Blackfriars Hall welcomes the new Dominican Jubilee Scholar, John Shinkwin.
Undergraduate Visiting Students
As a visiting student at Blackfriars Hall in the University of Oxford you will be able to follow accredited studies for one year in Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, English Literature, Classics (in translation), and British History. You will enjoy access to the academic and wider social and recreational facilities of the University of Oxford, as well as those we offer in the Hall.
We also offer classes in Latin, New Testament Greek, and Hebrew.
Your teaching will be provided primarily through weekly tutorials, usually on a one-to-one basis, where you discuss with the tutor an essay you have prepared. The normal expectation is that OSP students receive two tutorials a week. Some students prefer to take one tutorial per week, or three every two weeks, but if you are on the OSP programme this must be negotiated with your home university as well as with the Director of Visiting Students at Blackfriars. As well as lectures at Blackfriars you will be able to attend an extremely wide range of lectures and seminars in the University.
Students from our partner institutions receive credits equivalent to full-time study at their home university.
You will be able to read not only in our own specialist library, but also in the Bodleian Library, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious academic libraries. You will be able to borrow books from the Theology Faculty library and the other faculty libraries relevant to your courses. Our Programme has been in existence for over 25 years.
Graduate Visiting Students
There are no taught graduate courses available to Graduate Visiting Students, however, you can follow the curriculum of an undergraduate..
Our visiting students are normally accommodated in nearby houses equipped for self-catering, but eat many of their meals at a nearby Hall of the University.
Many Visiting Students come from our US partner colleges, but we are enthusiastic to hear from suitably qualified students, undergraduate and postgraduate, from major universities globally who share an affinity with our ethos.
Undergraduate applicants should be able to demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.7 or its equivalent, and must obtain permission from their home university to spend a year abroad at Blackfriars.
How to apply
If you are currently a member of one of our partner colleges:
please apply through your Study Abroad office.
We welcome enquiries from disabled students. The nature of our old buildings inevitably makes access difficult to some areas, We have various contingency plans which can be brought into effect and we regard problems as challenges to be overcome. Please contact the Academic Administrator, Ms. Lucy Traves, direct and let us know what your needs are: in most cases we can, and will meet them.
English Language Requirements
All teaching at Oxford University is carried out in English (with the exception of some language-specific teaching) and tutors must be convinced that you have sufficient fluency in written and spoken English to cope with your course from the start. Visiting students will need to satisfy the same requirements as undergraduate students. You can find details here.
The different courses in Biblical Studies consider the main sections of the Old and New Testaments. Each course will foster the ability of students to interpret the texts theologically and perform detailed exegesis.
TH01 Old Testament: Pentateuch
This course introduces the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, otherwise known as the Torah. It introduces to the student the most commonly held theories regarding the formation of the Pentateuch and the theological themes found within it.
TH02 Old Testament: Historical Books
An introduction to the historical books of the Old Testament from the book of Judges to those of Chronicles. The course aims to introduce the content of the material and theories as to the authorship and historical background to these books.
TH03 Old Testament: Prophets and Prophecy
An introduction to the prophetic literature of the Old Testament. The course will introduce students to the content of the prophetic books and to theories as to the nature of biblical prophecy in general, as well as of the particular historical prophets and the creation of the prophetic books in their canonical form.
TH04 Old Testament: The Writings
This course considers a range of texts found in the Old Testament, which are grouped together as ‘the Writings’ in the Hebrew Bible after the Pentateuch, Historical Books and Prophets. It will introduce the student to the Wisdom books and to their search for the knowledge which enables human beings to flourish, as well as to their critical contemplation of the mystery of human suffering. The course also considers the Psalms, their different forms and historical context, and the role they have had in Christian reflection and spiritual practice. Finally, the course turns to the Song of Songs and to the short stories of the Bible, in particular, Esther, Judith and Tobit.
TH05 New Testament: Synoptic Gospels: Matthew and Mark
This course introduces students to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, their theology and ethics, literary and historical problems, and the historical research concerning Jesus.
TH06 New Testament: Luke and Acts
This course considers the books of Luke and Acts, their theology and ethics, literary and historical problems.
TH07 New Testament: John’s Gospels and Epistles
An introduction to the Johannine Literature, chiefly the Gospel, but also including the Epistles. It will examine critical questions such as authorship, dating, composition and ecclesial/missionary/polemical contexts, as well as the theological themes of John’s Gospel.
TH08 New Testament: Epistles of Paul
Am introduction to the complete Pauline corpus, including the Pastoral Epistles. The course aims to relate particular letters to the broader themes of Pauline theology. Theories about the historical background to various letters will be considered, and the question of authorship where it is disputed.
TH09 Hebrews, the Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse
An introduction to the Letter to the Hebrews, the Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse. The course aims to introduce the student to the content of the material and to theories as to the authorship and historical background, as well as to the history of interpretation and reception of these texts in the Christian tradition.
This course looks at the material culture which is a witness to the history of Israel and the early and mediaeval Church. It considers how archaeology helps us know about the history and cultures of the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean world and how this affects our understanding of the way the Bible talks about the people of Israel and the early Church. It also considers how Christian art and architecture emerged and how this illuminates Christian teaching and practice.
TH11 Early Christian History and Doctrine
This course will introduce the student to the Early Church of the first six centuries, its evolution and theological concerns, through the study of key figures, regions, and texts.
TH12 Theology of Augustine
This course examines the philosophical theology of St. Augustine and enables the student to engage with his writings. Topics may include the major theological controversies through which Augustine contributed to the doctrinal development of Catholicism in Late Antiquity, as well as the influence on Augustine of Sacred Scripture, Neoplatonist philosophy, and the duties incumbent on him as a pastor.
TH13 Theology of Aquinas
The course considers Aquinas’ theological vision. The course’s objective is to introduce students to Aquinas’ theology, especially through an examination of his major work the Summa Theologiae, and to emphasise the scriptural and patristic roots of Aquinas’ theological vision. For the tutorials a students may choose to focus on selected topics in Aquinas’ theology.
TH14 Medieval Church History
A course dealing with key developments in the mediaeval Western Church between 800 and 1450. The course aims to foster understanding of the political and theological ideas which inspired these developments as well as teach students how to read different sources from the period.
Th15 Medieval Theology
The course outlines the history of mediaeval theology from Boethius to Ockham. The course’s objective is to introduce students to the major figures and themes in medieval theology through an examination of the major works of the authors concerned.
TH16 Renaissance & Reformations
A course looking at religion and society in Europe c 1450-1600. Topics may include the pre-reformation Church, the renaissance papacy, renaissance humanism, the Reformations in Germany, Switzerland, England, the Catholic /Counter-Reformation, and features of Early Modern Catholicism.
TH17 Modern Church History
A course looking at the Western Catholic Church in the 19th and 20th centuries and with particular attention to the English Catholic Church and to developments in English Protestantism and the Church in Western Europe.
TH18 Twentieth Century Theology
This course will introduce students to the variety of theological approaches which have been dominant over the last hundred years or so. Students will become familiar with both those trends which have sought continuity with the past and those which consciously adopted a more modern method. This includes the most recent approaches to make an impact on the theological scene, such as political, liberation and feminist theologies.
TH19 The One God
This course explores the revelation of the One God as presented in the Bible. It also considers arguments for God’s existence and accounts of the nature of God, as these have been developed in classical Christian theology, such as the work of Thomas Aquinas, as well as earlier and more modern periods.
TH20 Trinity and Creation
This course explores the fundamental Christian doctrine of God as Trinity, as it emerged in the New Testament and in subsequent discussions in Christian theology, including those controversies and heresies which arose over the centuries. The course also considers the creative role of God as Trinity as understood in Christian thought.
TH21 Christology and Soteriology
This course enables a student to reflect on what Christian faith understands to be the nature and role of Jesus Christ. It examines how Jesus is portrayed in the Bible. It moves on to consider the development of Christian doctrine about the nature of Christ and his work, from the Fathers to modern theology. For the tutorials a student may opt to devote some sessions to theories of how Christ saves us.
An introduction to the Christian doctrine of divine grace and to the different reasons why grace is needed for the full flourishing of human beings. The course will deepen the student’s understanding of how Catholic and Protestant teachings have differed, as well as treating classic debates among Catholic theologians on such matters as the relationship between grace and freedom.
An introduction to Catholic reflection on the Church in its different aspects taking as its starting-point the theology of the Church set out at Vatican II.
TH24 Sacramental Theology
This course introduces the student to the central actions of Christian faith and practice, considering the use of the rites and the accounts given of their meaning. The course examines the individual Sacraments, paying special attention to Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.
A course on Christian eschatology, which introduces the student both to the subject, with its biblical foundations and dogmatic developments, and to the contemporary context for Christian hope, as a basic aspect of Christian faith.
TH26 Fundamental Moral Theology
This course will enable students to reflect in an informed and critical way on the fundamental themes of Catholic Moral Theology. Emphasis is placed on the sources of moral theology, particularly Scripture, and on using these sources to reflect on moral issues.
TH27 Catholic Social Teaching
This course looks at the development of the Church’s teaching on social justice and traces the development of that teaching from its Jewish roots to its contemporary expression in the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church. The course seeks to examine the development of this tradition in the context of the changing social, economic and political circumstances to which the Church has responded throughout the ages.
This course offers an introduction to Christian Spirituality in its various historical forms and explores its value for contemporary life.
TH29 Canon Law
This course will chiefly consider aspects of the Code of Canon Law (1983), and its place in the life and mission of the Church and of the individual faithful.
TH30 World Religions
This course studies the great religions of the world other than Christianity, with particular attention to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. It will allow the student to engage in some depth with key topics which reflect the central beliefs and practices of these religions. Students may also choose to consider what Christian theologies of other religions have developed, as well as how Christians have engaged creatively with the thought and spirituality of other religions.
PH01 Ancient Philosophy
This course gives the student an overview of Ancient Philosophy. It describes the historical, literary, and religious context in which Greek philosophy arose, as well as introducing its most celebrated thinkers. The course is designed to bring out the continuity between Greek and later Roman philosophy.
This course introduces students to Plato’s major dialogues in their historical context, the leading ideas which they contain concerning reality, knowledge, and goodness, and his philosophical method.
The course introduces students to the philosophy of Aristotle. The course’s objective is to introduce students to the major themes and critical issues in the study of Aristotle’s philosophy through an examination of Aristotle’s major works.
PH04 Mediaeval Philosophy
The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the major medieval philosophers and to some of the main themes of philosophical discourse in the middle ages.
PH05 Philosophy of Aquinas
To introduce the student to texts from St Thomas covering a variety of philosophical topics. The course aims to provide students with knowledge of St Thomas’ philosophy through examination of these texts, and to develop the skills needed for independent reading of St Thomas.
These courses provide students with an understanding of some of the major movements and philosophers of the modern and contemporary periods. Students may currently focus on the following significant periods and figures:
PH06 Descartes to Kant
PH08 Philosophy of Religion
This course aims to introduce students to the key concepts and theories of the philosophy of religion, such as consideration of proofs for the existence of God and the relationship between such proofs and a philosophical understanding of God.
PH09 Philosophy of Mind
The course aims to introduce students to the key concepts and theories of the philosophy of mind. Theories of the human mind are examined against a wider understanding of what it means to be human, and what is distinctive about the human animal.
PH10 Theory of Politics
This course provides an overview for students of the development of western political theory, and introduces them to key topics in the field. Students will gain knowledge of the principal political theories which have shaped political debate over the ages, and learn to analyse the terms used in the contemporary debate.
Metaphysics is concerned with the most general features of reality, with how we conceive of the world about us: as structured in time and space, as containing matter and minds, things and their properties, necessity, events, causation, change, values, facts and states of affairs. This course will enable students to reflect on and engage with some of these issues.
Through this course, the student will both engage with various aspects of epistemological thought at selected moments in the history of that thought, and begin to engage with some central debates in contemporary epistemology.
PH13 Science and Religion
This course seeks to provide students with a basic knowledge and understanding of the relationship between science, religion and philosophy. Major scientific theories are presented and students are shown how to reflect philosophically upon the claims of these theories.
This course will give students an opportunity to study human cultures and societies around the world and to develop a familiarity with the theories and techniques developed by the modern discipline of anthropology.
PH15 Moral Philosophy
The course aims to introduce students to the principal concepts and theories of moral philosophy, as found in the natural law tradition and a range of historical and contemporary theories. The connections between moral philosophy and other divisions of philosophy will be examined.
This course examines some concepts relevant to bioethics, some important biomedical technologies and developments, and the ethical issues which arise from these developments. The course aims to introduce students to the breadth of the contemporary debate in bioethics amongst Catholic and non- Catholic scholars, and equip them to think critically about bioethical matters.
PH17 Business Ethics
An introduction to key themes in the theory and practice of business ethics through tutorial and seminar work.
PH18 Introduction to Psychology
This course aims to provide a general introduction to modern psychology and to begin to put it into its philosophical and theological context, in order to allow an appreciation and balanced appraisal of its strengths, practical applications, limitations, and metaphysical blind-spots.
Students may also opt for more specialist courses in:
PH19 Developmental Psychology
A tutorial course that samples selected topics in cognitive, social, and emotional psychological development with a particular emphasis on a lifespan perspective and moral development. Students embarking on this course will normally be expected to have taken an introductory course in psychology or to be able to show a basic understanding of its methods and assumptions.
PH20 Social Psychology and Persons in Relation
A tutorial course looking at the role of social, cultural, and interpersonal factors in human behaviour. Topics include conformity and obedience, prejudice, attribution theory, cultural psychology, friendship, attraction and the psychology of love. Students embarking on this course will normally be expected t have taken an introductory course in psychology.
PH21 Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
The relations between the brain and mental and emotional functioning are the focus of this course. It aims more particularly to provide a better understanding of a range of cognitive and affective impairments, and their implications. It also examines the complex connections between modes of knowing and attending and important intellectual and cultural themes. Students embarking on this course will normally be expected to have taken an introductory course in psychology, and/or an introductory course in cognitive psychology.
EL01 Early Medieval Literature c.650-1350
An introduction to Medieval Studies, in both Old English and Middle English. Commentary work is integral to this course, with a focus on the grammatical, literary, and cultural features.
EL02 Literature in English 1350-1550
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and other works, such as Troilus and Criseyde, in their fourteenth century literary and historical context; Malory's Le Morte Darthur and writers of the early Tudor period (such as More, Skelton, Surrey, and Wyatt). Areas for investigation may include: authorship and authority; verse types (lyric, ballad, romance); the Wars of the Roses; kingship; chivalry; and economic and social change.
An in-depth study of a range of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry.
EL04 Literature in English 1550-1660
A focus on Jonson, Marlowe, Middleton, and Webster, and the development of genre (such as Revenge Tragedy); the epic poetry and pastoral of Spenser; sonnets by Sidney; and metaphysical and religious poetry (Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan); Milton's work in its historical and literary context; and Cavalier poetry (Carew, Herrick, Lovelace, and Suckling).
EL05 Literature in English 1660-1760
Considers the work of writers such as Defoe, Dryden, Fielding, Goldsmith, Pepys, Pope, Richardson, Sterne, Swift, and such topics as the rise of the novel as a popular literary form; satire; science and literature; gender and genre; mock-epic.
EL06 Literature in English 1760-1830
A range of novels, by writers such as Burney, Austen, Lewis, Radcliffe, Scott, and Mary Shelley, and their socio-political contexts (including the epistolary novel, the rise of Gothic fiction, literature and Revolutions, sensibility and the novel, and the rise of historical fiction), are studied alongside the major poets of the period – Blake, Byron, Coleridge, Hemans, Keats, Landon, P.B.Shelley, and Wordsworth - and the socio-political environment in which they were writing.
EL07 Literature in English 1830-1910
In this course, students will explore works by a range of major poets, novelists, and playwrights of the period, and their treatment topics such as sexuality; the industrial/'Condition of England' novel; sensationalism; the rise of the crime novel; social realism; Victorian Gothic; Medievalism; concepts of identity and selfhood; science; and religion.
EL08 Literature in English 1910 to the present
Explores topics such as melodrama, performance issues, revolutionary theatre, and theatre of the absurd, and playwrights such as Beckett, Bond, Osborne, Pinter and Stoppard; the work of some of the major poets of the twentieth century (Auden, Duffy, T. S. Eliot, Heaney, Hughes, Larkin, Plath, the poets of the two World Wars, Dylan Thomas, and Yeats), and topics such as the Edwardian novel; the Bloomsbury group; modernism; postcolonialism; popular culture, and concepts of literary value; and the work of such writers as Achebe, Bowen, Carter, Coetzee, Conrad, Forster, Joyce, Lawrence, Ondaatje, Orwell, Rushdie, Waugh, and Woolf.
EL09 Classical Literature in Translation
Through this course students will be able to engage critically with some of the most significant examples of the main literary genres and authors (in translation), and trace their influence on writers to the present day. Topics studied will include epic (Homer: Iliad and Odyssey; Virgil: Aeneid); myth (Ovid: Metamorphoses); pastoral (Virgil: Eclogues); tragedy (Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Seneca: Thyestes) and comedy (Plautus: Menaechmi; Aristophanes: The Frogs).
BH01 British History I
BH02 British History II
BH03 British History III
Blackfriars Hall welcomes the new Dominican Jubilee Scholar, John Shinkwin.
Many congratulations to Linda Eggert, Ramesh Pattni, Ying Mao, Simon Chelley, Joshua Hemmings-Buckler and Margaret Woods who graduated on Friday.