Prospective Students

Richard Berry

MA, DPhil Oxf


In St Catherine’s I give physics tutorials in a range of topics, mostly to 1st and 2nd years. In the Physics Department I lecture in the 4th year major option Biological Physics and the 2nd/3rd year option Introduction to Biological Physics. I am the head of the Biophysics Practical labs in Physics, and I give guest lectures in the Bionanotechnology 4th year option in the Biochemistry department.

About me

I have been a Tutorial Fellow in Physics at St Catherine's since 2000, having moved from a research fellowship at King's College London. Before that I was a Wellcome Trust Prize Travelling Research Fellow at Oxford (Biochemistry department) and Harvard (Molecular and Cellular Biology department).  My first degree and DPhil are from Oxford Physics.


My main research interests are in Biological Physics which is represented in Oxford by a growing research group in the physics department and beyond. More information can be found here.

Graduate Supervision

My research group contains 6 D. Phil students as of September 2013.  12 other D. Phil. students have graduated from the group in the past.



Fellow and Tutor in Physics
Professor of Biological Physics

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I permitted to select a subject that does not appear on the list of subjects taken by students in the past?  Yes,  The list is there to show you what students before you have chosen to take.  You can choose whatever you would like to study.  It is helpful to provide a personal statement that demonstrates what you would like to study and why.  That makes selecting the right tutor much easier for the DIrector of Studies for Visiting Students.

When does term start,  and do I have to arrive earlier than the start?  The full term starts in 1st week, but we ask you to arrive the week before (0th week) for orientation in Michaelmas term and the Thursday of 0th week in Hilary term.  You accommodation is available from the Sunday (reception open 24 hours a day) on 0th week but please make sure that you tell your arrival date and approximate time so that your room is ready.

A month before you are due to arrive you will receive an email giving you lots of information including:  orientation, fresher's timetable, term dates,  tutorial information.  You will also be given contact details and tutorial titles for your primary and secondary tutors for the term you are starting.  We will ask you to make contact with them so preparations can be made.

Do I need a visa to enter the UK and if so how do I get one?  Please be advised by the Oxford University website especially for international students as to whether you need a visa or not.  Once you have decided which type of visa you require, either a Tier 4 visa (more than 6 months) or a Student Visitor letter (6 months and under),  the College will provide you with the appropriate information to apply for a visa and this will be arranged by Helen Alexander,  the Visiting Student Administrator of the College.  Please do not apply for a visa independently as you will need the appropriate paperwork from the college.

How do I go about opening an English bank account or do I need one?  The college has a cashless system which is linked to a bank account/credit card of your choice.   You will be provided with some information on the banks by the college, if you decide to open a bank account and have chosen the bank of your choice , you will need to print off an enrolment certificate by logging into the Oxford University student self-service webpage.

How do I get help if I am unwell? We have a college nurse,  Ennis Frankum,  who is available Monday to Friday.  We also have a college doctor in Oxford City centre.  Visiting students who are with us for more 6 months are eligible for free National Health Service treatment.  Those are with us less than 6 months are required to pay for medical consultations.  We require all visiting students to have medical insurance.

What is included in the accommodation?   Your accommodation will include a single bed, desk, table lamp, wardrobe, and bedding (duvet and pillow) .  Bedlinen is provided and changed once a week,  there will be access to a shower and toilet.    All rooms have wifi access.  Please note there is limited storage space.

What shall I bring?  My general suggestions would be hangers,  adaptors for plugs,  towels, layers of clothing as the weather is changeable,  certainly a raincoat.  Don't worry too much as you will have a wide choice of shops 10 minutes walk away.  Please don't buy books as there is a wealth of libraries in Oxford.


Experiences and advice from former Visiting Students

Carlie Arbaugh, Cornell University, Full Year 2011-2012

When asked about my experience at Oxford, I always struggle to find just the right words to describe it. Oxford is a magical place with winding cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and countless nooks and crannies. Students on bicycles, walks through Christ Church meadow, punting, croquet on a college lawn, pubs, late night trips to the chip stand or artisan pizza, G&D’s for hot chocolate or ice cream, and chilly early morning rowing on the Isis fill my memories. And when it snows, laying a perfect blanket of white over the rooftops, being in Oxford is like being in a snow globe.

My time studying at St. Catherine’s College was the best year of my undergraduate education. I very much enjoyed my first two years of college in the U.S. and learned a tremendous amount from the courses I took, as I am doing again now in my senior year. However, in Oxford’s tutorial system I truly thrived. In the summer leading up to my year abroad I remember being very nervous. I am a science major in the U.S., so while problem sets, lab reports, and regular exams were routine, the thought of writing weekly essays to be critiqued and discussed with a tutor scared me a little. I must have revised my first essay twenty times before submitting it. I quickly came to love writing the essays, burying myself in the Bodleian or some other library for hours lost in thought. Each week I looked forward to the conversations with my tutors. Because of the personal nature of the tutorial system they continually challenged and encouraged me to learn the material in great depth by looking at the topics in different ways. I am now more confident about my critical reading, writing, and discussion skills. Moreover, many of my tutors became good friends, very different from my U.S. experience where I was often in large lecture halls and could not help but feel like a number sometimes.

My education at Oxford expanded beyond books and tutorials. Every student that I met was intelligent and eager, with an interesting opinion to share. Over tea or coffee, lunch at the quaint Japanese restaurant on Holywell, hall in college, or a pint at a pub, there were many great conversations to be had. I met many British students of course, but students from many other parts of Europe as well, each with an interesting story to tell. Perhaps the nicest aspect of being a visiting student at Oxford was the lack of anxiety and competition between peers. All of the students that I met at St. Catherine’s were confident, yet humble, genuine, and very kind, creating an environment of comradery. I became a member of the Union as well. Sitting in one of Britain’s oldest university unions listening to debates on all sorts of subjects was fantastic.

When I was preparing to go abroad I sometimes felt like I needed to defend my decision to study in another English speaking country. At first I was a little concerned that my experience would be lacking in the cultural aspect that many other students from my home university seemed to have lined up with home stays and goals to improve their language skills through immersion. Having been an exchange student for a summer in Spain when I was in high school, I knew that I would enjoy and benefit from such an experience. However, England did not disappoint. There were more differences between American and British culture than I expected and upon returning home and recounting my time to relatives, friends, professors, and peers I have realized that I gained more insight than I thought. Furthermore, with London just an hour coach ride from Oxford, I was able to travel to many other countries during the breaks between Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity terms. This was an education in itself as I explored the history and culture of places like Ferrara, Lisbon, Athens, Istanbul, Berlin, Prague, and Bordeaux, through a mixture of traveling and home stays with friends’ families.

As I reflect on my year in Oxford now, I am reliving these cherished memories with nostalgia. If I could, I would relive it in reality many times over. I am sincerely grateful for the educational opportunity, the friends and tutors I met (and now miss dearly), the adventures, and the confidence and inspiration it gave me to explore and tackle new challenges that lie ahead.

To read about other visiting students' experiences and advice, please follow this link





Visiting Students are housed mainly in twin rooms in the college alongside matriculated students.  The Visiting Student fees include accommodation throughout the term and in the week before and after Full Term. The rooms are provided with bedding and bed linen and a regular cleaning service.  Each staircase has kitchen facilities which include a hob, fridge, microwave, kettle and small cupboard space.  The fees do not cover any meal allowances. At the end of each term during 0th and 9th week you are required to move out of your room plus all your belongings.  The rooms have connections for laptops as well as wireless connection.

Ashok Handa



I teach clinical medicine to the 4th year and 6th year students at St Catherine’s and all four years of the Graduate Entry medical students.  I am also the Clinical Tutor in Surgery for the University and Associate Director of Clinical Studies for Oxford Medical School.

About me

After undergraduate training at Imperial College, London, I trained in vascular and transplant surgery at the Royal London and Royal Free Hospitals.  I moved to Oxford in 1998 to complete my training and was appointed to the consultant staff in 2001.  I now specialise in vascular surgery and was appointed Reader in Surgery in 2008.  I have been a keen rugby player in the past, but now mainly support my three sons on the touchline.  I am also the Tutor for Graduates at St Catherine’s College and oversee the graduate student body.


My research interests are in patient safety, outcomes in surgery and vascular imaging.  I have collaborative programmes with Professor Robin Choudhury in cardiovascular medicine, Professor Peter Jezzard in brain imaging and a programme of research into the causes of aneurysm development.

Graduate supervision

I have one post-doctorate student, and co-supervise three doctorate students in the Medical Sciences division.

Fellow by Special Election in Medicine
College Lecturer in Medicine
Associate Professor in Surgery
Tutor for Graduates

J C Smith

MA Oxf, Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes académiques


I teach General and Historical Linguistics, including Romance Linguistics and the history and structure of French.

About me

I have been Fellow and Tutor in French Linguistics at St Catherine’s College since 1997. Before returning to Oxford, where I was an undergraduate and graduate student, I held appointments at the Universities of Surrey, Bath, and Manchester. I have also held visiting appointments in Paris, Limoges, Berlin, Melbourne and Philadelphia.

I am Secretary of the International Society for Historical Linguistics, Deputy Director of the University of Oxford Research Centre for Romance Linguistics, and co-editor of the Cambridge History of the  Romance Languages. In 2007 I was created Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes académiques by the French Government for services to the French language and French culture.


My main field of interest is historical morphosyntax, and I have published widely on agreement, refunctionalization, deixis, and the evolution of case and pronoun systems, with particular reference to Romance, although I have also worked on other language families, including Germanic and Austronesian.

Graduate supervision

I am happy to supervise appropriate topics in Historical Linguistics and Romance Linguistics, especially morphology.  One of my main interests is morphosyntactic refunctionalization.

Peter Battle

BSc Brist, MA DPhil Oxf


I teach inorganic chemistry at St. Catherine's.

About me

I was an undergraduate student at the University of Bristol before coming to Oxford in 1976 to work as a graduate student with Tony Cheetham, himself an alumnus of the College. I then spent four years as a CEGB Research Fellow at St. Catherine's before taking up a lecturership at Leeds University in 1984. I returned to the College as a Tutorial Fellow in 1989. I was given the title of Professor of Chemistry in 2002; I had previously held visiting professorships in France at Caen (1988) and Bordeaux (1995).

Research and graduate supervision

My research, undertaken with the help of graduate students, lies in the field of solid-state chemistry, with an emphasis on the relationship between the crystal structure and the electrical and magnetic properties of mixed-metal oxides and nitrides, for example La18Li8 Fe5O39 and Fe1.25Pt0.75Mo3N.

Recent Publications

Structural chemistry and spin-glass behaviour of Nd18Li 8Fe4TiO39. N. Thammajak, P. D. Battle, F. Grandjean, G. J. Long, and S. Ramos, J. Solid State Chemistry 187, 75 (2012)

High-temperature redox chemistry of Pr 0.5Sr1.5Cr0.5Mn 0.5O4-δ investigated in situ by neutron diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy under reducing and oxidizing gas flows. M. Bahout, F. Tonus, C. Prestipino, D. Pelloquin, T. Hansen, E. Fonda and P. D. Battle J. Mater. Chem. 22, 10560 (2012)

Magnetic properties of Fe2GeMo3N; an experimental and computational study. P. D. Battle, L. A. Sviridov, R. J. Woolley, F. Grandjean, G. J. Long, C. R. A. Catlow, A. A. Sokol, A. Walsh and S. M. Woodley J. Mater. Chem. 22, 15606 (2012)

La3Ni2SbO9 - a relaxor ferromagnet. P. D. Battle, S. I. Evers, E. C. Hunter and M. Westwood Inorganic Chemistry 52, 6648 (2013)




Fellow and Tutor in Inorganic Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry

Philipp Koralus

BA Pomona, MA Oxf, PhD Princeton


For undergraduates, I offer tutorials primarily in general philosophy, the philosophy of cognitive science, and ethics. I also lecture on the philosophy of cognitive science.


My research focuses on the role questions play in cognition, particularly in attention, reasoning, and decision making. In a nutshell, I argue that how we treat questions and answers accounts both for persistent irrationalities in reasoning and for our capacity to learn how to reason correctly. There is much to gain through links between the conceptual insights and formalisms developed in philosophy on the one hand and empirical psychological data on the other. We work on further strengthening those links in the Laboratory for the Philosophy and Psychology of Rationality and Decision (LPPRD – “Leopard”).

The link to my personal website is here.

Graduate supervision

I regularly offer graduate seminars in the philosophy of cognitive science, mind, and language. I also work with graduate students and post-docs on projects in these areas.



Fulford Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science
Fulford Clarendon Associate Professor in Philosophy of Mind

Kerry Walker

BSc Memorial, MSc Dalhousie, DPhil Oxf


About me

I have been a Fellow of St. Catherine's since 2009, and I serve as Director of Studies for the Biomedical Sciences course at our college.  I am also an Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, where I investigate the neural basis of hearing.



I tutor Biomedical Science, Medicine and Psychology students at St Catherine's College in topics spanning Neuroscience, Cellular Physiology, Statistics and Critical Analysis.



My research involves decoding neurons' action potential responses to sounds, and using 2-photon microscopy to observe the spatial organization of these neural responses throughout the brain. Furthermore, we train animals on behavioural tasks to measure how they hear sounds, and how their perception compares to human hearing. The aim of this work is to understand how the auditory cortex represents the features of sound that listeners use to communicate and recognize objects in the world around them.


Research Supervision

I have supervised the dissertation projects of many undergraduate and graduate students in my lab, and welcome new opportunities for Catz students to take part in our research.

Research Associate

Penny Handford

BSc, PhD S'ton, MA Oxf


I teach a range of tutorial topics on the Molecular and Cellular biochemistry course, 1st year- molecular cell biology, 2nd year, primer design and aspects of protein purification and 3rd year, extracellular matrix in health and disease. I lecture on the Biochemistry course to the 1st years and 3rd years. I host 4th year undergraduate students for their 18 week research projects.

About me

I have been Tutor in Biochemistry at St Catherine’s since October 1998; before that I was a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford.  I was awarded the personal title of Professor in the 2004 Recognition of Distinction exercise at the University of Oxford.


My long term interest has been in understanding molecular mechanisms underlying human disease. My early work focussed on haemophilia B and Marfan syndrome. My main research interests currently are i)  cell- extracellular matrix interactions in health and disease ( Marfan syndrome, acromelic dysplasias) and ii) cell surface organisation and regulation of  the Notch receptor and its ligands ( Alagille syndrome). My work is currently funded by MRC, CRUK and Arthritis Research UK.

Graduate Teaching

I have DPhil students and post-doctoral research assistants in my laboratory working on aspects of my research interests. I am college advisor to graduate students at St Catherine’s in the Medical sciences division.

Wolfson Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry
Professor of Biochemistry


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