All Seminar students enroll in two four-credit courses which run for the full six weeks of the Seminar. All courses give Commonwealth College Honors credit.

Most courses are capped at 9 students. If you need a particular class, apply as soon as you can, or contact the director immediately (

Course List

(Four-credit, six-week courses)
**Each course has a workload that is roughly equivalent to that of a 300-level Honors class at UMass.

  • Jane Austen and her Age
  • Introduction to International Law
  • The Politics of Imperial Decline in Britain since 1939
  • British Detective Fiction
  • British Perspectives on the American Revolution
  • Oxford, The City as a Work of Art
  • Writing Workshop: Prose Fiction
  • Shakespearean Families
  • Global Political Economy
  • British Medieval Women
  • When applying to the Seminar, students should indicate their first three preferences for courses.

    British Studies Colloquium

    Seminar students are also encouraged to enroll in the Seminar Colloquium, a two-credit, pass/fail course titled British Studies. To earn the credit, students must: write a pre-departure essay; attend all four Tuesday evening lecture series on British culture; attend 3 of the scheduled field trips; and write a post-Seminar reflection paper. Students interested in this course should check the appropriate space on their applications.

    Applicants, please also note the following:

    Changes to courses

    Once accepted, all students must sign a Condition of Membership form in order to enroll in classes. No changes in course enrollments may be made after May 1.

    Books and Syllabi

    In May, students will receive syllabi and reading lists from their instructors. Be sure to buy your books in the US (they are much cheaper) and START READING before you go to Oxford. Tutors will expect you to have done part of the reading before you even reach the city. Don't delay on this--you will have enough to do when you arrive, and you also want to save time to do more reading, and to see the city's many delights. Be proactive here, and you will be very glad.

    Scheduling, Homework and Travel

    Although both classes will run for the duration of the Seminar, the Seminar will have a mid-term reading period. For most students, this will leave them time in the final two weeks to concentrate on the conclusion of their courses and to travel. Please note: the reading period starts on Wednesday morning, and not on Tuesday night. Please plan any travel accordingly. Also note that this reading period is designed to accommodate travel and study. We do not recommend traveling during the entire reading period. Most students can comfortably complete both courses and the Seminar Colloquium during the six-week period. Please note, however, that ten academic credits in six weeks is a substantial commitment. So if you plan to travel on the weekends, be sure to factor in time to do your homework, too.

    Grades, GPA and Transcripts

    Although most of these courses are officially listed in the Department of English, they are easily used toward other majors. (For instance, British Politics is listed as an English course but students may apply it toward the political science major at UMass.) For UMass students, all of these classes will factor directly into their GPAs. They do NOT count as transfer credits. Before enrolling, all applicants should make certain their home department and institution will accept academic credits awarded by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    Grades awarded by the university use the following scale: A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B-(2.7), C+(2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D+ (1.3), D (1.0), and F (0). The University of Massachusetts Amherst is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
    Upon completion of their courses, students will receive both a grade and a written assessment of their work by their tutors. One copy of the assessment is kept by the Seminar; the other is given to the student.

    To request transcripts, please consult this link.