About the Degree

About the Degree


Dear Freshers, welcome and congrats for meeting your offer! I’m Nelly, and I’m your History of Art subject rep, and here’s a little letter which may help you prepare for beginning uni and settle some potential fears you might have.

About the degree:

Not are you doing the best degree in Oxford but also the one with the least work. People might take the piss, but they are really just jealous that we have so much delicious free time. After a long summer or gap year, returning and having to write your first essay might seem quite daunting, especially as the titles seem hard, but FEAR NOT, it really doesn’t matter and certainly gets easier.

A small piece of consolation:

Christ Church freshers are the only ones that have two essays in Freshers week. BUT fear not, one of these is a simple visual analysis of an object in oxford and is actually quite nice. Mine was no longer than a side so worry not.


When they tell you to write on a work in the Ashmolean GO AND SEE IT! There is nothing more humiliating than arriving at your cute and not knowing where your chosen piece is because you haven’t seen it when you should have. N.B ASHMOLEAN IS CLOSED ON MONDAYS

Spare Time:

This is something you will have a LOT of. Weird as it sounds, this can occasionally get lonely especially when everyone else (apart from Geography) has much more work and there are only so many pub trips you can make in a week, so I would bring some stuff to do. I brought loads of my art stuff and my accordion which keeps me occupied (and my neighbour up all night). There is also life drawing in college, an art room and endless places to explore in Ox, so make the most of it.

Reading List:

The reading list is yet another thing which I panicked about before arriving however once again fear not. They will not ask you what you have red etc. so don’t die reading it all. I think it’s a good idea though to read one or two books of the critical stuff (like Nochlin) just to get you thinking critically, and you will have to read it once you get here anyway so might as well be ahead of the game. Obviously ‘Ways of Seeing’ is also a banger and it would be great to get to grips with the ‘Story of Art before you have to read the whole thing in 8th week (don’t make the same mistake as I did by not reading all of it before)


GOOD LUCK! I can’t wait to meet y’all in freshers week. The great thing about H of A is that it is such a small course which is lovely and intimate, and more importantly, it is out of college (which can sometimes get a little stuffy) so you have a ready-made opportunity to make out of college friends. The course may seem a little dry at times but I’ve no doubt you’ll love it! There are so many great privileges that one with it too! If you have any other questions, feel free to give me a cheeky add on FB (my name is Nelly Hayes) and I’ll try to arrange a cuppaso we can all meet each other when you arrive!