The Oxford Gap Year

A unique study experience in the UK’s oldest university city

Established in 1988, the prestigious Oxford Gap Year at Oxford Sixth-Form College is a unique study opportunity for US and International high school students and graduates who wish to refine their academic skills, before starting college or as a ‘semester abroad’ during their college course. Highly regarded for the quality of teaching and its student-centred approach, the programme provides individualized and inspiring study courses, which foster 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 personalised method of instruction and study favoured by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge; they pursue their academic interests through meeting in small seminar groups, supported where needed by one-on-one tutorials. The programme provides a stimulating environment, with close tutor support and without a set curriculum.

Students typically join for a minimum of one term and a maximum of a full academic year. Three classes are taken from a choice of ‘pathways’ courses, sometimes combined with ‘A-level’ subjects. Details of these are set out below.

Who Is It For?  

The Gap Year is an opportunity to study at leisure or re-inforce areas of knowledge in the historic Oxford environment, and our students are typically from one of the following stages in their education :

  • 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

Student life is enhanced by a range of extra-curricular activities and visits. Oxford itself provides a rich opportunity to join student clubs and societies and offers a unique student-centred backdrop.

Course Structure  

Students normally select one of the ‘pathway’ options, possibly combined with A-level courses. For those looking for a more bespoke choice of courses, please contact us to check that these can be provided.

Classes are taught through a combination of small group seminars and one-on-one tutorials, true to the Oxford model. For bespoke courses, the pattern is three tutorial hours per week. Reading and written preparation is set to reinforce understanding and themes are explored in depth, with students encouraged to further explore the areas that interest them, with their tutor’s support. Students have direct access to tutors to help with understanding and assimilation of material covered.

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

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

Teaching Method  

The emphasis throughout is to help develop academic maturity and self-reliance, with an interactive teaching style that encourages questioning and feedback. The small group tutorials ensure student participation in the learning process. Following the Oxford tutorial system enables a student-centred approach so that understanding is clear and questions can be raised and addressed.

The college has an outstanding faculty of permanent staff and specialist teachers, who work with students in exploring the academic options they wish to pursue.


“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.”


“There is so much to do in Oxford if you know where to look; a myriad of events, shows, and attractions geared toward students, all there for the taking. I will return to my home a person who has broadened her knowledge, expanded her respect for British culture and extended her horizons.”


“The whole program was highly enjoyable and I loved the experience in its entirety. The classes and trips were absolutely fabulous and it was a real college experience. I loved it!”

Pathways Courses  

You can choose to study one of the following pathways :

Global :

International Relations

Introduction to Economics

Denial of Democracy

Literature :

The Modern Novel

Oxford Classics

Academic Writing

Crime :

Introduction to Law



A-level Subject Choices  

The following subjects may also be studied as part of a Gap Year course, taken as ‘A-level’ course, either alongside or as an alternative to a Pathway programme.

Art & Design, Business Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Computer Science, Economics, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, German. History, History of Art, Italian, Law, Mathematics, Media Studies, Philosophy, Photography, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Russian, Sociology, Spanish.

For further details about A- levels, please click here

Bespoke Subjects  

It is possible to take bespoke courses at Campus Oxford, with teaching in the Oxford tutorial model. Small groups may be formed in the more popular subjects and students are otherwise taught through one-to-one tutorials. The following gives a list of the more popular subjects recently studied and currently available. Other subjects of a student’s choice may be available – please contact us for advice and information.

Arts : Creative Writing, Film Studies, Understanding Media, Art & Architecture, Photography

Literature : Shakespeare, Poetry, The Modern Novel, Oxford Classics, Philosophy in Literature

History : Ancient History (Romans and Greeks), The Renaissance & Reformation, Monarchy & Revolution, The Denial of Democracy, History of European Diplomacy

Languages : Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese

Social & Political Sciences : Introduction to Law, European Law, Introduction to Economics, Psychology, Foundations of Philosophy, International Relations, Women & World Politics

Business Studies : International Business Management, Business Ethics & Decision Making, Social Entrepreneurship

Math & Science : Maths, Physics (Introductory & Advanced), Medical Biology, The Environment, Cosmology

A typical day on the Gap Year Program  

9am – 10am: Preparation for the day’s classes

10am – 11am: International Relations seminar with three other students

11am – 12am: Further preparation or free time

12am – 1pm: Tutorial on Introduction to Economics

1pm – 2pm: Lunch at one of Oxford’s cafes or snack bars

2pm – 3pm: Local Oxford Visit e.g. The Ashmolean Museum

3pm – 4pm: Library visit, preparation or free time

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

5pm – 6pm: Preparation for the next day’s classes

6pm – 7pm: Return to student hostel (dorm) for dinner

7pm: Dinner followed by extra-curricular activity , e.g. a visit to a cinema, the Oxford Union or one of Oxford’s many music venues 

The Oxford Union  

Membership of the world-renowned Oxford Union is an entitlement for all students on the Gap program.  This prestigious Oxford student society, once described as “the last bastion of free speech in the Western World”, has been a centre of discussion and debate since 1823, hosting leading figures from the world of international politics, entertainment and the arts.

The Union is managed by a student committee, who organise debates and other events each term. It’s  housed in its own building and grounds, and as well as the debating chamber it has a cafe and bar, reading and common room. Visit the Union website – Oxford Union – for more information.

Term Dates  

Michaelmas 2019 (Autumn term)

Term Begins 5th September
Term Ends 19th December
Half Term 28th – 1st November

Hilary 2020 (Spring term)

Term Begins 7th January
Term Ends  2nd April
Half Term 17th – 21st February

Trinity 2020 (Summer term)

Term Begins 22nd April
Term Ends 25th June
Half Term No Half Term

Tuition Fees  

There is an initial placement & support fee, payable on registration of $400.

Fees are charged in pounds sterling (GBP) and are currently £2,690 plus £350 college fee per term for Pathways and A-level, to cover all teaching, supervision, assessments, college application advice (US or UK), materials (except books), use of computers and internet, regular visits to places of interest, activities and sports arranged and membership of The Oxford Union.

For bespoke courses, fees are charged on a weekly basis of £220 per subject.

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

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

Accommodation & Fees  

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 & Fees  

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

2020/21 Gap Year Applications Are Open

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

Apply Now