Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to take courses in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at M-CMRS?
Not unless you choose to do so, although we do expect you to be interested in the humanities (see below). CMRS began with a focus on medieval and renaissance studies, but we now teach all areas of the humanities. Your two tutorial courses can be taken on a wide variety of topics in the humanities. Seminar courses on the 19th and 20th centuries are available each semester, and the research paper can be written on a topic down to the 18th century. However, please note that you cannot study North American topics due to the availability of such courses at your home institutions.
Why is this a Humanities Program?
The humanities are disciplines which explore human expression in all its rich variety: literature, language (both modern and classical), philosophy, history, art, music, theatre. These are cultural and intellectual projects with long histories: understanding them is diminished if one assumes that the present is inherently more valuable or interesting. Thus our understanding of the humanities encompasses the whole of human history, and in particular a belief that the study of pre-modern societies and cultures is deeply worthwhile. Examining human activities and assumptions beyond our immediate environment is especially valuable, especially in the context of study abroad. This shapes the nature of our program. It is possible to choose from a very wide variety of tutorials in the humanities (and some social sciences), covering topics up to the present day. However, it is not possible for students at North American institutions to focus on North American topics. We welcome students from all majors: there is no expectation that they are majoring in the humanities. But having a general interest in arts and culture will help to get most out of the program as a whole.
All students will work on at least one pre-modern course. The research projects cannot focus on a period later than the eighteenth century, and most seminar offerings are prior to the nineteenth century. Our tutorial topics cover the whole world (with the exception of North America); our seminar and research projects focus on Europe, not because we subscribe to any narrative of European pre-eminence, but because we are a study abroad program based in a European city. In addition, our lectures, field trips, and other enrichment activities, are designed with these broad interests in mind.
Can I take Social Science courses at M-CMRS?
Yes. Courses in political thought are offered every semester, and tutorials in many other aspects of economics and social sciences can often be arranged, although we will encourage you not to take two tutorials in the same subject. (Contact the Senior Tutor for further details.) We cannot offer Mathematics or lab-based Science courses.
What is a tutorial?
A tutorial is a one-to-one intensive meeting between a student and a tutor. Tutorials are held weekly, and last about an hour. Students usually write an essay for each tutorial. (Arrangements for language teaching are different, and will depend on the specific needs of each student.)
Can I take a language at M-CMRS?
Yes, we offer language courses in Ancient, Medieval and Modern languages. These include Latin, Ancient Greek, Old English, Middle English and Old French, as well as most modern European languages, Arabic and Chinese. You can begin an ancient language at M-CMRS, but we do not offer beginner level courses for modern languages.
Will I receive specific major credit for my courses at M-CMRS?
We will help in any way we can, although the decision is up to your home institution. Middlebury College will issue a transcript giving you credit for 4 full courses per semester. Whether or not those courses are accepted towards major requirements has to be determined by the department in which you are majoring. We can be in direct contact with departments to discuss how our specific courses will fit their requirements.
What relationship exists between M-CMRS and Keble College?
Students at M-CMRS are Associate Members of Keble College. They have access to a wide range of facilities at Keble, although St Michael’s Hall (where M-CMRS students live) is a few minutes walk from the main Keble site. M-CMRS determines its own educational program and engages faculty from around Oxford, not just from Keble College. Although we are associated with one of its Colleges and use its library system, M-CMRS is an independent program and not part of Oxford University.
Who teaches courses at M-CMRS?
Our courses are taught by local academics (not by visitors from American institutions). Almost all have positions at the University of Oxford and/or its constituent colleges.
What distinguishes M-CMRS from other Oxford programs?
Our program is run on a day-to-day basis by Oxford academics, but it is centered on the needs of study abroad students, drawing on Middlebury College’s long-established expertise. Because we determine our own courses, we can tailor them to the requirements of individual students (including working with home institutions on major credit). M-CMRS students are all guaranteed accommodation in central Oxford, in St Michael’s Hall, a few minutes walk from Keble and other college, libraries, museums, shops, and Oxford’s other facilities.