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 student-centred approach, the program 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 by one-on-one tutorials.  The program provides a stimulating environment, with close tutor support and without a set curriculum.

Students typically 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.  Three classes are taken in a choice of five ‘pathways’; details of each are set out below.

Who Is It For?

The Gap Year is an opportunity to study at leisure or re-inforce areas of knowledge, 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

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

Program Structure

Students enrol for one, two or three terms, normally selecting one of the ‘pathway’ options, or alternatively join A-level groups.  For those looking for a more bespoke choice of courses, a separate subject list is provided below; please peruse this list and 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.  A typical pattern is a combination of four study group hours plus a one-on-one tutorial each week.  For bespoke courses, the pattern is normally three tutorial hours per week.  Reading and written preparation is set to reinforce understanding and themes are explored in depth at weekly tutorials, 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.

Academic Approach

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 and one-on-one tutorials ensure student participation in the learning process.  Emphasis on the Oxford  tutorial system enables  a tailored program of bespoke courses to be available.  Students can choose from an extensive list of course options or may request other specialist topics to create their ideal program.

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.


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”

Pathways Options  

You can choose to study one of the following pathways :

Global :

International Relations

Introduction to Economics

Denial of Democracy

Science :

Medical Biology



Media :


Film Studies

Understanding the Media

Literature :

The Modern Novel

Oxford Classics

Academic Writing

Crime :

Introduction to Law



Bespoke Subject Choices  

Additional Academic Subjects  

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 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 is  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 3rd September
Term Ends 13th December
Half Term 21st – 25th October

Hilary 2020 (Spring term)

Term Begins 7th January
Term Ends 3rd April
Half Term 17th – 21st February

Trinity 2020 (Summer term)

Term Begins 21st April
Term Ends 26th June
Half Term 4th and 25th May

Tuition Fees  

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

Program fees for the Oxford Gap Year are charged in pounds sterling (GBP) and are currently £2,690 plus £350 college fee per term.  Fees cover all teaching, supervision meetings, tests and assessments, college application advice (US or UK), materials (except books), use of computers, including internet and email access, and photocopier,  regular visits to places of interest, activities and sports arranged and membership of The Oxford Union.

For practical subjects such as Art, Photography, Textiles, Geography, Biology, Physics and Chemistry an additional termly practicals 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.

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

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.

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

2019/20 Gap Year Applications Are Open

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

Apply Now