Our mission is to educate and open doors for well qualified students from a limited number of participating US colleges and universities through a relatively short, intensive period of study under the guidance of Oxford tutors to the same standard and in the same manner as matriculated Oxford undergraduates, while providing a high level of support and pastoral care.
The safety and well being of our students, staff, and tutors is paramount. The University of Oxford and its constituent colleges are proceeding with the coming academic year 2020-21 with relevant safeguards and procedures. The view of OPUS is that although adequate precautions are being taken, inevitably the experience of a study abroad term in Oxford cannot be the same as before. Residential bubbles, limited social interaction, and the absence of sports, dining in College hall, clubs, societies, freshers’ fair and the like may make the experience very different. We declined to admit students for the Michaelmas Term (October to December). We are provisionally accepting applications for the Hilary and Trinity Terms 2021 (January-June) and the Late Trinity Term 2021 (May-June). How the Michaelmas Term proceeds, the rate of infection, and the development of a vaccine will all have a bearing on subsequent terms.
Please bookmark and refer regularly to the following references for ongoing advice
Update 20 November 2020
The Oxford colleges are operating as normal as far as possible. Dining in hall is available with social distancing and staggered meal times. College library use needs to be booked in advance, borrowing is fine. Social activities are limited. Some outdoor sports are permitted, others not. The college bar is closed until further notice on account of its size and the fact that alcohol tends to reduce focus on rules. The College’s COVID risk assessment committee regularly reviews the situation to determine the level of access to different parts of the college available to its own students and to visiting students.
Subject to the current national lock-down ending on 2 December as expected, our sense is that students can indeed participate and enjoy Oxford, the city, outdoors, parks, restaurants, pubs, the Union Society, and face to face tutorials, all socially distanced. The Union Society has some ticketed events in the main chamber, controlled access to the bar, and use of the library, some events are online. Like the colleges we will operate social bubbles by student house, with each household being able to interact freely but not mix with other households except where socially distanced. Tutorials are likely to take place in person one-on-one, socially distanced, but some may be online.
Any accepted applicant may defer to Michaelmas Term 2021. Any accepted applicant may attend online tutorials during Hilary Term and retain the option of continuing to do so for the Trinity Term or travel to Oxford for that term and attend in person depending on public health at that time. Fees and rebates would be adjusted accordingly for housing and other costs saved.
At the present time students for the Hilary Term 2021 would need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, this will delay access to their Oxford college by a few days but it will not affect the official arrival date of 7 January 2021. Quarantine would be within the student’s assigned housing. There would be no requirement to pay additional housing costs. During the period of quarantine Orientation procedures will be conducted online. We will advise on deliveries of groceries to home and start students off with basic provisions. All student houses have a garden or back yard.
The US may possibly enter the air corridor of UK designated safe countries in which case there will be no quarantine from arrivals from the US although this is not expected to be imminent.
There is a possibility the quarantine period may have reduced to 7 days by January 2021 subject to a negative Covid test taken prior to departure from the US. This is under consideration by the UK Department of Health & Social Welfare and has yet to be confirmed. See:
There will be no change to the arrival date if a 7 day quarantine is implemented.
Accepted applicants now have until 7 December to decide. They would in any case need to know by then for their own purposes in order to purchase their airline ticket and prepare to travel.
Rebates would be available for different options. If College access is restricted students will receive a rebate of $1200 for each term ($2400 for Hilary and Trinity). If students do not attend Oxford in person there would be a saving in housing costs which would yield an additional rebate of $3250 per term ($6500 for Hilary and Trinity).
Accepted students may withdraw until 7 December without incurring any cost. All other elements of OPUS policy on refunds, see below, would continue to apply.
OPUS POLICY ON WITHDRAWAL
Under normal circumstances students who have been accepted for the Hilary & Trinity Terms have until 1 December to withdraw without any charge (1 April for the Late Trinity Term). Further to this students would be entitled to a refund of 50% of the total cost for withdrawal until 1 January (1 May for Late Trinity) and no refund for withdrawal thereafter. Taking Covid-19 into account, OPUS will offer a full refund of the entire program fee if a student withdraws at any point until the arrival date in response to an official travel restriction (imposed by either the US OR the UK), OR if Oxford University, or the student’s affiliated Oxford College, restricts physical participation.