Academics | The Exeter Summer Programme

The ECSP provides not only an intellectually and culturally stimulating environment, but you will also find like-minded people from all over the world who dare to share their passion, talent, and brilliance

Junna from the University of British Columbia

Academic Package

The Exeter Summer Programme models itself on Oxford undergraduate teaching. Through lectures, seminars and tutorials, you will undertake 72hrs of research-focused tuition and assessment. The tutorial system, one of the key strengths of an Oxford undergraduate education, brings students together with Faculty in tutorials and seminars. Such teaching ensures students get direct, expert guidance as they undertake in-depth study in a chosen area of research.

The Programme offers 12 lecture courses, each comprising 12 lectures, 6 seminars and 4 tutorials of 1.25hrs each, plus a 3hr written exam, for a total of 33hrs contact teaching and assessment per course. On application, you will be asked to select two lecture courses. In addition, there will be a series of 6 x 1hr evening lectures.

You will be assessed by written exam, research essay and attendance in each lecture course.

The range of lectures and seminars offered in the arts and humanities, social science, maths, science, and engineering reflects the array of academic expertise in Oxford and has been designed to allow you to work both towards your home University degree requirements and to try something new.

Lecturers will be drawn from Exeter College, Oxford University Faculty and from other distinguished Universities. Lecture courses will be academically rigorous and challenging but accessible. Small classes, discussion-based learning and opportunities to work closely with teaching Faculty are defining features of an Oxford undergraduate education. To replicate this model lectures have been capped at 30, seminars at 8 and tutorials at 2.

At the heart of Exeter College’s Summer Programme is the tutorial system which brings students together with Faculty in tutorials and small seminars. This is your chance to undertake research-based work under the guidance and supervision of an expert in the field. For more information please refer to the ‘Tutorial System’ page.

It was one of the best academic experiences of my life…there is something about Oxford in particular that made me feel so lucky to be there, an intangible that made me never want to leave

Maggie from Tufts University

Courses were demanding, intense, yet most rewarding, and routine encounters with the brilliant minds that give this gorgeous city its soul turned the whole experience into pure enjoyment

Danyu from the University of Hong Kong

Lecture Courses

The Programme offers 12 lecture courses. There is no fixed academic path: you choose from the range of courses below.

Please note this is a provisional list of lecture courses. The final list together with course syllabi will be published in October.

  1. Literatures of Modernism the Modernist Novel in English
  2. Defining the Modern Visual Arts and Modern Cinema
  3. Histories of Migration
  4. Representing Migrant Experience Modern Migration in Literature and Film
  5. Introduction to International Relations
  6. Development Economics
  7. Jurisprudence
  8. Contemporary Political Philosophy
  9. Introduction to Machine Learning
  10. Introduction to Neuroscience
  11. Mathematics for Chemistry
  12. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

We will endeavour to place you in your first-choice lecture courses, but ask you to provide a reserve choice in your application, as your first choice may already be filled.  We limit numbers in each course so that we can ensure you receive the small-class, discussion-based learning experience we offer.

While you are free to choose any two lecture courses, we recommend selecting one lecture course within, and one course outside, your major subject, and so take advantage of the opportunity to try something new and different. Some lecture course combinations may be restricted due to timetabling constraints.

Most courses do not have prerequisites and are therefore open to everyone. Read the lecture course descriptions carefully and take time to choose wisely. You will have an opportunity to switch classes in Week 1, but if you decide to change lecture courses this will be subject to availability and you will need a good reason and the agreement of the Academic Director.

Exeter reserves the right to alter or cancel any course in the event that a lecturer becomes unexpectedly unavailable, or in the unlikely event of a course being undersubscribed. In both cases we will use our best endeavours to find an alternative teacher and/or advise you of the best alternative course.


Course: Literatures of Modernism: the Modernist Novel in English
 Lecturer: Dr Michael Mayo
 Dr Michael Mayo was a first-generation student at Harvard College, where he received an honours degree in English. After working as a teacher and principal at urban public schools, he received his M.A. in English from Middlebury College and an MSc in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh. For his DPhil (on Jamaes Joyce) he came to Oxford, where he was a lecturer at Exeter College; he is now the Junior Research Fellow in English at Worcester College, Oxford. He is currently writing a book based on his DPhil research on the formal relations between the texts of James Joyce and Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, the order of priests who taught Joyce at school. He uses psychoanalytic theory, particularly that of Melanie Klein, to trace the ways both Loyola and Joyce use frustration and satisfaction to drive their readers into a peculiar position, one both hermeneutic and existential, ironic and earnest, tragic and (potentially) hilarious. Still a lecturer teaching Exeter undergraduates, as a Fellow of Worcester College, he teaches Literature in English from 1830 to the present, with special focus on modernist narrative.

Course: Defining the Modern: the Visual Arts and Modern Cinema Lecturer: Biography Coming Soon

Course: Histories of MigrationLecturer: Dr Saima Nasar Dr Saima Nasar is a Teaching Fellow in the History of Race and Culture in Twentieth Century Britain and America at the University of Birmingham. She is a social and cultural historian who works on race, empire and Britain’s diasporic communities. The core of her teaching has been on World History, African American History, and the History of Race, Immigration and Empire. She has also taught courses on Comparative Research Methods as well as an introduction to African History survey course which has been greatly informed by my own research. She leads both undergraduate and postgraduate modules and has extensive experience of dissertation supervisions.

Course: Representing Migrant Experience: Modern Migration in Literature and Film Lecturer: Biography Coming Soon

Course: Introduction to International Relations Lecturer: Dr Elisabetta Brighi
 Dr Elisabetta Brighi was the first Bennet Boskey Fellow in International Relations at Exeter College University of Oxford and is now a Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and IR, University of Westminster. Her current research interests lie at the intersection of International Security and International Political Theory. They include terrorism, urban security, affect and mimesis. She has published, most recently, the co-edited volume The Sacred and the Political (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016) and the journal article ‘The Globalisation of Resentment’, in Millennium: Journal of International Studies (2016).

Course: Development Economics
 Lecturer: Dr Donna Harris
 Dr Donna Harris is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Department of Economics at Oxford Univerisity. Prior to this post, she was a  Departmental Lecturer in Development Economics at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford and a Career Development Fellow (CDF) in Economics at Somerville College, University of Oxford. Prior to Oxford, she was an ESRC-MRC Interdisciplinary Post-Doctoral Fellow at Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge. She holds a PhD and MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge, MSc in Economic History from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in Economics from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. She has been awarded research grants from the British Academy and a joint Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), UK. Her research areas are in Behavioural and Experimental Economics with applications to developing countries. Her research also uses methods in Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience using fMRI in order to understand individual and group decisions. Her current research project examines the roles of social identity, norms and narratives within social networks in the functioning of public organisations in developing countries (joint work with Prof. Paul Collier and Prof. Stefan Dercon, University of Oxford). Her other research explores the impacts of social interactions and communication on economic decisions including social preferences, financial decision-makings, and cooperation. Donna has taught Behavioural Development Economics course for the MSc in Economics for Development as well as undergraduate courses in Microeconomics, Game Theory and Development Economics.

Course: Jurisprudence Lecturer: Biography Coming Soon

Course: Contemporary Political Philosophy
 Lecturer: Biography Coming Soon

Course: Machine Learning Lecturer: Professor Dino Sejdinovic
 Professor Dino Sejdinovic is an Associate Professor at the Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, a Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford, and a Faculty Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. He previously held postdoctoral positions at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London (2011-2014) and at the Department of Mathematics, University of Bristol (2009-2011) and worked as a data science consultant in the financial services industry. He received a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Bristol (2009) and a Diplom in Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science from the University of Sarajevo (2006). Dino’s research interests include large-scale statistical machine learning with an emphasis on nonparametric and kernel methods, as well as applications in communications, signal processing and neuroscience. He has served as an Area Chair for NIPS 2015 and on the SPC of AISTATS 2016 and 2017.

Course: Neuroscience Lecturer: Biography Coming Soon

Course: Mathematics for Chemistry
 Lecturer: Dr Martin Galpin
 Dr Martin Galpin is a Fellow and College Lecturer in Mathematics for Chemistry at University College, University of Oxford. He teaches undergraduates in Mathematics for Chemistry and, at the graduate level, organises and teaches the core maths component of the CDT in Theory and Modelling in the Chemical Sciences. His work is in the general area of condensed matter theory, the aim of which is to understand the physical properties of solids, liquids and related phases of matter. Of particular interest are so-called ‘correlated electron systems’. For a selection of publications, please see

Course: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
 Lecturer: Professor Grant Ritchie
 Professor Grant Ritchie was an undergraduate and DPhil student at Trinity College, Oxford. After winning a prestigious Royal Society Fellowship, he is now a University Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Oxford, and is a Tutorial Fellow in Chemistry at Worcester College, Oxford. His (physical chemistry) research focuses on the application of laser-based spectroscopic techniques to a variety of fundamental and applied problems in the areas of gas phase reaction dynamics, optical micromanipulation and medical diagnostics (see

Course: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics Lecturer: Professor Philipp Kukura
 Professor Philipp Kukura read Chemistry at St Hugh’s College Oxford, did a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley with Rich Mathies before moving to ETH Zurich to work with Vahid Sandoghdar.He returned to Oxford initially as an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellow in 2010 and was elected to a tutorial fellowship at Exeter College, Oxford in 2011 and promoted to Full Professor in 2016. He has received awards by the Royal Society of Chemistry (Harrison-Meldola 2011 and Marlow 2010) and the European Biophysical Society Association (2017) and currently holds an ERC Starting Investigator Grant. He leads an interdisciplinary research group that develops and applies new optical methodologies to study structure and dynamics down to nanometer length scales and femtosecond timescales. His research is motivated by a vigorous back and forth between pushing the boundaries of what can be measured with light and the application of our developments to fundamental questions in chemistry, physics and biology.


The Tutorial System

By participating in seminars and tutorials you will experience the small discussion-group learning that is central to undergraduate student life in Oxford. The tutorial system will ensure you receive direct, expert guidance as you undertake study in a chosen area of research.

You will meet your seminar leader once or twice a week in small groups of no more than 8 to discuss your work with your peers and to report on progress and receive feedback, constructive criticism and guidance from your seminar leader.

Tutors are experts in their field, and tutorials are your opportunity to get individual teaching from them. In a ratio of 2 students to 1 tutor, you will discuss topics in depth with your tutor in a series of 8 x 1.25hr tutorials during the Programme. This personalised attention is at the heart of an Oxford undergraduate education and provides opportunities to test the soundness of your ideas, think critically and develop your academic skills in ways that are not possible in lectures.

Seminars and tutorials will build on themes introduced in your lectures. You will be given a list of essay titles to choose from in your first seminar and in the weeks that follow under the direction of your seminar leader and tutor you will spend time reading independently and preparing written work, leading to the production of a final 3,000-word essay.

By participating in the Summer Programme seminars, you will:

  • gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter
  • improve your ability to think critically and work independently
  • develop the skills to assess and make use of source materials
  • hone your oral and written communication skills
  • learn to formulate and justify a thesis, and to anticipate and respond to counter-arguments
  • develop individual academic interests within the context of your chosen subjects
  • have the opportunity to begin work on a senior thesis or other area of special academic interest
  • benefit from close intellectual engagement with your tutorial and seminar leader and fellow students

The tutorial system will be academically challenging but rewarding. You will be expected to undertake self-directed preparatory work before each session (e.g. reading, writing short essays, or working through a set of problems) and then to take an active part in the seminars and tutorials by presenting and defending your ideas and analysing and critiquing the ideas of your instructor and classmates.

Assessment and Academic Credit

Students who successfully complete the Programme will receive a transcript showing two grades, one for each lecture course, expressed as a grade-% and a letter equivalent, together with grading guidance notes.

Your final grades will comprise:

(1) Written exams; One 3hr exam per lecture course in which you will be asked to write 3 x essays.
(2) Research essay; One 3,000-word essay per major.
(3) Attendance.

You must complete each of these three elements in order to pass your courses.

While lecture courses have been designed to be credit-bearing and we will assist you to transfer credit home, Exeter College does not operate a credit system and ultimately the calculation of credit will be decided by your home University. As a guide, courses usually receive 6 University of California quarter credits, 3-4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS credits.

Evening Lectures

In addition to your academic lectures, seminars and tutorials, we will arrange a series of 6 evening lectures delivered by luminaries from the University of Oxford and other leading universities, as well as from public and professional life. The format of these lectures will provide time for you to question the speaker and to continue discussions over drinks immediately afterwards. In previous years, speakers have included General Sir Richard Shirreff, Baroness Helena Kennedy and Professor Frank Close CBE.

Academic Resources

To support your studies, you will have access to Exeter College Library and supplementary resources posted online by your Exeter Summer Programme Faculty. You will be advised of any pre-course reading prior to the start of the Programme.

Time Table and Workload

Classes will run Monday-Friday. You can expect to have c.10hrs of contact teaching per week and to spend time reading and preparing for your lectures, seminars and tutorials in advance. There will be time in week 6 for exam revision and writing up research essays. Generally, week-ends will be free for you to travel independently or catch up on your academic work.

The Programme time table will be available soon.