Downing College Summer Programme

31 July to 26 August 2023

Broaden your perspectives on global challenges, modern culture, and philosophy

Applications to the Summer Programme are now closed. If you would like to attend this summer, please sign up to our waiting list.

The Downing College Summer Programme offers you the unique opportunity to enrol at Downing College Cambridge and extend your knowledge in a range of academic subjects while experiencing Cambridge student life. These two or four week courses will extend and develop your knowledge while you experience the academic and cultural life of Cambridge.

Academic courses on offer

Through this programme you will experience life at a University of Cambridge College while studying topics that either extend your undergraduate course or broaden your understanding of a range of subjects.

Courses on offer are:

  • International Relations
  • International Management
  • Healthcare and Biotechnology
  • History of Art: Highlights of four centuries of painting in Britain
  • Contemporary Art: Future Collections

The programme includes a series of lectures and workshops, led by subject experts and academics.  Each course is designed to be challenging but accessible.  At the end of the programme, you will receive a graded certificate.

Each course is designed for a two-week timetable and includes 25 hours of contact time.

You can choose either to attend one course for two weeks or attend two courses for four weeks. The most common combinations are International Relations and International Management or History of Art and Contemporary Art, but you are free to apply to any of the courses based on your interests.

As class sizes are capped at around 20 places, we recommend that you list your subject choices in order of preference.

The Downing College Summer Experience

As part of this interdisciplinary and multi-cultural experience, you will attend lectures and workshops in class sizes of around 20 with students  from universities from around the globe.  The programme, which is based on the Cambridge model, will include small group supervisions, where you will be able to discuss ideas in a lively academic environment.

The social and cultural life of Cambridge over the summer is one not to be missed.  Our team of teaching assistants will organise a series of excursions throughout the programme, from visiting museums and places steeped in history to enjoying the lively social scene.

Programme fees

Our programme fees are designed to keep things simple and cost- effective for you.  The fees will include:

  • Application fees
  • Tuition fees
  • Accommodation, Catering, and Social Events
For attending an in-person two week course the fees are £4000
For attending an in-person four week course the fees are £7500

Fees can be paid in two installments with a 25% payment to reserve a place and the remaining 75% before the programme starts.

This non-refundable fee covers:

Teaching and learning
  • Tuition in class as well as small-group supervisions from academic experts and teaching assistants
  • Academic and pastoral support from the Academic Director through daily drop-in advisory hours
  • Full orientation, practical advice, and information about the programme
  • Comprehensive feedback on performance through essays or alternative assessment
  • Access to the Downing College Maitland Robinson Library
  • Study skills sessions
  • Academic transcript
College-based support
  • IT support, 24/7 access to computer facilities and Wi-Fi, plus £20 printing credit
  • 24/7 pastoral and welfare support
  • On-site medical support
  • Practical support and advice from the Downing Cambridge Academic Experience Summer Programme team
Accommodation, Catering and Social Events
  • Stay in one of Downing’s extensive selection of first-class accommodation
  • Bedlinen and towels
  • Room cleaning services for your room and communal areas.
  • Catering for breakfast in the College Dinning Hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from Monday to Friday.
  • A Gala Formal Hall at the end of the programme
  • Social events such as BBQ, city excursions, and punting
  • Access to College sports facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts, and gym
  • Access to music rooms in College

How to apply

Applications for the Summer Programme are now closed. If you would like to attend this summer, please sign up to our waiting list.

All applications will be processed within 5 working days and places on the programme will be reserved as soon as 25% of the fees are paid.

Who can apply?

The Downing College Summer Programme is open to undergraduates, graduate students, and students who are starting University this coming academic year.  To apply you need to:

Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent, at the time of application
Have a high level of fluency in English

Before you apply, make sure you have read and understood our Terms and Conditions.

We recommend you also read our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page. If you can't find an answer to your question, then please send us an email at

Visas Requirement – Your visa requirements will vary according to your country of citizenship.  Further information can be found here


You will be staying on site on the College grounds in one of our first-class accommodation along Lensfield Road close to the heart of the city centre.  The rooms will be single-occupancy with shared kitchen facilities, internet access and cleaning services.

The College has a range of extensive gardens, open lawn area and range of amenities such as:

  • The Butterfield Café
  • Dining Hall
  • 24 hour library
  • Music Practice Rooms
  • Free Laundry facilities
  • Chapel and multifaith spaces
  • Gym, Tennis Courts and Basketball Courts
  • The Heong Gallery – Currently showing Hockney’s Eye:  The Art and Technology of Depiction
  • Porters’ Lodge providing on-site security and support


All your questions answered about the 2023 Downing Summer Programme - download our frequently asked questions (FAQs) document here.