- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 3.85 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application. Applicants with a GPA of 3.7 overall will be considered if they can demonstrate strong academic motivation. GPAs below 3.7 will not be considered
- Junior standing or above at the start of the program
On this program students directly enroll in St. Catherine’s College, one of the 38 self-governing colleges that together make up the University of Oxford. The University of Oxford is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, according to Times Higher Education.
Enjoy studying at one of the oldest universities in the world—teaching existed here in some form as early as 1096. Today, Oxford has a total student population of more than 21,000, with more than 140 nationalities represented in its student body, and is a renowned seat of learning and tradition. The student body at the University of Oxford is diverse, as well as its professors—about 40% of the University’s academic staff are citizens of countries other than the United Kingdom.
You have the opportunity to attend St. Catherine’s College for the fall term, spring/summer term, or the full academic year. Like all Oxford colleges, St. Catherine’s utilizes the tutorial education system. This allows you to select a highly personalized course of study, based on previous coursework at your home institution and your academic interests. You meet with a tutor on a regular basis, either alone or with another student, to discuss the written work produced for each meeting. These tutorials are supplemented by lectures.
NOTE: Due to Oxford's application processes, applications for Fall, Spring, and Academic year are all due on January 20th of the year prior to study.
Fall: early September-early December
Spring: early January-late June
Academic Year: early September-late June
Refer to the program website for the specific dates, if available.
This program may have limited space, so we recommend that you identify an appropriate backup program and complete the Education Abroad Backup Questionnaire in your Penn State Application when applying to this program. Should you not be accepted for your first-choice program, you will automatically be reviewed for your backup choice. For help on choosing an appropriate backup, please contact your education abroad adviser.
Oxford is a city of about 170,000 people in the south-central region of the England about 51 miles from London. With architecture dating back to the Saxon period, Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold. Students will be able to explore Oxford’s many historical sites such as the Blenheim Palace which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and birth place of Winston Churchill, and the Ashmolean Museum which is the oldest museum in the UK. Students will also be able to experience the tradition of “punting” along the River Cherwll which flows through Oxford's protected green belt of fields and woods for the last few miles before it joins the Thames just south-east of Christ Church Meadow.
St. Catherine’s College, whose foundation stone was laid by Her Majesty the Queen on November 4, 1960, welcomed its first undergraduates two years later. Although St. Catherine’s is the youngest college in Oxford, it is also one of the largest with 450 undergraduates and 160 postgraduates, as well as 70 fellows and lecturers. In addition to its formal academics, St. Catherine’s is known for its extracurricular opportunities in music, drama, and sports, and is generally regarded as one of the friendliest and most open colleges in Oxford.
Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation
In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Global Programs website.
Available Fields of Study
Anthropology, Arabic, Art History, Classics, Computer Science, Economics, English, Geography, Global Studies, History, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre
To find courses at IES: Oxford, St. Catherine's College, follow the instructions on the host program page.
To see what Penn State students have previously taken on this program, see the Historical Course List, which is meant to be a guide as to what courses might be available and how they might transfer to Penn State. Courses listed here may not be offered during the semester you attend the program and the credit amount or course title may have changed.
Note: You are not limited to choosing classes on the program Historical Course List. You should consult the full list of courses on the host program page before choosing a program.
To find appropriate courses that will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses available on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
- To register for courses on this program you will work with your host program.
- You will enroll in 15 credits including 12 credits at Oxford and one 3-credit, pre-semester tutorial in London
- You must enroll in a minimum and a maximum number of 15 credits
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- World Campus courses should not be taken in addition to or as a substitute for courses offered abroad
- You may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Course Equivalency Process
In order for courses from abroad to appear on your Penn State transcript, each course must be given a course equivalency. Please visit the Academics section of the Global Programs website for information on the course equivalency process.
Courses can be submitted for course equivalency before, during, or after the education abroad program, however, you should begin this process as soon as possible as it can take on average 2-4 months or more for courses to receive a Penn State course number. In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain syllabi from abroad before the start of the term, but when possible, courses can be submitted for review before departure. Talk to your Education Abroad Adviser about requesting syllabi.
Grade and Credit Conversion Scale
Grades and credit conversions from your host institution cannot be changed. They will be converted to Penn State credits and grades based on the following scales:
Grade Conversion Scale
|UK Degree Class
|| UK Numerical Percentage
||Penn State Grade
| Upper second
| Upper Second
| Lower Second
| Lower Second
For 12 credits, students normally take two tutorial courses a term, a primary course of eight tutorials and a secondary course of four tutorials. It is possible to replace the secondary course with an additional primary course extending over two terms. Tutorials are supplemented by lectures.
Instructions and Terminology
The Tutorial System: University education at St. Catherine’s is based on the tutorial system. Typically, students have two lectures per week for each class and one tutorial, or small group meeting, for which you’re expected to prepare a list of readings and topics to discuss. There is a high expectation that students put in a significant amount of independent study in addition to classroom, laboratory, and tutorial hours.