Specialist Subjects

Choosing your degree course is one of the most important academic decisions you will make and will set you on your potential career path. During our summer school, the specialist subject options give you an introduction to a particular university course, combining interactive tuition with hands-on activities and guidance about subject-specific university requirements and degree modules, so that you can make more informed choices and feel more prepared for your university application. We include professional talks and visits to bring the subject to life and give students a taste of what it would be like to work in this field.

At registration, students select one from a choice of 5 specialist subject areas:

  • Business and Economics
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy and Psychology
  • Law
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

All students (13-14 years and 15-18 years) have twice-weekly supervisions (Oxbridge-style discussion classes), led by Cambridge Undergraduates and Graduates in their chosen specialist subjects. Students are taught at an appropriate level for their age group (13-14 years or 15-18 years). For the younger students, the emphasis is on introducing some of the key aspects of the subject and providing the opportunity to explore interesting subject-related topics. The older students will have more advanced tuition and challenging projects to gain a more in-depth understanding of graduate-level studies and careers in their chosen field.

For year-round online services, such as research projects and mock interviews, a wider choice of subjects is available.

Business and Economics

During this course students are taught the principles of business management, economics, marketing, human resources, business ethics, entrepreneurship and finance and apply what they have learned in a series of practical tasks. They will be introduced to the principles behind macro and micro economic theories and how they are applied in a modern, global business environment. Working in small teams, they have the opportunity to:

  • examine the significance of globalisation and interdependence in modern economies
  • explore how new technologies and business models such as Amazon, Uber and Apple are disrupting industries and changing how we live and work
  • practise their entrepreneurial skills by developing a new product or service idea
  • present a mini-business plan
  • create a promotional video
  • pitch for investment to a panel of ‘dragons’
  • attend a talk by a Cambridge business professional.


The course provides an introduction to the application process for prospective medical students and explains how medicine is taught at various UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. This will help students to understand what it is like to study medicine and pursue a career in this field. During the programme, students will:

  • learn what is covered in medical admissions tests (BMAT and UKCAT) and practise timed questions
  • work on writing their medical personal statement
  • do a mock medical school interview and receive constructive feedback
  • gain insights into the content and structure of different medical degree courses
  • learn some basic medical procedures, such as how to use a stethoscope or measure blood pressure
  • discuss some of the ethical problems that can arise for medical practitioners
  • learn about diagnosing common medical conditions
  • take a first aid qualification or refresh their knowledge if they already have a first aid certificate
  • learn about recent groundbreaking research in genomics and the crucial role of Cambridge University and the Sanger Institute in the international, collaborative research project to map the Human Genome
  • attend a lecture by a genomics researcher and be shown around the Cambridge Wellcome Genome Campus, home to some of the world’s foremost institutes and organisations using genomes and biodata to solve humanity’s greatest challenges.

Philosophy and Psychology

The course is an introduction to both subjects and explains the differences and links between philosophy (studying wide-ranging questions relating to the nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, freedom and language), general psychology (studying how people think, act, react, and interact, and the thoughts and emotions that influence behaviour), and clinical psychology (the assessment and treatment of emotional, mental and behavioural issues).

During the programme, students look at how philosophy and psychology are taught at various UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and are introduced to first-year university degree content. They will be given the opportunity to:

  • participate in safe research
  • apply advanced analytical and critical thinking to real-life problems
  • meet a professional working in the field of psychology or philosophy.


The course offers students an introduction to modern International and European law, both as an academic subject and a profession, and explains the application process for studying law at a UK university.

Students cover some of the core degree modules in England and Wales, including Criminal Law, the Laws of Tort, Contract Law and Human Rights, and explore different legal career options.

The programme will give students ample opportunities to hone their logical thinking skills, learn how to construct convincing arguments and use language effectively in oral debates and written essays.

During the course, students will have the valuable experience of:

  • meeting with a legal professional, for example, a barrister, solicitor or magistrate
  • attending a court in session and observing real-life legal proceedings unfolding.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

This course aims to introduce students to the different branches of science (physics, chemistry, biology, but also genetics, astrophysics, bio-medicine, forensics, plant science, zoology, pharmacology, and more), engineering (mechanical, civil, chemical, electrical, manufacturing, materials, information, and more), technology and mathematics, which they could study at university, as well as future career opportunities.

During the programme, students have the opportunity to develop their scientific knowledge and test out theoretical concepts. They will be encouraged to draw on their knowledge of science and mathematics to develop solutions to real-life engineering problems through practical problem-solving tasks.

This course will include a focus on recent developments in the STEM field, such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, as well as groundbreaking research in genomics and the crucial role of Cambridge University and the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the international, collaborative research project to map the Human Genome. Course participants will have the opportunity to attend a lecture by a genomics researcher and be shown around the Cambridge Wellcome Genome Campus, home to some of the world’s foremost institutes and organisations using genomes and biodata to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. Students will also attend interactive STEM lectures and talks by guest speakers from Cambridge University, in fields such as virtual reality, bio-medical research, earth science, marine conservation, astronomy and archaeology.

Hands-on projects, professional talks, visits and interactive workshops

Throughout the programme, the older students (15-18 years) will work on projects and case studies relevant to their chosen specialist subject, both individually and in teams. They will also take part in subject-specific visits, whenever this can be arranged within the timetable, and have talks from professionals practising in their chosen subject area to find out more about what it is really like to work in this field.

In the final session they will present the results of their research and project work and receive feedback from their tutors. This offers an exceptional opportunity to gain introductory university-level insights that go beyond the school syllabus and to discover particular areas of interest that they can explore confidently during their university applications. Older students will also receive a graded subject-specific reading list so that they can continue their wider reading after returning home.

As well as university-level workshops and supervisions (Oxbridge-style discussion classes) related to their chosen specialist subject, the older students (15-18 years old) will have hands-on university preparation masterclasses to help them with subject-specific personal statements, interview practice and personal development planning. They will also have visits to faculties and companies related to their chosen subject areas, and receive one-to-one advice about university selection and degree choices.

Instead of university preparation masterclasses and university-level workshops, the younger students (13-14 years) will work in mixed-nationality teams on exciting STEAM*-focused projects and workshops, including robotics, raspberry pi coding, 3D design and print, which are designed to help them develop the skills and knowledge they need for future academic and career success.

All our students also have the opportunity to attend a higher education seminar and interactive lectures by guest speakers in university subjects, which they may not be so familiar with, such as astronomy, archaeology, virtual reality, bio-medical research, earth science and marine conservation.

*Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics