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Class conscious: how do I begin my studies at Oxford?

At Oxford College, we offer a liberal arts education intentionally designed for first-year and second-year students. The first two years of your Emory undergraduate education will equip you to thrive in your major and in the world beyond.

You’ll learn across a broad range of academic subjects and develop habits to help you become a lifelong learner. The entire community at Oxford, including faculty and your fellow students, will help you better understand how your talents and interests fit in a diverse world.

After completing your Oxford degree requirements, you'll then continue your studies on Emory University’s main campus in Atlanta in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Goizueta Business School, or Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, where you can earn a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts, business or nursing.

Getting started       

You’ll have a faculty adviser, who is also your Discovery Seminar instructor, to help you determine what courses to take based on your academic interests and our General Education Program (GEP) requirements. The GEP helps ensure that all Oxford students have exposure to a broad range of academic disciplines—the hallmark of a liberal arts education. You’ll need to take 64 academic hours to satisfy the particular requirements detailed below and take two physical education courses to graduate from Oxford and move into junior year. Our Advising Support Center (ASC) works in cooperation with your faculty adviser to help you navigate through your academic career. 

What are my required courses?

Discovery Seminar:

One Discovery Seminar course is required for all students during their first fall semester at Oxford College. Discovery Seminar courses are designated as DSC 101Q. This course will carry an academic area designation (MQR, SNT, HSC, HAP or HAL) as well as a Ways of Inquiry (Q) designation. The instructor of record for the Discovery Seminar will be assigned as the student’s academic adviser. 

Experiential Learning:

One "Experiential Learning” course is required for all students during their Oxford career. Experiential Learning courses are designated with an “E.” Experiential learning, or "learning through reflection on doing," is an intentionally designed, inquiry-driven learning opportunity (the signature experience) in which students question, create, apply, and revise conceptual understanding of course material.  Students address a real-world problem or situation through the lens of their discipline by examining, asking more meaningful questions about, evaluating, reflecting, and synthesizing material. These steps are cyclical, enabling a student to reflect and revise their approach at each stage, display increasing self-reliance, and form new disciplinary knowledge and understanding while engaging substantively with a particular academic, professional, or cultural community. 

Ways of Inquiry:

In addition to meeting the requirements above, you’ll need to complete a minimum of two Ways of Inquiry (we call them INQ or simply Q) courses designed to demonstrate how different disciplines investigate the world around us. Your Discovery Seminar course will count towards one of these courses. These courses must come from any two of the five different academic areas listed below.  

We designed Ways of Inquiry courses to both inform and transform you. Of course, you’ll learn the fundamental concepts and terminology of a particular academic area or discipline, but you’ll also learn to understand and question the ways that you pursue knowledge going forward.

Writing requirements

After two years at Oxford, our goal is for you to be a more effective communicator. To this end, you must complete two writing requirements:

First-year writing requirement

For native English speakers: You need to successfully complete English 185 during your first year. You may be eligible to exempt the first-year writing requirement with Advanced Placement (AP) credit, International Baccalaureate (IB) credit, or transfer credit.

For international students whose first language isn’t English: You'll take a Directed Self Placement exam over the summer. We will provide you with the appropriate placement guidance before you meet with your adviser for registration.

Continuing writing requirement

Enhanced writing skills will help you achieve your goals at Oxford and beyond. In addition to the first-year writing requirement, you’ll need to complete a writing-intensive course with a grade of C or better. Continuing writing requirement courses (we call them W courses) exist across the curriculum, and the list changes each semester.

General Education Requirements

With our liberal arts foundation, you can explore multiple areas that interest you. You’ll take required courses to fulfill the degree requirements for completing your GEP. You must choose and complete courses from three of the five areas listed below. We call them academic area plans. Your assigned faculty adviser will guide your exploration of the following academic areas:

Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (MQR): It takes one course to complete the MQR academic area plan, if you choose this area as one of your three.

Science, Nature, Technology (SNT): You’ll take at least two SNT courses to complete this academic area plan. One of these courses needs to include a lab for you to graduate from Oxford.

History, Society, Cultures (HSC): You’ll take at least two HSC courses to complete this academic area plan. You must take at least one HSC course to graduate from Oxford.

Humanities, Arts, Performance (HAP): You’ll take at least two HAP courses to complete this academic area plan. You must take at least one HAP course to graduate from Oxford.

Humanities, Arts, Language (HAL): You’ll take at least two consecutive foreign-language courses in the same language (not necessarily in the same year) to complete this academic area plan. You may also take additional language courses to meet your HAP requirement (if you choose this academic area plan as one of your three) after completing your HAL requirement.

For an idea of available Oxford courses, visit our online catalog. 

Physical education and dance requirement

In addition to the 64 academic hours required for graduation, you need to take two physical education (PED) or principles of physical fitness (PPF) courses.

For an example of available physical education and fitness courses, visit our online catalog

Students entering fall 2019 will experience a revised General Education Program.

I’ve completed my Oxford courses. What’s next?

Once you meet the GEP requirements and get a strong start on your major and pre-professional plans, we’ll hold a special Oxford commencement ceremony before you head to the Atlanta campus. As an Oxford graduate, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Emory College. However, you won’t be able to transfer to Emory College as a junior without meeting your Oxford degree requirements.

After completing your Oxford degree, you also have the option to apply to Emory’s Goizueta Business School or Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in Atlanta to earn a bachelor’s of business administration or bachelor’s of nursing degree.

Once you make the move to Atlanta, the Oxford Continuee Society will welcome you to campus with social activities and transition support.

Giving Voice
How do people express themselves and record their experiences?
We, the People
How have people lived and worked together through the ages and in the present day?
History/Social Sciences
Figuring It Out
Discovering the most fundamental underlying structures of our universe.
Natural Science/Math