4. Skills and learning development

All degree courses offer skills development opportunities, including personal and professional skills, many of which are transferable. Core tutorials and classes teach synthesis and analysis of readings, the structuring and presentation of coherent arguments in essays, essay and report writing, oral presentation and the use of aids in giving presentations, fielding questions from audiences after presentations, and oral discussion of ideas. Lectures and classes on techniques in anthropological research methodology include skills such as qualitative social data collection (including interview techniques, participant observation, note-taking and transcription, photo-elicitation and sound recording), the ethics and politics of fieldwork, and research proposal design and grant-writing. The VMMA degrees offer specialist skills training in artefact and display analysis, provenance research and the use of databases in artefact research. Volunteer opportunities at the Pitt Rivers Museum in education and other departments are frequently available, offering further training in collections management and research or public interpretation.

Students for the MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology receive skills training in the critical production and consumption of quantitative arguments, as well as competence in statistical analysis and research design in the human sciences. Such students also have practicals as part of their coursework for the paper on Quantitative Methods in the Human Sciences.

Under a concessionary scheme, the School is currently able to contribute to the costs of certain externally provided skills training for research students planning to do major fieldwork (i.e. PRS/DPhil and MLitt students, but not students on any of the MSc or MPhil courses). See the separate handbook for research students.

In addition, advice on various matters including time management, good academic practice, research and library skills, referencing can be found here . For specific IT training, the IT services offer a number of opportunities . For registered graduate students whose mother tongue is not English, there are also courses available in “English for Academic Studies” (EAS). These are not purely remedial courses, and students with a high level of English may also take them. The School is not involved in either the provision or financing of these courses. Consult the University’s Language Centre at 12 Woodstock Road. Further details can be found at: https://www.lang.ox.ac.uk/academic-english. Students should discuss with their supervisor, which opportunities might be most suitable for them. All language training should be discussed well in advance with the supervisor.


4.1 Additional Funding

In general, by the start of the academic year it is too late for any student just starting in the School to obtain substantial funding for that year, especially as financial guarantees must be given to colleges well before that date. For University funding, see especially the main University website.

The only substantial funds earmarked for students in anthropology at Oxford are those listed on the School website. A number of Oxford colleges also advertise certain awards for which prospective students may be eligible; their websites should be consulted. Outside the University, the Wenner-Gren Foundation in New York makes grants for research expenses to doctoral students in anthropology, but there are many outside sources of funding not restricted to specific disciplines. Doctoral students especially should ensure that any foundation they apply to for funding is prepared to permit long-term fieldwork, as this is not always the case.


4.2 Graduate Tutoring of Undergraduates

DPhil students who have completed their fieldwork and have completed the PLTO course (see below) are eligible to contribute to undergraduate tutorial teaching (typically for the BA degrees in Human Sciences and Archaeology & Anthropology). Post-fieldwork DPhil students who wish their names to be added to the list of potential tutors for these degrees should contact Sarah-Jane White, Undergraduate Administrator for Human Sciences and/or Robyn Mason, Undergraduate Administrator for Archaeology & Anthropology with details of their areas of potential teaching contribution to the course(s). It is helpful to refer specifically to the tutorial topics/subject matter of the courses that you would be able to offer by reference to the course handbooks for those degrees (available on the appropriate websites). Appearance on the list is not a guarantee of tutorial work; the appointment of tutors for the courses is undertaken by the college Directors of Studies for those degrees, drawing upon the lists of available tutors. Anyone commissioned to teach tutorials will be required to take the relevant short university course (see below).

Post-fieldwork DPhil students are also eligible to contribute to some elements of the teaching of postgraduate taught courses (MSc and MPhil) in the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, as follows:

1. Advanced DPhil students may occasionally teach parts of courses taken by postgraduate taught course students (MSc, MPhil), e.g. one-off lectures or classes in their special area, or assisting with methods classes, where it is deemed appropriate by the course convenor.

2. They may not normally be involved in marking summative assessments or convening courses.

Teaching opportunities are limited, in no way guaranteed, and are not lucrative enough to live off by themselves. Nonetheless providing such tuition is a way of acquiring some teaching experience, which can count as a transferable skill of use in one’s future career. Any such teaching work, whether paid or not, is subject to approval of right-to-work, which depends upon visa and residency status.


4.3 Courses on Teaching and Learning at Oxford for Tutors

Regardless of their prior experience graduate students are required to attend a “Preparation for Learning and Teaching at Oxford” (PLTO) course on tutorial teaching offered by the University of Oxford. Details are given at http://www.learning.ox.ac.uk/teaching/, but the department (SAME) and the Social Sciences Division each offer their own versions of a PLTO course tailored to their subject matter and teaching. The department PLTO course is usually run in Michaelmas Term and/or Hilary Term.

The university also offers more advanced courses detailed at the link above:

- “Developing learning and teaching” (DLT), which is more detailed.

- “Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning” (PGCert)

In addition Blackwell’s bookshop sells a useful short booklet introducing tutorials.


The University Policy and Guidance on Tutorial Teaching is to be found at: https://academic.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/pguglearningandteachingpdf.


4.4 Career information and advice

The academic and college environment at Oxford University is rich with opportunities for you to develop many transferable skills that are eagerly sought by employers. Undertaking an intellectually demanding academic course (often incorporating professional body requirements) will equip you for the demands of many jobs. Your course will enable you to research, summarise, present and defend an argument with some of the best scholars in their subject. Under the direction of an experienced researcher, you will extend your skills and experiences through practical or project work, placements or fieldwork, writing extended essays or dissertations. In college and university sports teams, clubs and societies you will have the chance to take the lead and play an active part within and outside the University.

Surveys of our employers report that they find Oxford students better or much better than the average UK student at key employability skills such as Problem Solving, Leadership, and Communication. Hundreds of recruiters visit the University each year, demonstrating their demand for Oxford undergraduate and postgraduate students, fewer than 5% of whom are unemployed and seeking work six months after leaving.

Comprehensive careers advice and guidance is available from the Oxford University Careers Service, conveniently located across the road from SAME at 56 Banbury Road. This resource is available not just while you are here: its careers support is for life. The Careers Service offers tailored individual advice, job fairs and workshops to inform your job search and application process, whether your next steps are within academia or beyond. You will also have access to thousands of UK-based and international internships, work experience and job vacancies available on the Careers Service website.