British and American Study


More demanding than a traditional college major, all six Oxbridge majors provide rigorous training in sophisticated interpretation, analytical thinking, critical evaluation, and strong writing and oral presentation. The Ivy League-status program with a reading-writing intensive approach combines the best of British higher education—intense and deep study, with great independence—with the American—broad background and close mentorship.

The Oxbridge Student

The Oxbridge Honors program is highly selective enrolling a limited number of students each fall following an interview with faculty. Students typically have a mean ACT score of 30 (composite), 33 (reading) and 33 (science, for Oxbridge molecular biology majors), and rank in the top 10% of their high school class.

You might be an ideal Oxbridge candidate if you are an:

  • Academic Achiever: You write well and read difficult materials with understanding, take criticism well and use it to improve performance.
  • Intellectual Activist: You love learning. You are a curious, vigorous learner and thinker, interested in ideas and active in discussion. You really enjoy studying, and don’t see it primarily as a responsibility to be carried out in order to earn good grades.
  • Independent Worker: You take initiative to ask questions, research ideas, and raise issues. You do not need constant reminders and external pressures to accomplish goals. You take responsibility for your assignments and deadlines.

Choose from 6 Majors

  • Oxbridge History: focused on American and European history, and methods of the study of history
  • Oxbridge History of Ideas: the study of ethics and values through classic texts, preparing you for a career wherever strong analytical and critical skills are called for, including academics, law, public policy, journalism, ministry and much more
  • Oxbridge Institutions and Policy: an interdisciplinary study of political science, economics and ethics. It is an excellent preparation for a career path in law, business, public policy or government.
  • Oxbridge Literature and Theory: the study of great texts from British, American, and world literary traditions, as well as classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives and methodologies
  • Oxbridge Molecular Biology: the in-depth study of biology at the molecular and genetic level, with a strong emphasis on research throughout all four years of study
  • Oxbridge Music: focused in the study of music theory and history, music literature and analysis, with private lessons and public recitals

View the core course requirements and course descriptions for each major:

Course Catalog

A Full year at Oxford

You will spend your junior year studying in Oxford at the finest educational institutions in the world while taking part in university life and English and European culture. During your first two years at Jewell, you will study under the tutorial system. Created on the educational model found in Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the Oxbridge Honors Program features tutorial (rather than classroom) instruction. Classes in your Oxbridge major will be taken in one-on-one or small group settings, with a master teacher or tutor coordinating intensive reading and writing assignments.

    “I wanted to study abroad. The opportunity to go to Oxford—of all places to study abroad—was just incredible to me, and I had never even considered it because I didn’t even think it was within reach.”

    Erin Melton, '18, graduate school at London School of Economics

    Video: The Oxbridge Difference


    See what students and tutors say about the program:

    For more than 25 years, the William Jewell College Oxbridge Honors Program has been preparing students with the knowledge, vision, and flexibility to succeed in the highly-competitive and rapidly evolving environments of academics, professions, business, and service.

    FAQ

    • How are Oxbridge majors different from traditional majors in similar subjects?

      The primary difference is the tutorial method of study. In addition, the Oxbridge curriculum promotes study in greater depth. Whereas students in a classroom English or History major might take survey courses, using an anthology or textbook as their source of readings, Oxbridge students read selected topics from primary sources. The tutorial, with its emphasis on classic works and cutting edge scholarship, leads naturally to detailed consideration of a single topic rather than coverage of many.

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    • How are comprehensive examinations different from finals?

      In the British educational tradition on which the Oxbridge Honors program is based, students are assessed entirely on their performance on examinations at the end of the course of study. American education is based on continuous assessment through assignments, papers, and final examinations over the content of individual courses. William Jewell’s Oxbridge system is a compromise between the two. Students receive half their credit, and half the grade, for their work in the Oxbridge tutorials immediately upon completion of the tutorial, based on their work during the semester of study. The other half is granted upon satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examinations. Several tutorials, as well, as independent reading projects, prepare students for each comprehensive paper. The comprehensives are an opportunity for students to integrate their learning and demonstrate their mastery of a field of knowledge, rather than recite back what they have learned a single semester of study.

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    • Do I have to choose a major right away?

      No. Under the open year policy, first-year students are accepted into the Program as Oxbridge open students for an exploratory and trial year; students who enter the Program at the beginning of the sophomore year are open students for the fall semester and become majors for the spring semester. Toward the end of the open year, or for sophomore-entry students, toward the end of the fall semester, students will apply for admission to one of the Oxbridge majors. To be eligible to apply to a major, typically a student will have done well in a tutorial offered by that major.

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    • What will my first year in Oxbridge be like?

      In fall, you will take the Oxbridge Introductory Seminar, a special course exclusively for Oxbridgers designed to help students make the transition from high school to high-level honors work and from regular classes to tutorials. You may also take a foundation course for your intended Oxbridge major. Then, in the spring semester, you’ll take your first tutorial. By the end of the year, you will be years ahead of where you were when you started.

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    • Will I be able to participate in other typical college activities?

      Yes. You will live and take most of your classes with the rest of the student body. While it is true that an Oxbridge major requires more time and greater focus, you can regularly engage in a wide range of college activities, including music, theatre, debate, sports, leadership programs and student newspaper.

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    Beyond Jewell

    • Graduate Schools

      Oxbridge alumni are accepted to the most celebrated graduate schools:

      • Cambridge University
      • Oxford University
      • Harvard University
      • Princeton University
      • Yale University
      • University of London
      • Cornell University
      • University of Edinburgh
      • Johns Hopkins University
      • University of Chicago
      • Duke University
      • London School of Economics
      • New York University
      • Stanford University
      • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland
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    • Careers

      Oxbridge graduates enjoy highly successful careers in numerous areas:

      • law
      • politics
      • academics
      • public service
      • government
      • journalism
      • business
      • foreign service
      • ministry
      • medicine
      • research
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