What is Oxford Summer Courses?

If you’re thinking about attending (or sending your child to attend) a summer school this year, you may be wondering what Oxford summer courses are, and what they involve.

Spending the summer in a city as ancient and academically rich as Oxford is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ll walk the cobbled streets leading to the Bodleian Library, and see the dreaming spires that sparked some of the world’s greatest novels and scientific discoveries.

Oxford is full of magical experiences, including the chance to explore the top university in the world: the University of Oxford. This is why it is important to book an Oxford summer course that helps you make the most out of every opportunity.

In this article we’re going to cover exactly what Oxford summer courses are, what subjects and extracurricular activities the best Oxford summer schools should offer, and the experiences you can expect for yourself or your child.

What is Oxford summer courses?

Oxford summer courses are academic programmes provided by elite summer schools in Oxford, which give you a taste of life as a student of a top university, and introduce you to new and exciting subjects, from Robotics to Classical Civilisations.

The very best Oxford summer courses will invite you to dine, study and sleep every night in the actual colleges of the University of Oxford, and give you the most authentic experience of life in this renowned institution, from the food you consume to the halls you’re given access to.

Let’s dive right in, and learn more about Oxford summer courses, and how they work.

What do Oxford summer courses involve?

A top-tier Oxford summer course should involve the following:

Living in Oxford University colleges

The chance to actually live in the famous Oxford colleges that tourists can only dream of entering is central to the Oxford summer course experience. Imagine spending two weeks in dining halls and libraries that have been lauded in legend for centuries, and sleeping in the same dormitories that Oxford University students occupy during term time. There is no better way to experience life at the University of Oxford.

Look out for Oxford summer courses which offer a variety of Oxford University colleges as summer schools accommodation. You could be living in famous University College, potentially the oldest college in Oxford. You might dine every night in the grand dining hall of Balliol College, with its vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.

You could experience life in ancient Merton college, dating back to 1264, and boasting the oldest quadrangle (Mob Quad) and library in the university! You’ll inhabit the same spaces as kings (King Henry V, who won the Battle of Agincourt, stayed at The Queen’s College), and walk in the footsteps of the most brilliant figures in history.

Experiencing student life at the University of Oxford

The best Oxford summer courses won’t just invite you to live in college at Oxford University, but give you the most authentic experience of life as a student of Oxford. This is particularly useful if you plan on applying to a top university yourself.

When it comes to truly experiencing life at the best university in the world, it’s all in the details. Look out for Oxford summer courses which give you access to exclusive locations, like Oxford University’s Examination Schools, or the famous Sheldonian Theatre (this stunning building, crafted in the neo-classical style, is where Oxford University students matriculate and graduate).

Expert teaching

You can test the quality of an Oxford summer school by its teachers, and the variety of courses it offers. The top Oxford summer courses will offer courses to spark every possible passion, from archaeology, law and medicine, to genetics, robotics, coding and creative writing.

You can expect to be taught by world-renowned Oxbridge scholars, Ivy League professors and leading industry experts, whether you’re studying Film or English Literature. If you’re studying a science or medicine based subject, expect to be taught by leading neuroscientists, clinical psychologists, medical researchers and more. Any good Oxford summer course will mimic the Oxford style teaching, keeping small, select class sizes and a high number of teaching hours (more than 40 hours of contact time for students aged 13-18, for example), so you can get the most out of your top-quality tutors.

Thrilling activities and trips

You’re attending an Oxford summer course to expand your mind and receive rigorous, top-tier teaching. However, top Oxford summer courses will offer an equal amount of elite entertainment, from glamorous parties and glittering balls in prestigious venues, to trips to the UK’s most beautiful historic locations. Whether you’re dancing and dining in Oxford’s five-star Randolph hotel, experiencing exciting and enriching activities like parkour or multicultural feasts, or seeing amazing shows in London’s west end, an Oxford summer course should give you the most exciting summer of your life.

Which Oxford summer courses can I do?


Medicine courses are more competitive than ever, so a top Oxford summer course in medical school preparation can be very useful. An elite Oxford summer course should give you invaluable information for applying to medical school, including expert advice on your interview technique, personal statement and BMAT exam (the exam that every medical school applicant has to take as part of their assessments). The best Oxford medicine summer courses should also offer practical medical workshops, which teach you basic medical procedures, so that you can impress your interviewers for medical school.


If you want to study law at a top UK university, taking a prestigious Oxford summer course in Law is excellent preparation for law school. Look out for Oxford summer courses which combine advice from expert teachers with a broad and intense examination of the law, and all its concepts and issues. The Oxford summer course in Law that you take should help you develop the skills and requirements to succeed in studying law, and help you learn what the best law schools look for in candidates.

Business Enterprise

Whether you already have a business product that the world needs to know about, or you’re just curious to learn more about business, there is no better way to do it than through a Business Enterprise course at an elite Oxford summer school. You should go for a course which gives you all the practical skills you need to excel in the business world, rather than one which just lets you sit in a classroom learning theory. The top Oxford summer schools will put you straight to creating and marketing your own business idea and product, while teaching you absolutely everything you need to know to form a successful company.


Coding and web development are the future. Coding and other digital innovations like Artificial Intelligence will be vital in helping industries recover from the effects of Covid-19, which means that studying them opens the doors to a lucrative career. The most advanced Oxford summer courses understand the vital role of technology. and will teach you everything from programming languages like Python and Swift, to how to design, develop and test your own app for iOS, which you can publish on the App store.

Learn English

If you dream of studying or working in the UK, gaining strong English language skills is very important. There’s nowhere better to study English than in Oxford, home to the pioneers of the English language, and some of the greatest English writers and poets ever to live. You can find some fantastic Oxford summer schools which will transform your English skills, and prepare you perfectly for English skills tests like the IELTS and TOEFL.

Creative courses

You can also judge the quality of an Oxford summer course by its creative courses, too. Creativity is a vital and beautiful part of being human and can lead to some star-studded careers in the arts industries, from theatre to writing and publishing. You should be able to take top-notch creative writing courses on an Oxford summer course, as well as film courses which teach you how to direct and shoot your own film, and edit it with the latest, cutting-edge equipment.

Now that we’ve gone through exactly what Oxford summer courses are and what a great Oxford summer course should involve, we hope you’ve found this a useful read. The best way to discover whether an Oxford summer course is right for you is to assess the quality of their tutors and whether you’re comfortable with their teaching styles, how much access to Oxford University’s exclusive spaces and lifestyle they offer, and the variety of their courses.