There are an abundance of excellent reasons to sign yourself up for a summer school experience this year: you might want to travel and immerse yourself in British culture, fine-tune your English language skills in a real-life setting, make international friends, have fun (always a fantastic reason!), or stand out from the crowd and add something special to your university application for a top UK university.
However, one of the best reasons we hear again and again is the ability to study something a little unusual. Of course you can study mathematics, history or biology at your own school, and some schools are a little more progressive, offering law, engineering or politics. All brilliant subjects. But what if you’re interested in going off-piste and studying something very niche or even a little wacky? That’s where summer school comes in: it’s an exceptional opportunity to try out a subject not offered at typical high schools, either in preparation for pursuing it at degree level at university (university is a huge time and financial commitment; it’s important to make sure you’ve chosen the right subject!), or because you want to specialise further within your career. Or perhaps, as an adult learner, you simply want to immerse yourself further in a niche subject you’re passionate about, guided by Oxbridge professors and subject experts who are considered leading figures in their fields.
With a little digging (don’t worry; we’ve already done it for you!), you’ll find some thrilling and unusual subjects available to study this summer. Discover what caused some of the greatest protest movements ever, from Spartacus to #MeToo, in The History of Protest, slip behind the scenes to examine the techniques of the world’s most famous secret services agencies such as the CIA, MI5, and MI6 in Espionage, or marvel at your insignificant place in the universe in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Learn the arts of acting, singing, dancing, stage-combat and even puppetry from West End professionals in The Show Must Go On, or investigate Brexit, Trumpism and Black Lives Matter in PPE: Globalisation, Populism and Identity.
Intrigued? Check out our essential guide to the most unusual summer subjects for 2023 for teens and adults, located in Oxford, Cambridge, London and other exciting locations. Register today!
Oxbridge Academic Programs definitely dominates the ‘unusual subjects’ sphere. Founded in 1986, Oxbridge Academic offers over 150 different specialised courses for the intellectually-curious that have been specifically designed to be taught experientially through discussion and debate, whilst utilising the extraordinary cities in which they take place.
With courses running at the most prestigious institutions located in Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Barcelona and New York, students pick two subjects; a major and a minor. For courses located in Paris and Barcelona, choose whether to learn entirely in English, or in French or Spanish, whilst learning about French or Spanish fashion, cuisine, art history or even marine biology! In New York, choose Sports Business and discover the inner workings of the $65 billion dollar global sports business, with a focus on American sports including the NFL and NBA.
Here are some of Oxbridge Academic’s most awe-inspiring courses for summer 2023, available to book now…
Fancy yourself as the next Luther? Explore individual and social theories of crime, philosophies of punishment, criminal profiling and forensic science through workshops, debates and visits to police stations and criminal courts to see real-life justice in action. Consider the causes of crime and issues of race and gender within the context of the British and American criminal justice systems. Learn more >>
Blend politics with history and slip inside the secrecy-shrouded world of espionage with this intriguing course, located at Cambridge University – where none other than James Bond himself studied! Examine the techniques of the world’s most infamous secret services, including the KGB, the CIA, MI5 and MI6, and investigate the ethics and challenges of intelligence operations in terms of international cooperation and conflict. Learn more >>
Ask the biggest questions fathomable on this jaw-dropping course: How did it all begin, and what is our place in the universe? What is time, and will it ever come to an end? All aboard on this amazing journey through space, with topics including the Big Bang, galaxy formation, the history of our own solar system, orbital mechanics, and string theory. Learn more >>
For the Dolittles and animal lovers: discover the spectacular diversity of animals and their behaviour! Explore molecular biology, natural selection, animal communication, theories of instinct and innate behaviour, imprinting, predation, protection, and behavioural development. Complement your studies with visits to nature trails and Cambridge University’s Museum of Zoology. Learn more >>
Get some serious bragging rights among your friends for, quite literally, studying ‘rocket science’! Explore aerodynamics, electronics, mechanics, operations systems, statistics, and thermodynamics, and go through every stage in the creation of your very own rocket, including aerodynamic profiling, engine sizing, and structural design. Learn more >>
Not for the squeamish, welcome to the fast-evolving world of Forensic Science! Get inside the popular tv shows and, by examining toxicology, fingerprints and DNA samples, learn how modern crime scenes are searched and how evidence is used to sort legal fact from criminal fiction. Learn more >>
Speak truth to power! Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines history and sociology, discover what caused some of the greatest protest movements in the world, from Spartacus to #MeToo, as well as how the protest has evolved over the ages and what factors determine its success or failure. Learn more >>
Other Unusual Summer Courses for 2023
All over the world, women are creating, designing, and innovating to create an equitable future – join them! A brilliant new course for ambitious and motivated females who want to realise their full potential and get ahead academically and in their future careers, this multi-disciplinary exploration of leadership encompasses a range of subjects at university level, including STEM, entrepreneurship, business and politics. You’ll receive expert coaching and mentoring from leading industry figures and develop your leadership, emotional intelligence and adaptability skills. Learn more >>
Expand your imagination and develop your creative identity on this fabulous performing arts course, taught by successful West End professionals at King’s College London. Receive expert tuition in acting, singing, dancing, stage-combat and puppetry. Outside of class, watch a West End show and explore vibrant London’s theatres and art galleries – you’ll be based on-campus just a five minute walk from Covent Garden, home of the West End show! Learn more >>
An unusual and of-the-moment take on politics and the more traditional ‘PPE’, this course explores the most significant political phenomena of our time through the process of globalisation. It examines some of the responses to globalisation, including populist political movements such as Brexit and Trumpism, as well social movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring of 2011. Learn more >>
Want to get behind the scenes at Glasto? Try a course in contemporary music and audio production! Understand the increasingly influential role music technology plays in music production and learn the skills and techniques needed to succeed as a top music producer or to start your own record label. Located at St Edward’s School, a prestigious boarding school in Oxford, you’ll enjoy full access to a state-of-the-art music centre and recording studio. Learn more >>
A unique opportunity to examine a wide range of British literature from various genres and periods through the lens of gender and sexuality. Explore themes of womanhood, sexuality and maternity in Romanticism and the Gothic through works such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as well as censorship and homosexuality in 20th century British literature, and queer literature in contemporary Britain, looking at Mary Jean Chan and Hanif Kureishi. Learn more >>
With historic English estates, homes and gardens as your classroom, step back in time and explore art and architecture as you analyse the social, political and economic contexts of the country house through over 500 years of English history and culture. Learn more >>
Who doesn’t want their own robot? Combining the creative with the technical, learn what roles robots might have in the business, defence and entertainment industries in the future and construct your very own robot! If you’re fascinated by robotics, machine learning, AI and the future of technology – this course is for you. Learn more >>
Ready to take the plunge and do something remarkable this summer? Check out our full list of exciting summer courses for kids, teens and adults and register here!