United Kingdom, Cambridge

Chemical Natural Sciences *Ages 16-19*

when 1 August 2016 - 13 August 2016
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 10 ECTS
fee GBP 3500

*Ages 16-19*

Cambridge SciSearch specialises in scientific teaching – both in the classroom and in the practical setting. We are proud of the unique laboratory and programming experiences we offer to our students. All participants receive a minimum of 12 hours of hands-on practical experience during the programme. Excellent laboratory and computer suite facilities provide the perfect setting for students to expand on topics covered in lectures and supervisions. 

All academic teaching is provided by inspiring Oxbridge academics, who demonstrate a true passion for their chosen subject. A maximum 5:1 student-to-tutor ratio in supervisions, ensures a truly personalised form of teaching, which has proven its success at The University of Cambridge - one of the world’s leading academic institutes. This rigorous academic programme allows students to explore thier chosen subject at far greater depth than allowed in school or college.

Opportunities for learning extend far beyond the academic sessions on offer. For example students have the chance to visit some of the country’s most renowned scientific sites, listen to influential guest speakers and take part in scientific debates broaching some of the most controversial topics facing modern-day science.

Cambridge has been widely acknowledged as a hub of scientific innovation over the past few centuries. The Cambridge SciSearch campus is situated in this exciting, yet safe city and as such is the perfect setting for any one of our courses. Students enjoy the opportunity to live on the University campus for 2 weeks, housed in their own private ensuite rooms which are of the highest standard.

In addition to a focus on academic teaching, our programme includes a vast array of opportunities to enjoy cultural experiences and sporting activities. This has the added bonus of allowing students the chance to make long-lasting friendships with like-minded individuals from all over the world!

The all-inclusive nature of the programme means that all possible activities are included. Students take day trips to the cities of both London and Oxford to visit some of the UK's most renowned sites, enjoy traditional banquet dinner at an Oxford College as well as having optional rowing and grass-court tennis taster sessions for the duration of the programme.

Target group

All students must be:
- Between 16-19 years of age for the programme duration
- Fluent (or near-fluent) in English. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the level of English that is required to attend this course.
- Enthusiastic and willing to learn

Course aim

The Cambridge SciSearch Chemical Natural Sciences course offers the unique opportunity to couple academic scientific exploration with first-hand laboratory-based practical experiences.

Topics covered on this course will include a selection from those listed below, each representing areas of chemistry which remain at the cutting edge of modern day science and therefore constitute a core part of the academic curriculum currently taught to science students at the University of Cambridge. Look below to see what questions we ask in each of these subject areas…

Biological Chemistry - In this topic a chemical understanding will be applied to key classes of biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. This will allow students to develop an understanding of the 3D structure of molecules such as DNA, as well as developing an appreciation of how chemicals react with these structures. Discussion will lead on to the principles which govern design and synthesis of drugs.

Energetics and Equilibria - Put very simply, this topic explores the reasons behind why some chemical reactions happen and others do not. As such, students will cover the fundamental laws of thermodynamics, the idea of Gibbs Free Energy, leading to an overall understanding which can be applied to equilibria such as those described by Le Chatelier’s Principle.

Inorganic Chemistry - Dmitri Mendeleev is credited with developing the first (albeit far from complete) version of the Periodic Table of Elements in 1869. Today, 118 elements are now known to exist and when combined in different ways can give rise to a near infinite number of inorganic compounds. This topic studies the periodic table and asks questions about inorganic compounds ranging from those which can spontaneously ignite in the air, to the simple water molecule H20 which makes up approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface!

Organic Chemistry Organic chemistry is centered around the study of carbon-based molecules. Therefore this topic concerns itself with understanding the molecules that form the basis of all life on Earth! How are organic molecules used in pharmaceuticals, materials chemistry and biochemistry? How are specific molecules industrially synthesised from the same basic building blocks? How do reaction mechanisms work?

Shapes and Structures of Molecules - This topic provides students with the skills necessary to understand and interpret the results from basic spectroscopic methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and infra-red (IR) – which allow chemists to probe the shape and structure of molecules. Students then go on to ask questions about why molecules are the shape they are – which can only be answered by delving into the basics of quantum mechanics and chemical bonding theory.

Credits info


Fee info

GBP 3500: The All-Inclusive Programme Fee of £3500 GBP (ex. VAT @20%) includes the following:

→12 nights private ensuite student accommodation in a Cambridge University College
→12 days continental breakfast and cafeteria style dinner in a traditional hall setting
→Daily lectures and academic supervisions, provided by leading Cambridge and Oxford academics
→All academic material and university support material required for the duration of the programme
→A minimum of 12 hours hands-on practical lab or computer-based research experience, led by leading Cambridge and Oxford academics
→A comprehensive social programme including daily activities, academic enrichment opportunities, cultural experiences and sports-based activities
→Weekend group excursion to London including transport by coach, all activity costs and entrance fees
→Weekend group excursion to Oxford including transport by coach, all activity costs and entrance fees
→Traditional formal hall dinner at both a Cambridge and Oxford College
→Cambridge SciSearch Welcome Pack and Stationary 

Please note that the Programme Fee excludes:
→Transport costs incurred travelling to and from the summer school
→Lunch – students are encouraged to explore the variety of eateries available in Cambridge
→Spending money for souvenirs and any other personal purchases made during the programme
→Travel insurance for participants
GBP 0: No additional fees.


We fully support students in their search for external funding or sponsorship to aid their attendance on the programme. As such we can provide official letters of support, as well as detailed outlines of the academic course content and merits of the progr