UT Oxford Program Looking to Send More Students

Every semester, three students have the opportunity to study in Oxford for a semester.

The program was initiated by the former Director of the Honors Program, Dr. Frank Gillen, in the 1980s. Sending originally just one student to Oxford, UT was able to increase the number of honors students spending a semester abroad to three.

The students are chosen based on their academic performance (a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 is required), a 200 word essay and an interview conducted by the faculty Honors Committee.

Furthermore, a letter of recommendation by a professor must be submitted. If admitted to the program, students also have to present one paper which was written in Oxford.

‘Studying at Oxford enriches the learning process of our students beyond the UT experience,’ Dr. Gary Luter, Director of the Honors Program, said.
Studying in Oxford is very different from a typical college experience. UT students abroad normally take two classes, which translates to about 14 credit hours.

Instead of having regular class, students meet with a ‘Don,’ an Oxford professor.

‘There is a lot of reading to do and that takes up the majority of my time,’ said junior Shane Twaddell, a history major.

He is currently studying at Oxford, taking two classes in British history. His workload is not easy; every week he must submit three papers.

Nevertheless, Oxford is full of tradition and history, one of Twaddell’s tutors used to be a speech writer for Winston Churchill.

‘Oxford uses very nuanced grading systems,’ said Dr. Luter. Grades at Oxford consist of greek letters, such as alpha alpha alpha and alpha beta and an additional plus or minus behind it, depending on a students performance. Moreover, the transcript will be enriched by a narrative report. ‘UT students going abroad perform well,’ Dr. Luter said.

The expenses for the semester abroad are entirely covered by the tuition paid to UT.

For the future development of the program, Luter said it would be beneficial to have a sponsor. With the additional funding, UT would be able to send more students abroad.

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