United Kingdom, Cambridge

Interdisciplinary Summer Programme

when 8 July 2018 - 18 August 2018
duration 6 weeks

The three terms of the Interdisciplinary Programme offer courses covering a wide variety of subjects, including philosophy, economics, international politics and relations, literature, history, film, art history and history of science.

The three terms are independent: you may enrol for one, two or all three. You are welcome to concentrate your studies on two or three courses in the same discipline or to study more widely by choosing courses in differing subject fields. There is a constant exchange of ideas between participants and lecturers across the interdisciplinary curriculum in each Term.

The academic programme
• Two or three courses (one from each group)
• Series of plenary lectures: Connections and Conflicts
• Evening talks

Programme description
With hundreds of possible course combinations, this programme allows you to devise your own personalised study programme. The two-week terms are independent: you may enrol for one, two or all three. You can focus your studies on two or three courses in the same discipline, or choose courses in differing subjects.

"A great opportunity for cross-disciplinary study: the wealth and breadth of these courses reflect Cambridge at its very best." Sarah J Ormrod, Programme Director, Interdisciplinary 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.


Select two or three courses per term. Teaching takes place on weekdays; the maximum class size for all courses is 25 participants, except for International politics in a global age which is 40.

TERM I (9 – 22 July)

Group A: 9.00am – 10.15am
A11 - International politics in a global age I
A12 - The French Revolution
A13 - Rome and China
A14 - Religion, revenge and revolt in the English Renaissance
A15 - British politics and political thought, 1600-1800
A16 - Shakespeare’s kings: King Lear and The Tempest

Group B: 11.45am – 1.00pm
B11 - International politics in a global age I
B12 - The Cold War: clash of the Superpowers
B13 - Great ancient and medieval philosophers
B14 - Art and power: how value is made
B15 - Europe present and future
B16 - England at the crossroads: Jane Austen, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Blake

Group C: 2.00pm – 3.15pm
C11 - International politics in a global age I
C12 - Loves in literature: from Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney
C13 - Fighting for Hitler: collaboration in the Second World War
C14 - English Renaissance art
C15 - Villains in literature: "something wicked this way comes"

TERM II (23 July – 5 August)

Group A: 9.00am – 10.15am
A21 - International politics in a global age II
A22 - The Victorians and their world
A23 - Economics of public policy
A24 - A short history of English
A25 - Words, deeds and democracy: British political thought, 1800 to the present
A26 - An introduction to animal behaviour

Group B: 11.45am – 1.00pm
B21 - International politics in a global age II
B22 - From HMS Ulysses to Catch-22: World War II in prose fiction
B23 - An introduction to macroeconomics
B24 - Living film: a life in pictures?
B25 - The philosophy of mind
B26 - Jewelled pages: the art of the book in Persia and Japan

Group C: 2.00pm – 3.15pm
C21 - International politics in a global age II
C22 - Dickens and the Victorian underworld: Great Expectations
C23 - Great modern philosophers
C24 - Making film: media theory and practice
C25 - International development: key issues in today's world

TERM III (6 – 19 August)

Group A: 9.00am – 10.15am
A31 - Science, superstition and religion: key questions
A32 - The Roman Empire: one world or many?
A33 - Early Islamic science
A34 - Three great Comedies: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night
A35 - Introducing psychology: mind, mental process and behaviour (Not to be taken with B36 in ISP Term III)

Group B: 11.45am – 1.00pm
B31 - The Roman garden: architecture, illusion and plantsmanship
B32 - The landscape history of Britain
B33 - Ancient medicine
B34 - About face: portraiture from Titian to Lucian Freud
B35 - J R R Tolkien and modern fantasy
B36 - The abnormal mind: an introduction to psychopathology (Not to be taken with A35 in ISP Term III)

Group C: 2.00pm – 3.15pm
C31 - Castles, palaces and houses of British monarchs
C32 - British politics at the dawn of a new era
C33 - The Scientific Revolution
C34 - Challenging the past. European art movements, 1800-1900

Plenary lectures
Everyone also attends the morning plenary lecture series, which focuses on Connections and Conflicts across political, literary, historical, artistic and other fields.

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

Course leader

Sarah J Ormrod

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 Programmes evaluation for credit purposes.

Fee info

GBP 0: See official website