Year 11

The Subject Matters open for booking

stack of books

Credit: Alberto G.

The Subject Matters is an event for Year 10 and 11 students, run by the University of Cambridge each autumn. Practical and informative sessions will highlight the importance of suitable A Level (or equivalent) subject choices when making an application to a selective, research-led university, and help students access information to make informed A Level choices. In addition, students are provided with information about the University of Cambridge, higher education and career opportunities as well as an overview of the application process and next steps. All sessions are delivered by Admissions Tutors and students have the opportunity to ask questions.

When will the sessions be held?

The Subject Matters sessions will take place in Cambridge on the following dates:

  •     Saturday 15 October 2016 AM
  •     Saturday 15 October 2016 PM
  •     Friday 28 October 2016 PM
  •     Saturday 29 October 2016 AM
  •     Saturday 29 October 2016 PM
  •     Saturday 12 November 2016 AM
  •     Saturday 12 November 2016 PM

How do I make a booking?

To book your place please use the online booking form.

 

Posted: 25 September 2016

Year 10 & 11 Languages Taster Day

Girton College

Girton College. Credit: Mihnea Maftei

If you enjoy learning languages and are in Year 10 or Year 11, do pass this on to your teacher:

Girton College, Cambridge invites schools and colleges in the UK to nominate up to two students currently in Year 10 or 11 for a Taster Day in Modern Languages on 21 October. Nominations are open until 21st September.

The programme includes:

• An introduction to studying languages at university
• Culture and Language workshops by University academics
• Question and answer sessions with Admissions Tutors and current undergraduates

See the full information and nomination form on Girton College website.

Posted: 15 September 2016

Year 11 Lesser Spotted Sciences Day

Oxford University is inviting Year 11 (final year of GCSE) students to a "Lesser-Spotted Sciences Day". The day draws together science subjects from Oxford's Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences Division and beyond, that aren't commonly taught in schools. It's a great opportunity to explore the range of science that you can study at university.

Forr full information and booking please see Oxford University website

Tags:

Posted: 5 September 2016

What's it really like to study Geography?

Posted: 30 August 2016

Subject Choices - thinking about your options

pen and paper Credit: Shawn Campbell

If you’ve just received your GCSE results – congratulations! If you haven't started thinking seriously about what subjects to take at A level or IB, now is a good time to look at your options.

Some courses at university require certain subjects at A level or IB (or an equivalent qualification) and so it’s worth thinking about what kind of course you might apply for, and even just whether you’re more interested in the sciences, humanities or the arts – or a combination of these!

Maybe you’re not sure at this stage what broader area you might want to study, or even what kinds of courses are on offer? King’s has put together some advice on choosing your subjects.

We also offer advice for students taking the International Baccalaureate on choosing subjects.

Posted: 26 August 2016

What's it really like to study History?

Abdulla

The latest King's student perspectives piece is written by Abdulla, who has just finished his first year studying History here at King's.

King's Student Perspectives: History

It includes topics such as:

For more student perspectives written by students studying a range of subjects, see the King's Student Perspectives page.

Posted: 25 August 2016

Scrambled Eggs Podcasts

podcast page

Scrambled Eggs is a series of podcasts aimed at helping Year 11 and 12 students to explore their subjects and think about what they'd like to study at University. These are ten to fifteen minute discussions with university academics, many of them professors from the University of Oxford. Here are just a few:

Click here for the full list of podcasts.

Posted: 25 August 2016

The Economics of Austerity

interview with ha-joon chang

Dr Ha-Joon Chang, from Cambridge University's Faculty of Economics, interviewed with Owen Wilson recently for The Guardian. Dr Chang discusses the Conservative party's austerity programme, arguing that austerity is a ‘self-defeating strategy’ and an attempt to undermine the welfare state. The Cambridge professor also talks about inequality, asking whether the UK has ‘socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor’. You can watch the full interview here.

Posted: 24 August 2016

What's it like to study Linguistics?

Posted: 24 August 2016

What's it like to study History?

Students in a supervision

The latest King's Student Perspectives piece is written by Joel, who has just finished his first year studying History here at King's:

In his account, Joel writes about the History course, how the teaching works, how he found the transition from school to university, and the social life in Cambridge.

Posted: 22 August 2016

What's it like to study Geography?

Adam

The latest King's Student Perspectives piece is written by Adam, who has just finished his first year studying Geography here at King's:

In his account, Adam writes about the Geography course, how supervisions work, how he found the application process, what he likes to do when he's not working and the social life in King's.

Posted: 17 August 2016

Science and the Olympics

simone biles

Simone Biles competing in gymnastics. Credit: Agência Brasil Fotografias

As the Olympic Games in Rio continue, there are a whole host of articles coming up in the news and in journals discussing the events - and in particular, the science behind the games.

Here are just a few we've found:

Posted: 12 August 2016

Shakespeare - Where to start?

shakespeare first folio

Shakespeare's First Folio. Credit: ptwo

All students studying English at Cambridge take a paper (a module) on Shakespeare in their first or second year, but it can be daunting deciding where to begin with 38 plays and over a hundred poems to be getting on with!

You might like to start by looking back at what you’ve already covered. Many students have studied at least one of Shakespeare’s Tragedies at school (Macbeth, King Lear or Hamlet might be familiar?) or one the Comedies (Much Ado about Nothing or Twelfth Night?). You may even have approached a play that fits more problematically into both of or between these categories, such as The Tempest or The Merchant of Venice.

But have you ever read, or seen performed, one of the History plays? Or read some of Shakespeare's sonnets? Reading or watching one the poems or plays you've never come across before can be a good (and fun!) place to start. You can find all of Shakespeare's works online on Open Source Shakespeare or Shakespeare Online.

And then, why not check out Radio Four’s programme on Shakespeare and Literary Criticism?

Posted: 11 August 2016

What's it really like to study Human, Social and Political Sciences?

Posted: 22 July 2016

What's it like to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic?

Posted: 21 July 2016

Want to visit Cambridge during the summer?

King's

Prospective students are always welcome to visit

Remember that you are welcome to visit any time, even if there's not an official open day on.

  • If you would like to look around a college, it is best to introduce yourself at the porters' lodge (the reception). Porters are normally happy for prospective students to walk around the public areas and will give you any maps / information available. There's also a map of Cambridge, which shows where the colleges are. You'll see that the middle of Cambridge is quite small, so you will be able to walk between most colleges easily.
  • If you would like to visit King's, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge when you arrive. The college will be open to prospective students and we have a self-guided tour that you can use.
  • You may like to visit on a day when we're running an informal meeting for prospective students. Do email us with your name and the subject you are interested in if you would like to book a place one one of these meetings.
  • There are some great museums and teaching collections which you might like to explore, most of which are free to visit. Or you might like to check the 'what's on' list for the day you are visiting - there are often talks and exhibitions on, as well as the Shakespeare Festival.

Posted: 20 July 2016

Cambridge Shakespeare Festival 2016

Fellows Garden

King's College Gardens

The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival takes place in July and August, with eight plays performed outside in some of the beautiful College gardens. Do see the website for full details.

11 July - 30 July 2016:

Character from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Credit: Cambridge Shakespeare Festival

1 - 20 August 2016:

1 - 27 August 2016:

Posted: 19 July 2016

How is Britain Changing?

london central

Credit: Pedro Szekely

The competition for the Young Geographer of the Year Award provides students with the opportunity to explore geographical change from many different perspectives, at both local and national scales.

To enter, sixth form students must produce a 1500 word essay. Entries which illustrate how students have collected and used data from a variety of sources, including the collection of first-hand data through fieldwork, are encouraged. You can find full information, including details for how younger students can enter, on the entry form.

The deadline for all entries is 9:00 Friday 14 October 2016.

Posted: 15 June 2016

The Charles Darwin Papers

primate skeleton in the museum of zoologyThe University's Museum of Zoology holds some specimens from Darwin's famous voyage on the Beagle

Credit: Andrew Griffin

The Charles Darwin Papers in Cambridge University Library hold nearly the entire existing collection of Darwin’s working scientific papers. Among these documents are Charles Darwin’s Evolution Manuscripts, his papers on the transmutation of species. Using these notebooks, annotations, and portfolios, Darwin wrote the nine of his fifteen books that set down, enlarged and defended the theory of evolution by natural selection. You can find the papers online at the Darwin Manuscripts Project.

The Darwin Correspondence Project also holds online resources for students, including a Darwin Timeline showing the key moments in Darwin's life and what was happening in Britain at the time, plus a series of audio clips and videos on Darwin's work. For example, the Face of Emotion series discusses Darwin’s work on expression in the context of current research in artificial intelligence, autism, and neuroscience. You can even try Darwin's Emotion Experiment for yourself here.

Posted: 12 May 2016

Inside Dyson's new engineering centre at Cambridge University

The Dyson Centre for Engineering Design opens today at Cambridge University, a new building that has been constructed with a £8m grant from the Dyson Foundation. The Centre will provide the space for 1,200 engineers to build prototypes, test, and collaborate on projects. The Centre provides:

  • Modern rapid prototyping hardware such as 3D printers, and materials for rapid 3D printing and 2D cutting
  • A range of hands‐on and interactive aids demonstrating new engineering concepts
  • Interactive apparatus to familiarise and offer experiences of engineering concepts giving students knowledge and confidence to invent and innovate their own designs and creations
  • Machine tools including lathes and milling machines
  • More equipment to come

The undergraduate space is already a hive of activity, with students creating models on the new 3D printers, using the new laser cutters, and even making their own parts in the machine tooling area. You can read more about the Centre in this article or find out about studying Engineering at King's.

Posted: 9 May 2016

What is it like to be a King's mathematician?

Corridor party

A corridor party in the Keynes accommodation

We hope that you are enjoying the new accounts in the King's Student Perspectives series. We now have a new one for Maths as well - Ellen has very kindly shared her experiences as a second year Maths student at King's.

Ellen's account includes (amongst other things):

If you are interested in applying for maths and you want to find out more about STEP papers after reading this account, do have a look at our Maths page, and in particular the resources section, which has some useful links for STEP Exams.

Posted: 29 April 2016

Topical news debate

Question time panel

Can you think of a recent news story that has particularly interested you or got you thinking? Or one that has caused a lot of controversy?

You might be interested in the weekly Question Time programmes on BBC 1, with topical discussion and debate chaired by David Dimbleby. This week's programme was filmed in Hull and the panellists were Conservative communities secretary Greg Clark, Labour's shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, former leader of the SNP Alex Salmond, former director of the Centre for Policy Studies Jill Kirby, and hedge fund manager and chairman of the ARK chain of academies Paul Marshall.

Who do you agree / disagree with?

International Students: unfortunately you can't access BBC iplayer outside the UK, however there is an equivalent Radio 4 programme which you should be able to access on BBC iplayer Radio called Any Questions (and Any Answers)

Posted: 28 April 2016

Free Taster Day in Latin and Classics

Latin text

Credit: Dan Diffendale

Have you ever tried learning Latin? Do you want to give it a go? The Classics Faculty is holding a Latin Taster Day on Saturday 18 June 2016 so that you can explore learning Latin for the first time, with language classes and a lecture on the Ancient World.

As the Classics course at Cambridge has a four-year option for students who are studying Latin for the first time, this is a very good opportunity to get a sense of whether Classics is for you.

All school-age students are welcome. The day is free to attend, please bring a packed lunch, and there are a limited number of hardship travel bursaries available. Please see the further information and booking.

Posted: 26 April 2016

What is it really like to study Engineering?

Fraser

Many thanks, Fraser!

We're pleased to introduce the latest King's Student Perspectives piece, which is written by Fraser, a first year studying Engineering:

King's Student Perspectives: Engineering

Fraser's account gives a detailed insight into his experiences on the Engineering course, as well as College life in general and his thoughts about the application process. It includes topics such as:
 

For more student perspectives written by students studying a range of subjects, see the King's Student Perspectives page.

Posted: 25 April 2016

Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon avonThe Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Credit: Phil Dolby

You may have read in the news recently that 23 April 2016 marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

On last week's BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live, Edward Wilson-Lee (Faculty of English) and Victoria Bartels (Faculty of History) contributed to the commemorations of the death of Shakespeare.

The BBC Shakespeare Festival has lots more TV & Radio programmes coming up, as well as articles on historical performances, and Much Ado Near Me, which features regional Shakespeare resources, including clips and articles for Newcastle, York and the Tees.

There are also upcoming events in and around London as part of Shakespeare400, a season of cultural and artistic events throughout the year celebrating Shakespeare's creative achievement and his profound influence on culture across the centuries. Events include theatre, music, opera, dance, and exhibitions. Some highlights:

Posted: 24 April 2016

What is it really like to study HSPS at King's?

Punting

The latest King's Student Perspectives piece is written by Ceylon, who is studying Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) here at King's:

In her account, Ceylon writes about why she chose the course, what  the teaching is like, the workload and what she likes to do when she is not working, the social life in King's and College families, where and how she likes to do her work, and her thoughts on admissions interviews.

Posted: 21 April 2016

Join The Conversation

models hugging each other Read about the science of hugs. Credit: Meg Cheng

The Conversation is an online source of news and views from the academic and research community. Their aim is to allow for a better understanding of current affairs and complex issues - so that conversations are started!

Here are a few recent articles by subject:

Posted: 12 April 2016

Tom's account - guess the subject!

Question mark

Credit: Leimenide

Tom is from rural Lincolnshire and has written a detailed King's Student Perspectives account about studying at King's. But which course do you think he is describing below?

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 ?????? 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.

The best thing about studying ????? is that it’s an intellectually stimulating experience. The course is enjoyable in its own right – the system of lectures,
translation classes and supervisions, along with the ready availability of relevant books, means that you can pursue the interests you have in mind when applying to the full. You’ll never find yourself with nothing to do – and this is not necessarily a bad thing! ????? material is interesting and it will always keep you on your toes, which makes for a challenging but enjoyable lifestyle.

You can find out  what Tom's course is and how he as found it in his Student Perspective, and you might like to ask yourself some questions about the material in his course, find out more, and even come along to an open day on 22 June.

Posted: 2 April 2016

11 April - Physics talk in Oxford

Are you interested in Physics? Do you live near Oxford?

  • Talk: Investigating the origins of magnetic fields using the largest laser on Earth
  • Speaker: Dr Jena Meinecke
  • Date: 11 Apr 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Venue: Martin Wood Complex, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PU
  • Audience: General public (Age 14+)
  • Further information and booking: Oxford University Physics Department website

Posted: 1 April 2016

Cambridge Literary Festival

bookart at the cup bookshopBook art at the CUP bookshop

Every Spring and Winter, Cambridge Literary Festival takes place in venues around the city centre, engaging with the newest fiction, cutting edge commentary and science, children's events and lots more. This year, the festival will run from 5-14 April 2016. Events require booking, and all student tickets are £6. Highlights include:

  • 07 April - Louis de Bernieres - Author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and The Dust that Falls from Dreams dicusses his life and work.
  • 09 April - Akala - Hip-Hop Shakespeare demonstrates the similarities between hip-hop and the work of the much-loved bard.
  • 09 April - Irvine Welsh - Author of Trainspotting discusses his new novel, The Blade Artist.
  • 10 April - Charlotte Harman - Biographer of Charlotte Brontë: A Life.
  • 10 April - Faber New Poets -  Showcasing the talents of new poets: Elaine Beckett, Crispin Best, Sam Buchan-Watts and Rachel Curzon.
  • 10 April - Simon Callow - discusses Orson Welles: One Man Band, the third volume of this epic biography.

There are more events listed on the full schedule.

Posted: 7 March 2016

Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein’s prediction

An international team of scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

The gravitational waves were detected on 14 September 2015 by both LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) detectors in Louisiana and Washington State in the US. They originated from two black holes, each around 30 times the mass of the Sun and located more than 1.3 billion light years from Earth, coalescing to form a single, even more massive black hole.

You can read the full article here.

These findings will be discussed at next month's Cambridge Science Festival during the open afternoon at the Institute of Astronomy.

Posted: 12 February 2016

21st Century Challenges

Disgarded plastic bottle

Credit: Kate Ter Haar

If you are interested in current environmental, social and economic issues, do look at the Royal Geography Society's 21st Century Challenges website, which brings together expert opinion, facts, videos and interviews and shows the importance of geographical research and approaches to key issues.

See, for example, this section on plastic pollution in the ocean - were you aware of the facts included in this page? What do you think of David de Rothschild's approach? What questions do you think are the most important when discussing plastic pollution?

Posted: 6 February 2016

What does it look like? Virtual tours!

A supervision with two students

A supervision in an academic's room in King's - lots of books!

Increasingly, UK universities are offering virtual tours so that prospective students who can't visit have the opportunity to look around.

If you are thinking about studying at Cambridge University, you may have read about the Cambridge Colleges where students live, socialise and have subject supervisions in small groups with an academic, but sometimes we know that it can be hard to imagine what they look like if you've not had a chance to visit.

Students by a bicycle rack

At King's, we have virtual tours so that you can look around the grounds, the College library and our Chapel. In each case, you can use the 'navigate' button in the top left of the screen to move from place to place. You may also find our map and facilities section useful.

Newnham College

Newnham College. Credit: Steve Cadman (cropped)

You may also want to look inside some of the other Cambridge Colleges. Thanks to Google Streetview, you can look inside: Trinity Hall, Newnham College, Queens' College, Gonville & Caius College, and St John's College. In each case once you are on Googlemaps, you need to look out for the yellow man in the bottom right corner of the screen, and drag and drop him onto the map where the College is in order to look inside.

Fitzwilliam College

Fitzwilliam College. Credit: Alvin Leong

Other Colleges have tours more like the King's ones, such as Selwyn College, Pembroke College, Fitzwilliam College, and Sidney Sussex College. Although there is much more to a College community than the buildings and gardens, sometimes liking how a College looks can be the thing that inspires you to find out more on the College websites.

As well as belonging one of the Colleges, all students at Cambridge also go to the relevant faculty for their course (there's a building for each subject), where you are taught in lectures and can use any labs, studios or equipment that is needed, as well as the specialist faculty library. In your faculty, you are taught with students from all of the Colleges who study the same subject as you, so it's also a good chance to meet more people who share your academic interests.

Foyer in the Music Faculty

Foyer in the Music Faculty

For example, in the Music Faculty, as well as lecture theatres and classrooms, the spaces and facilities include the entrance foyer, Music library and Concert Hall, which you can look at (click on the pictures at the bottom to change place).

Posted: 5 February 2016

Veterinary Medicine Open Day

The Department of Veterinary Medicine, perhaps surprisingly, has a long tradition of studying infectious diseases. Their work is wide-reaching, and combines leading experts in veterinary and biological sciences, public health and social sciences, ecology and wildlife health. - To find out more you can book a place on their open day (Bookings will open at 10.30am on Monday 8 February)

For more science events, do browse the Cambridge Science Festival programme. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

Posted: 29 January 2016

How did you choose your subject or course?

Protractors

Credit: Dean Hochman

I wouldn't say that I really chose to study Maths at any point. It was simply my best subject and the one I most enjoyed all through school, so naturally if I was going to go to university, I would apply to do maths.
- Josh, Mathematics (more from Josh)

I was ready to commit to science after enjoying it at school but wasn't ready to commit completely to physics, making the Natural Sciences Tripos perfect for me with its breadth.
- Jonny, Natural Sciences (more from Jonny)

I have been interested in people and how they think and behave since I was a small child. I had always seen it as an innate interest, and it wasn’t until I was in sixth form that I began to consider studying social sciences at university. I had never studied Psychology or any similar discipline as an academic subject before, but I realised that a lot of what I was reading, the things I chose to watch on television, and lectures, museums and events I went to had this common theme.
- Lucy, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (more from Lucy)

Signpost

Credit: Nick Page

Having decided that I wanted to take further the skills I enjoyed learning in the sciences and maths at school,I decided that Engineering was for me as it provides a more practical and real-world approach to learning than perhaps a ‘pure’ science would. [....] What attracted me to the Cambridge Engineering course was the relatively unique course structure, allowing me to study a wide range of engineering subjects in the first two years before choosing to specialise in the final two years.
- Mark, Engineering (more from Mark)

I didn’t always want to do medicine, like many people claim. [...] But I somehow started to look into [brain surgery] in Year 11. At first, I had no idea what was involved - I thought that I could take a course in neuroscience at university and then (with some training) be allowed to be a brain surgeon! But, the more I dug into the details, the more I realised that actually, things aren’t that simple. You need a medical degree, and have years of specialist training in hospitals afterwards before you can cut up someone’s skull and probe it with various instruments. And so that’s what inspired me to study medicine. Interestingly, I no longer want to be a brain surgeon as I’ve become interested in other areas of medicine, but brain surgery is important because it is what got me into medicine to begin with.
- Shedeh, Medicine (more from Shedeh)

The idea of being able to concentrate on my studies for three years like any other undergraduate immediately appealed. Firstly I would get to further my scientific curiosity before I became a “real” medic, which I hoped would teach me to think critically about every clinical procedure I would have to do, by evaluating its relevance and importance to the scientific community. Secondly, it could also lead to a much swifter entry into research, an alternative field I had been entertaining, if I decided that this was for me.
- Anne, Medicine (more from Anne)

Posted: 29 January 2016

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)

Posted: 28 January 2016

Reith Lectures on Black Holes (Stephen Hawking)

Each year the BBC invites leading speakers in different fields to deliver the Reith lectures, which are broadcast on Radio 4. The subject of this year's Reith Lectures is Black Holes and the speaker is Stephen Hawking. If you have not already caught them, you might enjoy the following Radio 4 broadcasts:

..and if you'd like to test your knowledge, do have a look at this quiz on black holes.

Information about accessing BBC iplayer content outside the UK: See this information and see the podcast download page.

NB. This is an example of a resource that can be accessed from lots of different places. We tag such posts with 'all locations'. If you live some way from Cambridge, clicking on the all locations page can be useful so that you filter out events in Cambridge and events in specific areas of the UK.

Posted: 27 January 2016

Computer Science at Cambridge Science Festival

Do browse the festival programme now. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

The programme has just been published for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from Monday 7 March to Sunday 20 March. Events which may be of interest to prospective Computer Science students include both talks and activities, and the opportunity to visit some of the University's facilties. Here are some examples:

Mon 7 - Happier and healthier - smartphones (15+, booking)
Tues 8 & Wed 9 - Historical letterpress printing (15+, booking)
Wed 9 - The intersection of society and technology (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - Turing's imitation game (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Be a Computer (12+, booking)
Sat 12 - Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine (12+, booking)
Sat 12 - Big data: the missing link (15+, booking)
Mon 14 - Data: how can cities become smarter? (15+, booking)
Mon 14 - Back to the future: computing history (12+, booking)

Bookings for the Cambridge Science Festival open on 8 February at 10:30am. Please see the Cambridge Science Festival website.

Posted: 25 January 2016

Physics at Cambridge Science Festival

Posted: 22 January 2016

Chemistry at Cambridge Science Festival

Test tubes

Do browse the festival programme now. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

The programme has just been published for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from Monday 7 March to Sunday 20 March. Events which may be of interest to prospective Chemistry students include both talks and activities, and the opportunity to visit some of the University's facilties. Here are some examples:

Mon 6 - Choral Evensong (all ages, booking)
Tue 8 - FameLab Cambridge final (15+, booking)
Tue 8 - Solar energy: past, present and future (15+, booking)
Tue 8 - SciBar Cambridge (15+, booking)
Wed 9 - Look what chemistry has done for me (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - Climate science (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - A sustainable future: finding your way (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - How proteins fold, my research career. (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Structural data and molecular design (all ages, booking)
Thurs 17 - Plants to drugs (12+, booking)

Bookings for the Cambridge Science Festival open on 8 February at 10:30am. Please see the Cambridge Science Festival website.

Posted: 22 January 2016

Biology and Medicine at the Cambridge Science Festival

Science Festival pin badges

Do browse the festival programme now. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

The programme has just been published for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from Monday 7 March to Sunday 20 March. Events which may be of interest to prospective students for Biology and Medicine include both talks and activities, and the opportunity to visit some of the University's facilties. Here are some examples:

Mon 7, Tue 8, Mon 14, Wed 16 -  Parasite (15+, booking)
Mon 7 - What Darwin did next (12+, booking)
Mon 7 - Artificial intelligence vs. the human brain (15+, booking)
Tues 8 - Organ transplantation: dilemmas (15+, booking)
Wed 9 - Pregnancy as a compromise (15+, booking)
Thus 10 - What population genetics can teach us (15+, booking)
Fri 11 - The brain: how we really make decisions (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Structural data and molecular design (all ages, drop in)
Sat 12 - What can a tiny nervous system do? (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Your primate relatives (8+, booking)
Sat 12 & Sun 13 - Biology challenges (all ages, drop in)
Sat 12 & Sun 13 - Cells in the know (all ages, drop in)
Sun 20 - Computing in molecular and cell biology (12+ booking)
Sun 20 - A real operating room (8+, booking)
Sun 20 - Using the immune system to fight cancer (12+, booking)
Sun 20 - Making new medicines for old diseases (12+, booking)
Sun 20 - Surgical simulation techniques (12+, booking)
Sun 20 - Brain injury and new technology (15+, booking)
Sun 20 - Pregnancy, diabetes and research (15+, booking)

Bookings for the Cambridge Science Festival open on 8 February at 10:30am. Please see the Cambridge Science Festival website.

Posted: 21 January 2016

Adlestrop by Edward Thomas

Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Edward Thomas

Pile of books

What makes a good poem about a place in your opinion?

Can you describe the tone of this poem and which parts of it (words, garmmar, topic etc) play the most important role in creating this for you? Once you have gathered your own thoughts, you might enjoy this brief discussion from Matthew Hollis.

Can you find another poem that mentions a specific place?

Posted: 21 January 2016

Durham: Find out about research in Antarctica

Durham

Keep an eye out for interesting local exhibitions and events!

There are a number of exhibitions and events at Palace Green Library, Durham University on the Polar Regions, focusing particularly on the discovery, exploration and ongoing work taking place in Antarctica.

You will find full details of the following events on the Palace Green Library website.

  • Exhibition: Antarctica: Exporers, Heroes, Scientists
  • Exhibition: With Scott to the Pole
  • Exhibition: Antarctic Witness
  • Exhibition: Antarctic Science Today
Antarctic peninsula

The Northern Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

As well as visiting the exhibitions, do take the opportunity to talk to scientists from Durham University's Department of Geography about research in Antarctica  and ask any questions that you have about what current research is happening and why this is important for our understanding of climate change - they will be available every Saturday at the 'Ask a Scientist' events (next event: Saturday 23 January 12 noon until 3pm).

There is also a talk on Antarctic Exploration on Wednesday 27 January 2016, using the Royal Geographical Society archives. NB. If you would like to find out about using archives in academic research, you may find the King's Introduction to Archives useful to look at in advance of this talk.

Posted: 21 January 2016

Competition: Communicating the Ancient World through film

Credit: Giovanni

The Faculty of Classics at Cambridge is well known for putting the Ancient World on screen. With Mary Beard, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, and others on the staff, Cambridge’s Classics academics are some of the most familiar faces on TV documentaries.

This new competition invites you to take part in this mission of communicating the Ancient World through film (YouTube, not BBC1 just yet!). We are looking for creative and interesting films which explore a classical object or topic in less than 4 minutes. There will be a prize fund of £500 for the best entries and the winning videos will be put on our unique website – The Greeks, The Romans & Us  – which features a range of videos of Cambridge’s well-known and up-and-coming Classicists.

How to take part

For full details, please see the Video Competition page on The Greeks, The Romans & Us website. The deadline for entries is 15 March 2016. Do send any questions about the competition to the Classics Faculty Schools Liaison Officer.

Good Luck and we look forward to watching your film!

Posted: 3 January 2016

Cambridge interviews

Supervision

Cambridge interviews are very similar to the supervisions that you have every week as a student here (see how you are taught).

If you apply to Cambridge, you send your UCAS application by the 15 October deadline (Cambridge and Oxford have an earlier deadline than for most UK universities), and most (though not all) applicants are invited for interviews, which take place in early December.

We don't suggest that you worry too much about the details of the application process when you're in Year 10, Year 11 or at this stage of Year 12, but it is useful to get a sense of what interviews are about (they are academic interviews). The important point to understand when looking at interviews, is that if you would like to study at Cambridge in the future, you may already be thinking about whether you can achieve the grades we require (see our entrance requirements), but it is equally important to enjoy your studies and explore and develop your academic interests

When you come for interview, we will be looking for intellectual ability, aptitude for the subject, curiosity and commitment. So the interviewers (specialists in the subejct you have applied for) ask a range of questions relating to the work or reading you have done, both at school and outside it. We we will encourage you to talk about your academic interests and ideas. We encourage you to watch this film about Cambridge interviews.

Posted: 18 November 2015

York - Exploring Light

Light bulbs

Credit: Faith Goble

How is light used in scientific research today?

On Saturday 31 October,  the University of York, The Institute of Physics, York Hackspace, Illuminating York and York Explore  are presenting a day of hands-on, fun activities and talks from artists and physicists focusing on light.

Posted: 20 October 2015

The Subject Matters

open book

For more information, see The Subject Matters

Each autumn, the University of Cambridge runs practical and informative sessions for Year 11 students. The events, called The Subject Matters, highlight the importance of suitable A Level (or equivalent) subject choices when making an application to a selective, research-led university, and help students access information to make informed A Level choices. In addition, students are provided with information about the University of Cambridge, higher education and career opportunities as well as an overview of the application process and next steps. All sessions are delivered by Admissions Tutors and students have the opportunity to ask questions.

When will the sessions be held?

The Subject Matters sessions will take place in Cambridge on the following dates:

  •     Saturday 17 October 2015
  •     Friday 30 October 2015
  •     Saturday 31 October 2015
  •     Saturday 7 November 2015

How do I make a booking?

To book your place please use the online booking form.

 

Posted: 5 October 2015

The Science of Life 2016

image of brain Credit: Allan Ajifo

The Science of Life is a competition inviting 16-19 year olds to design and complete their own physiology research project, with the help of an academic mentor, and present their findings to scientists at The Physiological Society. With the Olympics in 2016, they're particularly interested in projects on improving sports performance, although projects on any physiological topic are welcome.

Prizes
• Gold prize will be a Train Like a Champion Day at an English Institute of Sport centre, during which the winners will find out what makes a champion athlete and meet the people who support athletes, including physiologists, doctors and psychologists.
• Silver and Bronze prizes include a free visit to the Royal Veterinary College and £200 Amazon gift vouchers for the students.
• The winning schools will also receive some great prizes.

Students intending to take part in the competition must first register their project by 16 November 2015.

Posted: 30 September 2015

Ways into Shakespeare: Pocket Merchant

Shakespeare books on a shelf

Credit: Helder da Rocha (cropped)

Pocket Merchant is a one hour production which offers an inspiring introduction to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. If you're looking for a way into Shakespeare, do go along, and think of a question to ask the actors afterwards, as you'll have the chance to meet them.

  • NORWICH: Playhouse - Wed 30 Sept at 7.30pm and Thurs 1 Oct at 3pm.
  • BARNSLEY: The Civic Barnsley - Fri 2 October at 7.30pm
  • LUTON: Library Theatre - Tues 6 October at 1.30pm
  • CANTERBURY: The Gulbenkian - Wed 7 October at 1.30pm and 7.30pm
  • BRISTOL: Wickham Theatre- Wed 14 October at 7.30pm
  • HAVANT: The Spring -Thurs 15 October at 7.30pm
  • COVENTRY: The Belgrade - Mon 19 October at 2pm and 7pm
  • HARTLEPOOL: The Town Hall - Wed 21 October at 1pm and 7pm
  • DURHAM: The Gala Theatre - Thurs 22 October at 1pm and 7.30pm

For further information and booking please see the Pocket Merchant website.

Posted: 26 September 2015

Essay Writing - Where To Begin?

tapping a pencil on a black writing pad

Credit:Rennett Stowe
 

Getting those first words on the page when you’ve got an essay to write can seem daunting. There are a few useful tools and guides online that can help you get started and even develop your essay writing skills.

Essay Map is a very straightforward tool for mapping out your key ideas before you begin writing and helps you to create a structured plan from introduction to conclusion.

And if you find graphic plans useful when it comes to mapping out essays, there are lots of different designs online that you can use to organise your ideas.

For something more advanced, Harvard College Writing Centre provides various guides to essay writing. Their guides to writing in different academic disciplines are especially useful if you’re starting to study a subject in greater depth than you ever have before (History? Philosophy? English Literature?).

Posted: 25 September 2015

Modern Languages Taster Day - Girton College, Cambridge

works in neon lightsGirton College and the Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages will be running a Taster Day aimed at pupils who are currently studying Modern Languages at GCSE, aimed at introducing the study of these courses at university level. The programme, which will take place at Girton College, will include workshops by University academics designed to inspire and enthuse Year 10 and 11 students who will already be considering languages within their A Level choices and possibly studying this vibrant subject at university.

Please see this advert for more information and to complete the nomination form, which should be returned to: Schools Liaison Assistant, Girton College, Cambridge, CB3 0JG or by email to by Monday 21st September.

If you have any enquiries about the Taster Day, please do not hesitate to contact Erin at

Image: Chris JL

Posted: 16 September 2015

Year 12 Classics events in September

Classics group

Do you think that you would enjoy studying the Ancient World? Do read about Why Classics Matters and perhaps watch some of the films on the course website.

Jack says: It was the breadth of the Classics course at Cambridge that appealed to me, as it offered an opportunity to concentrate on areas of particular interest while still covering a huge range of academic disciplines and topics. Amber writes: I was always interested in literature and languages growing up. [...] I considered applying for English or Modern Languages at university, but eventually settled on Classics, and I’m very glad I did – I’ve really enjoyed the course. Read more about Jack and Amber's experiences of studying Classics.

Why not book a place on one of the Classics events in September to find out more?

....and don't forget: you don't need to have studied Latin or Greek before to apply! We have a four year course option as well as the three year course, so you can start from scratch if you like. 

Posted: 2 September 2015

King's students write about a typical day

Student with an inflatable boat

Do you want to know what it's like to be a student at King's? King's College Student Union (KCSU) is keen to help you out - they are collecting short accounts written by current students of what it is like to study here. Do look at A Day In The Life Of.... and click on the subject you're most interested in, or start with Scott's general description of life as a fresher.

Did you find this useful? Then do also look a our King's Student Perspectives section for more student writing.

Posted: 25 August 2015

A level or IB Subject Choices

Pete - Thinking about your options?

If you’ve just received your GCSE results – congratulations! If you haven't started thinking seriously about what subjects to take at A level or IB, now is a good time to look at your options.

Some courses at university require certain subjects at A level or IB (or an equivalent qualification) and so it’s worth thinking about what kinds of course you might apply to, and even just whether you’re more interested in the sciences, humanities or the arts – or a combination of these!

Maybe you’re not sure at this stage what broader area you might want to study, or even what kinds of courses are on offer? King’s has put together some advice on choosing your subjects.

We also offer advice for students taking the International Baccalaureate on choosing subjects.

Posted: 20 August 2015

Inside the Ethics Committee

Rod of Asclepius, symbol of Medicine, emblazoned 'first do no harm'First do no harm? Daniel K. Sokol, a barrister and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at King's College London, unpicks this aphorism in the BMJ. Image credit: Eden, Janine, and Jim

To study Medicine at Cambridge, you not only need to be a keen scientist, with a sound scientific understanding, but also have the potential to become a good doctor. The Clinical School believes that one of the key qualities of a Medical student is 'a sound appreciation of ethical, legal and community issues.'  BBC Radio 4's Inside the Ethics Committee gives you an insight into some of these issues.  In each programme, the presenter Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to wrestle with the ethics arising from a real-life medical case. In recent weeks, they've asked:

  • should a surgeon agree to a young woman's request to amputate her leg? (Thursday 16 July)
  • how far should a medical team go to prevent a young woman from ending her life? (Thursday 23 July)
  • is it ever ethical to withhold food and water in a child who is not dying? (Thursday 30 July)
  • should a medical team accept a teenager's choice to refuse chemo? (Thursday 6 August)

How would you wrestle with these dilemmas?

Posted: 6 August 2015

Do you live too far away to visit Cambridge?

The Vaults (King' s College Gym)

Different people need different facilities. This is one of the treadmills in the King's Vaults gym.

It is not unusual to make a successful application without ever having set foot in Cambridge. Don't worry if it is not practical for you to visit as there is no requirement to do so.

Since we welcome applicants who live a long way from Cambridge, we do our best to ensure that all the infomation that you need to make a strong application is on our website (see the relevant subject page and how to apply in particular), as well as virtual tours and the life and facilities sections so that you can get a sense of King's as a place:

We also have a dedicated page for if you don't feel very well supported for your application, and the student perspectives are particularly useful (if you read five or six of these, you'll have a very good sense of what studying at King's is like).

The University has made some films which you may also find useful:

Posted: 14 July 2015

Would you like to visit Cambridge during the summer?

King's

Prospective students are always welcome to visit

Remember that you are welcome to visit any time, even if there's not an official open day on.

  • If you would like to look around a college, it is best to introduce yourself at the porters' lodge (the reception). Porters are normally happy for prospective students to walk around the public areas and will give you any maps / information available. There's also a map of Cambridge, which shows where the colleges are. You'll see that the middle of Cambridge is quite small, so you will be able to walk between most colleges easily.
  • If you would like to visit King's, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge when you arrive. The college will be open to prospective students and we have a self-guided tour that you can use.
  • You may find the Following in the Footsteps audio tour useful for visiting other parts of the University. Cambridge University is made up of colleges, faculties (where you go for lectures), libraries (over 100 of them!) and offices dotted around the city, and following this tour will give you a good sense of how it all works.
  • There are also some great museums and teaching collections which you might like to explore, most of which are free to visit. Or you might like to check the 'what's on' list for the day you are visiting - there are often talks and exhibitions on, as well as the Shakespeare Festival.

Posted: 10 July 2015

What do Cambridge scientists read?

Middlemarch book cover

Credit: Chris Drumm

Do you enjoy literature and science? Are these interests compatible? Do you think that fictional works can be useful and interesting to scientists? Or is fiction too different to science?

As you think about these questions, here's a series of films in which Cambridge scientists talk about fictional texts that have inspired or helped them in various ways.

Novel Thoughts:

Article on the Novel Thoughts series.

Posted: 23 June 2015

FutureLearn

Basic Science: understanding numbers from the Open University is a four week course beginning on 6 July. The course explains how you can use numbers to describe the natural world and make sense of everything from atoms to oceans.

Here's an opportunity to explore and develop your academic interests this Summer, whatever your subject, wherever you live.

FutureLearn offers free online courses, developed by leading universities and cultural institutions. For example, beginning next week (29 June) you could explore Literature of the English Country House with the University of Sheffield, or deploy Real World Calculus with the University of Sheffield.

Posted: 23 June 2015

Isaac Physics Partnership - resources and events

The Isaac Physics Partnership provides resources to offer support and activities in physics problem-solving to students (and teachers) working from GCSE (Year 11), through sixth form (Years 12 & 13), and to university.
 

The partnership also runs free UK events (funded by the Department for Education) for AS and A2 Physics and Maths education. Here is a list of forthcoming events - do click on the links below for details and booking.

Posted: 12 June 2015

Introduction to Archives

Rupert Brooke in uniformRupert Brooke in uniform, at Blandford, Dorset. 1914. Archive Centre, King’s College, Cambridge. RCB/Ph/262

Why not access and use primary sources to explore and develop your academic interests this Summer?

King's College Archive Centre has developed an Introduction to Archives, using the papers of King's student and First World War poet Rupert Brooke as a case study.

The website is divided into two parts:

  1. Introduction to archives: What archives are, the key principles of archival research and how to access primary sources (sections 1-6).
  2. Rupert Brooke case study: How these ideas apply to the papers of Rupert Brooke, through interpretation activities focussing on different aspects of his life and a few of his most famous poems (sections 7-10).

Once you've worked through the online resources, you'll be ready to visit an archive near you to do some research of your own.

Posted: 12 June 2015

Luminarium - a website for students with a curiosity for English Literature

An old book

Credit: popturf.com

If you're interested in studying English at Cambridge, we recommend that you try to read material from a number of different periods if you can, as the course will introduce you to the full range of literature from the Middle Ages to the present day.

If you want to explore what you could read from some of the earlier periods and are wondering what you might enjoy, why not spend some time browsing the Luminarium website? It's an anthology of English Literature with particularly well-developed sections for Medieval Middle English Literature (1350-1485), Renaissance Literature (1485-1603)Early 17th Century Literature (1603-1660), and Restoration & 18th Century Literature (1660-1785).

Here's a poem by Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) to get you started:

Quickness

False life! a foil and no more, when
                Wilt thou be gone?
Thou foul deception of all men,
That would not have the true come on!

Thou art a moon-like toil ; a blind
                  Self-posing state ;
A dark contest of waves and wind ;
A mere tempestuous debate.

Life is a fix'd, discerning light,   
                   A knowing joy ;
No chance, or fit : but ever bright,
And calm, and full, yet doth not cloy.

'Tis such a blissful thing, that still
                   Doth vivify,
And shine and smile, and hath the skill
To please without eternity.

Thou art a toilsome mole, or less,
                   A moving mist.
But life is, what none can express,
A quickness, which my God hath kiss'd.

For poem and source, see Luminarium. The poet page has further resources including book recommendations.

Posted: 4 June 2015

History of Art with the Tate

Gallery at Tate St. IvesA gallery at Tate St Ives. Image credit: Herry Lawford

Tate galleries host the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day, along with international modern and contemporary art.

If you'd like an introduction to the History of Art, or an opportunity to explore and develop your existing interests in the field, try their free online courses.

If you have the opportunity, visit the Tate:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art offer similar free online resources.

Posted: 29 May 2015

Spotlight on HSPS: Archaeology

Archaeological excavation at Hierapolis, TurkeyArchaeological excavation at Hierapolis, Turkey. Image Credit: Chris Parfitt

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

As the course website explains, Archaeology is the study of the human past. Archaeologists investigate the origins of our species, document the diversity of ancient cultures, and explore the emergence of the first cities and empires. Archaeologists study material remains (from stone tools to monuments) and settlements (from villages to cities) to answer questions including: How did tool use affect evolution of the modern human brain? What can the earliest art tell us about interaction and cognition of early humans? How did daily life change with domestication of plants and animals? What are the sources of social inequality? When - and why - did leadership emerge? How did early empires encompass such vast territories, and why were their rulers so powerful?

Specialist courses in Ayssyriology (the study of Mesopotamia) and Egpytology are also available as part of the HSPS degree.

Find out more:

Posted: 22 May 2015

Bite the Ballot? Voting Age and Youth Political Participation

Polling stationWould voting online increase youth participation? Image credit: Martin Bamford

Today is polling day in the United Kingdom General Election 2015.

The Electoral Commission will fill you in on who is eligible to vote. For those who are registered to vote, they advise on how to vote today.

How old should you be to vote? 18, as in UK General Elections, or 16, as in the Scottish Independence Referendum?

Younger people remain less likely to vote than older people.  Does it matter? How can youth political participation be boosted? Should we even try?

Posted: 7 May 2015

Spotlight on HSPS: Biological and Social Anthropology

Exhibit at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. Image credit: B

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

Biological Anthropology is a field which explores human biology and evolution. With an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture, it sits firmly between the social and biological sciences. Biological anthropologists study human origins and diversity in present and past populations in the context of their culture, behaviour, life-style, morphological and molecular variation. What aspects of our biology and behaviour are uniquely human and what do we share with other species? Why is there so little genetic variation among humans across the world? Are we still evolving and why has natural selection not eradicated disease? Can a statistical test save lives?

Social Anthropology addresses the really big question – what does it mean to be human? – by taking as its subject matter the full range of human social and cultural diversity: the amazingly varied ways that people live, think and relate to each other in every part of the world. What does this diversity tell us about the fundamental bases and possibilities of human social and political life? Can it help us to comprehend the sheer unpredictability of how contemporary global changes manifest themselves in people's lives across the world?

Find out more:

Posted: 22 April 2015

Spotlight on HSPS: Sociology

Image credit: Mehran Heidarzadeh

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

Sociology is the study of modern societies and how they are changing today. Ever wonder why nationalism is such a powerful force in the modern world? Why there are protests, riots, and uprisings? Why Europe is in crisis? Why politicians are not trusted? Why Africa is so poor? Why racism persists? Why same-sex marriage causes such controversy? How globalization is changing our lives? Whether societies could ever be more just? Then Sociology is the subject for you.

Posted: 16 April 2015

Exhibitions at the Kirkleatham Museum, East Cleveland

Kirkleatham Museum

Entrance to the Kirkleatham Museum. Credit: David (cropped)

If you are interested in old Anglo-Saxon history, you might enjoy visiting the Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar & Cleveland, which is home to some important exhibitions:

  • The Saxon Princess
    This popular exhibition is based on a six-year archeological project in East Cleveland, in which archaeologist Dr Steve Sherlock and local volunteers made some spectacular finds - a royal burial site and precious metal jewellery from an un-named Anglo-Saxon princess, dating back to the seventh century.  See this short film of Steve Sherlock speaking about the area.
  • Street House before the Saxons
    Linked to the Saxon Princess material, this second exhibition is based on Dr Steve Sherlock's other excavations between 1979 and 2004. Through photographs, films and archaeological objects, you can find out more about a Neolithic cairn from around 3,000 BC, Bronze Age burial sites and the remains of a timber house and timber circles that date from around 2,000 BC, as well as a Roman villa (AD 370) and Anglo-Saxon village.

More infomation about visiting the museum is available on the Redcar & Cleveland website.

If you enjoy this material, it would be worth having a look at the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) course at Cambridge (there's a film about it on the course films page).

Posted: 16 February 2015

Economics essay competition

Money

Credit: epSos.de (cropped)

The Royal Economic Society runs an annual competition for students studying Economics at school, with questions based on key elements of your syllabus. 

You may find the questions set for this year's competition interesting to think about:

  • "Countries like Greece caused the Eurozone crisis by running up too much debt, so it is only fair that they should bear most of the burden of fixing it." Discuss.
  • Should the Government support manufacturing?  If so, how?
  • Should raising GDP be the primary objective of economic policy?
  • "The rising gap between rich and poor is not just bad for society, it is bad for growth." Discuss.
  • Should "fracking" be allowed? If so, who should benefit?
  • "It is immoral for the drug companies to charge large sums for drugs that are cheap to manufacture." Discuss.
  • "High saving promotes faster growth. So having  more savers in the global economy should be good for our long term prosperity."
  • "Does the economic case favour a new airport runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or elsewhere?"

You may also find it useful to look at the essay titles and winning entries from previous years (bottom of the page).

If you are studying Economics and are interested in entering an essay for this competition, do ensure that you read the full details and entry criteria on the Royal Economic Society website before you start work. The deadline for entry is Monday 30 June 2015.

Posted: 12 February 2015

Antarctic glaciers

Antarctic peninsula

The Northern Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

AntarcticGlaciers.org is a very useful and interesting website on the the science of Antarctic glaciology written by Dr Bethan Davies from Royal Holloway, University of London. Here is the introduction:

Antarctic glaciers are beautiful and awe-inspiring. They affect us through their connections with the ocean and sea level, and environmental change is having rapid consequences in Antarctica. Antarctica is the world’s largest ice sheet, covering ~14,000,000 km2. Much of the ice sheet surface lies above 3000 m above sea level. This massive thickness of ice drowns whole mountain ranges, and numerous volcanoes exist underneath the icey exterior. It’s the world’s fifth largest continent, and it is, on average, the highest and coldest continent. Antarctica also provides a unique record of the Earth’s past climate, through the geomorphological record of glacier moraines, through ice cores, through deep sea sediment cores, and through past records of sea level rise.

If you would like to find out more about this fascinating topic, do explore the AntarcticGlaciers.org website, which includes information about different types of glacier, ice shelves, and ice streams as well as the section on glaciers and climate. There is a lot of material that you'll enjoy browsing, and if you are taking A level Geography, this section helps you to find the relevant material for different parts of your course. You can also ask questions here.

Posted: 12 February 2015

Education at Cambridge

Education Faculty, University of Cambridge. Image credit: Steve Day

Cambridge is one of only a few universities to offer a degree in Education as an academic discipline. In the course of three years you explore Education as a broad social science, tackling its history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. You combine your studies in Education with another subject, choosing from Biological or Physical Sciences, English, English and Drama, Modern and Medieval Languages, Classics, Geography, History, Music, or Religious Studies. Whilst the Education degree may be a route into teaching, educational psychology, research, policy, or publishing, it also opens up a wide range of career paths outside of Education. King's doesn't offer the Education degree, but you can apply to study it at most Cambridge colleges.

Posted: 5 February 2015

Royal Shakespeare Company broadcasts in local cinemas

Did you know that the Royal Shakespeare Company broadcasts performances to local cinemas around the UK and beyond?

If you are studying any works by Shakespeare, do visit the RSC onscreen website to find out about broadcasts in cinemas.

If you go to the cinemas and tickets page, you can look up what you could see near to where you live. For example, venues in Northumberland include The Maltings in Berwick upon Tweed, The Forum in Hexham, The Alnwick Playhouse and Vue cinemas in Cramlington.

Further information about the Royal Shakespeare Company is available on their website.

Posted: 4 February 2015

The Cambridge Science Festival programme is published

Hands-on activity

Science Saturday - a hands-on Engineering activity assisted by Cambridge undergraduates

Bookings open on Monday 9 February at 10.30am for the large 2015 Cambridge Science Festival running from 9 - 22 March 2015

There is a Cambridge Science Festival app, which you can search for on iTunes or Google Play.

Examples of talks:

  • Mon 9 March (17:30 - 18:30) - There's no business like flow business (age 15+)
    Inreasingly cells are providing us with answers. Scientists at the Babraham Institute carry out vital research on cells and cellular processes to learn how the body works and how it changes as we age. In this lecture, Rachel Walker and Becky Newman explain flow cytometry and how how it takes us a step further in understanding cells and cell populations.
    (Booking required)
  • Tues 10 March (17:00 - 18:00) - Colour, new dimensions, and the geometry of physics (age 15+)
    Professor Frank Wilczek from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the leading theoretical physicists of our time. Known for his discovery of asymptotic freedom, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 2004, his research ranges across particle physics, astrophysics and condensed matter physics.
    (booking required)
  • Thurs 12 March (18:00 - 19:00) - Melioidosis:biothreat infection and paddy-field disease (age 15+)
    Professor Sharon Peacock is a clinical microbiologist in the Department of Medicine, and works closely with Public Health England and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Intitute. In this talk, Professor Peacock shows how sequencing techniques can be applied to to study of Melioidosis, an infectious disease of tropical climates.
    (booking required)
  • Fri 13  March (18:00 - 19:00) - Searching for intelligence in the legs: robots that walk, run and dance (age 15+)
    Although there is enormous success in the use of robotic arms for the automation industry, robotic legs are very challenging to be engineered and used in our daily lives. Dr Fumiya Lida discusses why legs are so special, and whether we will see robots running around in the near future.
    (booking required)

Posted: 31 January 2015

Year 11 and Year 12 Subject Taster events at Newcastle University

Newcastle University

Newcastle University. Credit: Chris Thomson

Booking is open for Newcastle University's Discover More events on Wednesday 11 March and Wednesday 25 March 2015. 

If you are in Year 11 or Year 12, these events give you an opportunity to find out more about what studying your subject at university level is like, as well as gaining insights into future career possibilities.

Please see the information on Newcastle University website (which includes a link to the application form). If you would like to request a place, you must submit your application by Friday 13 February 2015.

Posted: 31 January 2015

Cambridge GCSE Computing Online

A raspberry piImage credit: Teardown Central

The OCR Exam Board, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Cambridge University Press offer a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) based on the Cambridge GCSE Computing curriculum. The course is free, open to all, and offers an introduction to how computers work, how they are used, and develops computer programming and problem-solving skills. Whilst completion of the course does not lead to a GCSE qualification, you will receive a 'Statement of Participation' to record your achievement. Find out more on the Cambridge GCSE Computing Online website, beginning with their FAQs.

Posted: 26 January 2015

Going deeper into Mathematics

Lines and curves on an athletics track

Lines and curves.
Credit: See-Ming Lee

If you like (or dislike!) mathematics, what is it about the subject that makes you feel this way? What does studying mathematics at unviersity level involve, and how can you work out if you will enjoy it?

We advise students who are curious about maths (and subjects related to maths) to read the following explanation of rich mathematics:

If the kind of maths that makes you think and encourages you to go deeper inside the subject appeals to you, make sure you explore the NRICH Mathematics website:

  • Stage 5 material is for students in the last two years of school (normally aged 16-18).
  • Stage 4 material is for students in Year 10 and Year 11 (normally aged 14-16)
  • If you have a particular interest, you may also find the curriculum content section helpful
  • Or have a go at some of the live problems and see if you can get your solution published!

Posted: 12 December 2014

Excellence Hub for Yorkshire and Humberside

York Campus

University taster events show you what studying a subject in depth at university-level would be like. Credit: John Robinson

The Excellence Hub for Yorkshire and Humberside is an exciting collaboration between the universities of Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York to provide enrichment events through the year for students who have been identified as high achieving by their schools or colleges.

Look at the list of upcoming Subject Taster Events.

The events are open to students across the UK. You can apply to attend the events as an individual, or one of your teachers can apply for a group from your school to attend. Priority for places is given to students who meet one of the criteria below, then the remaining places are given to students who do not meet the criteria. Some events are for Year 12 students, others are for younger students.

Priority criteria:

  • eligible to receive free school meals.
  • no history of higher education (studying at university level) in your immediate family (including any siblings).
  • living in local authority care.

Do keep an eye on this project. Further events will be advertised on the Excellence Hub website in due course.

Posted: 13 November 2014

Cambridge Sculpture Trails

Double Helix Sculpture

Double Helix sculpture in Clare College. Credit: Nige Brown

Did you know that Cambridge has lots of 20th and 21st century sculptures in and around the city? You will find both pieces by major international figures and work by up-and-coming sculptors.

Come and explore for yourself! There are three Sculpture trails that you can use, and if you follow the links and information on the website, you can find out more about the sculptors and their work.

Posted: 27 October 2014

Physics. You work it out.

Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi (1995) on the British Library PlazaNewton in Bronze, by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1995) on the British Library's Plaza. Inspired by Newton, by William Blake (1795) at Tate Britain. Image credit: Chris Beckett

The Rutherford Physics Partnership runs an online platform for prospective Physicists, Engineers, and Mathematicians called Isaac Physics. It will help you to bridge the gap between your A Level and undergraduate studies by working through problems online.

Get started:

Posted: 14 October 2014

Chemnet

Chemicals

Credit: Horia Varlan

If you're aged 14-18 and you enjoy Chemistry, why not join the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemnet? It offers free support and advice for all Chemistry students including:

The link to join Chemnet is here.

Posted: 6 October 2014

Choosing school subjects

The river in King's

For Cambridge Economics, Maths is required and Further Maths is very helpful where available.

If you have just started Year 11 (15-16 year olds), you will soon need to start thinking about which subjects you will take next year.

If you would like to study at a selective university such as Cambridge or another university in the Russell Group, it is especially important to make sure that you choose subjects that will give you good preparation for courses that you may want to apply for. You may already have a favourite subject that you can research, but don't worry if you don't know yet - the advice about making well-informed choices will help to put you in the best position for when you choose a university course later on. 

As well as the subjects you already do at school, it is worth remembering that there are a lot more courses available that you start new at university - the perfect course for you may be something you've not thought of yet!!

To help you with this process:

Posted: 10 September 2014

How Chemistry Changed the First World War (Cambridge, 11 September)

Experiment in lab

Credit: Ed Uthman

If you are interested in History and/or Chemistry and live close to Cambridge, you might be interested to attend Michael Freemantle's public lecture on how “The Great War” was a Chemists’ War.

The lecture will discuss how Chemistry underpinned military strategy and determined the shape, duration and outcome of the First World War. Chemistry was not only a destructive instrument of war but also protected troops, and healed the sick and wounded. From bullets to bombs, poison gases to anaesthetics, khaki to cordite, Chemistry played a pivotal role in the trenches, in the casualty clearing stations and military hospitals, in the tunnelling operations in the air, and at sea.

Michael Freemantle is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is the author of Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! How Chemistry Changed the First World War (History Press, 2014).

Details:

  • 7pm on 11 September 2014
  • Pfizer Lecture Theatre, Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Road, Cambridge (map)
  • Please see this website for further details.
     

Posted: 18 August 2014

On interviews

Woman reading

One of the things that interviewers look for is genuine interest. Image credit: THX0477

We interview most people who apply to Cambridge (more than 80%). It is in interviews that subject specialists are able to work with you directly, see how you think and work, and really explore your academic potential for the course that you've applied for.

We hope that you will find the following new Cambridge University film useful, and we particularly hope that it will put any summer work that you are doing to develop your interests into context!

Posted: 27 July 2014

The Rise, Rise, and Rise of Chemical Engineering

Everyday PlasticsEveryday Plastics. Art Exhibition in Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Credit: Geof Wilson

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that the UK needs 100,000 graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) simply to sustain its existing industries. So Geoff Maitland, President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), is right to celebrate the rise in the numbers of applications for Engineering in general, and Chemical Engineering in particular.

Are you thinking of studying Engineering at university? Why not Chemical Engineering? IChemE explains:

Chemical engineering is all about changing raw materials into useful products you use everyday in a safe and cost effective way. For example petrol, plastics and synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon, all come from oil. Chemical engineers understand how to alter the chemical, biochemical or physical state of a substance, to create everything from face creams to fuels.

Posted: 23 July 2014

James Dyson Foundation Challenge: Geodesic Domes

Geodesic dome

Biosphere in Montreal. Credit: Nic Redhead (cropped)

Do you know what a geodesic dome is? It is a structure named in 1949 by an American Engineer called Richard Burkminster Fuller. Amongst the interesting features of geodesic domes is their structural strength and that they are relatively easy to construct.

To build your own geodesic dome out of jelly sweets and cocktail sticks and explore the structure, see this challenge designed by Neil, an electronics engineer at Dyson. Can you describe in as much detail as possible why the geodesic dome is a strong structure?

Posted: 28 June 2014

Architecture - Exploring spaces

The Shed (temporary auditorium)

The Shed by Haworth Tompkins - an example of pop up architecture. Image credit: David Holt

What catches your eye? If you're thinking of studying Architecture at university, the summer is a great time to practice your drawing skills, to have a go at capturing your interests with a camera, and to think about the spaces and effects that you notice around you through explorative work in a range of media.

You can do this very well on your own, following your interests. You might like to read the information about portfolios if you would like some advice about work that you can later use in an application to Cambridge, and there are also some examples of application portfolios available - see Portfolio 1 and Portfolio 2.

If you are looking for events to attend, as well as any websites about what is on in your local area, RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) has a good What's On? page for events up and down the UK, or you can look up events all over the world on the e-architect website

Posted: 22 June 2014

Summer Science Exhibition in London (1-6 July)

What do you know about the evolution of butterflies?
Credit: Dennis Jarvis (cropped)

The Royal Society has an annual display of the most exciting cutting-edge science and technology in the UK, including everything from artifical intelligence and car crash investigation to tropical storms, ultrasonic waves, and immune-bacterial interactions

Do make a note if you live close enough to visit. The dates are 1-6 July this year, and the exhibition will take place at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG (near Charring Cross tube station).

See the exhibition website, which includes details of the events and exhibits.

Posted: 13 June 2014

Treating MS - science and clinical trials

When a patient has MS (Multiple Sclerosis), the immune system begins to attack the body's own healthy nerve cells. The disease strips away their protective sheath, and prevents electrical signals from moving effectively between the brain and the body.

Researchers at Cambridge have been working on a treatment for MS for some time, and the drug that they have developed was recently approved for use in people with MS. The following film explains the science and clinical trials behind this:

Posted: 8 June 2014