What's it like to study on the Foundation Year?

How many courses do students take?

Students on the Foundation Year take two courses: one that is subject specific (e.g. English or Maths, depending on your interest), and one core course called 'Preparation for Undergraduate Studies'. Both the subject specific course and the Preparation for Undergraduate Studies courses are then split into further modules, and all are designed to prepare you both personally and academically for undergraduate study. More information about the Preparation for Undergraduate Studies course can be found here, and more information on the subject specific courses can be found here.

How long are the terms?

All lessons take place in line with the Oxford University terms. There are three different terms: the first starts at the end of September, and is 10 weeks long. The second and third terms start in January and April, and are both 8 weeks long. All of your teaching will be done during term time, but you are expected to do some work over the holidays too.

Where do you study?

Foundation Year students will be taught at Lady Margaret Hall, which is one of the colleges at Oxford University. Depending on your subject, some students may also have some of their lessons in one of the university departments, in another college or at one of the laboratories or museums.

How big are the classes?

Class sizes are variable: In your subject tuition you will be taught either by yourself or with one tutorial partner (sometimes two). This ensures that the teaching you receive is really tailored for you, which will help you to thrive academically. 

The Preparation for Undergraduate courses are taught in a mixture of individual sessions,  whole group sessions (12 students maximum) and small seminars (usually 5 or 6 students, with science students taught together, and humanities students taught together). 

Lectures by guest speakers and educational visits occur throughout the course, and these sessions may be shared with undergraduate and graduate students.

How many hours do you of study a week?

Hours of study vary according to the subject taken and the term. Typically, students will have around 16  - 20 hours of subject tutorials a term, and 12 hours of core module teaching although this varies by course. Students will also be expected to do individual study each week: there is a library in LMH to help with this!

Who does the teaching?

Teaching is done by tutors at Lady Margaret Hall, who are specialists in their subjects. You can meet the tutors for your course on the subject specific pages

How are students assessed?

Foundation Year students are assessed throughout the year, in two main ways:

1) Performance in tutorials: the standard of work handed in, the amount of preparation a student has done and their contribution in class.

2) Exams, Extended essays or Projects: Most subjects have at least two exams, one in January and one in April - some may also have exams in June, and/or require you to write an extended essay or complete a project: this is dependent on the subject you are studying.  

All of these assessments may sound difficult, but it means that we are able to identify and areas where a student might need more support and address these so that you can make the most of your year. It also means that your assessments are spread out over the year, rather than compacted into one or two weeks at the end of the year. More information on final Foundation Year classifications can be found on the Progression page.

Can I use the facilities of Oxford University?

Yes! At Oxford, there are both college facilities and central university facilities - so the college has a library and a gym (and more), but so does the central university (actually, the central university has about 100 libraries). We encourage our students to get involved with the wider university, and you will be able to access the departmental libraries for the subject that you are specialising in, as well as the central Bodleian Libraries. Note that some facilities (like the gyms) have a fee for usage, but others (such as the libraries and museums) are free for students.

Is there time to do anything else apart from studying?

Yes! We do expect our students to work hard and to love their subjects, but we also hope that you enjoy your time at Oxford and get involved with everything else that goes on around the city. Our students are often involved in College and University societies - such as the Coding society, Rowing, the Oxford African and Caribbean Society, photography societies, the Law society and much more. You can find our more about the non-academic side of life at Oxford here.

Where do I live?

Foundation Year students live with all the undergraduate students in LMH. Accommodation is on-site, so you're never more than 5 minutes away from the library, a kitchen, the dining hall, your tutorial or your bed! More information on our accommodation can be found here. Also remember that accommodation for Foundation Year students is paid for by the college during term time. If you are a Care Leaver then we will also cover the cost of your accommodation from 365 days from the day that you start the course.

It's crazy - I'm falling in love with my subject every single day. The more I learn the more I love it"

Vee Kativhu, FY 2016 Student