Special Courses and Programs

Ways of Inquiry: Informative and Transformative

Oxford’s curriculum is distinctive in that it offers introductory classes with an innovative approach known as Ways of Inquiry (INQ). INQ courses are designed to be both informative and transformative. Students not only learn the fundamental concepts, principles, assumptions, and terminology of a particular discipline, but they also learn to understand and question the ways in which knowledge is pursued. INQ courses accomplish this goal through a process of discovery in which students actively learn and practice the discipline’s approach to inquiry.

These explorations often consider ethical issues and social responsibility, make connections across disciplines, and expand classroom learning with real-world experiences. Courses driven by inquiry primarily focus on ways of knowing rooted within a discipline, and they also develop abilities that transcend disciplines: reading critically, communicating effectively, and pursuing knowledge independently through inquiry.

INQ courses are designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity, promote intellectual rigor, and independence. They open doors to understanding the ways in which people, nature, societies, and cultures interact in the world and how they have shaped the past, influence the present, and can change our future. INQ courses go beyond disciplinary boundaries to interconnectedness—how an array of disciplines adds to our understanding and can function as interlocking puzzle pieces that form a greater picture.

Arts At Oxford

Oxford students have many opportunities to participate in artistic presentations in music, theater, visual arts, and dance. One-, two-, and four-credit hour courses are available, depending upon the discipline. Faculty members direct the arts programs. Opportunities are open to all students regardless of potential major or whether or not they are enrolled in arts classes. Our students perform in plays, perform in and choreograph dances, sing in the Oxford Chorale, play instruments in chamber ensembles, create musical compositions, and exhibit visual arts. Many Oxford students successfully major or minor in the arts at Emory College, yet most who participate in the arts at Oxford do so to expand their total educational experience.

Learning to Lead

Learning to Lead seeks to serve as a gateway for first-year student confidence and involvement in the academic and social communities of Oxford College. By exploring individual leadership, group leadership, and community leadership, the course will provide students with information and tools that will help them along their career at Oxford College. Co-taught by a current sophomore student and a faculty or staff member, Learning to Lead will guide students through the framework of the Social Change Model to allow them opportunities to reflect on their own Oxford experience and develop as leaders.


The Lyceum Committee is comprised of members of the Oxford College faculty and staff. Its goal is to plan academic and artistic events for Oxford College students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. Every academic year, the committee offers a series of lectures on political, social, and religious topics by renowned speakers and presents artistic performances by national and international artists. The Lyceum Committee wishes to highlight the cultural and religious diversity at Oxford College and Emory University. This diversity entails the willingness to forsake prejudice, intolerance, and xenophobia and not only encounter but also understand and embrace others in a community of learning and mutual trust.

Travel Courses

As part of its commitment to experiential learning, Oxford has prioritized expanding the range of travel courses that it offers. Travel component courses are scheduled during the fall, spring, or summer semesters and involve a combination of on-campus and off-campus study. The off-campus travel component for these courses may occur between fall and spring semesters, during spring break, or shortly after commencement in May.

Enrollment in travel courses requires faculty approval. The faculty who lead these courses set criteria for students’ enrollment that reflect the background needed to benefit from the travel experience and any relevant safety considerations. Students are charged an additional fee to cover the expenses of travel. Because Oxford offers financial aid during fall and spring semesters, students who qualify for financial aid will receive additional aid to assist with the travel cost for fall and spring travel.

Oxford Research Scholars Program

The Oxford Research Scholars program offers selected students the opportunity to work directly with faculty members for a full academic year on disciplinary research projects or projects related to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, and physical education have worked with dozens of students on a variety of projects.

The subjects of research have included the molecular design of gold-based anticancer therapeutics, the historical and social contexts of artwork created in response to the Epistle of James, seasonal comparisons of microbial life in sedum small soils, the confederate daisy caterpillar, exercise environment influences on perceived effort as mediated by technical instruction, and bio-inorganic chemistry: creating metal-based compounds of biological importance.

Students chosen as Oxford Research Scholars are expected to present their work in the annual Oxford Research Scholars Spring Symposium. As program participants, students learn how research within their disciplines leads to knowledge creation, are introduced to current research in their disciplines, and learn how research is organized and funded. Through knowledge of and direct involvement in research, students are provided with a different perspective on learning. Furthermore, students who engage in research during their sophomore year are able to compete with juniors and seniors when applying for summer internships, and are often chosen to participate in the Emory SIRE program (Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory) after graduating from Oxford.

The Oxford Research Scholars program reflects Oxford College’s recognition of the educational benefits that are achieved by involving first-year and sophomore students in the research process. Participation in this program is by invitation.

Students who are interested in participating in this program should contact a professor whose research is of interest to them.

Oxford Scholars Program

Each year Oxford College designates a number of its outstanding incoming first-year students as Oxford Scholars. Oxford Scholars include Robert W. Woodruff Scholars, Dean’s Scholars, and Faculty Scholars (see Academic Scholarships), all of whom are selected on the basis of their grades, curriculum, test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated interest. While enrolled at Oxford, these scholars participate in the Oxford Scholars program.

The Oxford Scholars program is dedicated to the academic enrichment of Oxford College as well as promoting a sense of community among Oxford Scholars. Oxford Scholars not only interact with other scholars but also with faculty members who volunteer their time to this program.

The program involves required events such as dinners with faculty, lectures and discussions on significant literary, historical, or artistic topics, and other events of interest. The cultural component exposes scholars to a wide range of cultural events in the local area and in Atlanta, such as plays, concerts, and other cultural activities.

Oxford Studies

Oxford Studies is a one-hour, elective, multidisciplinary course, which, through attendance, participation, and written reflection, encourages thoughtful involvement in the cultural, artistic, and educational activities available in our community beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. Students earn credit by attending lectures, panels, music, theater, and dance events and by writing critiques of events. Oxford Studies supports the college's mission by promoting engagement with liberal arts issues of shared interest. It is offered every semester and may be repeated for credit.

Pierce Program In Religion

The Pierce Program in Religion began in 1976 with a gift from the D. Abbott Turner family. William Turner and the other members of the Turner family endowed the Pierce Chair in Religion in honor of two of their ancestors: Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George Foster Pierce. Bishop Pierce, William Turner’s great-great-grandfather, was president of Emory College from 1848 to 1854.

  • Oxford College Department of Religion: The Department of Religion offers courses that fulfill general education requirements at Oxford College and Emory College as well as requirements for a religion major or minor on the university level.
  • Pierce Lecture Series: This series, which includes the Chaplain's Lecture Series, brings to campus a number of distinguished lecturers in religious studies, ethics, and related disciplines.
  • Pierce Visiting Scholar program with the University of Oxford in England: The Pierce Visiting Scholar program is a faculty exchange between the two Oxfords, Oxford College and the University of Oxford in England.
  • Emory Studies in Early Christianity and Rhetoric in Religious Antiquity: Emory Studies in Early Christianity and Rhetoric in Religious Antiquity are book series that investigate early Christian literature in the context of Mediterranean literature, religion, society, and culture.
  • Global Connections: Sponsored by the Pierce Program in Religion and housed in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Global Connections is a travel experience designed to help students create meaning in their lives and connect their religious and spiritual convictions with social justice issues, including peace, poverty, human rights, and the environment.
  • The Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Chair of Religion David B. Gowler: David B. Gowler is the Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Chair of Religion; and a senior faculty fellow, the Center for Ethics, Emory University.

Religious and Spiritual Life at Oxford College

The chaplain is a resource for all members of the college community and an advocate for the religious and spiritual life groups on campus. Programs and counseling services offered through the chaplain's office support students during their time at Oxford.

Respect for all religious and spiritual traditions is important at Oxford. All are welcome here, whether or not they are part of a religious, spiritual, or faith tradition. While here, students have the opportunity to participate in service, social, and religious programs sponsored by the chaplain’s office, the Interfaith Council, and the 10 chartered religious and spiritual life groups at the college. Throughout the year, many events celebrate a variety of faith traditions and their holidays.

The resources of the chaplain's office are available to all members of the college community. For more information, visit the website.

  • The Journeys Travel Program: This travel program originated at Oxford College in 1988 but is now sponsored by Emory University's Office of Religion Life. For more information, please contact Rev. Dr. Lyn Pace, college chaplain, at 770-784-8392.