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Cambridge Summer School

Politics and International Relations: a Global Perspective Ages 19+

Cambridge Summer School for Adults 2020

Also available in Oxford

A two-week summer course combining politics and international relations with the study of successful leadership.

2 weeks | Available July - August 2020

  • Live, dine and study in colleges of the University of Cambridge
  • Politics, international relations and leadership tuition with experts
  • Talks with world-class guest speakers
  • A truly international environment - form a global network
  • Inspirational cultural programme

Course Summary

This course combines politics and international relations with the study of successful leadership. Through debate, written assignments and lectures, students will learn all about the contemporary issues that dominate world politics.

Why have some countries developed stable state institutions, whereas others have degenerated into failed states? What explains regime change and regime stability? How can we strengthen international security and prosperity in a time of terrorism and civil wars? Many of the most pressing global challenges are inherently political in nature, and attendees on this course will gain a greater understanding of the reasons behind political manoeuvres.

Where could Politics & International Relations: A Global Perspective lead you?

Why choose the Politics & International Relations: A Global Perspective course?

This course provides students with a theoretical and methodological toolkit, academic skills and empirical expertise to systematically engage with political questions. In grappling with these questions, the course explores a wide range of topics that are covered by university courses in comparative politics and international relations. Discussion is enhanced by the numerous different perspectives offered by you and your fellow students, who come to Oxford Royale Summer Schools from all over the world. The course begins by establishing a rigorous theoretical and methodological foundation so that students are equipped with the fundamental skills to engage in the study of comparative politics and international relations. We then apply and expand on these skills by studying seven substantive topics.

How will the Politics & International Relations: A Global Perspective course help me?

Each session combines rigorous academic training with empirical case work and data analysis. It thus establishes a valuable foundation for university studies. By training students to apply academic skills to well-defined political problems, the course also prepares students for a career in political consultancy and policy development.

Is this course for me?

If you are constantly considering the questions of modern-day politics, and would like to be instrumental in changing the world for the better, then this course is for you.

Topics covered

During this course, students will examine:

  • State and nation building: We discuss Tilly’s (1985) famous argument that war helped build states in Europe and contrast state building in early modern Europe with state building in Latin America. The course then investigates contemporary state building and, in particular, assesses whether states form nations or vice versa.
  • The character of war: Students analyse characteristics of traditional and contemporary warfare and assess its implications for international humanitarian law.
  • Colonialism and decolonisation: We then analyse the effects of different factors associated with colonialism on a country’s long-term trajectory and derive a set of recommendations for international development.
  • Autocracies and democratisation: Students will learn to systematically assess the relevance of different factors associated with regime stability and regime change. Why do some countries democratise, while others remain authoritarian? Why are some authoritarian regimes more enduring than others?
  • Democratisation and hybrid regimes: The course also trains students to evaluate why some countries persist as hybrid regimes which are neither democratic nor authoritarian.
  • International Security
  • International Political Economy. Students will learn about the actors, causes and spread of terrorism and assess current counterterrorism regimes.

What will you get out of the Politics & International Relations course?

By the end of the course, students will have:

  • Discussed nation-building and the character of war
  • Explored different political regimes and their positive and negative aspects
  • Examined terrorism in our society
  • Become familiar with the characteristics and mechanisms of international trade and the international monetary system
  • Investigated the origins of poverty
  • Debated whether international development aid helps or undermines a country’s development
  • Performed a role play of a G-20 summit on a current challenge in global affairs

Welcome to the City of Cambridge - your home this summer

students walking through a small street in front of the King's College, Cambridge

Cambridge has been recognised for centuries as one of the most beautiful academic locations in the UK. With its soaring gothic buttresses, green lawns, gently meandering river, and quiet little coffee shops, Cambridge has a lot to offer in terms of quality of student experience.

Students will live, dine and study in a college of the University of Cambridge, providing them with the ideal opportunity to discover what life in a top UK university is really like. Students can immerse themselves in the teaching of knowledgeable academics, many of whom have studied at top UK institutions such as Cambridge and Oxford. They will have plenty of opportunity to explore the city in their free time, and take part in educational excursions in and around Cambridge.

Students residential in Cambridge will experience life in a top UK university city, while fulfilling their educational ambitions and enjoying the summer experience of their lives. Learn more about all that our Cambridge Summer School has to offer.

A Cambridge college dining hall
Punts lined up on the River Cam in Cambridge
Students smiling at the camera in front of the King's College, Cambridge?

Useful information for students & parents


Students will be accommodated in comfortable single or twin rooms depending on their allocated college - please contact our admissions team if you would like more information. Twin rooms are strictly between students of the same gender, and males/females are separated by corridor and/or staircase. Accommodation is the standard accommodation for university undergraduates who study at the university, so students are able to get a flavour for what being an undergraduate at the university might be like. Bathrooms are typically shared between students of the same gender, though in some cases en-suite facilities are available.

Pastoral care & student welfare

The programme is overseen by the Programme Director, who implements the day-to-day running of the programme. The Director is assisted by a team of Counsellors who very often are current members of the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge. The Counsellors ensure that students are looked after pastorally, culturally and socially during their programme. Students are able to talk informally and frankly to the Counsellors in order to raise concerns or to discuss university applications. Each campus has members of residential staff who live in the college throughout the programme and are able to assist students at any time of the day or night.

Eligibility & pre-requisites

Students on this course:

  • Must conform to our age policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Admissions Team on [email protected] and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Admissions Team for more detailed information.

Our Teaching Faculty

At Oxford Royale Academy we are committed to providing our students with the most qualified and high-calibre teaching faculty available. All Oxford Royale Academy teachers are passionate about their subjects, and are looking forward to passing their knowledge on to their students this summer! For full details of last summer’s teaching faculty, please click here.

Guest Lectures & Debates

At ORA, we go the extra mile to enhance the study abroad experience of our students. As part of this, every year our dedicated Events Team organises a series of fascinating guest lectures. Guest speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds and specialisms, including the worlds of online media, television and academia. Our students also have the opportunity to watch and participate in a number of debates, which take place on campus. These range from formal Panel Debates, involving teaching faculty and other staff, to informal discussions about current “hot topics” led by Counsellors.

Coach Excursions

The United Kingdom has a rich cultural heritage, and a course with Oxford Royale Academy is the perfect way for a young learner to explore this. All ORA courses include at least one coach excursion to places of historical and social significance in the UK.

Extra-curricular Activities

At ORA, we never forget that our students are on holiday! Included with every ORA course is an extra-curricular timetable, carefully designed by our dedicated Events Team to ensure our students have fun, make friends and get the most out of their time with us.

Find out more

Find out more Immigration & Visas

Information and advice on securing your visa.

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Find out more Arrival & Departure

Information about how to travel to and from an ORA summer course.

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Find out more Airport Transfers

Details of transfers between ORA and Heathrow Airport.

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Find out more FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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Politics and International Relations: a Global Perspective is residential in the following venues:

(If your course takes place in more than one campus in the same city and you would like to know more about which location you will be allocated, please call our admissions team)

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