Take a look at what our students have to say about the Biology programme
Overview of course
- Maximum tutorial size: 12 students
- Oxbridge style teaching
- University preparation workshops
- Inclusive of excursions
- Reside in a central University of Cambridge college
- Classes designed and taught by University tutors
- Dedicated university and subject specific advice
- A variety of carefully planned skills workshops
- Inclusive of all excursions and extracurriculars
- Diverse range of international participants
- Participant Assessment
- Certificate of Participation
This programme is available during all three Cambridge Immerse sessions in 2018
- Session 1: 8th July – 21st July 2018
- Session 2: 22nd July – 4th August 2018
- Session 3: 5th August – 18th August 2018
Cambridge Immerse is a unique two week residential educational experience with a diverse and enriching curriculum, designed and taught by Cambridge University and Oxford University tutors. Tutorials and seminars are taught by experts in an optimal learning environment that stimulates academic enquiry; yet the carefully planned schedule ensures that the programme not only meets the academic needs of the participants, but also provides a unique insight into the university city through an abundance of extracurricular activities.
The Cambridge Immerse Biology course is both challenging and engaging, with students learning in small groups to ensure that each student’s needs are addressed. In addition to covering material that is studied at the A-level and IB-level, students are also taught advanced university-level topics in a way that is approachable and easy to understand.
In addition to consolidating students’ existing understanding of Biology, the course introduces students to more advanced topics and debates that will not only spur intellectual curiosity, but will also assist in preparing to study the discipline at university level.
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Academic Content & Learning Objectives
Study of the biological sciences includes a diverse and exciting range of topics, from cellular structure to genetics, and even to whole ecosystems. The discoveries scientists make about life processes are crucial to tackle challenges to human welfare and environmental protection. The Cambridge Immerse programme is a unique opportunity to explore fascinating topics within Biological Sciences, to debate recent scientific advances and the potential interactions of Biology with other disciplines.
To equip participants with valuable critical thinking skills, the syllabus also examines the past and current debates occurring within the discipline, exploring the concepts of the philosophy of science and Darwin’s theory of evolution – which has been a historical point of contention between scientists and religion. The syllabus also considers the controversial contributions of leading biologists, including the eminent Professor Dawkins, one of the world’s leading scientists and author of ‘The God Delusion’, amongst others, and to learn and debate the current assertions within the field.
The Cambridge Immerse Biology curriculum also includes undertaking a group project. This project, which is completed during the programme, enables participants to develop their research skills by exploring specific fields of interest, culminating in an assessed presentation to the programme tutor(s).
A diverse range of topics are explored during the programme, and a sample of previous topics that have been explored can be viewed by clicking on the boxes below:
This topic explores the scientific debate surrounding what constitutes ‘life’, and how biologists have attempted to define life. Students consider some of the most novel and fascinating ideas of how life is thought to have originated, and examine the ‘RNA world hypothesis’ and its problems. The variety of life and the classification into a hierarchy of taxa is also explored, leading to consideration of the two basic types of cells where students are taught the essential differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and consider how different parts of a cell can by studied by the technique of Cell Fractionation.
DNA is one of the most fascinating and ‘relevant’ topics in the Biological Sciences. This topic initially considers the experimental evidence surrounding DNA and subsequently explores some of the key structural features of DNA. Building upon this foundation, a more advanced discussion reveals how the double helical structure is stabilised, and students learn the meaning of the terms DNA denaturation and renaturation, and the importance of complementary base-pairing. Students will learn about the universality of semiconservative replication and look into the experiment that confirmed this mode of replication as opposed to a conservative or disruptive manner. Additionally, students learn about some of the proteins involved in DNA replication and consider how information encoded in DNA is transcribed and translated by consideration of the genetic code and RNA molecules. This is followed by an introduction to Recombinant DNA technology, learning how DNA can be amplified in the lab by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Almost all organisms show behavioural and biochemical oscillations over a 24 hour period. These rhythms are known to be evolutionarily conserved and help to synchronise biological activity with the environment of the rotating Earth. Students learn that true circadian rhythms display several key common characteristics; they are free-running in that they persist in constant conditions and are entrainable (can be re-set as when, for example, we change time zones) and are independent of temperature (temperature compensated). How do these rhythms in biological activity arise? This topic will provide an introduction to the molecular mechanisms that drive circadian timing, specifically considering the transcription-translation feedback loop model. Additionally, students explore whether an understanding of the circadian clock could have implications for health and treatment of disease states.
Attending Cambridge Immerse has taught me invaluable lessons that go beyond the framework of classroom learning. I feel that after two weeks I have developed both intellectually and as a person in general, a result of the rapid pace of teaching and the fantastically motivated group of peers I learned alongside. – Sophie, United Kingdom