Academic Summer Programme in Oxford | Varsity Education
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Our teaching replicates the Oxbridge undergraduate system of small group seminars and one-on-one tutorials. This guarantees each student develops a deep understanding of their chosen subject, and is fundamental to Oxford and Cambridge’s success. Students can choose two subjects from a wide range of both sciences and humanities to study during their time with us. Our classes include:

  • Over 25 hours of expert teaching in subject specific lessons
  • Challenging courses designed to introduce students to undergraduate content
  • Students complete set work for lessons and tutorials
  • Small class sizes to allow for discussion based learning and interactive debate
  • One-on-one tutorials ensure individual development and continual feedback


Our strong focus on academic excellence means our students benefit from a level of individual attention rarely possible in schools, taking them beyond learning by rote and enabling them to discuss and hypothesise.
This means Oxford Summer College students stand out when interviewing for places at prestigious universities.

Students will choose two subjects from the following options:

Click on any of the subjects to see a brief summary of what’s covered in the topic

Summary of subjects

Biological Sciences

An introduction to the essential topics that comprise the Biological Sciences

This course introduces students to the two fundamental disciplines of Biological Sciences; zoology and plant sciences. Students will gain a more advanced understanding of living matter by analysing life at a number of levels, from ecosystems to molecules.

Through pure sciences, such as ecology and genetics, students will study all life on earth and consider the changes modern science has had on the subject. Our course combines the traditional topics such as animal and plant systematics with cutting edge research and developments.


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Business and Management

An introduction to the fundamental elements of the world of modern business

Students studying Business and Management receive an undergraduate level introduction to the fundamental elements of modern business such as economics, operations management and strategy.

The course covers a range of modules from marketing to finance and requires students to consider wider concepts before applying them to specific case studies. Students consider the demands of a modern business environment and look closely at how a business operates on a daily basis.


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Computer Science

An introduction to the science and technology behind modern computing.

Students on Varsity Education’s Computer Science course will gain a complete introduction to the computer systems, programs and networks that are key to the rapid transformation and modernisation witnessed across all aspects of modern life.

The course will focus on the core principles of computer science as well as algorithms, problem solving and computer programming through both explanatory and practical sessions. Students will spend time considering a number of different programming languages before exploring a number in greater detail.

Our course enhances our student’s problem solving skills and logical thinking capabilities whilst also providing a unique insight into the behaviour of programs, networks and computer systems.

No prior knowledge of Computer Science or programming is required.

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English Law

An introduction to undergraduate level law

The English Law course will give students an insight into basic jurisprudence – the theory and the study of law.

Students spend a great deal of time discussing and debating fundamental social concepts, such as justice, liberty and rights. Through the study of both constitutional and criminal law, the class will consider the pressures that shape the development of the law and how it is enforced.

The course helps students realise the pivotal position of law in civilised society through in-depth analysis of decisive cases and their repercussions.

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English Literature

An introduction to English Literature, Language and Theory

Students taking the English Literature course will study texts written in English, in the United Kingdom from 650AD to the present day.

The course will introduce students to new texts from leading, influential authors and teach students the techniques and approaches to undergraduate level practical criticism.

As well as studying both poetry and prose, students will consider the importance of literary theory on the study of English literature. The course will teach students the progression of the English language and the emergence of literary movements in England.


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An introduction to the physical and manmade world around us.

Students on our Geography course will study a range of human, physical and environmental geography and develop both breadth and depth of knowledge. Through small group seminars and one-on-one tutorials, students will hone their geographical and scientific skills through concentrated study into specific areas of the field and advance their understanding of the topic through project work.

The course will consider the importance of theory and methods for analysing modern geographical problems and policies and engage with current issues facing the world today. Geography covers a wide range of topical issues, from sustainable energy to the regeneration of cities, coastal management to the inequalities of health.

Through careful analysis case studies and contemporary problems, students will learn how economic, social and cultural processes impact the world around us.

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The History course provides students with an introduction to political, cultural and military turning points that shaped the formation of the modern world.

Varsity Education’s History course gives students the opportunity to study a diverse number of historical periods and develop a comprehensive understanding of historiographical approaches.

This wide ranging course will see students analyse the impact of historic events and trends on the world whilst also developing close analysis skills through working with primary sources.


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International Relations

The International Relations course provides students with an introduction to the ideas, events and conflicts that shaped the formation of the modern world.

Students receive an introduction to fundamental international relations theories as they analyse the competing ideologies battling for supremacy during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The course examines political, military, and cultural turning points from the early modern era up to the present day. Students will gain insight into the
violent and ideological conflicts that birthed the nation state, the decline of European empires in the 20th century, and problems in contemporary international relations.

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Maths and Engineering

A practical introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of Mathematics and Engineering

The course combines Mathematics and Engineering to create a unique programme that teaches students how to apply their theoretical knowledge to the world around them.

Engineering at university level is the practical application of mathematics and physics, so our students develop their understanding of a broad range of subjects through an interdisciplinary curriculum.

Students also have the opportunity to put their new-found knowledge into practice when completing a practical project. In the past these have included building a water launcher and constructing a portable speaker.


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An introduction to the essential areas of clinical medicine

Our Medicine course introduces students to some of the fundamental elements of the first stage of an Oxbridge clinical medicine degree.

Students explore the science that underpins medicine, from genetics to anatomy. They also have the opportunity to develop their knowledge on a practical level during their time in the lab.

As well as covering the key scientific material, students spend time discussing controversial ethical debates that dominate Medical discourse. Students also have the opportunity to meet practicing doctors and clinicians to learn about the reality of life after graduating.

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An introduction to the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence

Students studying philosophy will be asked to consider the problems with the nature of knowledge and reality, and indeed, our moral and political ideologies.

Students will examine some fundamental questions that have plagued people for millennia; how should we decide what best to do? How should we live our lives? Whilst considering ethical concepts, students also have the opportunity to discuss applied ethical issues.

Our course covers a broad range of philosophical writers, from Kant to Bentham and teaches students some of the essential metaphysical and epistemological ideas that dominated early modern thought.

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Physical Sciences

An introduction to the sciences concerned with the study of non-living matter

The Physical Sciences is the systematic study of the inorganic world – the sphere beyond living plants and animals. Our programme primarily focuses on two central subjects; Chemistry and Physics and the increasingly blurred line between the two fields.

Our Physical Sciences course provides students with a broad overview of an undergraduate level physics and chemistry programme. We cover essential mathematics, classical physics, some quantum mechanics, atomic structure and the foundations of organic chemistry.


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Politics and Economics

An introduction to the political and economic institutions, and the theories and forces that impact them

Politics and economics are the forces that govern the course of our society. On our politics and economics programme students receive an undergraduate introduction to the fundamental elements of politics and economics whilst considering the prevalent issues dominating current affairs.

This course is designed to give students the chance to debate, discuss and consider the issues that govern our lives on a daily basis. Students will learn about key economic concepts such as, supply and demand, market structure and the role of finance. This knowledge will be combined with the study of political theory and political systems.


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An introduction to the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour.

The Psychology course at Varsity Education is centered around the study of people – their behaviour and thoughts but also their actions, interactions and reactions. Psychology is fundamentally a scientific discipline and our students learn how to correctly formulate and test their ideas through systematic observation and experimentation.

The course gives students the opportunity to develop their understanding of how the brain works, from infancy to adulthood. Students will then consider how we perceive the world and the impact social and cultural differences can have on people’s behavior.

Students leave our programme with a fundamental understanding of how we use memory and skill, the biological basis of human behaviour and how we interact with others and our environment.

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University Admissions Guidance

Students take part in a range of workshops designed to refine the skills they need to succeed in an intensive academic environment. Our tutors are all Oxbridge educated. They can give students a unique insider perspective on the elite university application process.
The admissions workshops build confidence, hone key university skills and help students realise their potential through new ways of thinking and learning. Upon completion of the programme, students have a comprehensive understanding of the Oxbridge application procedure and how to apply to universities in the UK.

The workshops include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Debating
  • Group discussions / Current affairs
  • Oxbridge preparation seminars
  • Personal statement writing
  • Interview preparation and mock interviews
  • Entrance exam practice

Activities & Excursions

Although academic study is the main focus for students attending Oxford Summer College, every afternoon after class, students get to relax by taking part in a range of activities in and around Oxford, the ‘city of dreaming spires’. These range from visits to famous places in Oxford like the Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian Library, to scavenger hunts, punting on the river Thames, and traditional British games like croquet and rounders.

Students also get the opportunity to visit the UK’s world-famous capital, London, and the home of Oxford’s rival university, Cambridge, visiting various museums and famous landmarks.

Life in Oxford

Our students stay in one of Oxford’s prestigious colleges. All students stay in private rooms with study areas and there is access to WiFi throughout the college. Breakfast and dinner is included with the accommodation and is served in the college dining hall, and there are numerous cafes, shops, restaurants and food stalls nearby for lunch. You’ll also get to visit the other famous and historic colleges within Oxford University, including Christ Church and Worcester.

Staying in Oxford

Held at one of Oxford University’s colleges, students get to experience what life is like for an Oxford undergraduate.

  • Accommodation

    Our students stay in a college just minutes from the city centre. All bedroom rooms have a study area and there is access to WiFi across the college.

  • College Tours

    Throughout the programme you will have the opportunity to visit some of Oxford’s other colleges such as the magnificent Christ Church or the expansive Worcester College.

  • Dining in Oxford

    Both breakfast and dinner are provided in the main dining hall at the college where you can eat together with your peers.

    We will ask you to notify us of any dietary requirements prior to arrival.

  • Experience Oxford

    When you’re not busy studying or enjoying our organised activities, you will have plenty of time to relax and explore Oxford’s fantastic sights, culture and shops for yourselves.

  • Places of Interest

    There are so many amazing places to visit in Oxford, from the astounding Bodleian Library holding 11 million books, to the T-Rex skeleton at the Natural History Museum. You might run out of time but you won’t run out of places to go!

  • Enjoy College Life

    Living, studying and eating with like-minded individuals whilst at the Oxford Summer College is a great way to experience student life. As well as participating in a full day of classes and workshops, students can relax and have fun together in the colleges, city and halls.

Safety and Welfare

Oxford is a very safe city and the Oxford Summer College accommodation will be secure and supervised 24 hours a day. College porters are on duty both day and night, and programme staff live in the college and are available and contactable at all times. On arrival, students can be met and chaperoned from the airport to Oxford. All students receive a welcome pack with maps and emergency contact numbers.

“When I arrived at the airport a chaperone was waiting for me at the terminal with a bright blue shirt with Varsity Education panels. Then we were all brought back in a car to Cambridge. I felt really safe and welcome because I was taken care of, so there was nothing really to worry about.”

– Otilia

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