United Kingdom, Cambridge

IARU Global Summer Programme

when 9 July 2017 - 29 July 2017
duration 3 weeks

The Cambridge Global Summer 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 will normally be from IARU member institutions, and will benefit immensely from the exchange of ideas with lecturers and with other GSP students.

Predicting the future has been, and still is, a part of every society. Visionaries, philosophers, rulers, warmongers, astronomers, economists, businessmen, politicians and scientists all try to anticipate the future. Using specific examples from both past and present, our ‘visions of the future’ draw on beliefs, astronomy, medicine, climate change, scientific discovery, international relations and development, financial crises, disease, war and space travel. Which predictions came true? Which proved false? Debate - naturally - includes predictions about our own future. Additional plenary talks set discussions in context. Students write - and have supervisions - on related historical, philosophical or literary topics.

Delivery method and programme format
This three-week programme for up to 25 participants includes the following:

Core course (12-14 sessions), team-taught by academic experts, examining visions of the future across a range of disciplines, and periods of time.
Plenary sessions (12+) add to the core course, and offer the opportunity for the GSP group to interact with participants on other Summer Programmes. Talks are themed: Connections and Conflicts (Interdisciplinary Terms I and II, Ancient and Classical Worlds); Prediction and Progress (Science); States and Nations (History); Another country (Literature). Several will relate well to the IARU GSP theme: Visions of the Future.
Four essays to be written (one sent in advance, and then one essay per week) on subjects informed by core course attendance (relating to the theme: Visions of the Future, primarily interpreted through history, philosophy, literature and international relations).
Four Cambridge-style supervision sessions (each c1.5 hours) for 2-3 students, during which their essays are reviewed and discussed.
Frequent feedback sessions with the Programme Director and Coordinator.
Presentations Students will be expected to give brief presentations on a chosen ‘vision of the future’ on the final morning of the programme.
Self-study In addition, students commit to research, reading and preparation time, to complete the weekly essays and submit these by 4pm on Wednesday. Research can be undertaken in the University Library (a Copyright Library) and there is access to other faculty libraries.

This combination of self-directed research, core course, plenary lectures, review and discussion meetings, essays, supervisions and a presentation will be both rigorous and intensive. The regular review meetings with the GSP Programme Director and Coordinator allow 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
Encourage public speaking skills
Teach time-management and succinct writing skills, crucial for further study and in any leadership or management career

Attendance requirements
Participants are required to attend orientation and briefing meetings, all core course sessions, weekly supervisions, a minimum number of plenaries, review sessions and the presentation. This is a rigorous programme, 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.

It is hoped that all participants will want to share in the short visit arranged for them on the afternoon of Friday 21 July.

There are optional weekend excursions one Saturday and Sunday 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.

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, although students are given an indication of how they are performing. Oral feedback on essays will form part of the supervision, but students will also receive written reports on submitted essays. Grades may be adjusted marginally to reflect strong contributions to supervisions. The final grade awarded is an average of the three highest-scoring essays, and also takes into account the student presentations. Grades and written reports are sent after the end of the programme.

Contact hours: 60+ 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 6-8 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.

Course leader

Sarah J Ormrod

Target group

The programme is open to undergraduates at IARU institutions only. 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.

Course aim


Fee info

GBP 0: See official website