Students during interactive medical lab experiment at Cambridge

Courses - The Cambridge Prep Experience

Students on The Cambridge Prep Experience choose one course per session from 19 academic and creative options, designed to make the most of their summer in Cambridge while using its extraordinary resources. All courses promote experiential learning with museum visits and field trips, eminent guest speakers, project-work, and more.

Full Course List

Students assess the power of suggestion, persuasion, and product placement. Using a range of case studies and creative examples across all media, they explore early salesmanship, modern advertising, branding, and the increasing use of new media. Balancing creative skills with business acumen, they engage in branding exercises, interactive sales games, and the design and development of their own advertising campaign. Materials fees of $50 US per session.

Students compose fiction and poetry under the guidance of a published writer, with Cambridge’s rich literary history as their inspiration. They explore their own potential by experimenting with new forms and styles of writing. Successful poets and writers give workshops in which students learn about the creative process and the practicalities of publication. Students develop a portfolio of their best writing and collaborate to design, edit, and publish a literary magazine.

Through workshops, debates, and visits to police stations and criminal courts, students explore individual and social theories of crime, philosophies of punishment, criminal profiling, incident analysis, and basic forensic science. They consider the causes of crime, the influence of the media upon crime, and issues of race and gender within the context of the British and American criminal justice systems. 

Students learn the principles of engineering science. Both world-renowned and local examples are examined, and the findings are applied to a variety of case studies to solve mechanical, structural, and architectural problems. They complete the course by designing a model engineering project of their own. 

As the world teeters on the brink of ecological disaster, students are introduced to the complex sciences behind the headlines. They learn about the different disciplines that combine to make Environmental science possible, notably Atmospheric Science, Chemistry, and Ecology. Working from a range of case studies, they discover how environmental scientists assess and respond to different challenges, and learn about the benefits and disbenefits of the statutory proposals and technological solutions being touted in the public sphere, from carbon offset to electric cars, via lab-grown meat and the prospect of radical lifestyle change for everyone.

At the University from which the Cambridge Five were recruited, and in which the world’s most famous fictional spy, James Bond, studied, this course, which blends politics and history with practice, examines the methods and techniques of the great intelligence services – Mossad, the KGB, the CIA, MI5, and MI6. Students address the future of intelligence operations, the challenges of field work, and the ethics of espionage in terms of international cooperation, competition, and conflict.

Students on this course spend much of their time outside the studio. They sketch medieval towers, capture pastoral landscapes, practice their portrait skills, and discover masterpieces in locations like the Fitzwilliam Museum. Meanwhile they receive formal, professional instruction in sketching and painting in a variety of media. Their best work is exhibited at the end of the program. Materials fees of $200 US per sessions.

Students explore the tools and structures of international commerce, focusing on free enterprise, economic development, and engagement with the global marketplace. Visiting the University's renowned Judge Business School, students obtain firsthand experience of a cutting-edge business education. Course projects include real-life case studies and the design of a start-up venture. 

Students discover how the British and American legal systems reflect the values and institutions of their respective societies. They consider precedent-setting cases and delve into various branches of legal practice. Through meetings with lawyers, legal scholars, and human rights advocates, and through visits to working courtrooms, they discover how lawyers turn theory into practice. The Major course culminates in a formal moot court competition. 

Taught by experts, students discover how markets work. They cover the evolution of commerce and banking from its ancient origins to the present, including the development of stock, commodity, and capital markets, the financialization of the economy, and high speed and algorithmic trading. They learn how money itself is evolving with the emergence of nonfiat cryptographic currencies like Bitcoin. Through visits to financial institutions ranging from local bank branches to the Bank of England and the trading floors in London’s Square Mile, they investigate how money moves and markets operate, as well as what makes a career in finance.

This hands-on course introduces students to key aspects of medical science and modern medical practice. Combining specialist lectures with experiments and class discussions, students learn the principles of human anatomy and physiology, the pathology and significance of certain diseases, the main challenges that medical science faces today, and are introduced to the wide and growing range of possible careers in medicine. 

In a course that mixes history, literary studies, and anthropology, students delve into the accounts through which different civilizations and societies have explained their origins. They perform comparative studies of these creationary tales, noting their similarities and seeking to understand their differences. Moving on, the course addresses their cultural resilience: how myths and folklore survived for millennia, by blending with new creationary myths, by evolving, and by finding new forms of expression in art, music, literature, film, and even video games.

This course focuses on human behavior and individual development within a social context. Students are introduced to major themes, including stereotyping and prejudice, cross-cultural differences, the dynamics of cooperation and conflict, conformity and persuasion, attraction, and the role of the individual within the crowd. Through case studies and interactive experiments, participants gain an introduction to psychology and learn to analyze their own peer-group dynamics.

Students discover how health bodies, governments, pharmaceutical companies, and supranational organizations monitor, assess, analyze, and respond to public health challenges. Working from case studies, they learn how well or badly public health agencies are addressing obesity, diabetes, and drug availability and, equally, how well or badly they respond to diseases such as AIDS, malaria, Zika, Ebola, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. They also examine the public health challenges raised by natural disaster, and those that might emerge as a result of climate change. Students learn about the different career possibilities in the field and the skill-sets required to excel in each specialization.

In 21st-century working life, everyone will at some point be asked to deliver a presentation, regardless of their occupation. Being an effective and persuasive speaker requires flawless communication skills – verbal, nonverbal, and written. Students learn how to prepare and deliver compelling speeches to a large and critical audience. The syllabus covers the core principles of communication, the history of rhetoric, and techniques for overcoming speech anxiety. Students gain a sense of how to structure and organize information, skills of decision-making and leadership, and knowledge of how to present their ideas effectively.

Combining theory with practice, students learn about the potential futures of robotics and AI? What roles might robots and AI have in business, defense, entertainment, and healthcare?  On the practical side, working in teams, they gain an understanding of analogue and digital electronics, and of how to manipulate the hardware and software that animate robots.  The course culminates with the construction, by the team, of a robot. Materials fees of $150US per session

This course addresses cutting-edge issues at the fringes of science. Participants study advances in diverse areas, including atomic and molecular physics, artificial intelligence, astrophysics, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, particle physics, space travel, and stem-cell research. They identify the possible futures that science and technology are creating for humankind, and debate how these will affect our daily lives, our society, and our planet. 

What makes a “terrorist”? What makes one man a freedom fighter and another a criminal? Can terrorism ever succeed? How can open governments fight it? Drawing on examples ranging from late 19th century anarchists to the rise of the non-state actor in the early 2000s, via the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the Stern Gang, Al Quaeda, and ISIS, students study the evolution of Terror and counter-Terror – its justifications, its methods, its mythology, its networks, its successes and failures during their summer study abroad in Cambridge.

Blending classroom instruction, carefully selected field-trips, and individual research into topics of the student's own choosing, this course is designed to expose participants to the most recent work on the origins, course, and consequences of WWII. The syllabus concentrates on the different theatres but also on the home fronts, on the ways in which different actors experienced the conflict, on how governments sought to maintain morale, keep their economies going, and control information. Students have the opportunity to learn about the work of allied military intelligence at Bletchley Park before creating their own personal studies that they present in their own academic conference.