On Saturday the 18th of June, St John’s College hosted over 50 Year 12 pupils from across the UK for an English Subject Exploration Day

St John’s offers Study Days and Subject Exploration Days for a range of subjects, and you can find out more about them by following this link.


The day began with a Welcome Talk and Application Advice Session from Professor Carolyne Larrington, who talked participants through the kinds of qualities that English tutors are looking for in English applicants, how the application process works, and the structure of the University of Oxford English degree. Pupils then took part in their first academic taster session of the day with our excellent English tutors: Professor Carolyne Larrington, Professor Patrick Hayes, Dr Noël Sugimura, and Damian Maher. These taster sessions were centred around the teaching specialisms of the tutors and were run like undergraduate seminar sessions, with tutors introducing unfamiliar texts and concepts to pupils, and then encouraging them to reflect on particular ideas or parts of the text. These sessions covered a broad range of literary material, from Thomas Malory’s fifteenth-century interpretation of the tale of Launcelot and Guinevere, to Patricia Lockwood’s 2021 novel No One Is Talking About This.



Pupils were then taken to lunch in our beautiful Hall, where current English students were on hand to chat informally about their experience studying English at St John’s. After lunch, pupils were taken on a tour of the college, where they explored the grounds that have also been home to famous authors, such as Philip Larkin and Robert Graves. After two more academic sessions, pupils gathered together once more for a Q&A session, and asked a panel of both tutors and undergraduates any remaining questions they had about studying an English degree. The day finished with tea and cake and a further chance to talk to students and tutors in a more informal setting, before pupils departed back home with a refreshed enthusiasm for studying English and exploring their interests.

We would like to sincerely thank all of the tutors and students who helped with the day, and to all the pupils who took part.