FAQs – UK residential courses

Are you affiliated with Oxford University, Cambridge University or any of their constituent colleges?

We’d like to make it very clear that we’re not affiliated to any. However, unlike many other summer courses, our founders and co-directors have been educated at Oxford University, and we use University accommodation. We believe that anyone should be able to experience Oxford and Cambridge, and benchmark our standards against each University. The majority of our tutors are Oxford and Cambridge academics who use the seminar and tutorial method of teaching, as used across Oxford and Cambridge. This gives you the opportunity to explore and discuss your subject, and individual subject interests, with your tutor.

What can I expect from the teaching methods you will use?

Summer Courses 16-17 and 18-24 age students: seminars, tutorials and self-directed learning

What you can expect:

  • 3hrs seminar time – Monday
  • 3hrs seminar time- Tuesday
  • 1hr tutorial time – Thursday or Friday
  • Self-study day- Wednesday
  • Our 16-17 and 18-24 students will be taught through the highly effective seminar and tutorial method. During seminars you will work directly with a tutor who will introduce a particular topic to you whilst providing their expert support. Between your seminars and tutorials you will be set independent work, such as an essay question or problem sheet, by your tutors which you will submit to your tutor via email on Wednesday at 5pm. During your one hour tutorial on Thursday or Friday you will revisit this piece of work and you will be able to delve into your topic in further depth with your tutor. During each week you will see your tutor for up to seven hours.

    One of the key success factors to the Oxford and Cambridge method of learning is your own self-directed learning. You will be set wider reading and homework by your tutors in addition to the contact time with them. It is expected that you will complete this to the best of your ability and to direct your time accordingly to meet the self-study requirements.

    In addition you will have the opportunity to undertake subject-related workshops which will develop the wider skills needed to be successful with your chosen subject. These workshops may include Scientific research methods if you are studying a science subject, or how to structure a comparative essay if you are studying an Arts and Humanities subject.

    13-15 age students: small-group learning

    What you can expect:

  • 3hr lessons every weekday excluding Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Evening homework set on different days throughout the course
  • Friday study morning or afternoon
  • Working within small groups of 8 or fewer you will receive taught and practical teaching sessions from your tutor. These are designed to be interactive and encourage you to work with individuals within your group. Your homework and study time will build on the work that you have been covering in class.

    In addition you will receive subject related workshops from subject experts which will enhance the skills required to study your subject successfully, whilst building your skills for the future. For example, Law and Politics students may begin to practise debating skills and Humanities students might begin to focus on research methods.

    9-12 age students: small-class teaching

    What you can expect:

  • 4hrs of teaching per day, excluding Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Skill development workshops
  • Your teaching will take place in a small class size of fewer than 15 students (divided into 9-10 and 11-12 age groupings) and you will be learning through a variety of engaging and interactive teaching methods which are designed to develop your subject knowledge alongside skills such as group work and presentations. You will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops which support your academic learning. These workshops will be with your fellow students from across a variety of subjects so that you have the opportunity to work, learn from and collaborate with different individuals.

    London Courses 15-17 age students: Project-based learning

    What you can expect:

  • 7 project based learning sessions (3hrs each)
  • 4 taught sessions (3hrs each)
  • Visits to subject specific locations (dependent on availability)
  • If you are taking part in our London courses, for ages 15-17, you will be taught through a project-based learning method.This method means that you will have hands-on experience to investigate and engage with your subject, while actively exploring a topic and responding to key issues and questions related to this area. With the support of your tutor, fellow students and industry experts you will begin your journey to become an expert in your field.

    Spring Courses: 16-17 / 18-24 : Intensive Teaching

    What you can expect:

  • Taught Sessions with an expert tutor (at least 4 per week, 3hrs each)
  • Visits to local subject specific locations (up to 2 subject visits per week, 3hrs each)
  • Practical hands-on sessions (up to 2 practical sessions per week, 3hrs each)
  • Wider skill development workshop (3hrs)
  • Your teaching will take place in small groups with a mix of taught-tutor lead sessions, hands-on workshops and visits to local sites that will enhance knowledge of your subject. The course is designed to immerse you within your subject whilst giving you the practical skills needed to advance your knowledge and understanding.

    What is on offer when I am not studying or being taught or tutored?

    As well as the visits around the city you are staying in, we also run a range of workshops for you to take part in. Some of these are intended to be fun and a well-earned break from your academic work and might include tie-dyeing, music making, and circus skills. Others have a more professional focus such as CV writing, interview skills and public speaking. Again, the programme will vary depending on the age group of your course.

    If you are on our week-long Spring courses, there is a greater focus on professional development workshops and academic and subject specific networking. Your time outside the classroom will combine a genuine taste of the city of Oxford, such as visits to historic colleges, a formal banquet, and a chance to go punting on the River Thames, with a chance to discuss great ideas with professionals and thinkers in your field of study.

    Do I gain credits at my school / university for completing Oxford Summer Courses?

    Our courses can gain you credit if our teaching model meets the credit requirements of your school or university and the curriculum that you are following there. Former IB students in 2017 on our 16-17 course were able to sharpen their critical thinking skills and begin research for their extended essay — an essential part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) course. Other IB students used their work as part of the research component of one of their six IB subjects. You will need to choose a course with us that matches one of your IBDP subject choices.

    Our 18-24 course gained credits for students studying at university in the US and Australia amongst others — these students took our course outline (available after acceptance onto our courses) to their home institution which assessed the duration, content and assessment methods.

    All 16-24 courses are taught using seminars and tutorials (mirroring the teaching methods used by Oxford University) and over 2 weeks you receive 14hrs of tuition (12hrs seminars, 2hrs tutorials) in additional to at least 15hrs of independent research preparing your tutorial essay (arts subjects) or problem sheet (sciences). Essays/problem sheets are marked prior to tutorials before the tutor attends to the arguments and material. As credit requirements vary between institution, please ask your home institution whether they recognise our teaching model as credit-bearing. Our Admissions Team would be happy to speak to you or your home institution if you have specific questions.

    Is there a minimum academic standard?

    Our tutors can give first-rate tutorials to students of all abilities. All we ask of you is to have a genuine passion for your chosen subject and a sufficiently good level of written and spoken English. On application you will be asked to submit a personal statement, you can use this to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in your subject.

    Are all your tutors Oxford and Cambridge academics?

    Many of our tutors are academics from across Oxford and Cambridge with experience of the seminar and tutorial methods which sets Oxford Summer Courses apart from other course providers. For the 9-12, 13-15 age groups and our Spring courses we require tutors to have significant teaching experience, or a teaching qualification, in order for them to engage, motivate and lead the students that they are working with.

    For our London courses we use tutors and teachers who have experience with the project-based learning method of teaching.

    What certificate do I gain by completing Oxford Summer Courses?

    Your certificate will be issued by Oxford Summer Courses and will state your name, subject and course dates; it will be signed by the Principals of Oxford Summer Courses who are our founding Oxford alumni. In addition you will receive written feedback from your tutor which you may wish to use as a reference. These are not documents from London, Oxford or Cambridge Universities or any of their constituent colleges. We host our courses at those Universities but we are a separate organisation.

    I want to come and study at Oxford Summer Courses but my area of interest isn’t listed. Can you still accommodate me?

    If your area of interest isn’t listed we may not be able to accommodate a new subject choice as we want to ensure you have tuition from an expert in that field, and can work alongside other students who share your interests. We will pass your personal statement and the subject you select on application to the tutor, who can adapt their syllabus to meet your needs.

    Will I need a laptop/tablet to study?

    Students are encouraged to bring their own laptop or device (make sure that you bring the right charger). Computer Science and Innovation and Technology students will need to bring their own laptop.

    All students have access to a lockable space. Oxford Summer Courses does not provide laptops and is not responsible for the safety and security of your hardware.

    Does Oxford Summer Courses offer scholarships or bursaries?

    Unfortunately at this time we do not offer any scholarships or bursaries for our UK-based courses.

    If you would like to join our courses in India please have a look at the website for more information on the scholarships available to you.

    I want to study more than one course. Is this possible?

    Absolutely. You could come for four weeks rather than two weeks, studying one subject for the first two weeks, and a different subject for the second two weeks. Alternatively, you could come and study one subject in depth over four weeks!

    One of our most popular four week courses involves two weeks studying in Oxford and two weeks studying in Cambridge. You can choose to study the same subject in both locations or study a new subject in each location. You then have the opportunity to work with academics with knowledge of both Oxford and Cambridge, and immerse yourself in the cultural background of both cities.

    If you are joining our Spring courses, then you can come for one, two or three weeks. We recommend that you study the same subject for no more than two weeks, and choose something different for the third week. You can of course choose to study three different subjects across three weeks.

    What is included in the price of the course?

    For students in our juniors courses (9-12)

  • All teaching, in class sizes of 15 or less
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • A graduation ceremony
  • All day trips and activities
  • For students aged 13-15

  • All teaching, including small group seminars (8 students or less) and subject related workshops
  • Accommodation and all meals
  • All evening meals including those at local restaurants
  • A three-course college banquet each Friday evening (this may differ for London programme students)
  • A graduation ceremony
  • 3 full day trips and all activities
  • For students aged 16-17 and 18-24

  • All teaching, including tutorials (1 or 2 students per tutor), small group seminars (8 students or less) and subject related workshops
  • Accommodation and breakfast every day
  • All evening meals including those at local restaurants
  • A three-course college banquet each Friday evening (this may differ for London programme students)
  • A graduation ceremony
  • 3 full day trips and all activities
  • The price does not include flights, our transfer service or medical/travel insurance.

    What kind of places will I get to go to on the cultural excursions?

    The UK is a relatively small place and we are fortunate to have some incredible experiences all within a close distance of our course locations including Wycombe Abbey (only 40 minutes from Oxford and 70 minutes from Central London). The cities of Oxford, Cambridge and London themselves are gems with a range of things to do and places to visit. You will get time to visit these and soak up the atmosphere. Organised trips travel further afield and all of our students will get to visit some amazing places in our capital city, London. Other trips include the royal residence of Windsor, the Royal Naval Dockyards in Portsmouth, the Roman city of Bath, Harry Potter World, the medieval city of Canterbury, and the architecturally stunning Blenheim Palace. The visit programme varies according to the date and age group of your course but we aim to give every student a varied and exciting cultural programme.

    How much spare time will I have?

    You’ll be expected to spend a few hours each day preparing for tutorials and seminars. There are plenty of organised (optional as well as programmed) activities most days. This still leaves ample time to explore. Giving you the freedom to choose when to work and when to relax is part of the university experience, and key to our ethos at Oxford Summer Courses. Have a look at our example weekly timetables for a clearer idea.

    How long is the day?

    Apart from Sundays, when there is a more relaxed programme, the day will start between 7.15 and 8am. Our younger students are settled in their bedrooms by between 9.30 and 10.30pm at night. The daily programme is a busy one, and there is registration at least twice a day. Our 13-24 year olds should expect to do quite a lot of walking because lessons, tutorials and seminars are not always in the same place as the accommodation. You will also want to make the most of the chances to explore the city you are staying in!

    When should I arrive? And leave?

    Students must arrive on Sunday afternoons. Rooms will generally not be accessible before 2pm so aim to arrive between 1 and 4pm. When it is time to leave on Saturday, you will need to hand back your room key by 10am and, generally, leave the site by 12.30pm. Your first meal will be on the Sunday evening of your arrival day, and your last meal with us will be breakfast on your departure day. Please note, we cannot accommodate students outside of their course dates, unless students are participating in consecutive courses with us.

    Students staying with us for four weeks or more

    Students staying with us for more than one course will be catered for throughout the changeover weekend. This includes all accommodation, transport between cities if courses are in different locations, meals (including lunches for our 9-15 year olds), and an additional excursion or activity on the Saturday. On the Sunday, students will join the new course and meet their new student cohort.

    Must I stay in the accommodation?

    Our courses in Oxford, Cambridge and for our 9-12 year olds are all residential; we do not provide non residential options. The London course has a residential and a non residential option.

    What’s different about being non-residential on the London course?

    Only where you sleep! If you choose to join our London course as a non residential student, then you will participate in the full range of programmed activities. This will mean, meeting at the London accommodation site at 08:30 am each weekday (weekends will have different timings), and leaving the accommodation at the end of the day’s programme (up to c.10 pm). It’s really important that you can adhere to these timings, so that you get the full experience of your course, integrate fully into the group, and – vitally – so that we can account for you and your safety at all times.

    Will I be able to launder my clothes?

    Yes, each college has its own laundry facility and students will have access. You may have to provide your own washing powder and conditioner, and some machines are coin operated. Our 9-12s have free access to washing machines and our pastoral staff will help our younger students if they need it.

    Can I be accommodated in a room next to my friend?

    We will take your request into consideration, but we can’t guarantee it.

    Will there be internet access?

    Yes – you’ll have access to WiFi networks that function not only all around the College and in your rooms, but also throughout the city!

    How are meals organised?

    We’ll serve you breakfast in college every morning, and will find a variety of places for evening meals so you can experience some of our cities’ many culinary hotspots. In both Oxford and Cambridge, Friday evening for our 13-24 year olds is a highlight of the week because that’s our three-course banquet in one of the college halls. London students, and 16+ in Oxford and Cambridge, buy their own lunches from the wide variety of options available in these cities. Sunday is a relaxed day in the programme when a brunch or a later breakfast is generally served. All lunches are provided for our students aged 15 and under.

    How much of my own money will I need during a two-week course?

  • For 18-24 year olds we recommend that £300 will cover additional expenses, including lunches, souvenirs and free time
  • For 16-17 year olds, we recommend £250
  • For 13-15 year olds, £200
  • 9-12 year olds will not need any more than £50 for a week
  • We do not limit what students can bring with them but 16+ ages will be expected to look after their own money. 9-12s will have their money secured for them.

    You may want to consider a pre-paid debit card, such as Revolut. The International Student Identity Card can also be useful during your time in the UK, providing discounts in various places. There are other pre-paid debit card options such as WeSwap and TransferWise.

    Will you take my photograph?

    We will have trained staff on-site to capture footage and images during your stay. You will be given a chance to opt out of this if you want.

    Can my parents stay with me?

    There are plenty of suitable accommodation options nearby if parents want to stay locally; accommodation included in the programme is solely for the students.

    If my parents stay nearby, will I have time to see them?

    Yes, there will be occasional afternoons when we are very happy for you to catch up with your parents, but this will need to be arranged beforehand so it doesn’t affect your studies.

    What should I bring with me?

    Our outline list is:

    Documents (essential)

  • Your passport, which we will check when you arrive
  • Travel documents including travel insurance and medical insurance
  • Clothing

  • Enough suitable clothing: English weather can be hot or cold, wet or dry, even in the summer, so be sure to bring at least some warm and waterproof clothing.
  • A smarter outfit for the formal meals on each Friday (we suggest trousers and a shirt, or a dress/skirt) (Ox/Cam)
  • Sports clothing and trainers
  • Swimming kit (swimming trunks/costume) (9-12)
  • A bathrobe or dressing gown and slippers, if you like
  • Equipment

  • A mobile phone
  • A laptop or tablet (13+ students)
  • Any chargers you need
  • An adapter for UK plug sockets
  • We will send you this information again before the start of your course.

    Who are the pastoral staff?

    This is our fantastic team of people, drawn from all over Oxford, Cambridge, London and further, who are dedicated to looking after you and your well being, and making sure that you get the most out of your course. There is someone in charge of the whole site, and they have a team of leaders and helpers who will look after groups of students. They are all trained in working with young people. Not only are the pastoral teams around whenever you aren’t in an academic session, some of them are subject specialists in their own right, and will bring their expertise to subject specific workshops and expand your academic experience.

    Can you book my flights and airport transfers?

    We don’t book flights for our students although we do offer an airport transfer service each way to all our UK locations. This costs £100 each way, and can be booked closer to your course start date.

    I want my child to travel with an airline using their Unaccompanied Minors service – who will the airline hand my child over to?

    All of our staff waiting at Heathrow Airport will carry proof of identity and an official letter from Oxford Summer Courses confirming their role in the collection of students arriving into the UK. We will have a full manifest of all students we are to meet at the airport, and which of these are in the care of an airline. This is information which parents/guardians will provide to us in the weeks running up to the course, when they make their request for our airport transfer service. If your airline requires a specifically named individual when you book their Unaccompanied Minors service, please provide the following details:

    Hannah Kedward, Airport Transfer Manager


    Oxford Summer Courses, 18 Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2NA, United Kingdom

    +44 (0)1865 818403

    How do Airport Transfers work?

    These are required for unaccompanied 9-12 year olds and are optional for all our other students. The cost is £100 each way and you can book this when you confirm your travel arrangements with us, a month before your course begins. We provide an airport transfer service from and to London Heathrow and can get you to and from London, Cambridge, Oxford and Wycombe Abbey.

    You should aim to land at Heathrow between 9am and 3pm (preferably Terminal 5) so that we can get you to your course in time for the important first introductions. We can cater for earlier and later arrivals but only by prior arrangement. All departure times can be catered for although you should take into account that all courses end at 10am and you need to have left the college site by midday of your final Saturday.

    Do you arrange visas and insurance?

    We do not arrange travel insurance, medical insurance or visas. Oxford Summer Courses is accredited by the British Accreditation Council as a short course provider, so please apply for a Short-term Study Visa. You must provide proof of the course you’re studying on official headed paper, stating the course’s name, duration and cost (including the accommodation element). Oxford Summer Courses will issue this to you on receipt of your payment.

    If you are under 18 you need to provide additional documents where the following are true:

  • You are travelling on your own
  • You are travelling with someone who isn’t your parent or guardian
  • Your parent or guardian needs to provide both their:

  • Written consent for you to travel to the UK, and
  • Full contact details
  • For full details please use the UK Visa Government website. Should you have any further queries please contact us.

    Will I be covered by medical insurance?

    Each student is responsible for their own medical insurance policy, and we require that you get one before joining us. Please take a look at our terms and conditions for more information. If you choose to join your course without it, you will be able to buy one online as part of the arrivals process at your College.

    If I have to cancel, how much will you refund?

    If you’ve been accepted on to Oxford Summer Courses, any refund will be limited to recoverable costs. We won’t be able to refund the initial deposit. The specific details can be found in our terms and conditions.

    I have special requirements (medical, learning, dietary, accessibility). Can I still come?

    We can cater for any dietary specifications (religious or health). All other requirements are dealt with on a case by case so please contact us and we will make every effort for you to be able to attend. We will capture all essential detail about you in our information form, sent to you before you join us on your course. Once you have submitted your dietary requirements, please note that amendments can only be made for medical reasons.

    What happens if I get sick during the course?

    We hope that you don’t get ill but sometimes it happens. Every non UK/EU national student must have private medical insurance before they can be allowed to begin the programme. If you do get ill, our staff will make sure that you can access appropriate medical services to diagnose and treat you. We do our best to maintain your academic programme, and may reallocate time with your teacher or your tutor once you are feeling better. The pastoral team will make sure that you are looked after properly whilst you are poorly. If you choose to end your course early because of an illness, we are unable to refund you the cost of your course. You may be insured for the course costs and/or any emergency travel through your holiday/travel insurance.

    What measures do you take to care for the safety of all students?

    We have robust policies around safety and risk and we have very carefully constructed processes around:

  • The way we accommodate our students
  • Training our tutors and pastoral teams
  • Our staff to student ratios
  • We have a team trained specifically in child safeguarding and also in supporting the social and emotional needs of young people. Our staff are DBS checked, which is the UK government safeguarding body. We take our approach extremely seriously and recognise the weight of responsibility we have to our students, staff and partners. Please note that we will securely hold passports for all under 18 year olds, for the duration of their course, which is also necessary in case of a hospital admission.

    How will you use my data?

    From the 25th May 2018 we – and our College partners – have been compliant with a new UK Data Protection Bill based on the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

    We ask you for information about you to help us process your application and to make sure that we can cater for your requirements. We pass on relevant data such as dietary requirements, names and ages to our College partners. We abide by UK and EU law when data is required by authorities, although this will be on a case by case basis.

    For our compliance, you must confirm to us that you give consent for us to use your data in this way so that you can attend our courses. We will not hold personal information about you beyond October of the year you attend the course. You can confirm to us that you are happy for us to use your contact details in the future to tell you about our products. You can also tell us not to use this information in which case we will delete your contact details.

    You can read more about data protection in our privacy policy.