Academic Life

At Pembroke, students are part of an integrated academic community where undergraduates work closely with postgraduates and academics of all levels, both formally in tutorial teaching settings, and informally in discussion groups, mentoring schemes and over dinner. We share research, discuss ideas, and challenge one another to consider the connections and dialogue between our different disciplines, helping each of us to grow and learn, whatever stage of our academic journey we're at. 


Tutorials represent a distinctive facet of undergraduate academic life at Oxford, distinguishing it from many other universities. They serve as a primary mode of teaching, fostering in-depth discussions and critical thinking among students. Unlike conventional classroom settings, tutorials offer an intimate conversational environment within small groups where there is often no right or wrong answer to the work you’ll be discussing.

Students are expected to work independently in advance of each tutorial. Prepared work then forms the basis of rich and nuanced discussions during the tutorial and provides a springboard to explore related topics or concepts not covered in that week’s prepared work.

Initially, the tutorial system may seem daunting as it is different to anything you will have experienced before. However, you’ll soon adjust to this mode of learning and gradually gain confidence and proficiency, benefiting from the exchange of ideas and perspectives among peers. Each tutorial presents a unique experience, shaped by the distinct perspectives and teaching styles of individual tutors, offering a refreshing variety in the learning process.

In essence, tutorials represent a dynamic and enriching educational experience at Oxford, which foster intellectual growth and encourage students to push the boundaries of their understanding.

Student Experiences

Henry Worlsey
Henry Worsley (2021, History and Italian)

At first I was anxious about the workload, but once I arrived I soon realised that it’s very manageable - almost everyone seems incredibly passionate about what they're reading, whether that’s medicine or Machiavelli, and that sense of enthusiasm made getting into the groove much easier.

Ruth Arnold
Ruth Arnold (2020, Biology)

In allowing myself to fully engage in the topic, including meeting with some of the leading researchers in the field, I found the sense of work greatly diminished. 

Study Skills

At Pembroke, we are dedicated to supporting your academic success. Our two friendly study skills tutors have received training from the Oxford Study Skills Centre, equipping them to provide tailored assistance to help you thrive. Whether you're a new student or further along in your academic journey, we offer a range of resources and assistance tailored to your needs.

Our study skills tutors are available for personalized one-on-one meetings, where you can receive guidance on various aspects of academic life. From exam techniques to time management, and critical thinking to essay writing, the study skills tutors cover a wide array of topics designed to enhance your skills and confidence. Your subject tutor can refer you to this support through the Academic Office.

In addition to individual support, they organise group sessions and provide curated videos covering essential study skills topics. These sessions are particularly beneficial for incoming freshers, offering guidance on navigating the academic rigors of university life. As exams approach in the first year, specialised study skills sessions focused on exam preparation are also provided. These sessions equip you with the tools and strategies necessary to excel in your exams.

JCR/MCR Mentoring Scheme

Our JCR/MCR Mentoring Scheme is an opportunity for graduate students to offer academic, study skills and career guidance to undergraduates.

Both graduate and undergraduate students in any year group can sign up for the initiative, which aims to facilitate effective learning and encourage a support network among the Pembroke student body.

The mentoring scheme is for people who want to explore their own subject or a new subject further, think more and gain advice about their future (whether that's in acadaemia or elsewhere), or just chat with someone who's done it all before to foster relationships with others in College.

Joint Courses

At Pembroke we are passionate about joint courses and the value and opportunities they offer. We have a thriving community of students studying lots of different combinations.

Studying subjects as joint courses is rewarding, interesting and challenging. It is a great way to carry on studying two subjects you love, or to try something new! Joint courses help you to explore how different disciplines challenge and complement each other, and allow you the flexibility to pursue your particular interests. You'll also benefit from being a part of two subject communities, with lots of people in the same boat and an excellent support network.

You'll develop a broad range of skills and will have the choice of a wide variety of papers in both subjects. Joint courses are often taught by tutors who are interested in combining the skills and methodologies of different subjects, and their research will be at the cutting edge of their field.

Our tutors really understand how to help you get the most out of studying joint courses and are committed to helping you succeed and manage your academic workload, as well as explore your interdisciplinary passions for your subjects.

Discover the joint courses we offer on our Courses page.

The 3CR

The 3CR initiative encourages all members of the College to realise that they are part of Pembroke’s research community.

'3CR' represents the three common rooms: the JCR (Junior Common Room), made up of undergraduate students; the MCR (Middle Common Room), made up of postgraduate students; and the SCR (Senior Common Room), made up of Fellows, tutors and post-doc researchers.

The initiative invites members of the three common rooms to showcase their own research and hear about others’ research at the 3CR talks, which are short pre-dinner research presentations or at the Pembroke Reading Group, where books written by Pembroke’s own are discussed. It’s a unique initiative which brings us all together and encourages collaboration and inter-disciplinary exploration to foster a strong Pembroke research community.