FAQs – UK residential courses

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

No. We’d like to make it very clear that we’re not affiliated to any. But, 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.

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.

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 accomodate 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 use your personal statement and the subject you select on application to make sure your course can be tailored to your interests.

What is included in the price of the course?

For students aged 10-12

  • All teaching, in class sizes of 15 or less
  • All meals
  • All cultural activities in the local area and further afield

For students aged 13-15

  • All teaching, including small group seminars (8 students or less) and workshops
  • Accommodation and breakfast every day
  • Lunch (apart from Sundays and day trips)
  • All evening meals including those at local restaurants
  • A three-course college banquet on Friday evening
  • All cultural activities in your city and further afield

For students aged 16-17 and 18-24

  • All teaching, including tutorials (1 or 2 students) and small group seminars (8 students or less)
  • Accommodation and breakfast every day
  • All evening meals including those at local restaurants
  • A three-course college banquet on Friday evening
  • All cultural activities in your city and further afield
The price does not include flights, our transfer service or medical/travel insurance.

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.  10-12s 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 can’t guarantee catering for specific accommodation requests, but will do what we can.

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.

Will I need a laptop/tablet to study?

Students are encouraged to bring their own laptop if they have one and if it is easy to pack (make sure that you bring the right charger).  It is possible to complete all of our courses without a laptop or similar device, apart from Computer Science. Oxford Summer Courses does not provide laptops and is not responsible for the safety and security of your hardware, however, all students have access to a lockable space.

Can my parents stay with me?

No, accommodation including in the programme is solely for the students.  However, there are plenty of suitable accommodation options nearby if parents want to stay locally.

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?

We will send you a welcome pack about 6 weeks before the start of your course which will include lots more detail for you, including what to bring for your classes, activities, day trips and social time.

Can you book my flights and airport transfers?

We don’t book flights for our students although we do offer an airport transfer service from Heathrow at £100 each way to Cambridge, London, Oxford and Wycombe Abbey.  Unaccompanied 10-12 year olds must use this airport transfer service.

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, 16-17 Turl Street, Oxford, OX1 3DH, United Kingdom
+44 (0)1865 818403

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.

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, or
  • 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.

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.

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 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 timetable (link) for a clearer idea.

How are meals organised?

We’ll serve you breakfast in college every morning, and will find a variety of places for evening meals Monday to Thursday 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. We provide lunch for our 13-15 year olds apart from on day trips when you will be able to buy your own from the variety of places on offer, and on Sunday which is a relaxed day in the programme when a brunch or a later breakfast is served to you in college. All lunches are provided for our 10-12 year olds.

How long is the day?

Apart from Sundays, when there is a more relaxed programme, the day will start between 7.15 and 8am. All of our students aged between 13 and 17 are settled in their bedrooms by between 10 and 10.30pm at night. 10-12 year olds have an earlier bedtime. 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!

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!

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 (link).

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.

Is there a minimum academic standard?

Our tutors can give first-rate tutorials to students of all abilities. All we ask is you 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 Professors?

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 10-12 and 13-15 age groups 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 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. There is access to a school nurse for minor injuries and illnesses.  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.

How will you use my data?

From the 25th May 2018 we – and our College partners – will be 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.

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

Our 16-17 and 18-24 students will be taught through the highly effective seminar and tutorial method. During seminars (6 hours per week) 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 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 seven hours. The success of seminars and tutorials, and your own understanding of your subject, hinge on your ability for self-directed learning. For the 10-12 and 13-15 age groups, you will have taught lessons, projects and practical sessions which will be led every morning or afternoon by your teacher. You will see your teacher for approximately 3-4 hours per day, whilst your remaining time will involve skills workshops, trips and study time. 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.

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 palace 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.

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 hard-earned break from your academic work and might include tie-dying, 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.

How do Airport Transfers work?

These are required for unaccompanied 10-12 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; please talk to us if you have any questions. 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.

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

We can’t guarantee catering for specific accommodation requests, but will do what we can. Please note that the deadline for accommodation/rooming request is 30th April 2018. After this date due to operational reasons, it is no longer possible.