Students during Medicine and the Brain course observing human skulls

Courses - The Cambridge Tradition

Students on The Cambridge Tradition choose one course per session from 24 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

Aerospace Engineering is about the creation of aircraft and spacecraft – quite literally “rocket science!” Participants examine the disciplines most important to the industry, including aerodynamics, electronics, mechanics, operations systems, statistics, and thermodynamics. The course culminates with the replication of real design offices of either aircraft or spacecraft companies. Students go through every stage in the creation of a new vehicle, including aerodynamic profiling, engine sizing, and structural design.

Cambridge’s beauty provides students with the perfect environment in which to find inspiration, appreciate architectural history and aesthetics, and improve their design and model-making skills. They develop a portfolio of sketches before turning ideas and designs into three-dimensional models to display in the program’s Arts Exhibition. Materials Fees of $75 US per session. 

Cambridge is the ideal observatory from which to explore fundamental questions about the universe. How did it begin, and what is our place within it? What is time, and will it ever come to an end? This course takes students on a journey through space, from the infinitesimally small components of atoms to the unimaginably large. It addresses topics including the Big Bang, galaxy formation, the history of our own solar system, orbital mechanics, and string theory.

Mixing economics with psychology and game theory, this course seeks to understand what drives individual economic decisions. What psychological and emotional factors induce people to buy a $5 cup of coffee? How can we explain consumers’ decisions when they depart from the expectations of standard economic models? How do risk and uncertainty impact people’s spending? Students investigate areas such as luxury goods, healthcare, insurance, and labor while considering how psychology affects all economic decision-making. 

How do business organizations start, grow, and thrive? What analytical, interpersonal, and technical skills are required to make sense of and address the problems facing companies of all sizes? How can a company be successful and operate ethically? This course includes visits to local businesses and the Cambridge Business School and covers a diverse range of topics that includes economics, finance management, information technology, marketing, law, and purchasing. It culminates in the design and creation of a business model.

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.

To what extent do people unconsciously take on ideas from the society in which they were raised? Are we all unwitting products of forces we did not choose? This course combines philosophy with critical theory to examine why the world is the way it is. Students call on a range of thinkers to analyze the political and societal trends that define the 21st century. They learn to interrogate information, discuss controversial topics sensitively, and construct persuasive arguments.

Data Science, or Big Data, is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. It is also one of the most sought-after topics at university. How do we harness its potential to help with product development, grow businesses, improve healthcare, and build smarter cities? This course shows how Big Data upends every discipline: from algorithmic trading in financial markets to predicting what kinds of paintings will go on display in the Met, to how social media creates filter bubbles in news consumption while generating new technical challenges of it own. Students are equipped with the data scientist's toolkit: from statistical techniques for predictive analysis to mapping and acquiring data through APIs and web scraping.

Students are introduced to the history of Empires, from the Akkadian to the Mongol to the American Empire. But they also interrogate the concept of Empire itself. What, if anything, do Empires have in common? Do all Empires share fundamental characteristics? How are they established, how do they control peoples and spaces, why do they collapse, and how do they go on influencing the way people live and understand themselves? Calling on examples from the contemporary to the ancient worlds, students cross disciplinary boundaries and blend subjects as diverse as anthropology, drama, literature, and the social sciences.

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.

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.

In the university that cracked the DNA code, students discover the exciting disciplines that are transforming medicine. Working on projects with researchers, they discover medical genetics, genetic linkage, DNA manipulation, sequencing, genomics, and study inherited diseases. They go on to analyze the factors underlying diseases and explore the significance of, and the ethical issues surrounding, genetic engineering, cloning, and gene therapy.

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. 

This course addresses International Relations through its theoretical bases and by focusing on key current issues. Subjects covered include globalization and its political, economic, and social effects; environmental challenges; new forms of war and peace; the changing nature of security challenges; mass-migration; the complexities of areas like the Middle East and South-East Asia; and the relationships and rivalries that define global order today. 

Students examine the British and American legal systems and how they reflect the values and institutions of their respective societies. Emphasis is placed on legal history and modes of thought, precedent-setting cases, current controversies, and the kind of first-hand courtroom observation that brings them to life. Each course includes visits to a court and sessions with lawyers. The course culminates in a formal moot court competition.  

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.

Students examine the development of medicine with a focus on neuroscience. They learn the main principles of cognitive psychology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and clinical methods and practices, and study the technology behind such diagnostic tools as CT and MRI scanners. 

Students receive guidance in artistic, landscape, and portraiture photography. This helps them record their exploration of England and its culture, and to produce a comprehensive photographic record of their experiences. The class culminates in a formal exhibition. Students need their own DSLR camera with USB cable, charger, and at least one 16 GB memory card.  Materials fees of $100 US per session.

Students investigate a wide range of psychological topics, including dreams, memory, consciousness, anxiety, body language, gender, and sexuality. Alongside, they uncover the history of the subject, study case histories, learn about various mental disorders, and different research methodologies. They go on to design their own experiments under the guidance of research specialists and practicing clinicians.

This course explores three main areas of sports medicine: biomechanics, the science of human movement; sports psychology, how the mind affects physical performance; and exercise physiology, including diet, fitness regimes, and the effects that artificial substances, such as steroids, have on the human body. Students also explore the ethical questions surrounding the use of special surgery and drugs in sports as well as blood- and gene-doping.

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.

Participants discover the spectacular diversity of animal forms and behavior in the natural world. They take trips in the surrounding countryside, through nature trails, and to Cambridge University’s Museum of Zoology.  These complement coverage of molecular biology, natural selection, animal communication, theories of instinct and innate behavior, imprinting, predation, protection, and behavioral development.