A Welcome from the Dean

Welcome to Oxford College, a specialized division of Emory University that provides a distinctive, liberal arts intensive, educational program for freshmen and sophomore students on Emory University’s original campus.

Located 38 miles east of Atlanta, on a campus reserved for first- and second-year students, Oxford College offers distinctive advantages. Educational research tells us that freshmen and sophomores are different from juniors and seniors.1 They are interested in, and open to, a wider variety of learning opportunities, asking big questions and exploring new fields as they prepare to declare their majors at the end of their sophomore year. Oxford’s setting, paired with our academic program and early opportunities for leadership, optimizes the opportunities for growth inherent in the first two years and thereby challenges students to accomplish more than they have imagined.

Oxford’s liberal arts intensive curriculum allows you to focus on intellectual discovery through experiential and inquiry-guided learning in your first two years of study. Oxford's faculty are national experts in effective teaching pedagogies, and Oxford students enjoy interacting with them both inside and outside the classroom.  Our faculty move from behind the lecture podium to collaborate with students, inspiring them to probe and discover for themselves. Through its Ways of Inquiry curriculum and theory practice/service learning pedagogy, Oxford faculty engage in more interactive types of teaching. These courses give students the fundamental concepts and principles of subjects but move into the realm of real-world discovery through research and work in community settings.

Oxford College creates a synergy from this deep academic exploration. Professors encourage students to think for themselves and work toward the kind of personal intellectual breakthroughs that signal real education.

Since Oxford College students spend their junior and senior years on the Atlanta in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, the Goizueta School of Business, or the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, on the Oxford campus the sophomores are effectively the campus seniors. This allows students to spread their wings, try new things, and pursue leadership positions in one, or more, of over 75 student-led clubs and organizations right from the start.  The president of the Student Government Association has to be a sophomore! Opportunities for leadership development are abundant on campus, and programs like the Pierce Leadership Certificate Program and Leadership Oxford help students develop and practice their newfound skills. At Oxford we realize college isn’t just a constellation of books and classes, sometimes it’s the experiences outside the classroom that are just as transformative.

The best way to gain a deeper understanding of Oxford College is to visit for yourself. So, I hope you will take the time to get to know Oxford--the town, the college, and the community. It is an ideal place for the first two years of a baccalaureate degree.

- Dean Stephen H. Bowen



1 Developmental psychologists refer to freshmen and sophomores as “students in transition.” They have just left home and are taking some of the largest steps toward becoming independent adults. The personal relationships that defined them at home are now attenuated and must be complemented by new relationships with roommates, classmates, faculty, and staff. Some of these individuals will have backgrounds very different from the student’s and will challenge the student to think more broadly about life’s possibilities than before. With an understanding of students’ development, the college curriculum is structured to support exploration and discovery in a broad range of academic fields and topics in the first two years as students consolidate their self-understanding. The sophomore year culminates in a singular act of self-definition – the declaration of the major. Following that commitment, juniors and seniors are less interested in the big questions and exploration and more interested in building their knowledge and skills with their major area of concentration. For an accessible reference on student development in the first two years see Nancy Evans et al. 2009. Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice, Second Edition. Pp. 480. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.