Sin, and the Problem of Evil. 
Ana-Maria Pascal
Ana-Maria is our new Academic Director and Senior Tutor in Oxford; she joined SCIO in October 2022, from Regent’s University London, where she was Reader in Philosophy and Public Ethics, and Director of Liberal Arts programmes. She is also Director of Studies in Philosophy, with research interests in hermeneutics and comparative metaphysics. When not at her desk, she is either exploring old monasteries, listening to Classic FM, or out jogging.
Jordan Smith
BA (Houghton College), MA (American University)

Jordan earned a BA in International Studies from Houghton College and an MA in International Training and Education at American University. His master’s research focused on intercultural competency in study abroad. Throughout his career, Jordan has worked with non-profit organizations in Thailand, Vietnam, and Washington, DC. Prior to joining SCIO, he worked for the CCCU in Washington, DC as the Director for Educational Programs.
Jonathan Kirkpatrick
BA (Oxon), MSt (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

Dr Kirkpatrick graduated BA in classics, MSt in oriental studies, and DPhil in classics from Oxford, and his research interests currently centre on pagan religious cults in Roman Palestine. From 2004 to 2006 he was departmental lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University. He is writing a book on C.S. Lewis’s connection with the classics, and co-ordinates SCIO’s activities with the Green Scholars’ Initiative.
Kelly McClinton
BA (University of Texas, Austin), MA, PhD (Indiana University)
Kelly graduated with a BA in classics and ancient history from the University of Texas at Austin, an MA in art history from Indiana University, and a PhD in informatics from the Indiana University. Her thesis explored computational modelling methods applied to the study of Roman domestic space. Her DPhil at Oxford expands this work and focuses on early Christian basilicas in Rome, AD 200–600. Various sources of evidence are digitally reconstructed and approached as part of the larger image of transformation in cities during the late antique and early medieval period.
Anneke Flower
Anneke matriculated from Pro Arte Alphen Park High School in South Africa, where she studied hospitality studies, accounting, maths, and business economics.  After graduating, Anneke initially came to the UK for a two-year working holiday, working in various pubs and hotels, and then went back to South Africa, where she gained 14 years’ experience in different areas of finance including bookkeeping, stock control, operations, and office management.  Anneke has now resettled back in the UK.  She loves nature and spending time outdoors and enjoys interacting with people from all walks of life.
Mitch Mallary
BA (Judson University), PhD (University of St Andrews)
Mitch completed his undergraduate studies at Judson University, earning a BA in both Christian Theology and Biblical Studies, before pursuing a PhD in Theology at the University of St Andrews. Under the tutelage of Professors Andrew Torrance and Tom Wright, his doctoral research brought Karl Barth’s doctrine of revelation into dialogue with Wright’s historical scholarship about Jesus, bringing clarity to ongoing debates about the relationship between these two thinkers. Prior to joining SCIO, Mitch worked as a research assistant for both of his doctoral supervisors. In addition to his academic pursuits, Mitch is a dog enthusiast and the proud owner of Bernie, a lively Springer Spaniel.
Sarah Campbell
BA (Taylor University)
Sarah serves as the Marketing and Admissions Manager. She is a graduate of Taylor University and an alum of SCIO as well. Sarah is excited to work with the SCIO team and assist future SCIO-bound students with preparing to experience the magic that is found in spending a semester studying off campus in Oxford!
Applied Ethics

The purpose of this course is to help you understand how to approach ethical dilemmas, using normative theories and a considered line of argumentation. You will explore both the benefits and the limitations of different theoretical frameworks – from virtue ethics, to utilitarianism and deontology; and you will reflect on the significance of the fact that these are all representatives of Western philosophy. You will then consider what is distinctive in other ethical traditions – such as the Indian, the Buddhist, the Islamic, or the Chinese; and what they share with contemporary Western ethics. Second, you will test different ethical theories on practical issues currently at the centre of civic debate. These range from human to animal rights, war, immigration, and euthanasia. You will reflect on how these are often related to the broader socio-economic, regulatory, and cultural context; and how commercial interests on the one hand, and socio-cultural commitments, public discourse and prejudice, on the other, impact on the way these practical issues pan out in the public domain.

Third – and upon request – you may focus on business ethics and corporate social responsibility issues, exploring the relationship between corporate power and responsibility, and how this relates to government activity and the wider society. In this context, you may investigate criminal cases that combine moral and legal issues, such as bribery, fraud, money laundering or insider dealing, using major scandals to illustrate, e.g. Enron, Rana Plaza, or the fall of Lehman Brothers. You may also consider cases of complicity between major corporations and corrupt regimes, and reflect on the efforts made by international agencies like the UN, to tackle such challenges more efficiently.

C.S. Lewis and the Classics
When C.S. Lewis arrived in Oxford in 1917, he came to study Classics: the literature, history, and thought of ancient Greece and Rome. He was an atheist, and was fascinated by the pagan mythology of the classical world, and this was a fascination that never left him. In fact, it was through this love of mythology that he finally became a Christian, and he drew on this rich classical heritage throughout his career and a teacher and writer.

Lewis was a star student, and earned a prestigious ‘double first’ degree before moving on to a career in English literature. (Tolkien, by contrast, also studied Classics at Oxford, but earned mediocre grades and dropped out of the course.) Lewis’s classical education formed him: one cannot read far in his books without coming across a reference to an ancient Greek story, or a Latin quotation, and in this course we will be examining the enormous influence that Classics had on Lewis’s life and thought.

The only classical god to appear in Narnia is Bacchus, the god of wine and license (in Prince Caspian); why did Lewis let him in? This is one of many intriguing questions we’ll be addressing. In fact, Bacchus (or Dionysus) was deeply interesting to Lewis, and closely connected to his views of Christ; and there are many other classical elements in the Narnia books, such as fauns and centaurs, that we’ll investigate. We will consider the role mythology played in Lewis’s understanding of the world, and, particularly, in his conversion to Christianity. We will look at one of Lewis’s favourite poems, Virgil’s epic Aeneid, and consider how its picture of wanderings in search of a home related to Lewis’s ideas of the Christian experience. We will examine Lewis’s final novel, Till We Have Faces, in which he retold the myth of Cupid and Psyche, a task which he had been trying to do for most of his life.

Lewis’s love of the Classics pervaded his thought, and in this course we will be looking at its influence in his fiction, his literary criticism, his poetry, his letters, and his Christian apologetics. Equally exciting is the chance to examine the Classical world through Lewis’s eyes. There is a great deal of pleasure to be derived both from reading Lewis and from investigating the classical world, and in addition to this students will gain a much deeper understanding of Lewis as a writer and as a Christian.

Contemporary British Culture: History, Politics, and Society
Britain in the twenty-first century is a country looking for an identity. Having left the European Union in January 2020 Britain needs to find new policies at home and a new role abroad. Having ‘regained our national sovereignty’, as Brexit supporters put it, Britons now need to decide how to make use of that sovereignty. Covid-19 has forced further reappraisal of what matters to Britons: should the country return as soon as possible to how things were before, or is this a singular opportunity to reimagine polity and society, giving priority to the things which lockdown showed us were valuable?

This course takes a succession of British tropes to probe what they tell us about contemporary Britain and how they shape discussions of the nation’s future. What, for example, does the Union Jack (strictly speaking the Union flag) reveal about the constituent parts of the United Kingdom and their relationship with the whole? What does the British cup of tea tell us about the nation’s role in global trade and colonisation? What does the king tell us about Britain’s version of democracy? What can we learn from the James Bond novels and films about Britain’s fear of international decline and its sense of superiority? In what way are soccer, cricket, and Wimbledon windows on to British class, ethnic, and regional cultures? What does Britain’s ‘green and pleasant land’ reveal about conservation, rural life, and leisure in Britain? What does Westminster Abbey, the national pantheon, reveal about Britons’ relationship to the past? What does a country church tell us about religion in Britain? Why on earth do Britons talk about the weather all the time? What does the BBC reveal about the English language, Britain’s role in the world, free speech, and British values? What does the Channel Tunnel tell us about Britain’s relationship to Europe?

With these and other tropes we explore Britain and its inhabitants, searching for explanation rooted in the past, and considering what the nation might look like in the future.

Creative Writing
If you study creative writing at OSP, you will read canonical writing with an eye to techniques you can make your own in writing that will be workshopped, one-to-one, with the tutor. In the prose section of the course you’ll read a short story by James Joyce, noting his stealthy satire of society and literary convention, then take a boat out on the stream of consciousness of Virginia Woolf. Can you pick up her knack of jumping from one person’s point of view to another’s on the turn of a comma?

The poetry section includes looking, though T.S. Eliot’s ‘The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, at ways of communicating through music and repeated sounds. (How do you feel different saying ‘is it/visit’ compared to ‘go/Michelangelo’?) You’ll also, through reading the work of Philip Larkin, learn the right way to use metre and rhyme; the lines round a repeated stanza form make the shape not, as many think, of a ‘constricting’ container, but of a fabulous tennis court at Wimbledon.

The one-to-one tutorials are fundamentally a conversation, with a great deal of flexibility in what is discussed. Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on the pleasure of reading and the craft of writing, and on the triple literary aims of teaching, moving, and delighting both writer and reader.

Faith and Reason in the British Enlightenment
The Enlightenment saw the rise and triumph of reason as the supreme power in many spheres. One area which – perhaps inevitably – provoked much discussion was religion. For some, this provided an opportunity to attempt to demonstrate a sound rational basis for religious belief; for others, it led to the challenging of old certainties.

In this course, we’ll examine the application of reason to matters of faith during this period. Our focus will be on the work of three British philosophers in the empiricist tradition, who were at work during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.

We’ll begin by exploring the key relationship between faith and reason. The two are sometimes contrasted with each other, but philosophers such as Locke argued that in fact they are complementary concepts, and need not be seen as in opposition to each other. A major question which exercised many thinkers was whether God’s existence can be proved, so we’ll also examine Locke’s version of the cosmological argument, Berkeley’s idealist philosophy (which he believed offered an antidote to atheism and irreligion), and the sceptic David Hume’s criticisms of the argument for design. There will also be a chance to look at some responses to these authors, from both contemporary writers and more modern ones.

Although written over two centuries ago, these texts raise crucial questions which remain just as relevant today, and this course provides an opportunity to harvest some of the riches of insight offered by great thinkers of the past.

Intellect and Imagination: the Rational Religion and Theological Stories of C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis is known to millions around the world as a writer of fantasy literature (most famously The chronicles of Narnia), and as someone with a gift for presenting Christian theology to a large popular audience, through works such as Mere Christianity and The problem of pain.

On the face of it, these two aspects of his writing – the imaginative and the intellectual – may seem quite different. But in this course, we’ll explore how the two work together and harmonize, and how fiction can in fact be an ideal vehicle for conveying complex concepts. We’ll look at a number of key strands of Lewis’s theological writings, examining both what he said and how he said it: we’ll delve into the arguments advanced and the claims made, and we’ll also consider what difference the form of the writing makes.

You’ll have the opportunity to investigate a variety of themes: Lewis’s trilemma (otherwise known as the ‘mad, bad, or God argument’!), his argument from desire (which suggests that the yearning we find within ourselves is an indication we were made for another world), his views on Christianity and myth, the problem of suffering, and heaven and hell. We’ll look at both his non-fiction books and essays, and his imaginative works, such as The great divorce.

You’ll be encouraged to apply your own analytical skills to Lewis’s writings and to some of the various responses to him (both positive and more critical), as we investigate his claim that religious truth requires a response from the whole person: that it must be both assented to with the reason and embraced by the imagination.

J.R.R. Tolkien: Oxford’s creator of other worlds
Oxford has been a centre of scholarship for centuries, and since the nineteenth century it has also boasted a considerable number of acclaimed and popular writers of what has come to be known as fantasy literature. Nonetheless, by the early twentieth century, the philologist and literature professor J.R.R. Tolkien felt that such fiction had fallen out of fashion and been handed over to children — ‘relegated to the nursery’. He set out to reclaim high fantasy for adults, believing that it had major literary merit and should not be dismissed as escapist or childish. In fact, he argued that fantasy can fulfil humanity’s ‘profounder wishes’, providing readers with a fresh perspective and a world stripped of its dull familiarity. Tolkien continues to dominate the genre in prose and film, setting the standard not only in fiction with The Lord of the Rings, but also in critical commentary with his 1939 lecture ‘On fairy-stories’, which remains a definitive piece of criticism.

In this course we will examine Tolkien’s life, his literary influences and source materials, the major works of fantasy, and selected critical responses, both positive and negative. For example, though Middle-earth was his attempt to create an authentic mythology for England, it has been criticized for its seeming lack of ethnic and gender diversity. Tolkien was shaped by his education, his traumatic experiences in the First World War, and a life spent in what was then the predominantly white, upper-class, male environment of Oxford. Sessions will therefore include discussion of the biographical, historical, and cultural contexts of his writings and their effect on the racial, gendered, regional, and socio-economic elements in his characterization and created world.

Notwithstanding, why does the Middle-earth legendarium continue to fascinate readers and to inspire new generations of fantasy writers? Are the wildly successful film adaptations of these books a testament to Tolkien’s vision or is Christopher Tolkien correct when he claims that the ‘commercialisation has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing’? These are some of the questions we will consider.

Jane Austen in Context
Since the publication in 1811 of a novel called Sense and Sensibility, ‘by a lady’, the works of Jane Austen have enjoyed both popularity and critical acclaim, and scholarly interest shows no sign of waning.

Nor does what can be described as a popular mania for all things Austen, especially in film and television: the so-called ‘Austen brand’ is thriving. In this course will find out why, examining Austen’s life and writings to assess her novelistic technique and development and her place among women writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition to studying the major novels, we will look at Austen’s juvenilia and place each text in its literary and historical context, examining, for example, the eighteenth-century cult of sensibility when we discuss Sense and Sensibility and the contemporary vogue for gothic novels when we study Austen’s burlesque of the gothic genre, Northanger Abbey.

Other themes that will be covered include Austen’s treatment of class, economics, education, female friendship, courtship, and politics. Finally, students will be given the opportunity to assess selected screen adaptations of the novels to decide if they testify to the timelessness of Austen’s wit and the ongoing relevance of her social satire, or damage her reputation as a writer with the addition of romantic elements that distract from the commentary and limit Austen’s appeal to a female audience.

Oxford and the Pursuit of Beauty: Art and Criticism in the Nineteenth Century
Two of the greatest Victorian art theorists, John Ruskin and Walter Pater, studied and taught at Oxford, and their influence both in the city and further afield was immense. While Ruskin sought to link the visual arts to a serious moral vision of society, based in his evangelical upbringing, Pater preached the gospel of Aestheticism, pursuing beauty as an end in itself and advocating art for art’s sake. Their writings are theoretically challenging and controversial, as well as being masterpieces of prose, and we will examine their ideas and put them in their wider context.

We will examine the influence of these ideas as well. Ruskin’s love of medieval society and gothic architecture influenced buildings and painting in Oxford, where the battle between the classical and gothic styles was seriously and bitterly pursued. His ideas spurred revolutionary young painters: the original PreRaphaelites; and subsequently William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, both undergraduates at Oxford, whose work laid down the foundations of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Walter Pater’s elevation of beauty made him a pariah in conservative Oxford, but his shocking ideas enraptured young people looking to break free from stuffy social expectations. Oscar Wilde, another Oxford undergraduate, was captured by his spell, and worked out his philosophy in masterpieces of creative literature.

We will study at the buildings in Oxford whose design reflects competing ideologies about art: the Martyrs’ Memorial, the Ashmolean Museum, the University Museum, and Keble College, among others. We will examine the artists who worked in Oxford, from professionals such as Dante Gabriel Rosetti to amateurs such as the passionate photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (otherwise known as Lewis Carroll). We will also consider patrons, such as Thomas Combe, printer to the university, whose love of PreRaphaelite art combined with his commitment to the High Church and whose prize painting, Holman Hunt’s “Light of the World”, hangs today in Keble Chapel.

In this seminar we will look at revolutionary texts about the place of visual art in society: texts which propose opposing views about what is valuable in art and which still have an impact on the way we look at art today. We will also look at the art that inspired and was inspired by these writings, aiming to enjoy it, understand it, and place it in its historical context.

Oxford women philosophers, on God and the good

A hundred years ago, British philosophy was dominated by a group of male scholars who would be later referred to as ‘analytic philosophers’; more specifically, they were associated with ‘ordinary language philosophy’, because of their focus on logic and ordinary language. Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein in Cambridge, and Gilbert Ryle, JL Austin and AJ Ayer in Oxford, defined the remit and methods of philosophy, for the better part of the 20th century. One would have to dig deep into the footnotes of an elaborate history of British philosophy, to find any reference to female intellectuals, like GEM Anscombe, Iris Murdoch, or Philippa Foot. And yet, it was these women who redefined moral philosophy, when it mattered most – in the post-war period. For them, defending the objectivity of morality was more than a matter of language, or argumentation. It was a matter of life and death.

In this course, you will have the opportunity to explore how each of these women solved the problem of good and evil; how they defended the rational roots of morality; and what their relationship with God was. You will learn that, although they had different religious commitments (or none), they all took the notion of metaphysical goodness seriously. For Anscombe, the anchor was always her Roman Catholic faith; for Murdoch – it was a belief in metaphysical values; similarly, for Foot – it was a conviction that one ought to be able to make ethical pronouncements, because there were such things as fundamentally good, bad, right, or wrong behaviour. In addition, we will explore the practical consequences of their philosophy on the public scene, for each of these women engaged with applied ethics in her own way, whether helping refugees (Murdoch), supporting Oxfam and writing on euthanasia (Foot), abortion and contraception (Anscombe).

While in Oxford, you might find yourself walking down the road between St Hugh’s (where Anscombe studied Classics) and Sommerville – the home of Foot and Murdoch; as you do, you might notice the Radcliffe Humanities building on your right, nowadays home to the Faculty of Philosophy. Walk in, and you will see pictures of all three women up on the wall, alongside those of more ‘representative’ figures of mainstream analytic philosophy.

Prohibition and Transgression: the Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Gothic Novel
The eighteenth-century gothic movement was a reaction to the dominance of the Enlightenment emphasis on reason and rationalism. The Marquis de Sade saw it as the natural literary result of the violence and terror of the French Revolution. Its conventions included aristocratic villains and persecuted maidens, the supernatural, the victory of nature over man’s creations and of chaos over order, and the theme of imprisonment with the consciousness forced back upon itself.

As a transgressive sub-genre of the novel, it was anti-Catholic, anti-nostalgic, and anti-aristocratic. It evolved in the Victorian age to reflect nineteenth-century concerns about religion, race, gender, imperialism, and cultural degeneration. This course will trace its development from the first gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), to Bram Stoker’s presentation of fin-de-siècle anxiety in Dracula (1897).

Other novels to be discussed include Ann Radcliffe’s highly influential novel of ‘sublimity’, A Sicilian Romance (1790), Jane Austen’s witty and complex parody of the genre, Northanger Abbey (1817), and Charlotte Brontë’s domestic re-imagining of the gothic romance in Jane Eyre (1847). Students will also have the opportunity to read gothic fiction by Mary Shelley and Oscar Wilde and each piece of fiction will be placed in historical and cultural context.

Students can explore how gothic themes caught the imagination of contemporary artists and architects and how they translated them into paintings and drawings, many of which acted as inspiration for the writers themselves. Why does the Gothic genre refuse to die? Why do we remain fascinated with the forbidden and enjoy being terrified? What is the difference between terror and horror and why did Romantic poets like Coleridge, Byron, Shelley view the former as such a rich source of inspiration? These are some of the questions we will address.

Psychology and Literature: from Margery Kempe to Sylvia Plath
It has often been said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity and the relationship between literature and mental health has been of intense interest to both literary scholars and psychologists.

This seminar will explore mental illness and instability in several major authors, focusing on Margery Kempe, a medieval housewife and mystic who became the first autobiographer in English; John Bunyan, the seventeenth-century author of Pilgrim’s Progress; John Clare, a nineteenth century nature poet who became incarcerated in an asylum; and two key twentieth-century female authors, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. Both iconic figures in the history of women’s writing, Woolf and Plath each struggled with extremes of mood and ultimately committed suicide. We will read their writings in the light of psychological theory and of cultural and feminist contexts.

Complex questions will emerge as we study these authors; what is the true nature of ‘mental illness’? To what extent is it valid or helpful to apply modern psychology to writers from a very different age? How is emotional disorder expressed within the texts themselves? To what extent can other modern theories, especially feminism, help us in encountering these key authors, their lives and their legacies? Led by a literary scholar who is also a psychologist and psychiatrist, this seminar will bring unusual insights to the study of these distinctive texts.

Science and Religion

Science and religion are two of the most powerful forces that shape contemporary life. Yet, a popular perception persists that these disciplines are necessarily in conflict with one another. As Alister McGrath notes, some scientists and religious believers view science and religion as ‘locked in mortal combat’. Those who subscribe to this ‘conflict model’ to depict the relationship between scientific and religious modes of thought often reference historical events such as the persecution of Galileo by the church, the debate in 1860 between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, (which took place in Oxford!), or the Scopes trial of 1925 as evidence to support their position. Some vocal dogmatic scientists today call for the cessation of religion in light of the developments of modern science.

There are complicated questions to address here: must science and religion be viewed as necessarily in conflict with one another? Are there other models to help us understand how these disciplines ought to relate to one another? Does science raise questions that point beyond itself? Can theological questions be informed by scientific disciplines?

This course draws on historical and theological scholarship to investigate key issues in science and religion. We begin the course by examining the historical events often used to support the notion that science and religion are in conflict—Galileo, Darwin, and the Scopes trial. As we will see, studying these events in more detail makes it more difficult to interpret them as straightforward examples of science and religion at war with one another. The course will also provide an opportunity to examine more recent questions at the intersection of science and religion: does evolution undermine the biblical notion that humans are ‘made in the image of God’? Does the concept of original sin need to be reformulated in light of developments in evolutionary biology? Can God act in a world increasingly predictable to science?

Sharing a Crowded Planet: Thinking about Nature, Ecology, Religion, and Ethics 1750–1960
Our planet is small, beautiful, and crowded. We might expect that Christians, with their duty to be good neighbours, would be at the forefront of efforts to keep it beautiful and share it generously with neighbours. Yet in a famous polemic in 1967 Lynn White Jr declared that, as ‘the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen… Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt’ for the present environmental crisis.

The article became received wisdom in environmental studies, leading to Christianity’s being considered the problem, not part of the solution, and to a focus on the work of those who found in nature itself the prospect of peace, fulfilment, and even salvation.

Yet the roots of nature conservation, particularly in the old world, were often Christian: the UK’s foremost conservation charity, the National Trust, for example, was founded by three devout Anglicans. Moreover conservation was impelled not thwarted by anthropocentrism: the Commons Preservation Trust, for example, the UK’s oldest preservation society with many Christians among its founders, campaigned to save commons for, not from, people. Can White’s argument and empirical research about early naturalists be reconciled? Can attentiveness to Christian motivation enrich our understanding of nature conservation? Can the experience of Christian nature conservationists give us a language for discussing the relationship between Christianity and ecology, and a basis for constructing our own authentic ethics of ecology and conservation? By close reading of nature texts we move the discussion back in time to consider a new starting point, to recover a Christian environmental ethics recover from conservation’s roots and adapt it for today’s purposes.