Oxbridge students during speech and debate summer course

Courses - The Oxford Prep Experience

Students on The Oxford Prep Experience choose a Major and a Minor from 15 academic and creative options, designed to make the most of their summer in Oxford 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 are introduced to one of mankind's oldest and most scientifically advanced areas of study. They learn about Cosmology, about the Big Bang, the formation of stars and planets, their deaths, and Black Holes. They discover why astronomers and physicists study phenomena such as quasars, gamma rays, cosmic rays, and pulsars, and how they collect and analyze the data produced by the phenomena. The class also addresses the search for exoplanets and the possibilities of forms of life elsewhere, the exciting work undertaken in Astrobiology, and the technical, legal, and ethical issues involved in the search for habitable worlds beyond ours.

Students are introduced to the world of corporate finance and its primary institutions through dynamic workshops and exercises. They cover 21st-century financial realities for budding entrepreneurs and multinational corporations. Major course projects include real-life case studies, a stock exchange investment game, and the design of a theoretical start-up venture.

Students compose fiction and poetry under the guidance of a published writer, with Oxford’s rich literary history as their inspiration. They explore their own potential by experimenting with new forms and styles of writing. Successful authors 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.

From toxicology and fingerprints to DNA samples, students taking our CSI summer course discover how forensic science has progressed over the years to meet ever-changing legal standards. They learn how modern crime scenes are secured and searched, how material is treated in laboratories, and how different types of evidence are used to sort legal fact from criminal fiction. Branching out, they discover how forensic science has achieved breakthroughs in a multitude of disciplines, such as archeology, history, and geology.

Students learn the principles of engineering science. Both world-renowned and local examples are examined, and the findings 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.

Students discover how biotechnology combines principles of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering to create the products, processes, and technologies of the future. Through experiments and seminars they engage with new pharmaceuticals, genetic diagnoses and therapies, sustainable biofuels, and genetically modified foods. Students also explore the social, ethical, and economic implications of biotechnology.

This course addresses International Relations by focusing on key issues of the day. 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; peacekeeping operations; the regional complexities of areas like the Middle East, Africa, 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. Major courses culminate in a formal moot court competition.

This course examines the masterpieces of four Oxford authors: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Students examine their worlds, symbolic systems, and mythologies, as well as their influence on Harry Potter, through workshops, field trips, debates, and group readings. Prior knowledge of the stories is encouraged.

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

Photographers of all levels of expertise spend much of their time in the field, pursuing assignments designed to improve their landscape, portraiture, art, and fashion photography skills. Students exhibit their best work at the end of the program. They require their own DSLR camera with USB cable, charger, manual, and at least one 8 GB memory card.  Materials fees of $75 US for the Minor.

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 cases, and are introduced to various disorders and different research methodologies. They go on to design their own experiments under the guidance of research specialists and practicing clinicians.

Students explore major debating styles and strategies, engage in daily speaking exercises, orations, and dialogues, and prepare and present regular debates. The culmination of the course is a formal debate in the historic debating chamber of the Oxford Union Society, founded in 1823 and one of the oldest university debating societies in the world.

Beginners and more advanced students receive instruction in a variety of media. They spend much of their time outside, sketching medieval towers, capturing pastoral landscapes, practicing their portrait skills, or discovering masterpieces in locations such as the Christ Church Picture Gallery. Students exhibit their best pieces at the end of the program. Materials fee of $150 US for the Minor.

War has been one of the greatest forces for change in human history and continues to shape the world. Violence in the Middle East and Africa, guerilla conflicts in South America and the Far East, and the global ‘War on Terror’ are the most recent examples of mankind’s long history of conflict and combat. While covering military history, this course also examines war from other aspects: the political, economic, social, ethical, and psychological. It examines how and why wars are fought, what has changed, and what has remained the same, from conflicts in Ancient Greece to the war in Syria.