Science Summer School

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Term I: 5 – 18 July 2015
Term II: 19 July – 1 August 2015
Programme Directors: Dr Rob Wallach, Dr Erica Bithell and Dr Ed Turner

We draw on the expertise of senior academics at Cambridge, to offer courses in a variety of scientific fields. The Summer School is suitable for undergraduates and graduates in sciences, as well as teachers and other professionals. The programme also welcomes those with a strong interest, but with little formal science training.

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:

Academic programme

  • One special subject course per week
  • Plenary course P01:
  • Practical sessions
  • Evening talks

Special subject courses

Each course meets five times. You may choose to follow a particular track by selecting courses in related subject fields, but an interdisciplinary approach is also encouraged.

For reference, the following courses ran in 2014:

Term I:

Week 1: 11.00am – 12.30pm

- Conservation biology
- Early stage drug discovery
- Colourful physics: nature's paintbrush
- Can we geoengineer the climate?

Week 2: 11.00am – 12.30pm

- Materials science: what made man
- The mathematics of networks and colouring
- Introduction to social psychology
- How does your immune system work?

Term II:

Week 3: 11.00am – 12.30pm

- Autism: a modern epidemic?
- Energy generation and sustainability
- Network science in biology: measuring, visualising and modelling real world complex networks
- The non-coding genome

Week 4: 11.00am – 12.30pm

- Approaches to diffraction and imaging
- Memory: psychological and neurobiological perspectives
- Codes, ciphers and secrets: an introduction to cryptography

Plenary lectures

All participants are registered for a course of plenary lectures entitled Curiosity. Lectures focus both on the present and past limits of current knowledge, and how the quest for knowledge has been driven by the need to find solutions to difficult questions posed by hunger, disease, conflict, and climate change.

Practical sessions

Materials Science, ecological, geological and mathematical ‘trails’ are amongst the practical sessions planned, along with visits to institutes and laboratories in Cambridge.

In 2014,Term I practicals included: An ecology trail in the University Botanic Garden, a geology trail and a zoology practical session.

Term II practicals included: A botany trail in the University Botanic Garden, a mathematics practical and an astronomy site session.

Evening lectures

These lectures provide introductions to additional aspects of science.


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.