A Guide for Perplexed Students
After finishing my theology finals at Harris Manchester in June 1995, I sat down and wrote a “Guide for Perplexed Students” which set down the advice (on academic matters) I’d give to my successors based on my own experiences. Several people have seen copies of the guide and have apparently found it helpful, but the opinions expressed in it remain entirely my own and do NOT represent the official views either of Oxford University or of Harris Manchester College. The comments in the Guide are nevertheless based on my having successfully completed two undergraduate degrees at Oxford (I read Engineering Science at Brasenose from 1972-1975 as well as Theology at HMC from 1992-1995). Note that the advice is aimed particularly at new (mature) students starting an undergraduate course at HMC, though much of it may well be of wider application.
Welcome to Harris Manchester College. Oxford is a great place to study, but it can also be a rather confusing place for those new to it, and there are often things that new students want to know that appear in no official handbook and seem not to be explained fully by tutors. Often the quickest way to find these things out is by chatting with someone doing the same subject in the year above, but on the off-chance that you may find it useful to have some of these things explained in a single document, I have set out some questions, hints and suggestions based on my own experience of reading for the Oxford B.A. in Theology in the hope that some of them may prove of some value to my successors, whatever subject they are reading. I make no claim to be the fount of all wisdom on any of the questions considered below; I can do no more than to set out what seemed to work well for me, and what has come up in discussion with my fellow-students. If your tastes are not the same, please feel free to ignore anything I’ve said! Please access the links on the left hand menu.