Oxford Academia welcomes intellectually driven high school and middle school students to learn from the finest teachers, scholars, and industry professionals at Oxford University, one of the world’s oldest and most esteemed universities. This summer program offers students the full Oxford experience as you choose an academic major and minor, pursue your subjects in the company of motivated peers, and engage with course material under the guidance of distinguished academics.
Putney Student Travel, in its 70th year, is excited to announce Oxford Academia, a program created in collaboration with Professor James Basker, a Barnard College/Columbia University professor and Rhodes Scholar. Professor Basker brings to Oxford Academia his 35 years of experience introducing high school students to the wonders of learning at Oxford, one of the most historic and prestigious universities in the world. Collectively, Putney and Professor Basker have welcomed to the Oxford campus thousands of bright, motivated high school and middle school students from all over the world.
As we prepare for the upcoming summer, we are eager to provide an unparalleled opportunity for in-person experiential learning and academic exploration, imaginative teaching, and cultural enrichment—a summer experience more important than ever, in stark contrast to the isolation, missed opportunities, and remote learning of the past year.
What makes Oxford Academia different and special is the truly outstanding faculty that Dr. Basker has assembled for the program. They are Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, and British Academy scholars, with teaching posts at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia, and other top institutions. They have earned awards for excellence in the arts and sciences, in scholarship and in teaching, and they bring unparalleled energy and passion for their subjects to the classroom. They are the finest faculty assembled anywhere for a program like ours.
Ultimately, though, the magic of Oxford Academia stems from the students who enroll, their interests, and the energy they contribute. Our Admissions Committee selects qualified students from all over the United States and internationally. Some students come to Oxford to pursue a subject they love, others to explore new possibilities; some to polish their writing or build a background for college, others to escape the pressure of GPA and class rank; and others to experience living and breathing the traditions of Oxford University or to indulge their love of different cultures.
This year more than ever, students come to interact intellectually with like-minded peers, and Putney and Oxford University have both developed protocols that have allowed them to conduct in-person learning safely during COVID. Please give us a call if you have questions about the program, our admissions process, or our COVID outlook and preparation.
We hope to see you at Oxford this summer, where Professor Basker and his faculty look forward to greeting you in person!
Photo: Professor James Basker, left, with students
As one of the world’s oldest institutions of higher learning, Oxford remains the epicenter of education and knowledge. Students and faculty on the Oxford Academia summer program reside at Pembroke, a historic Oxford college, where students are immersed in British academic life and the Oxford experience, with full access to college facilities and libraries. Students will find intellectual inspiration at the college, on the cobblestone streets, and in the picturesque countryside, the fertile territories of which have produced some of the greatest minds in history.learn more
Oxford Academia is designed for intellectually driven students to pursue an academic interest, without the pressure of grades or credit. Students enroll in a major seminar and a minor seminar, taught by academic faculty and active professionals, and engage with course material through lectures from guest speakers and scholars, small group projects, classroom discussion, and field-based learning. Seminars challenge students to ask questions, sharpen critical thinking and teamwork, and develop techniques essential for success at the university level.learn more
Educators & Scholars
Students gain inspiration and unparalleled insights from tenured faculty, featured scholars, guest lecturers, and meetings with experts. Over the course of your Oxford Academia program, attend lectures with Oxford, Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, and Fulbright scholars.
Learn from industry experts and thought leaders to hear about leading-edge developments in their fields. Complement program-wide keynote lectures with seminar-specific guest speakers, who bring to the program diverse backgrounds with high-level, real-world experiences and insights.
Small seminar sizes allow for students to engage directly with these experts in their fields, learning from the best and deepening their passion for the subject.Meet the Faculty Guest Speakers & Presentations
“Our daughter said the seminars blew her mind and that she learned SO much more than she expected. Totally engaging and useful. And we can’t wait to see how this new knowledge and perspective applies to her classes when she returns to school and beyond.”
— Kirsten & Michael Beckwith, Kentfield, CA
The Oxford Academia Program Experience
Participating in an Oxford Academia summer program means joining an inspiring academic community of student peers and distinguished educators. Over the course of your Oxford Academia program, attend lectures with scholars, learn from esteemed guest speakers, participate in hands-on workshops and field trips, develop crucial skills to help you excel in your future studies, and gain lifelong friendships along the way.
History & Tradition
For centuries Oxford has drawn scholars and leaders from around the world, making it an ideal location for the curious, academically motivated global students of today, eager to dive deeper into intellectual pursuits and university life. This summer, students will marvel at the architecture of the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian Library, the Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean museums (Great Britain’s oldest), and the Sheldonian Theatre, and follow in the footsteps of world leaders, scientists, medical researchers, business leaders, and artists.
Accommodations & Meals
Oxford Academia programs are based at Pembroke College, where students and residential faculty stay in private singles or doubles, each with either bathrooms ensuite or on the hall. Faculty members reside with students throughout the program. We begin each day with breakfast at our college. Lunches are a combination of restaurants and picnics, and dinners are served in the historic college dining hall. Please note that lunches are not included in the tuition.
Photo Credit: Quintin Lake
Join a community of intellectually focused student peers, invested in personal and intellectual growth. Like you, they are curious about the world and eager to make their mark on it. Everyone attends Community Meeting each evening, where the group shares ideas, successes, and goals, and sets plans for the coming day. Become part of a community that supports and nurtures your interests, and make lasting friendships along the way.
In addition to your in-depth seminars, explore other interests and topics in elective lectures and workshops offered by instructors and visiting guests alike. Examine the history of the British monarchy for a better understanding of the role the Royal Family plays in everyday life and politics. Spend a day appreciating the game-changing musicians who have come out of England, from Paul McCartney to Adele. Take a workshop in Sports Management as you learn about the role sports plays in British culture, from the national sport of cricket to the more popular football. Workshops could range from a single afternoon to a multi-series event.
Choose a major seminar and a minor seminar, and dive deep into your academic subjects. Major seminars meet six days a week for three hours; minor seminars meet three days a week for two hours. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Then take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with experts, and guest lectures from distinguished academics and renowned scholars.
Seminar groups have the option to leave the college on day trips to nearby Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Pitts River Museum, Bodleian Library, historical sites, and guest expert locations to find further inspiration and utilize all the region has to offer.
Oxford Academia’s high school and middle school programs operate independently, residing in designated buildings and using different parts of the college, but are structured similarly. Each day features a combination of seminars, hands-on activities and workshops, lab time, guest speakers, community meeting, and unstructured time for socializing and reflection.
After breakfast, depending on the day, seminar learning may begin in classrooms, labs, or meeting spaces. After lunch taken independently in small peer groups, seminars continue. Afternoons and evenings offer opportunities for students to explore Oxford and their interests beyond seminar topics through elective workshops, take part in exciting extracurricular activities, or work on their independent projects.
After dinner, students and instructors from all seminars convene for evening activities, which may include programming such as a keynote address, taking in a local play or concert, or an activity such as strolling the cobblestone streets of Oxford. On the final days of the program, students focus on completing their independent projects, which they then present to the program community.
Day in the Life
Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day at Oxford Academia.
8 AM • Breakfast in the historic Pembroke dining hall
9AM • Major seminars meet in classrooms, labs, studios, or outdoors
12PM • Lunch and free time
1PM • Minor seminars continue the day’s activities
3PM • Afternoon activities, workshops, or extracurriculars
5PM • Dinner at Pembroke
6PM • Free time for reflection or independent projects
7PM • Community meeting
8PM • Evening programming, speakers, or activities
Outcomes & Final Projects
Photo Credit: Christoper Chavez
Peace of Mind Payment & Refund Policy
In light of uncertainty regarding travel during 2021, the $700 payment ($200 application fee and $500 tuition deposit) required to hold space on one of our programs this summer is 100% refundable for any reason until April 15, 2021.
If after April 15 you decide you aren’t comfortable traveling on your program, we will work with you to find a space on another program you’re excited about. If you don’t have a second choice program and decide not to travel, your payment is non-refundable.
To read our FAQs about COVID-19 and travel in 2021, click here.