Cambridge Philosophy Summer School
Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. How do we perceive the world around us? Is the world really as we see it? How should we behave in society, and are their rules outside of the law that govern our behaviour? Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, everything we understand to be connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, the mind, and language. Philosophy is a subject that is centred on discussion and debate. During the Cambridge Immerse Philosophy Summer Programme you will have the opportunity to do just that!
Summer Philosophy Courses at Cambridge University
Though not many secondary school students realise, philosophy permeates many fields in the humanities and social sciences. The Immerse Philosophy summer course in Cambridge allows you to gain an insight into what university Philosophy is like: from the introduction of new material, to writing good essays, to forming and defending an argument.
For many high school students, the study of Philosophy at university is new and potentially daunting. By enrolling in the Cambridge Immerse Philosophy course, you will not only be introduced to themes and areas of philosophical discussion but also to the theories of famous philosophers who have contributed to the discussion. In addition, whatever your current ability-level whether you have studied philosophy at school or you are a complete beginner, the small class sizes our Philosophy summer course will ensure you will be both challenged and supported in carefully planned classes that emulate the unique Oxbridge system of tutor-student engagement and debate.
The Cambridge Immerse Philosophy course is perfect for those who wish to learn more about the fascinating topics that can be found in an undergraduate Philosophy course. The course introduces students to topics and debates that will not only spur intellectual curiosity, but assist in preparing to study the discipline at leading universities.
The best part is for students who want to study philosophy at university, this summer philosophy course does not require that students have any prior knowledge of Philosophy.
What will I study during the Cambridge Philosophy Summer School?
Can we know anything with certainty? What does being a human being mean?
Two important questions that the Immerse Philosophy Summer School at Cambridge will take steps to answer. Each day students will explore one topic as well as one author or philosophical school who arrived at seminal and far-reaching insights into the day’s topic. Each author will be presented and discussed in the political and intellectual context. The two week philosophy summer programme as a whole will provide a rough outline of the history of Western philosophy. For a student interested in studying philosophy at university this is the ideal introduction to studying philosophy at a higher level.
The Cambridge Immerse Philosophy programme provides students with a solid grounding in the key tenets of the academic study of Philosophy. By studying the works of history’s most renowned philosophers – from Plato and Aristotle to Wittgenstein, Nietzsche – participants will develop a finer understanding of the workings of logic and reason, how arguments are built in order to establish conclusions, and how such conclusions can be questioned.
The course introduces students to the world of analytical philosophy, providing insights into the four main subdivisions: namely logic, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Our expert tutors expect students to tackle the most fundamental philosophical questions, encouraging debate and the exchange of ideas with other students. By the end of the course, participants will have gained important skills in clear thinking, argument and communication, and superior knowledge of the main arguments and concepts of modern analytic philosophy.
What is our soul? How should we care for our soul so that it can be both virtuous and happy. Socrates (470/469 – 399 BCE) was not interested in the physical world surrounding us. His concern was rather our human nature. Socrates continually looked for a definition of goodness, justice and all the other virtues. This topic will explore how Socrates searched for answers to his questions and how he was continually let down by the “wise men” that surrounded him. Through the works of Socrates’ pupil, Plato, the philosophy summer school will attempt to understand the untraditional methods of thought that are sometimes considered to be the birthplace of philosophical enquiry.
What advice can Montaigne give us about how to find happiness? During the Cambridge Immerse Philosophy summer school we will examine Montaigne’s theory of teaching and how it was revolutionary at the time. Montaigne viewed pleasure as the primary human incentive, and freedom of thought as the final goal of any noble education. Unlike many philosophers of the Middle Ages, Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) could certainly not be accused of following slavishly the views of his predecessors and together the summer school in philosophy will investigate how he derided the views of earlier philosophers. Montaigne deduced a pessimistic portrait of the entire human condition: ‘Man, in good earnest, is a marvellous vain, fickle, and unstable subject’. In the philosophy academic sessions, you will get the chance to decide how closely you ascribe to that view.
Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) belonged to that group of thinkers who believed that the existence of God cannot be rationally demonstrated. According to him the errors of philosophers like Descartes and Locke, and the reason why they so often contradict each other, stemmed from their lack of awareness about the way the human mind actually works and how it comes to knowledge in the first place. During the Cambridge Immerse Philosophy Summer course, you will also see how Kant brought about a cultural movement, the European Enlightenment, which is often considered the first stage of Modernity. Together we will discover, what being modern really means.
What seems more philosophical than a discussion of liberty and equality? Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) proclaimed what was to become the first principle of the Declaration of Human Rights: ‘Men are born and remain free and equal in rights’. At the Cambridge Immerse Philosophy Summer Course, we will try to understand how the study of Philosophy continued to change during the enlightenment period and how Rousseau fitted into a changing France!
What are the benefits of enrolling our pre-university Philosophy summer course?
For many high school students, the study of philosophy at university is completely new as it is not widely offered on school curriculums. The Philosophy Summer Course in Cambridge allows you to gain an insight in what university Philosophy is like by giving students a good grounding in the topics that would be covered during a top university philosophy degree.
Furthermore, the skills acquired during a Philosophy course are vital to success at school, at university, and at work. The Immerse Philosophy summer course teaches students how to think, how to analyse information, and how to form a clear and logical argument. The course will introduce new material and instill students with the skills necessary to form and develop their own opinions and arguments. The Immerse philosophy Summer School will give student the opportunity to improve their essay writing and engage in debate – an essential skill for students interested in studying Philosophy at university.
The Immerse Philosophy Summer Programme at Cambridge is beneficial for students who want to study a variety of different subjects at university: Law, Politics, International Relations, because the key skills acquired are valuable for these degrees too!
By enrolling in the Cambridge Immerse philosophy course, you will be giving yourself the opportunity to learn first-hand what the study philosophy at university involves. In addition, whatever your current level of ability – whether you have studied philosophy at school or not, the small class sizes our philosophy summer course will ensure you will be both challenged and supported in carefully planned classes that emulate the unique Oxbridge system of tutor-student engagement and debate.
Quick philosophy summer course facts and stats:
- Maximum tutorial size: 12 students
- Oxbridge style teaching from university tutors
- University preparation workshops
- Inclusive of excursions
- Reside in a central University of Cambridge college
- 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
Our academic summer programmes offer students the option to choose to study one of 16 diverse subjects, from the arts to the sciences. All of our courses are designed and taught by current or past tutors at Cambridge University who have experience regularly teaching undergraduates. So whether you are interested in Philosophy or Medicine, Computer Science or Creative Writing, or something completely different, experience a unique taster course of what it’s like to study a subject at university level with an exceptional academic programme created and delivered by world-class tutors.
The Cambridge Immerse recruitment process is vigorous to ensure that every single of our tutors is engaging, supportive and passionate, with the drive to ignite a similar passion in the students. Cambridge Immerse’s mission is to provide students from across the world with a unique and unforgettable academic experiences. Our Cambridge summer programmes aim to inspire our participants and to excite them about their subject! We also strive to challenge our participants and stretch them academically, as we prepare them for what life will be like at a top university.
Our philosophy is that each of our participants should feel challenged with interesting academic concepts, whilst our tutors create a welcoming and supportive environment in which our participants thrive.
During the academic sessions at Cambridge Immerse, participants will be encouraged to explore and discuss advanced (and interesting!) topics in carefully planned classes that are designed to emulate the unique Oxbridge system of tutor-student engagement and debate. The aim of this approach is to allow students to develop skills that go beyond simply the learning of facts, but rather to interact with the material in a way that will stimulate academic thought and curiosity. These skills are vital for success in higher education. Participants in our Cambridge summer programmes tackle challenging and interesting academic topics that not only further academic passions but also develops themselves as a student and as an individual.
Programmes that we offer include:
Throughout the summer programme, the Cambridge Immerse tutors will monitor student engagement with the topics that they have been taught. Once the programme has finished, the tutor will write a Participant Assessment that will evaluate how the participant responded to the materials they were introduced to, what progress they made during the sessions, and offer recommendations on how to most effectively advance participant's understanding and interest in the topics that have been explored. We strongly believe that our Participant Assessments are crucial element of the learning process, and reflective of our commitment to the highest standards of education.
Cambridge Immerse is committed to ensuring that students feel confident when applying for university. In order to support students in their pre-university journey, the Cambridge Immerse summer programme contains a University Application Preparation series including workshops, consultations, and mock tests. Below is an example of what students can expect.
Interview Skills Workshops (Optional)
Interviews are required as a part of the admissions process at leading universities. What makes a great interview? During the Cambridge Immerse Interview Skills Workshops, students will gain an insight into what a university interview might look like and enable them to better understand how to respond to challenging academic questions and articulate their viewpoints in a pressured environment. These workshops focus upon instilling participants with confidence and the intellectual tenacity required to tackle some of the key questions that might be asked during interview. University interviews are nerve-wracking for prospective university applicants, it is our aim to support students during their interview preparation and equip them with the skills required throughout - thinking, processing, and responding. For many of our participants, the opportunity to hone their interview technique has been a highlight of the programme.
The Interview Skills workshops are included within the programme fee, though attendance is optional.
Personal Statement Consultations (Optional)
Personal statements form the basis of any strong university application - an opportunity for applicants to position their achievements and ambitions in the best possible light. During their time in Cambridge, students will have the opportunity to develop drafts of their personal statements required for access to all UK universities and many others around the world. The Cambridge Immerse mentor team, who are all currently studying at Cambridge University, are on hand to provide students with one-to-one consultations, offering guidance on how students can best express their interest in a particular subject. The aim of these individual consultations is for students to craft a compelling personal statement that showcases their achievements and interest in a subject
The Personal Statement consultations are included within the programme fee, though attendance is optional.
Certain subjects, such as Medicine and Law, require that prospective applicants to UK universities complete an aptitude test such as the LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law) , BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test), UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test). Optional sessions provide participants of Cambridge Immerse with guidance and insights into the best practices for preparing for these tests.
Cambridge is a unique and historic city and with that comes a unique set of cultural experiences. During your time at Cambridge Immerse, students delve into the exciting and often fascinating spectrum of cultural activities available in Cambridge. Furthermore it is our mission to give students a glimpse into life at university, and so our academic programme is balanced with a vibrant and engaging extracurricular programme. Not only will you discover and further your academic interests, activities and excursions planned throughout the programme will give students the opportunity to socialise with like-minded peers from across the world. The activities on offer will often be completely new, exciting and typically Cambridge. Students will learn more about Cambridge, about their fellow students and, hopefully, about themselves.
A variety of activities are organised as part of the programme. Participants can enjoy:
- An afternoon in the sun punting down the River Cam, a quintessential Cambridge affair.
- A visit to Oxford, the home of Cambridge University’s arch ‘rival’.
- Formal dining in Cambridge’s famous medieval banquet halls; a Hogwarts experience.
Visit our activities page to view the full range of subjects that we offer.
The Cambridge Immerse schedule is packed with a wide range of unique academic and extracurricular activities.
Participants start off the day with breakfast in the main college dining hall, with a variety of continental and hot breakfast choices available. This is followed by the first academic session of the day, which takes place in a seminar or lecture format. Participants are then guided to lunch at some of Cambridge’s finest sandwich bars and cafés, and are welcome to explore the city in small groups. Following lunch, academic sessions continue in the format of small tutorial groups or workshops. After all the core academic sessions are finished, students are treated to one of a wide range of excursions and cultural activities, including punting, museum visits and sports activities. A three course dinner in the college dining hall is then followed by an evening social event to help participants wind down and socialise after a packed day..
The timetable shown to the side offers an insight into the typical daily schedule, although this may vary depending on the events planned on the given day.
Unrivalled support system
Cambridge Immerse prides itself on providing a supportive and approachable learning and living environment where participants can flourish. Participants are looked after by the Cambridge Immerse Mentors and Onsite Programme Manager.
Our mentor team is comprised of friendly, specially trained graduates and undergraduates from Cambridge University or Oxford University, who help our participants quickly settle into the programme. The mentors have first hand experience with a variety of academic and non-academic issues and are therefore in the best position to offer friendly, confidential one-to-one advice. It’s an unrivalled support network that we’re incredibly proud of. Mentors have studied a range of disciplines, allowing them to share their own insights and experiences of their academic careers. Each participant is also assigned a mentor, all of whom are enthusiastic to help participants to help create a ‘home away from home’. It’s an unrivalled support network that we’re incredibly proud of.
Each Cambridge Immerse Campus has an onsite Programme Manager who manages the onsite Mentor Team and oversees the organisation and execution of academic classes and social activities. The Programme Manager is an experienced individual who will be there to answer any queries participants or parents might have.
One of the most special elements about the programme, is the ability for students to truly immerse themselves in Cambridge student life by staying in a Cambridge University college during the summer. Cambridge Immerse takes place in four of Cambridge University’s most stunning and historic centrally located colleges: Queens’ College, Sidney Sussex College, Christ’s College and St Catharine’s College.
On each of the Cambridge University college sites, participant stay in single bedrooms, all of which are equipped with high speed internet access. These are the actual accommodation that Cambridge University undergraduates reside in during term time! Corridors or staircases separate students by gender, and bathrooms are either en-suite or shared between just a few participants of the same gender. The wellbeing of our participants is one of our primary concerns, and the college site is secured and monitored 24/7, not only by Cambridge Immerse staff, but also by the college staff themselves.
Visit our ‘Campus’ page for further information.
Travel Information: The fee for Cambridge Immerse is not inclusive of travel to Cambridge. There are several transport options available, including arriving in Cambridge by rail, coach or flight. Please contact us if you need assistance planning your journey to Cambridge.
For international participants, we arrange a shared airport transfer service from London Heathrow Airport to Cambridge. Dedicated staff members meet the participants at the airport terminal of their arrival. Participants are able to book this service once they have secured their place on the programme.
Medical and Dietary Requirements: We are able to cater for most dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, nut allergies, halal, kosher); please do not hesitate to contact us if you are unsure if we can cater for your dietary requirements. Breakfast and evening meals are included in Cambridge Immerse, and participants are expected to make their own provisions for lunch at various delicious eateries around Cambridge.
Other information: Students must be aged between 16-18 at the time of attendance to Cambridge Immerse. Students are expected to be fluent / near-fluent in English.
Participate in 2018
Cambridge Immerse is a residential summer course consisting of outstanding academic classes, excellent skills workshops and exciting extracurricular activities in the historic university city of Cambridge. Cambridge Immerse runs in the following 2 week sessions:
- Session 1: 8th July - 21st July 2018
- Session 2: 22nd July – 4th August 2018
- Session 3: 5th August – 18th August 2018
We would be happy to assist you if you have any questions prior to booking your place. For the fastest response to your enquiry, please email:
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