It’s time to pop in and make the most of your university

Professor Jonathan Michie, Director, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Professor Jonathan Michie, Director, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

First published in News

DO you want to know about the ‘Black Death’, whether maths can cure diseases, or how to write a good essay?

Oxford University is offering classes on these topics and hundreds more, and we are throwing the doors open to all those interested.

This month, school students had an anxious wait before learning whether they had achieved the A-Level results needed to take up their university offers. Oxford was no exception.

But alongside that annual day of drama, each year Oxford also welcomes local residents, as well as interested individuals globally, to participate in our day schools, summer schools and online courses.

Some of these courses have entry requirements, but many of them don’t. They are open to any member of the public who wishes to attend.

A taster course can whet the appetite for more. Some of our former students who have experienced a day school have then signed up for a ten-week course, and in some cases this has led to an accredited course where they receive a certificate or even the full-blown commitment of applying for a full degree course either at Oxford or another university (often the Open University or the University of Reading).

Our most popular courses tend to be related to History, English Literature, Creative Writing and Archaeology. As this year is the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, there has been a huge surge of interest in our History courses about this period.

Oxford Mail:

  • Oxford University vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton, left, with David Griffiths and a 700-year-old tile at the East Oxford archaeological dig in 2012

Our tutors plan our courses many years in advance to ensure they respond to likely spikes in public interest and try, where possible, to offer topics that coincide with major events and anniversaries. Our archaeology courses have had a flood of applicants over the past two years. This is due in part to the tremendously successful East Oxford archaeological dig involving local residents.

We are fortunate in Oxford to have one of the world’s top universities, with teaching and pioneering research being carried out by leaders in their fields. Far from being hidden in their ‘ivory towers’, our professors regularly lecture at Oxford’s day schools, and let participants know at first-hand about the latest results of their cutting-edge research.

Should you want to dip your toe in the water before committing to signing up for a course, you can come to one of our free Open Days. These provide you with an opportunity to hear about the courses from the Oxford academics who will be teaching you. These sessions will also give you the opportunity to chat informally with the academics over coffee and lunch – all at no cost.

There are two planned Open Days this year: on Tuesday, November 4, at Rewley House in Wellington Square; and on Saturday, January 24, at The Union Adult Learning Centre in Collins Street, Cowley.

The course prices are set simply to cover teaching costs; however, in certain cases there are scholarships and other means of financial support available.

People living in Oxford have a great university on their doorstep – please make the most of it!

 

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