Interdisciplinary Summer School

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Term I: 5 18 July 2015
Term II: 19 July 1 August 2015
Term III: 2 15 August 2015
Programme Director: Sarah J Ormrod

The Interdisciplinary Summer School offers courses covering a wide variety of subjects, including archaeology, politics, philosophy, psychology, economics, education, literature, history of science and international relations. Participants may concentrate their studies on two or three courses in the same discipline or study more widely by choosing courses in differing subject fields.

Who can apply?

Programmes are open to university students, professionals and those with other life experience; gap-year students preparing for university may also apply (students must be accompanied by a parent/guardian if under 18 when the programme commences). Participants must also meet our language requirements.

How to apply

Applications for 2015 will open in December 2014 when the new programmes go live.

For more information about other Summer School programmes please visit:

The academic programme

  • Major plenary lecture series
  • Two or three special subject courses
  • Evening lectures

Special subject courses

Courses consist of classroom sessions held on weekdays. Almost all are limited to 25 participants. You choose either two or three courses, each from a different group: A, B, C in Term I, II or III. For reference, the following courses ran in 2014:

Term I:

Group A: 9.00am 10.15am

- International politics in a global age I
- The Victorians in peace and war I. Peace
- History of science I. Ancient science
- A history of British political thought I. 1600-1800
- Britain and the world since 1900
- Understanding poetry I. British Romantic poetry: the spirit of the age
- All you need is love. Love in literature from Shakespeare to Beckett
- Tudor history I. 1485-1547

Group B: 11.45am  1.00pm

- International politics in a global age I
- Sir Christopher Wren: architect in context
- Crises in world politics since 1945
- Climate change: an interdisciplinary approach
- Shakespeare studies I. Two plays of Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet
- History of art I. Art and power: how value is made

Group C: 2.00pm  3.15pm

- International politics in a global age I
- History of art II. Surrealism and the visual arts, 1924-69
- Introduction to philosophy I. Social and political philosophy
- Russia in the 20th century
- International development: key issues in today's world
- All you need is love. Love in literature from Shakespeare to Beckett

Term II:

Group A: 9.00am  10.15am

- International politics in a global age II
- The Victorians in peace and war II. War
- Global energy security
- A history of British political thought II. 1800 to the present day
- History of science III. The invention of the modern world: mathematics, 1200-1700
- Shakespeare studies II. Key moments in Shakespeare’s plays
- The Holy Roman Empire: 1500-1806
- Tudor history II. 1547-53

Group B: 11.45am  1.00pm

- International politics in a global age II
- The end of Britain's Empire
- Introduction to philosophy II. The philosophy of mind
- History of science IV. Science and Renaissance
- Shakespeare's political animals: politics and human nature in Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest
- Tudor history III. 1553-1603

Group C: 2.00pm  3.15pm

- International politics in a global age II
- History of art III. Performance art: 1950s to the present day
- Living film - a life in pictures?
- History of archaeology III. The rise of civilisation
- History of science V. Galileo and his world
- Understanding poetry IV. Practical criticism
- Introduction to philosophy III. Philosophy of religion

Term III:

Group A: 9.00am  10.15am

- History of art IV. Painting Paris: French painting, 1860-90
- Greek heroes and gods, in literature, history and the imagination
- Education in Britain 1870-present
- Introducing psychology: mind, mental process and behaviour
- History of science VI. The Scientific Revolution
- Governance of Britain today
- History of archaeology IV. Rome and China
- Tudor history I. 1485-1547

Group B: 11.45am  1.00pm

- History of art V. Breaking boundaries: the art of Matisse and Picasso, 1900-50
- Economics of public policy
- English houses and gardens I. Defining ‘Englishness’ from 1130 to 1970
- The abnormal mind: an introduction to psychopathology
- History of archaeology V. The ancient Aztecs and Maya
- Milton and the idea of freedom: Paradise Lost in context

Group C: 2.00pm  3.15pm

- Children, teachers and education: contemporary issues, historical perspectives
- An introduction to macroeconomics
- English houses and gardens II. Personal expressions
- Crises and international relations since 1945
- History of science VIII. Science and the Enlightenment

Plenary lectures

The theme for our morning plenary series will be confirmed shortly. Lectures will interpret this theme widely, with proposed talks on topics as wide-ranging as sight, aspiration and innovation.

Evening lectures

Invited speakers and members of the University will give a varied evening lecture programme, covering a wide range of subjects.


Accommodation is available for participants who want to stay in a Cambridge College. Please see the accommodation options available for this programme.

Non-residential attendance is also available if participants prefer to find their own lodgings.

Programme fees

Programme fees include tuition, bed, breakfast and evening meals unless otherwise indicated.

Pre-enrolment information

Booking terms and conditions


2014 brochure as a PDF (5.31MB)

Contact us

University of Cambridge
International Programmes
Institute of Continuing Education
Madingley Hall
United Kingdom
CB23 8AQ

Tel: +44 (0) 1223 760850
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 760848


Teaching and assessment is in English. Students for whom English is not their first language should refer to the Competence in the English Language Policy for further guidance.

Printable versions of our brochures are available to download from the Summer Schools brochure download page.