United Kingdom, Cambridge

Science Summer Programme

when 8 July 2018 - 4 August 2018
duration 4 weeks

The University is renowned for scientific achievement and innovation. This programme draws on the expertise of senior Cambridge academics to offer courses in a broad variety of scientific fields including astronomy, cryptography, evolution, forensic archaeology, immunology, manufacturing, psychology, quantum mechanics, spectroscopy and zoology.

The academic programme
• One course per week
• Series of plenary lectures: Prediction and Progress
• Practical sessions
• Evening lectures

Programme description
Taught by leading Cambridge academics, courses can be combined to give up to four weeks of study. You may choose a particular track by selecting courses in related subjects, but an interdisciplinary approach is also encouraged. Courses are supplemented by practicals, plenary lectures and visits which will showcase the University's teaching and research. Those of you with a strong interest, but with little formal science training, are very welcome, but should note the requirements of some courses (see below).

"This programme showcases a University with an exceptional reputation for teaching excellence, and internationally renowned for scientific achievement and innovation."
Professor Derek Smith, Joint Programme Director, Science Summer Programme

Details of our 2017 courses can be found below and are for information only. Our 2018 course list will be available in December.

You choose one course per week, each has five sessions. The maximum class size is 25 participants.

Courses marked * require a knowledge of differential calculus and some integral calculus as well as fluency in high school level algebra and geometry.
Courses marked ♦ have integrated practicals and some sessions will be taught in the relevant faculty. (Further details can be found on the individual course pages).

TERM I (9 – 22 July)

Week 1:
11.00am – 12.45pm
P02 - Exploring galaxies: from the Milky Way to the cosmic web
P03 - Life at the Poles: adaptations in extreme environments
P04 - Small worlds: an introduction to microbiology ♦
P05 - An introduction to social psychology

Week 2:
11.00am – 12.45pm
P06 - Curious physics: puzzles of quantum mechanics and special relativity *♦
P07 - Making ideas work
P08 - Autism: a modern epidemic?
P09 - It's all in the genes

TERM II (23 July – 5 August)

Week 1:
11.00am – 12.45pm
P10 - Spectroscopy: light and matter
P11 - How does your immune system work?
P12 - Codes, ciphers and secrets: an introduction to cryptography
P13 - Forensic archaeology and anthropology: an intoduction

Week 2:
11.00am – 12.45pm
P14 - Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
P15 - An introduction to animal behaviour
P16 - Unveiling the Universe
P17 - Fossils, evolution and the history of life

Planned practicals and visits

TERM I (9 – 22 July)
Visit to the Whipple Museum of the History of Science
Visit to the world-renowned Gurdon Institute with a short practical
Practical in the Department of Biochemistry
Explore engineering I in the new Dyson Centre for Engineering Design
Diffraction and the discovery of DNA practical at the world-famous Cavendish Laboratory
Guided visit to The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute

TERM II (23 July – 5 August)
Visit to the award-winning Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Guided tour of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
Demonstration and visit to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Diversification of Life demonstration in the Department of Zoology
Explore engineering II practical in the Department of Engineering
Tour of the Institute of Astronomy

Plenary lectures
Lectures from leading Cambridge scientists will explore this theme, as well as providing introductions to the afternoon practical sessions and visits.

Evening talks
Eminent speakers will present a variety of general interest talks. These are shared with students on our other programmes.

Course leader


Target group

We welcome applications from all adult learners including university students, professionals and those with other experience who have an interest in the subject, regardless of educational background.

Course aim


Credits info

The University of Cambridge does not use a credit system for the awarding of its internal degrees, and cannot award credit directly for its International Summer Programmes. Students wishing to obtain credit as a result of our evaluation should consult their own institutions in advance about the acceptability of the Summer Programme evaluation for credit purposes.

Fee info

GBP 0: See official website