Blog: December 2017

2018 Summer Course in London & Project-Based Learning

When reading about our new courses in London, you may have read about the project-based learning that will take place. You may have some questions about the course. What is the definition of project-based learning? What skills can you expect to improve during a 2018 summer course in London? How is a project-based learning approach beneficial?

Project-based learning revolves around the concept that students are able to learn more when actively solving a dynamic real-world problem using their knowledge. Going beyond developing your academic knowledge, our programme in London will challenge you to work as a team to solve a real-world challenge. The challenge posed will be based on your chosen field of academic study. For example, if you are planning on studying medicine, your challenge may be to solve a health epidemic. If you are planning to study engineering, your challenge may be how to solve infrastructure issues for a growing city.

By working in small groups, you will improve your teamwork skills and the ability to work collaboratively. While learning more about your topic, the project-based learning approach develops your skills as a leader and problem solver. According to a study by the University of Purdue, project-based learning is, “superior when it comes to long-term retention, skill development and satisfaction of students and teachers.”

You will see first-hand how these real-world problems are solved by industry experts. Our courses will feature talks from industry experts. You will also have the opportunity to visit companies where people are working to solve these real-live challenges. This course connects how academic concepts are applied to real-world issues. At the end of your course, you and your team will present your solution to industry experts from your subject area. You’ll receive constructive feedback to improve your solution and process.

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To learn more about our 2018 summer course in London, please visit

Posted: December 15, 2017

A Letter of Recommendation from our Tutors

At Oxford Summer Courses, a core value of ours is to provide a genuine Oxford undergraduate experience during the summer. Whether you study with us in Oxford, Cambridge, London or one of our international locations, students from around the world can discover our high-quality teaching, and every student achieves a certificate and a letter of recommendation from their tutor. Students learning at summer course A letter of recommendation from a course in Oxford, Cambridge or London will confirm your attendance, your subject, and who your tutor was, including their academic profile. The letter itself is a signed document from the principal of Oxford Summer Courses and will feature a summary report from your tutor regarding your academic performance. Our expert tutors can teach to students of all abilities, and provide a genuine Oxford experience. We follow the methods used at the University of Oxford, therefore students each week prepare for seminars, and if they’re aged 16-24, a tutorial each week as well. Our classes at Wycombe Abbey for those aged 10-12 years old are small and interactive, meaning our younger learners get lots of attention from their tutor. Seminars and tutorials are stimulating and thought-provoking for students and tutors alike. The weekly discussions and dialogue feed into the learning that takes place throughout the course, and along the way, our students gain academic self-confidence and the ability to organise their ideas. Our courses in Oxford provide access to tutors, all of whom have honed their teaching abilities as academics and researchers at the University of Oxford. Students also independently explore the world-renowned university city outside of their teaching. The same structure is applied for our Cambridge summer students, who benefit from the guidance of Cambridge academics and supervisors who are leading authorities in the subject being studied. A recent addition to our portfolio of courses are our problem-based learning subjects in London. You’ll be challenged to find a solution to a workplace/industry problem, with the guidance of specialist tutors and major company representatives. This variant teaching method partners academic study with real-world issues and project-led tasks, which allows students to develop skills beneficial to their future career.

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Learn more about available subjects for our summer courses.  

Posted: December 15, 2017

Similarities and Differences between Cambridge and Oxford

Cambridge University and Oxford University are two of the most prestigious universities in the world.  The two schools are regularly referred to as “super brands” in higher education, being easily recognised internationally. Some outside of the United Kingdom may not realise that these two giants have had a rivalry since Cambridge was founded, and that it goes far beyond the annual boat race. There are many similarities and differences between Cambridge and Oxford, resulting from a shared past.  Cambridge College and Oxford Radcliffe Camera The rivalry between Cambridge and Oxford began with the founding of Cambridge University by a group of Oxford University students. Following a conflict between the townspeople and Oxford students, a group of scholars left Oxford to found a university in Cambridge in 1209. As a result, the two universities have many academic similarities. The similarities and differences between Cambridge and Oxford can


Both universities use the collegiate system, where the larger universities consist of individual colleges and different subject departments. While students belong to the wider university, they also belong to the smaller academic colleges. The student benefits from this system, as they are eligible to use resources from both their academic colleges and the larger university as a whole. An undergraduate applicant applies to the college rather than the university. The scholar is accepted by the college before being eligible to enrol at the larger university. The pastimes between Cambridge and Oxford are typically quite similar, including punting down the river. Punting refers to boating in a punt, a special type of boat with a flat bottom and a square-cut bow. A punt is ideal for small rivers or shallow water. This makes punting the perfect pastime in Cambridge (Cam) and Oxford (Cherwell and Thames). Both Oxford and Cambridge have similar institutions between the two cities. Both have  museums (the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge), debating societies (Oxford Union and Cambridge Union), botanical gardens (University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Cambridge University Botanic Garden) and publishing houses (Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press). Facilities in both cities are prestigious, adding to the environment of each city as a whole.


Both universities offer rigorous academic teaching, but the two universities differ in what they call this teaching. Both Oxford and Cambridge students benefit from one-on-one sessions with experts in their field. However, Cambridge refers to these sessions as supervisions, while Oxford refers to the sessions as tutorials. Both Cambridge and Oxford have similar traditions, such as matriculation, where students officially become a member of the university. Oxford also has the tradition of wearing academic dress, known as the subfusc. Every undergraduate and graduate student must wear a specific gown, cap and tie to formal events, which makes up their subfusc, which means “of a dark hue”. Students wear the gowns to formal dinners, chapel, examinations, matriculation, and graduation. In 2015, students voted whether or not to keep the archaic subfusc, and opted to continue wearing it to formal occasions and examinations. The demographics and geography of Oxford and Cambridge also pose several differences between the two universities. Oxford is larger in size, with a population about 30% larger than that of Cambridge. Both cities are located near rivers. The sole river in Cambridge, the river Cam, flows through the city centre. Oxford, on the other hand, has two rivers (Thames and Cherwell) which flow around the city centre.

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Both the similarities and differences between Cambridge and Oxford create an environment of shared respect and friendly rivalry. Please visit the Cambridge page and the Oxford page on our website to learn more about how you can study in one of these historic academic locations. Which will you choose?

Posted: December 11, 2017


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