Gap Year In Oxford

The Oxford Gap Year

A transformative experience tailored for US Students

The Program

Established in 1988, the prestigious Oxford Gap Year program at Oxford Tutorial College is a unique study opportunity for US high school students and graduates who recognise the advantage of refining their academic skills, either before starting college or as a ‘semester abroad’ during their college course.  Highly regarded for the quality of its teaching and student-centred approach, the program provides individualized and inspiring study courses, which foster greater confidence and motivation, enabling both academic and social success in college.  The experience provides an invaluable foretaste of college life.

Students are given the opportunity to experience the more intimate method of instruction and study favoured by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge; they are able to pursue their academic interests through meeting in small seminar groups, supported by one-on-one tutorials.  They are able to explore their academic interests in a stimulating environment, with close tutor support and without a set curriculum.

Students may enrol at any time and for a course of any length; typically they join for one or two terms or a full academic year, although courses of a specifically-requested duration can be arranged, given the flexibility of the tutorial method.  Up to four classes can be chosen from a wide choice and each is tailored to suit the individual student.

Who Is It For? 

High School graduates during their ‘Gap Year’, taking courses that interest them and preparing for college-level work

College students taking an overseas study semester or year, developing subject knowledge and academic skills

High School juniors or seniors taking a semester overseas, earning additional credit towards graduation

Mature students taking ‘time out’ to undertake an academic or research project, with one-on-one tutor mentoring

Oxford itself provides a rich opportunity for joining student clubs and societies and offers its unique student-centred backdrop.  In addition, the academic life of the college is enhanced by a varied range of extra-curricular activities, including cultural and historical visits, activities, music and sports.

Program Structure

Students join the Oxford Gap Year for courses of any length, though normally for one, two or three terms, selecting up to four subjects from a wide choice.  The first and second subject choices should be from the Core Academic Subject list below; third or fourth from Core or Additional Academic Subject lists (see below).

Learning takes place through a combination of small group seminars and one-on-one tutorials, following the Oxford model.  Set reading and written preparation reinforce understanding and themes are explored in depth at weekly tutorials, with students encouraged to further explore the areas that interest them, under their tutor’s guidance.

As part of the student experience, a wide range of extracurricular activities is available, ranging from cultural immersion and visits, music, theatre and sport.  Social events are planned each term, enabling students to meet and develop friendships.

The Oxford Gap Year offers tremendous scope for academic and personal development, and  students who join the program invariably leave as more confident and academically-capable people.

Academic Approach

The emphasis throughout is to help develop academic maturity and self-reliance, with an interactive teaching style that encourages questioning and feedback.

A combination of small group seminars and one-on-one tutorials ensures student participation in the learning process.  Emphasis on the Oxford  tutorial system enables the college to offer a tailored program of bespoke courses.  Students can choose from an extensive list of course options or may request other specialist topics to create their ideal program.

Students normally take between two and four courses.  Each consists of either a daily small-group seminar, or four seminar hours plus a one-on-one tutorial each week, or alternatively three tutorials per week if a student has selected a bespoke course.

The college has an outstanding faculty of permanent staff and specialist teachers, who work with students to create the exact academic options they need.  In Oxford, there are specialists in virtually all fields of study.

Campus Oxford - Oxford Gap Year Student Testimonials“It was the best thing I’ve ever done.  I learned so much about myself and made a ton of new friends.  I really enjoyed the time I spent here.”


Campus Oxford - Oxford Gap Year Student Testimonials“It was the most amazing experience.  The staff were always happy to help in any way.  School and social was balance and the friends I’ve made will last a lifetime!”

Campus Oxford - Oxford Gap Year Student Testimonials“This program was one of the best experiences of my life.  I had never left the United States before I came here, but seeing Oxford made me want to travel the world.”

Subject Choices 

The first and second subject choices should be from the Core Academic Subject list; third or fourth from either the Core or Additional Academic Subject lists.

We are well-known for our ability to customise learning to your academic goals. If you do not see the subject you’re looking for we may very well be able to arrange teaching for you.

Oxford Gap Year students also take additional classes in Advanced Thinking and Writing Skills.  This innovative course helps to improve study and communication skills, both written and verbal.  The skills taught will enhance performance in other subjects, as well as helping students to develop lifelong communication skills for the presentation of their ideas in their future careers or vocations. The course is not assessed and no homework assignments are set, nor is any additional fee charged in respect of these classes.

Snapshot: A typical day on the Gap Year Program

10am – 11am: History seminar with three other students

12am – 1pm: One-on-one tutorial on European Politics

1pm – 2pm: Lunch at one of Oxford’s many independent cafes

2pm – 3pm: Debating workshop

4pm – 5pm: ‘Thinking & Writing Skills’ seminar

6pm – 7pm: Preparation for the next day’s classes

7pm: Dinner followed by (for example) a visit to a cinema, the Oxford Union or a concert  at one of Oxford’s many music venues 

The Oxford Union

Membership of the world-renowned Oxford Union is granted to all students on the program.  This prestigious club has been a center of discussion and debate since 1823, hosting leading figures from the world of international politics and the arts.  Visit the Union website – Oxford Union – for more information.

Term Dates

Michaelmas Term 2018

Term Begins     3rd September

Term Ends        14th December

Half Term         22nd – 26th October

Hilary Term 2019

Term Begins     2nd January

Term Ends       5th April

Half Term         18th – 22nd February

Trinity Term 2019

Term Begins     23rd April

Term Ends        29th June

No Half Term

Bank Holidays:

6th May and 29th May

Teaching Patterns & Fees

A standard course consists of a study group of six hours weekly, or a seminar group of four hours plus an individual tutorial hour weekly, or three individual hours weekly. Students have direct access to tutors to help with understanding and assimilation of material covered.

In addition to all teaching and supervised study, tuition fees cover regular academic supervision meetings, the administration and marking of progress tests and assessments, as required, advice about college applications (either in the USA or UK), student materials (except books), use of computers, including internet and email access, and the use of the photocopier. Regular visits to places of interest and the activities and sports arranged within Oxford, including membership of The Oxford Union, the prestigious student debating club, are covered by the college fee.

All program fees for the Oxford Gap Year are charged in pounds sterling (GBP). There is a placement & support fee of $400 applicable to all programs.

Fees for the academic year 2018-19 are £2,690 per subject per term.  

There is no additional charge of VAT on any of the fees.

For practical subjects such as Art, Photography, Textiles, Geography, Biology, Physics and Chemistry an additional termly fee of £200 is charged. This fee includes the use of specialist facilities and all consumables and equipment.

Additional individual tutorials are charged at £80 per hour. 

Term dates are as stated above. However, the flexibility of our courses means that it is usually possible to enrol at the college at any time, especially for courses of individual tuition.


Students either live in our various college residences, or with friendly local families in Oxford.  College residences are located in the centre of Oxford.   

A wide variety of options ensure that all students feel comfortable, happy and at home during their stay in Oxford. Some students feel ready for fully independent living – while some opt for a university student experience, and others prefer to live in a family environment. Our Student Services Director is available to help arrange suitable accommodation and to provide pastoral support. All accommodation hosted by the College is situated within an eight-minute bike ride from the city centre.


A student living with a family has a single study bedroom, with breakfast and evening meal provided. Some of these homes offer kitchen access for students who wish to make their own snacks. Close contact is maintained with host families, most of whom have been housing our students for a number of years. All accommodation new to the College is carefully inspected and checked with the police before being recommended to students. Home-stays are usually a bus journey away on a direct route that should take no more than 20 minutes – a little longer at peak times.


The College has its own self-catering residence near the centre of the city, comprising three connected town houses. The décor is high-quality throughout, with a boutique hotel feel. Some rooms have a shared bathroom (up to 3 students), while others have a private bathroom. There are also suites available – large and spacious rooms with a dressing area, private bathroom and study area included. There are 17 rooms available in total for both genders, with three large and well-equipped kitchen and lounge areas providing the students with a great communal social space. This residence has all the benefits of independent living with the reassurance of a residential warden, who ensures the students’ wellbeing and security. It’s a great stepping-stone between home and university.


For our under-18s we offer a comfortable, well-equipped and spacious residence around 10 to 15 minutes’ walk from College. Each study room has a private bathroom, and there is a communal dining room and a separate living area with TV, together with kitchenettes throughout the residence. Laundry service, breakfast and an evening meal are provided 7 days a week. The residence has 24-hour staff cover by Residence Supervisors, who are available to give personal supervision and support at any time of the day or night. Rooms in our residences are normally taken for a full academic year.


Students who are 18 years or older may wish to rent a private property. Please note: we are unable to offer assistance in finding private flats/houses and suggest contacting local property agents. We recommend that contracts are checked carefully before signing and that insurance cover is taken out for personal belongings. Please ask for our list of suggestions of reputable landlords and places to search. Students who are aged under 17 need to be in our accommodation, or with parental permission living with a suitable guardian.

Accommodation fees per term

College boarding house (15-19 years of age). Includes breakfast and dinner £5,125 per term

Host family (15+ years of age). Includes breakfast and dinner. Own bathroom. £3,750 per term

Host family (15+ years of age). Includes breakfast and dinner. Shared bathroom. £3,200 per term

Deposit (refundable): all students and all accommodation types: £1,000

Registration Fee for Host Family Accommodation (non-refundable): £350

Students in all accommodation types may stay in their accommodation during the October and February half-term holidays. All students in all types of accommodation must vacate their accommodation for the Christmas and Easter holiday periods. All students in all types of accommodation must vacate their accommodation at the end of the summer term.

Living Expenses

Allowance should be made for living expenses and pocket money during a student’s stay in Oxford. Where accommodation includes breakfast and evening meal, a weekly allowance of around £120 to cover lunches, bus fares and other miscellaneous costs such as toiletries, travel and entertainment is sufficient plus a termly amount of about £120 per subject for books and stationery. If a student is responsible for his or her own catering, an additional £80 per week will cover this adequately.


Money Matters 

Where this is preferred, the college can open a trust account which handles a student’s accommodation payments and living expenses.  The agreed amounts for each term must be deposited in the student trust account at the beginning of term

2019/20 Gap Year Applications Are Open

Start your application for next year's Oxford Gap Year Program here.

Apply Now