• What will I learn?
  • Who will I be taught by?
  • Who is this course for?
  • What can I do after?
  • What does it mean to have knowledge? How should we lead our lives? What is the fundamental nature of reality? How do we know that we are not just brains floating in vats, with our sensory experiences being force fed to us by an evil scientist? If these questions sound interesting, our philosophy course may be for you.

    This course offers you a taste of what it is like to study Philosophy at a top university, engaging with the subject to a degree that is not normally possible in schools. If you come to study Philosophy with us, you will receive a fantastic tour of some of the most prominent thinkers and theories in the history of Philosophy. You will also study some of the key debates in contemporary Philosophy, all under the guidance of an expert tutor. This course will also teach you how to think, read and write like a philosopher. This means learning how to question and challenge ideas, think and respond critically and articulate your point of view.

  • All our tutors are current Oxford and/or Cambridge PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. You will have the opportunity to learn about their original research and our tutors will take you beyond your school curriculum to investigate their subject at  a higher level - this is great preparation for university/college study!

    Jura, our tutor in 2016, completed Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of St Andrews and completed a Master’s in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. His areas of interest are the central issues in philosophy of mind, metaphysics and philosophy of language, as well as exploring ethics and morality.

  • This course is ideal for students interested in studying Philosophy in the future, or who are simply interested in the ‘Big Questions’. The mode of philosophical is also excellent preparation for study in any discipline, and philosophical thinking is often applied in areas as diverse as physics and international development.

    You may also be interested in our Politics and International Relations and Economics courses, particularly if you are thinking of pursuing a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) degree in the future.

  • Our students go on to studying a vast range of subjects at undergraduate level, at universities across the UK, as well as those abroad, including in the US.

  • What are the requirements for applying to this course?

    As an academic summer school, we invite all students to complete a short application form and short interview with one of our staff before booking. We recommend students have a thirst for knowledge and enjoy analysing complex ideas, as well as making arguments.

    English Language requirements: all students need to be able to engage with the course material, which normally means a level of English equivalent to an IELTS score of 5.5 and above, or B2 in the Common European Framework. Don't worry if you don't have a formal qualification - when you chat to one of the team they'll be able to assess your level and answer any questions you may have.

    Not sure about which course is the best for you? Our friendly team is here to help – contact us and we will help you choose the subject that is best suited to your needs.

Studying Philosophy at OISS

Students doing Philosophy at OISS benefit from a combination of small group and one-to-one tutorials, assessed work and individual research. Below is an example of a typical day at the Summer School, to give you an idea of the challenging variety that we offer our students.

 0800   Wake up and go down to breakfast with my friends from my staircase. Have some toast and cereal to start the day, and grab a piece of fruit for a snack later.
 0915   I go to my small group tutorial with our tutor Jura. He’s been using Descartes as a starting point for introducing us to philosophical concepts and ideas. Today we’re discussing the relationship between philosophy and science by talking about consciousness. I never realised it affected our lives in so many ways...
 1100   We have some free time before lunch so me and my friends drop by our rooms to put our books away before we head to a nearby sandwich shop to grab lunch - a cool mixed salad from the Covered Market. We then head to Radcliffe Square to sit outside the Radcliffe Camera (or ‘RadCam’ to locals) and take in the amazing architecture.
 1300   I’m back in the accommodation now for my Independent Research Time. I pick up my notes from the tutorial and start planning my essay on science and consciousness. Jura has given us some reading material to look at, as well as some thought experiments to work on as a group to get us thinking.
 1500   I meet up with the ACs and other students for a Drama Workshop. I do some drama at school and it’s been really fun getting to do more with students from around the world.
 1800   We head out to a local Italian restaurant for dinner - a change from the food in the accommodation, and a chance to see more of Oxford in the evening.
 1900   Time for my seminar on Current Affairs. Everyone at the Summer School gets to pick a seminar series to take part in and I chose this one because I love watching the news and learning more about the world.They’re always a great opportunity to learn more and debate contemporary issues.
 2100   After popping back to my room to drop off my stuff, I head to the common room to watch a movie with everyone.
 2300   Go back to my room and fall asleep straightaway - ready for another packed day tomorrow!