Oxford Course Information


Courses taught by SMU faculty will meet Monday-Thursday from 10 am – noon, most weeks. The first week the courses will meet Tuesday through Friday, while in the last week they meet Monday and Tuesday.

Tutorials will meet one afternoon a week on a Monday-Thursday for one hour. The schedule of weekly tutorial meetings will be arranged by each individual tutor.  


Final exams are administered for both the three-hour courses and two-hour tutorials.  Students are given a letter grade.

Course Selection

Students enroll in five credits of course work in the Oxford program. They take one three-credit course from an SMU Law School Faculty member and one two-credit tutorial taught by present and past members of the Oxford faculty. Each SMU professor will have no more than eighteen students. Tutorials accommodate six to eight students, and each tutor usually meets with no more than three students per session. Tutorials typically require students to prepare a written essay in response to an assigned topic and to present it to the tutor orally. The two-credit tutorial fulfills the general writing requirement at SMU.

NOTE: Applicants are asked to rank their first choices among the offered SMU courses and tutorials when they apply. While every effort is made to give each student his or her first choices, it is not always possible to do so due to class size and interest. We are usually able to give students at least one first choice (course or tutorial) and one second choice. Most students receive their first choice in both selections.  

SMU Course Description

Nathan Cortez

This course will examine how different countries around the world with different health systems tackle the same challenges in health care, including health care coverage, financing, liability, privacy, and various questions of bioethics.

Elizabeth G. Thornburg

This advanced civil procedure course will examine the ways in which the courts deal with litigation in which large numbers of people assert claims in the same case. In the U.S., this often involves class actions and multi-district litigation. Other countries handle mass actions differently, but each must deal with questions such as fairness, efficiency, the role of attorneys, the needs of case management, and the mechanisms needed to protect the rights of both the claimants and the defendants.

Tutorial Course Description

Tutorial topics vary from year to year.  Here are some examples of recent tutorials.  Specific tutorials for 2019 will be identified in the program materials.

COMPARATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (2 credits) Nicholas Bamforth
Despite the very different histories and constitutions of the nations concerned, the legal systems of the USA and the UK are officially committed to broadly similar sets of human rights. Furthermore, courts on both sides of the Atlantic have taken to citing - often against strong dissents - each other's precedents in human rights cases (a classic U.S. example being Lawrence v. Texas). Nonetheless, there remain very important differences between the two legal systems, relating in particular to the strength and ambit of many of the rights involved. The comparative Human Rights course will explore these similarities and differences in order to see what we can learn from them about the nature of constitutional human rights.

Jane Hanna

The course will provide an introduction of the role of the courts within the UK constitution with a particular focus on the balance of power between the judiciary and the institutions of government and whether this balance has altered since the UK'S membership in the European Union and the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Nick Barber

This course will explore the European constitution and the impact it has on the member countries of the European Union.