Humanities

Newnham College Subject Taster Days

Inside Newnham CollegeNewnham is one of Cambridge's women's colleges, along with Murray Edwards and Lucy Cavendish (for women aged 21 and over).

Newnham College Subject Taster Days are opportunities for young women in Year 12 to visit the college for a day, to participate in a range of academic sessions introducing them to university study, and to hear all about the admissions process to the University of Cambridge. Students also have the opportunity to meet and talk to current undergraduates in their chosen subject. There is no payment for the day and lunch will be provided free of charge, however students should arrange their own transport to and from the event.

  •    Biological Sciences - 8 March
  •    English - 23 March
  •    STEM Subjects - 7 April
  •    Archaeology - 8 April
  •    Classics - 11 April
  •    History - 14 April

The deadline to submit an application form is noon on Wednesday 24 February.

Date posted: 

Thursday 18 February 2016

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Music Taster Day

Keyboard of a pianoCredit: Austin Kirk

The Music Taster Day provides prospective year 12 students with a taste of what life as a Music student at the University of Cambridge would be like. Students will  experience the teaching methods used by university academics and gain an insight into the facilities available at the Faculty of Music, whilst meeting students from across the UK. Days include a sample lecture, a tour of a college, a practical session and a talk including a Q and A session with current undergraduates.

The event will take place on Thursday 17 March 2016, and the day will run between 10.00am and 3.30pm.

The deadline for applications is Friday 26th February.

Date posted: 

Monday 15 February 2016

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Christ's College Taster Days

A view inside Christ's college, cambridgeInside Christ's College, Cambridge

Christ's College are offering a one-day Taster Day in Law taking place on Tuesday 15th March 2016, and a one-day Taster Day in History & Politics on Monday 14th March.

The programme will include two lectures by Christ's Fellows (or other academics) designed to inspire and enthuse Year 12 students who are hoping to apply for a place to study at Cambridge or other top universities starting in the autumn of 2017. The Taster Day runs from 10.30am – 3.30pm and will also include a talk by the Admissions Tutor (with advice on preparing a Cambridge application), lunch, a tour of the College and the opportunity to meet current students. There is no cost to attend these events. Taster Days are open to UK students currently in year 12 who are attending State school and who will be applying to Universities for 2017 entry. Students must be nominated by their schools, with no more than two nominations per subject, per school.

The closing day for applications is 22 February.

Date posted: 

Friday 12 February 2016

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Thomas Campion English Prize

An Archway in Peterhouse CollegePeterhouse is setting some more interesting questions for Year 12  students to discuss for its Thomas Campion English Prize.

Students are asked to write an essay on one of nine given questions, focussing on one or two literary texts that they haven't studied at school before.

Here are just a few of the questions:

“The novel, which is a work of art, exists, not by its resemblances to life, which are forced and material, as a shoe must still consist of leather, but by its immeasurable difference from life, which is designed and significant, and is both the method and the meaning of the work”. (Robert Louis Stevenson).
Do you agree?

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness”. (Beckett). Discuss.

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all”. (Wilde).
Do you agree?

'The poet's voice is not the voice of the person who happens to be the poet.' What is it then?

The full list of questions and details of the competition are available on the Peterhouse website in the Thomas Campion English Prize pdf, and please also read the details of eligibility of the Peterhouse essay prizes. The deadline is 14 March 2016. Best of luck to those who choose to explore these questions, whether just for curiosity or to enter the competition!

Date posted: 

Tuesday 2 February 2016

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How did you choose your course?

Student reading in the Library

Reading in King's Library: what would you be studying?

In a panel session with undergraduates from Leeds and Sheffield universities, one of you asked about how they chose their course. This is a very good question to ask when you meet current students! Here are some responses from Cambridge undergraduates who enjoyed History at school....though you'll notice that not all of them chose the course called History!

At school, I always enjoyed and did well at essay subjects like History and English. I was just never that excited about maths or science lessons, and I never imagined studying those subjects for longer than I had to.[...] I went to lots of Open Days at various universities around the UK when I was in Year 12. It was the talks about studying History that I found really exciting and which made me want to learn more.[...] I thought that Cambridge was a beautiful place and also small enough that I wouldn’t get lost! When I came for a Cambridge Open Day, I went to a talk about studying History here. Several lecturers spoke to us about the course and the material we could study here, and I was surprised at the different kinds of things I could choose to study. Some areas didn’t interest me at all at first, but some lecturers were so enthusiastic about their specialist areas that I couldn’t help but be interested. Apart from anything else, the talk was really useful in terms of practical information, helping me to understand how the course would be structured, what kind of options were available, and even how to go about studying History at university level. I definitely recommend going to these sorts of talks on Open Days, because even simple information like how many lectures you’d expect to be given, and how you’ll be assessed, can help you decide whether it’s the right subject or university for you.
- Fiona, History (more from Fiona)

I discovered Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic (ASNC) while flicking through the Cambridge prospectus. It’s one of the University’s lesser-known degrees, so I hadn’t seen it online before. The wonderful images of artefacts and the obscure topics in the prospectus entry had me instantly hooked, and I immediately wanted to find out more about the course. I had originally intended to study History at Cambridge, and to specialise in this period, but as soon as I saw ASNC I knew straight away that it was for me! After some further research, it was the small size of the faculty and the total freedom that the course offers from the first year that drew me to it.
- Tom, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (more from Tom)

I chose to study History because it is a subject which I really enjoyed. I definitely think studying something at university that you enjoy is the best idea; you will be spending a lot of time on it!
- Marie, History (more from Marie)

The breadth of my degree is what first drew me to it; the opportunity to continue to explore history and literature and languages all together. Learning ancient languages has always felt a little bit magical for me, like you’re accessing some arcane wisdom, and breaking a code at the same time. Being able to study a culture in its entirety, to track its changes, to read its language, to explore its philosophy, just opens up a whole world of exploration of big ideas about human history and identity, whilst also allowing you to really get to grips with the nitty-gritty textual analysis and specific ideas.
- Qasim, Classics (more from Qasim)

In lower sixth I realised that the one thing that united my A level subjects was the theme of 'religion' and I realised that a Theology degree at Cambridge would enable me to pursue my interest in literature and History while focusing on a core interest of mine, namely religion.
- Eliot, Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion (more from Eliot)

At college I took A-levels in History, English Literature and French. I originally thought that I wanted to study English at university, but as I went through my AS year I realised that History was really where my interest lay, and as I researched university courses I saw how appealing the breadth of material to study as part of a History degree was. Not only did I like the course at Cambridge, but I also knew that I would be being taught by the leading historians in the field.
- Sarah, History (more from Sarah)

Date posted: 

Thursday 28 January 2016

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Oxford and Cambridge Classics Conference for Sixth Formers

Statue from the museum of classical archaeology

On 18 March 2016, together with colleagues at Oxford, the Cambridge Classics Faculty will be holding the joint Oxford and Cambridge Classics Conference for Sixth Formers.

This year, this will take place at Cambridge. The day provides an opportunity to hear a range of university-style Classics lectures, to find out more about the Classics courses at the two Universities, student life, and the admissions process, and to ask any questions you have.

Full information and a booking form is available on the Classics the Greeks, the Romans and us website.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 27 January 2016

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Hull University public lecture: The death and reinvention of Scotland 1750 - 1850

Credit: David Wilson

On 29 January, Professor Sir Tom Devine, OBE, one of Scotland's most acclaimed historians, is giving a public lecture at the University of Hull on The death and reinvention of Scotland 1750 - 1850.

The lecture starts at 6pm and will last an hour. It will take place at Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, 27 High St, City of Kingston upon Hull, Hull, North Humberside HU1 1NE, United Kingdom (map). For further details, please scroll down this page.

A programme of public lectures at the University of Hull is available.

Date posted: 

Sunday 24 January 2016

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Vellacott Essay Prize (Year 12)

Peterhouse is setting some interesting questions for Year 12  students to discuss (with reference to any academic discipline or area of interest) for its annual Vellacott Essay Prize.

Students are asked to choose a topic that you have not previously studied at school from the 41 questions, which include a wide range of historical topics, also touching on a number of other subject areas, such as Classics, Theology, Art, Literature, Music, Politics, Architecture and Sociology. Here are some examples of the questions set:

  • Should Classical Sparta be described as a totalitarian state?
  • Was there a 'Third-Century Crisis' in the Roman Empire?
  • When did the Middle Ages begin and end?
  • What were the public functions of art in the Italian Renaissance?
  • Why was Machiavelli's book The Prince so controversial?
  • How and to what effect did the political ideology and practice of Islam change after 1750?
  • What music was popular in nineteenth-century Europe?
  • What did the revolutions of 1848 achieve?
  • To what extent did the First World War signal the rise of a new politcs accross the MIddle East?
  • Discuss the historical significance of one of the following places or buildings: Route 66; The IBM Watson Research Center; the MCG; Reading gaol; The "walkie-talkie".

The full list of questions and details of the competition are available on the Peterhouse website in the Vellacott Prize information pdf, and please also read the details of eligibility and the history of the Peterhouse essay prizes. The deadline is 14 March 2016.Good luck to those who choose to explore some of these topics, whether just for curiosity or to develop an essay and enter the competition!

Date posted: 

Tuesday 19 January 2016

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Year 12 Summer Schools

Bodley's Court lawn

Applications are open for the Year 12 Sutton Trust Summer Schools in Cambridge! These are very popular subject-specific residentials in July and August for eligible students in Year 12 (or equivalent) at state-maintained schools in the UK.  The programme includes lectures, seminars, discussion groups, practical work and social activities, as well as the opportunity to meet current staff and students and to live in a Cambridge College. The residentials are free of charge.

The Sutton Trust Summer Schools provide a very useful insight into what it is like to study at Cambridge so do apply for a place if you are curious to find out about studying at Cambridge and don't have much information about this already. Equally, please be aware that we receive far more applications than we have places available. It is important to read:

For full information and booking, please go to the Cambridge Admissions website. The application deadline is 11 March 2016. Good luck!

In more general terms, you may also find the King's page about applying with limited support or advice helpful.

Date posted: 

Monday 18 January 2016

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Oxford and Cambridge Year 12 Student Conferences around the UK

Students in a College

Student conferences are a good opportunity to find out more from subject specialists, students and admissions staff

Bookings are open for the 2016 Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, which will take place in Swansea, Birmingham, Merseyside, Newcastle, Lisburn, Edinburgh and Surrey during March.

The conference covers courses available at Oxford and Cambridge (sessions led by subject specialists), Applying to Oxford and Cambridge (including student life) talks, and plenty of opportunities to chat with current students and admissions staff at both universities and find out what studying at Oxford and Cambridge is really like. You will need a teacher to book a ticket for you if you would like to attend - do read the information on the Oxford and Cambridge Student Conference website and ask a teacher to book your place (see the links to the different events on the right-hand side of the webpage linked above).

tracking our migratory birds to Africa and back

Date posted: 

Tuesday 5 January 2016

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