IARU Global Summer Programme

9 July – 5 August 2017 (to be confirmed)

We are now in the process of planning next summer’s programme. 2017 information will be available in November.The following Information relates to 2016 and will give you a general idea about what we offer.


A limited number of places are now available on this programme. Please ensure you meet all of the criteria listed below and that you send in the completed forms, transcripts, references and IELTS scores (where relevant) by Monday 23rd May 2016 at the latest.

This programme offers participants a unique opportunity to draw upon a rich reserve of knowledge and to consolidate their learning in a variety of ways. Participants must normally be from IARU member institutions, however a limited number of places are available from students at institutions of equally high standing. All will benefit immensely from the exchange of ideas with lecturers and with other GSP students.

Lectures, discussions and Cambridge-style supervisions

The leaders of tomorrow will need to be aware of the events that change the world, and the key issues facing world leaders today. Using specific examples from both past and present, the core course, plenary lectures and discussion sessions will address issues such as climate change, scientific discovery, international development, international relations, financial crises, disease, diplomatic incidents, war and natural catastrophe, to identify a number of what the teaching team consider to be world-changing events. Sessions will explain the key causes, impact and repercussions of these events. Additional wide-ranging plenary talks help set discussions in context. Students write - and have supervisions - on related subjects, from a literary, historical or international relations perspective.

Delivery method and programme format

The four-week programme for up to 25 participants includes the following:

  • Core course (14 sessions), team taught by experts, examining the impact on the world of a wide range of events (such as evolution, natural disasters, major wars, scientific discoveries, urbanisation and migration, international crises).  
  • Plenary sessions (12+) add to the core course, and offer the opportunity for the GSP group to interact with participants on other Summer School programmes. Talks are themed: Discovery and exploration (Ancient and Classical Worlds); Life at the Limits (Science); Revolutions (History); Connections and conflicts (Literature); Ideas and influence (Interdisciplinary). Many relate well to the IARU GSP theme: Our Changing World.
  • Discussion sessions (seminars for the GSP group only) follow 8 or more of these plenary sessions. 
  • Four essays to be written (one per week) on subjects informed by core course attendance (relating to the theme: Our Changing World, interpreted through History, Literature and International Relations).
  • Four Cambridge-style supervision sessions (each c1.5 hours) for 2-3 of students, during which your essays are reviewed and discussed.
  • Weekly feedback sessions with the Programme Director and Coordinator.              
  • Self-study: In addition, students commit to research, reading and preparation time, to complete the weekly essays and submit these by 4pm each Wednesday. Research can be undertaken in the University Library (a Copyright Library) and there is also access to other faculty libraries.

This combination of self-directed research, course, lectures, discussions and supervisions will be both rigorous and intensive. The weekly meeting with the GSP Programme Director and Coordinator allows for further discussion and consolidation of the various elements of the programme.

Learning outcomes

Participants in the programme will gain transferable skills, valuable for the completion of their current and any subsequent degree course, and for their future career development. The programme will:

  • Hone investigation skills, showing how to place any investigation in a wider context
  • Encourage a more global perspective
  • Foster the ability to think beyond an immediate and narrow field of interest
  • Enable students to apply research and study skills to new areas of focus
  • Expose students to a rich and broad range of information, via lectures, discussions and supervisions
  • Enable students to draw together ideas, particularly via questioning and reasoning in discussions and supervisions
  • Allow participants to benefit immensely from the exchange of ideas both with lecturers and with their student peers
  • Teach time-management and succinct writing skills, crucial for further study and in any leadership or management career.

Assessment, contact hours and credit

Four essays (normally 2,000-3,000 words each) will be graded. Precise grades are not given out during the supervisions. Oral feedback on essays will form part of the supervision, but students will also receive written reports on submitted papers. Grades can be adjusted marginally on the basis of performance in supervisions. The final grade awarded is an average of the three highest-scoring papers, and is sent after the end of the programme.

Contact hours: 65-70+ total contact hours (classroom) + c28-32 hours for preparation, research and essay-writing). Self-study tours could account for an additional 8 hours for each Saturday or Sunday optional excursion a student takes. 

Please note: the undergraduate degree at Cambridge does not include 'credit', and credit is not awarded for the International Summer Programmes. However, home universities regularly award credit for these programmes, and might reasonably award 8 undergraduate semester credit hours, based on contact and study hours, and written work. IARU participants who wish to receive credit from their home institution will need to arrange this themselves. Marked essays can be sent directly to the home institution, along with an indication of contact hours.

Target audience and pre-requisites

The programme is primarily for undergraduates at IARU institutions. However, a limited number of places are available from students from other leading universities around the world. It is aimed at students in their penultimate or final year of undergraduate degree course. Occasionally second year students will be considered. Students should be of high academic standing in their own university. Students should be open to learning in disciplines beyond their immediate field of study, and be absolutely fluent in English: discussion of topics and clear expression of ideas will be essential parts of the programme.

Applications from high-standing non-IARU member institutions can be considered up until 23 May. Students should have an equivalent GPA of 3.5 or above (ie, be in the top 10% in their year), and must provide a current transcript, and two academic referees, as well as the completed application form. Completed applications should be received by May 23rd at the latest. Accepted students will be notified up to that time.

For non-native English speakers, one of the following test scores should be sent with their application: minimum 7 IELTS, with not less than 7 in each element; Cambridge CAE, minimum score A; Cambridge CPE, grade A, B or C. (Intending applicants should ensure they have their proof of language proficiency in advance.)

Attendance requirements

Participants are required to attend orientation and briefing meetings, all core course sessions, weekly supervisions, compulsory plenaries, discussion sessions. This is a rigorous course, and students are expected to be in Cambridge every weekday. There are no scheduled sessions at weekends, but some of each weekend will be needed for study, preparation and essay writing.

There is a visit for all IARU GSP participants to 16th-century Madingley Hall, for afternoon tea and a tour.

There are optional weekend excursions on some of the Saturdays and Sundays whilst the IARU GSP programme is in session, and participants might elect to take one or more of these, however they are strongly advised to save any more extensive travel plans for periods before or after the actual dates of the programme.

Programme fees

Tuition fees: £1,820 sterling, including a non-refundable registration fee of £400 sterling, which should be sent on acceptance of an offer of a place by Cambridge. (Remainder of £1,400 sterling is due on 9 May 2016). Tuition includes all teaching sessions, papers and supervisions.

Accommodation fees: £1,725 sterling (due on 9 May 2016), to include bed, breakfast and evening meal in Gonville and Caius College, from arrival before dinner on Sunday 3 July to departure after breakfast on Saturday 30 July.

All students should sign up for the accommodation option.

How to apply

Applications for the GSP 2016 programme can now be submitted by students from member institutions. (Applications for all IARU GSPs opened on 11 December 2015.) Application forms are available here. Applications should come directly to Cambridge before 23 May 2016.

Current University of Cambridge students are also encouraged to apply for this programme.
University of Cambridge students wishing to apply to other IARU GSP programmes can find out more on the IARU website. (See link above).

University of Cambridge students can apply for Santander grants of between c£650 sterling and £1,250 sterling towards the cost of any IARU GSP, at any of the 11 member institutions.

For more information on other Summer Programmes at the University of Cambridge visit:


Cancellation charges

Cancellations for the Global Summer Programme are subject to the policies detailed below. Cancellations due to an unsuccessful visa application are not eligible for a refund. All fees, including the registration fee, are non-transferable to another year or another student.

Within 2 week cancellation period. Registration, balance of tuition, and accommodation fees for cancellations notified within 2 weeks (or 14 days) of the accepted student receiving an order confirmation of their place (ie, an acceptance letter) from ICE are fully refundable, unless the 2 week cancellation period falls within 4 weeks of the start of the programme (3 July), in which case accommodation fees are not refundable.

After 2 week cancellation period, the following charges apply:

  1. The non-refundable registration fee of £400 sterling is retained by ICE for any student who cancels an application more than 8 weeks before the beginning of the Programme (3 July). (The registration fee is part of the tuition fee.)

  2. Any student who cancels an application between 8 and 4 weeks before the beginning of the programme can receive a 50% refund on the balance payment (tuition fee less registration fee), and a full refund of the accommodation fee.

  3. Any student who cancels an application between 4 and 2 weeks before the beginning of the programme can receive a 50% refund on the balance payment (tuition fee less registration fee), but will not receive a refund of the accommodation fee.

  4. There is no refund for any student who cancels within 2 weeks of the beginning of the programme (3 July), who does not arrive, or who is required to leave the programme early for any reason.

  5. Any credit due to students in relation to cancellation refunds will be paid after the programme.