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England Study Abroad Program at St Catherine's College

About St Catherine's College in Oxford, England

  • Minimum GPA:3.7 (4.0 scale)
  • Application deadlines:March 1 for spring two terms (Jan-June)
    January 15 for fall term (Sept-Dec)
    January 15 for full year (Sept-June)
    We recommend early application to St. Catherine's, as admission is competitive and spaces are limited. However, we are sometimes able to place students after the application deadline. Please contact our St. Catherine's program advisor to discuss available options.
  • Program advisor: Aimee Formo
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Program Snapshot


We're so excited that you're considering IFSA-Butler's program at the St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford for your semester or year abroad. Oxford is a beautiful city with a wonderful mix of the ancient and modern. St. Catherine's is Oxford's largest undergraduate college and We're sure you're going to love studying there!

What St. Catherine's has to offer

  • A friendly and dynamic atmosphere
  • Founded in 1962, this young college has a diverse student population and an enthusiastic, energetic attitude
  • One of the most flexible colleges at Oxford in terms of tutorial selections and the range of available subjects
  • Numerous societies available
  • Parties, bops and entertainment organized by the Junior Common Room
  • Located near the University Science area but has a lovely rural setting
  • Its off-the-beaten-path location gives St. Catherine's plenty of room and some of the best college amenities at Oxford
  • Great student facilities include theatres, a music house, two student computer rooms, a gym, squash and tennis courts, and a boathouse for punting on the river


  • Students live in college housing in two-room suites
  • Students can cook their own meals or eat in the college dining hall


  • Extremely competitive admission
  • Students receive individual guidance from their tutor and benefit from the tutor's expert knowledge
  • Unique tutorial instruction allows students to work independently and develop their own academic ideas
  • Students take one primary tutorial and one secondary tutorial per term

We look forward to working with you!


Academic Structure

How is the University of Oxford structured?
The University of Oxford is a federation of 44 autonomous colleges and halls that have separate grounds, their own tutors and administrators, and distinct personalities. The colleges organize admission, accommodation and tutorial instruction for students. College tutors and administrators have their offices in the college as well. Seminar and lecture halls and a college library are located in each college for academic purposes. The colleges are also responsible for providing sports and social facilities. Not only do students live, study, socialize and dine at their college, but they may also take their tutorials in their college. As a result, students often have a stronger allegiance to their college than to the university.

The university determines the general content of each discipline, organizes lectures, regulates degree exams, and provides excellent resources like the Bodleian Library, faculty (departmental) libraries, laboratories, museums, computing facilities and more.

Students are members of both their college and the university. Compared with American institutions, each of the member colleges is quite small, few having more than 500 students. The combined full-time enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students at Oxford is about 20,000 men and women who are among the brightest, most motivated students the world has to offer.

What does St. Catherine's look for in potential candidates?

St. Catherine's or Catz, as it is affectionately known, faculty members who review applications are primarily interested in the following:

  • A student's overall academic background.
  • Achievements in the student's major area(s) of study. All Oxford Colleges prefer students who have taken three to five courses in their tutorial field, generally their major, prior to applying.
  • The tutorials requested by the student
  • Writing samples-These show off your writing style and background in your subject(s) of study.

Who are the tutors?
Most Visiting Students are instructed by tutors from their specific University of Oxford college, but sometimes by tutors from other colleges. The main criterion is that students should have the most appropriate tutors for their own particular interests and needs. Visiting Students may be taught by Fellows, lecturers, or advanced graduate students.

During their period of study at St. Catz, Visiting Students will be under the general supervision of the Tutor for Visiting Students, a Fellow of the college who is appointed to oversee the program. In addition to coordinating the study program, the advisor will be available for consultation on both academic and personal matters.

How does the tutorial system work?
The tutorial system is at the heart of Oxford's approach to university education. While most universities in the U.S. and the U.K. rely on lectures, classes and seminars as their main mode of teaching, Oxford places the emphasis on tutorials. Other methods are used, but they are secondary to tutorials.

Oxford's tutorial system consists of an hour of in-depth discussion between one student or a pair of students and a tutor assigned by the college. Tutorials that take place once a week are called the primary tutorial, and tutorials that take place once every other week are called a secondary tutorial. Visiting Students take one primary and one secondary tutorial per term.

At the center of each tutorial is an essay that a student researches and prepares in the week prior to the meeting. In the traditional tutorial, students will read the essay aloud to the tutor, although today many tutors might ask to take the essay home with them or will request the essay early in order to read it before the meeting. Discussion of the essay will often lead to further conversation of the topic at hand or a related topic.

Tutorial meeting times are traditionally arranged between the tutor and the student upon arrival. Tutorials can also be held in a variety of locations: a college room, university building or even in the tutor's own home.

How do I prepare for a tutorial?
In researching and writing the assigned essay, students consult a list of books, journals and/or research materials they have received from the tutor and also explore related materials. In this way students bring to the essay and the subsequent discussion a variety of information, which will also stimulate their thinking on the subject. This is a highly individualized method of learning, and tutorials can often be tailored to the student. Keep this in mind when discussing the subject for the next tutorial.

Preparing for a tutorial is much different than studying for a class or a test. It requires independence, self-discipline and self-motivation. The great advantage of the tutorial is that for an entire hour, a student has the undivided attention of an expert in the subject at hand. However, be prepared for the fact that Visiting Students, like degree students at Oxford, must become accustomed to self-directed study and working independently. Tutors will not simply offer facts and information because they will expect students to present their own thoughts and ideas!

When will I know if I've been accepted?
Your program advisor will contact you via phone and/or e-mail when you've been accepted by St. Catz. Acceptance decisions generally take about three to five weeks once your application is complete and sent overseas.

Will I be fully integrated into the Oxford Community?
Yes. All IFSA-Butler students studying at Oxford are awarded Visiting Student status, as opposed to the more restrictive Associate Student status. Visiting Students are considered to be full members of the college and have access to all University facilities, libraries, societies, and sports teams with the exception of the University rowing team. Visiting Students are also full members of their college's Junior Common Room (JCR) and enjoy full college privileges, including college-owned accommodation with other undergraduates of their college.

Most importantly, Visiting Students are taught in the same manner and assessed by the same standards as other degree-seeking undergraduates at Oxford. Tutors expect the same quality of work from Visiting Students as they do from degree-seeking undergraduates. Visiting Students are considered alumni upon successful completion of their term or year abroad.


Where can I find a list of subjects and/or tutorials that the university offers?
Because of the individualized nature of the tutorial system, most colleges at Oxford do not have an online course catalog. Click here to review some tutorials past IFSA-Butler students have taken, along with the colleges at which each subject area is available. You may also request tutorials not found on this list. All tutorials are subject to availability.

Are there any tips for completing the tutorial request form?
Yes! Following are some of the things you should keep in mind as you complete the tutorial request form.

  • The tutorials you choose should build on knowledge you have already acquired at your home university. Do not request introductory-level or survey tutorials. You should not plan to fulfill elective requirements while studying at Oxford. Stick to tutorials in your major or another discipline where you have already taken at least two classes.
  • Your tutorial topics should be limited to no more than two subjects, and those subjects should be related. For instance, the tutors reviewing your application will look more favorably at a tutorial request form that has choices limited to politics and history departments. They would not be as impressed with a tutorial request form that lists choices in chemistry, economics and art history.
  • We recommend that you complete the form by requesting all of your top-choice tutorials first. Then, after you've completed your top choices, go back through and add your second choices. Occasionally, St. Catherine's may accept a student based on some of their second choices, so make sure you like all of the tutorials you list.
  • It is difficult to change your tutorial choices once you've made them, so make sure you are comfortable with your choices.

What if I need to take a required course?
Please be aware that IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee that your host university will offer a particular course, or that you will be allowed to take that particular course. However, if you need to take a required course, you may indicate that it is required on your tutorial preference form. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor will communicate your needs to your host university.

Course Restrictions

Your tutorial topics should be limited to no more than two subjects, and those subjects should be related. For instance, the tutors reviewing your application will look more favorably at a tutorial request form that has choices limited to politics and history departments. They would not be as impressed with a tutorial request form that lists choices in chemistry, economics and art history.


How many tutorials am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
Students take one primary (major) and one secondary (minor) tutorial every term. Students are not permitted to receive extra credit by taking two primary tutorials in one term. Butler University will award students 8 U.S. semester credit hours for each primary tutorial and 4 U.S. semester credit hours for each secondary tutorial. No credit will be awarded for additional work undertaken even if the Oxford College approves it.

Butler University will issue 12 U.S. semester credit hours for the Michaelmas (fall) term, 24 U.S. semester credit hours for the Hilary/Trinity (spring) two-term program and 36 U.S. semester credit hours for the academic year at Oxford.

Science and math students may be required to attend University lectures or to take one or more short tutorials. Regardless of the number of tutorials or lectures required, science students will earn the same number of credits (12 U.S. semester credit hours per term) as other students.


What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full University of Oxford course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.

The tutorial preference form is not a registration form; it is a guideline to let your host college know which subjects you are interested in taking abroad. You should discuss your tutorial selections with your academic advisor at your home institution. Completing the tutorial request form is one of the most important things you will do as you prepare to study abroad. Your admissions decision will be partially based upon your tutorial preferences, so please do not plan to deviate from your initial choices.


What do I need to know about exams?
Because of the differences in the academic systems, most students will not take exams at the University of Oxford. However, you will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program. Please refer to your program calendar to review the program dates.


How will my home university know what my tutorials were and what grades I received?
After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit you earned at the University of Oxford. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address. After you receive your Butler University transcript, both you and your home school advisor will also receive copies of your tutorial reports containing helpful feedback from your tutors.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
Visiting students will live in housing provided by St. Catherine's College during academic terms and integrated with other full-time undergraduate students.

Housing facilities at St. Catherine's are divided into a traditional Oxford residence format known as "staircases." Each staircase houses roughly 20 students over three floors.

Remember, housing is guaranteed, but your preferences are not. Though there are a few single rooms available to visiting students, you should be prepared to live in a double room. Most fall and spring-only students are placed in double rooms. Doubles are really two room suites consisting of a shared bedroom, adjacent living room, and ensuite bathroom. Students can choose to separate the beds so that they each have their own room with a shared entrance. Included in all rooms are one twin bed, desk and wardrobe (closet) per student. Bed linens are also provided.

If you have special needs or requests for housing you should make a note of it on your housing preference form. Please be very specific in describing your special needs. St. Catherine's is well equipped to handle requests made by students with disabilities, and will do its best to honor religious accommodation requests.

Please also remember that you will have to vacate your housing during the winter and spring breaks (if you are an academic year or spring applicants). Many students take these opportunities to travel or return home as the breaks are each roughly four weeks long.


Housing is self-catering, providing basic cooking facilities to prepare your own meals. There are no meal plan options at St. Catherine's, but students do have the option of eating in the dining hall on a pay-as-you-go basis. Further information about this is provided at the Oxford orientation.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals (whether a meal plan or self-catered) and any commuting costs you may incur. Students are required to move out of their rooms during winter and spring breaks. If you wish to remain in residence during the vacation period(s), you must notify the college housing office upon arrival to make necessary arrangements. Staying in residence during the university breaks may incur additional costs not covered by the IFSA-Butler program fee.

When will I receive my housing assignment?

Although you will be housed in St. Catz housing, you will not receive your official address until you arrive in England for orientation.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Can I arrange my own housing?

Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.

Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.

Location Info

Living and Studying Abroad in Oxford, England

About Oxford
Population: 170,000
Location:Oxfordshire, in south central England

City features

  • Bustling, modern city anchored by an air of academic tradition
  • A diverse population and an urban edge
  • Incredible architecture, from medieval to Victorian to modern
  • Museums, theatres, cinemas, concert halls, drama clubs, debating societies, river sports and a wealth of entertainment resources.
  • In addition to many cultural events at the colleges, the city offers plenty of pubs and bars for nightlife

Do more!

  • Participate in Oxford traditions such as punting (boating) on the River Isis (Thames) and Cherwell and caroling from the Magdalen church tower on May Day
  • Take day trips to the beautiful Cotswolds, Warwick Castle, Blenheim Palace and Stratford-upon-Avon, home to William Shakespeare
  • Catch a bus or train London, about an hour away

Oxford University
Oxfordshire Link
Cotswolds Tourism
Warwick Castle
This is Oxfordshire

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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Important: Once you are abroad, please verify the program end date with the department(s) in which you are studying. Ending dates may vary from department to department, and you will be expected to complete all course obligations prior to your departure. Program housing is available only until the program end date.

Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

In the United Kingdom, exams are taken under formal conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals. Exams must be taken where and when scheduled.

Program Fees

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What's included in our England program fees
Expense calculator

Academic Year and Fall Payments Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due:
November 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for tuition, services and housing. Any bills for tuition differentials and/or supplemental housing fees will be sent separately. Students who opt for independent housing will not be charged the housing component of the program fee.

The housing component of our program fee is based on the average cost of local student self-catering accommodation, usually a shared room in a regular dormitory, apartment or house without any extra features.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. Rates are current as of 12/9/2016.

They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one or two meals out.  If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate.  If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.

The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.

*Student Visa: U.S. citizens studying in the U.K. for less than six months (180 days) do not need to apply for a visa, but can instead enter the country as a student visitor at no cost. Student visitors are allowed to remain in the U.K. for up to six months but are not allowed to undertake any paid work or unpaid volunteer activities. Citizens of some countries may be required to obtain a student visa. If this applies to you, your IFSA-Butler program advisor will notify you. Detailed instructions regarding U.K. visas will be sent to all students upon acceptance.

Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.

All Oxford housing has basic self-catering facilities. However, eating in the dining hall can be an important part of your Oxford experience. Meals are usually inexpensive as the cost is subsidize by the college. Past students have found it very affordable to eat in the dining hall at least once a day.

All costs are in U.S. dollars.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in England:

aimeeProgram Advisor Aimee Formo is here to assist with the application process and to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Aimee completed her graduate degrees in history and library science at Indiana University, and her undergraduate degree in history at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She studied abroad with R-MWC’s program at the University of Reading, where she focused on 19th century social reform movements. Aimee joined the IFSA-Butler team to aid students who want to study abroad and experience all that England has to offer. Aimee can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4253.

altStudent Accounts Coordinator Angelita Shaffer assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Angelita can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4221.




altStudent & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.

Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident directors. Click here to read more about Resident Director Andrew Williams.

altUpon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record appeals. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. She also has taken doctoral courses at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:
Student Network
Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.