What is a Summer Programme? | Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) skip to content

Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


Our International Summer Programmes offer an intensive one- to six-week learning experience and the opportunity to live in some of Cambridge’s most beautiful Colleges. Our programmes have been welcoming participants from all corners of the globe, for over 95 years. Students include graduates, undergraduates, and adults aged 18 to 80+ from a wide range of backgrounds.

Unless indicated in the individual descriptions, programmes and courses do not require prior knowledge. You should, however, prepare for an intensive and academically rigorous study experience by completing recommended reading in advance. This will increase your enjoyment and enhance your capacity for critical thinking.

Teaching staff

Our courses, seminars and lectures are taught by leading Cambridge academics and guest subject specialists, all are dedicated to making their sessions academically rigorous and immensely enjoyable. We hope you will be inspired to think and reason in a different way, or to develop new skills transferable to your degree, career or lifetime interest.

Writing essays and academic credit

All of our programmes offer the possibility of writing 2,000-3,000 word essays for evaluation. Course Directors set and mark these essays. (On some Science-based courses, this may involve solving equations or mathematical problems.) Essays are assessed against the University of Cambridge standard and you will receive both a percentage mark and written feedback.

There is a fee of £55 per essay, which can either be paid when applying or when you arrive in Cambridge. Writing an essay is optional, unless you are applying as part of a group and your home institution requires you to do so in order to award you credit. Essays are due one week after the end of the programme/term on which you are registered.

As the University of Cambridge does not use a credit system for its internal degrees, we are unable to award credit directly. However, many universities and institutions world-wide award credit to students who submit essays as part of our Summer Programmes. They set the level and amount of credit awarded, but you might reasonably be expected to be awarded three undergraduate semester credit hours if you fulfil the attendance requirements for a two-week programme and submit one essay.


You will have access to a variety of libraries and will be given a University computer account. Depending on the College you stay in, you may also be able to connect your own laptop, or other devices, to the network.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

You will be able to download course materials, handbooks and timetables from our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in the new year. The VLE also contains useful information about living in Cambridge and travelling while you are in the UK. You will also be able to communicate with fellow participants via the online forum.


The University's International Summer Programmes are an embodiment of our mission 'to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence'.

Professor Graham Virgo QC (Hon), Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Browse our 2020 prospectus

Details for 2021 programmes to follow in due course.