Science Programme

Overview of Science Programme

The Science Programme is an academic programme designed to nurture and promote interest in all scientific disciplines, with a focus on developing scientific skills and experimental work.

Students participate in lessons in the laboratories at Sawston Village College on six mornings.

These lessons are complemented by: follow-up supervision sessions with mentors; lectures to put what is learnt in lessons into a wider context; a series of visits to help students develop an appreciation of science in the world around us and the cultural scientific heritage of Cambridge.  


Use of Scientific English

One of the aims of the Science Programme is for students to practise the use of correct Scientific English.

Teachers will encourage students to make contributions, in English, throughout each class even if it is not their native tongue. Throughout the programme, students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences and development in scientific journals, practising the skill of succinct and accurate record keeping which is an essential component of scientific research.

Other Scientific Activities

Lectures by Cambridge academics, pitched at a level appropriate for those on the Science programme, link the various components of the Science Programme into a cohesive whole and inspire students to think widely and deeply. There is the opportunity for students to participate in a scientific problem solving activity involving forensic analysis.

Students also participate in a series of evening activities encouraging them to think about Science beyond the confines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, including a Science Quiz, Bridge Building, Rocket Launching and Coding. We look ahead to future studies in Science with talks on admissions at Oxford and Cambridge, interview and study skills workshops and a chance to think about Science ‘outside the box’ with a careers-fair style evening.

Programme Highlights

  • Study Skills Workshop
  • Cambridge Style Lectures
  • Cambridge Admissions Advice
  • Interview Technique Workshop
  • Choral Evensong
  • Academic Presentation
  • Concert and Formal Dinner



    • Sandringham, The Queen’s Summer Residence
    • Cambridge Museums
    • King’s College Chapel
    • Cambridge University Institute of Astronomy
    • Swaffham Wind Turbine
    • Punting on the River Cam

    Science Programme Details

    Academic Lessons

    The first week of the Science Programme focuses on the theme of ‘Energy’ as it is encompassed by a range of scientific disciplines. During lessons in each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, students learn about different scientific areas in which Energy is significant. In Biology, we focus on food as a source of energy in the body, with activities including the ever-popular ‘Gums to Bums’ demonstration and the opportunity to dissect a heart. Chemistry lessons focus on electrochemistry and thermochemistry, with experiments including endothermic and exothermic reactions, calculating the power of different fuels and using metals to generate a voltage in circuits. In Physics we investigate light energy and explore energy transfers in electric circuits, in the use of electromagnetism to generate electricity in power stations and in mechanical oscillations.

    The second week of the Science Programme focuses on scientific discovery. For two mornings of lessons students will carry out an open-ended but guided scientific investigation in their choice of scientific discipline, carrying out experimental work and analysis either individually or in pairs. Investigation topics in 2016 included: ‘The Chemistry of Junk Food’, ‘Why is Photosynthesis so Important?’ and ‘How fast do things fall?’.

    On the final morning of lessons students participate in a carousel of experimental-based activities, giving them a final chance to be ‘hands-on’ with Science and to leave enthused. Highlights include extracting DNA from strawberries in Biology, making an Iodine Clock in Chemistry and learning about Standing Waves in Physics to be able to measure the wavelength of light using only a microwave and a chocolate bar.

    Mentor supervisions and homework

    A team of Mentors, each Cambridge students, serve as academic guides and welfare guardians, with each mentor responsible for a group of between four and seven students. Mentors accompany the students on all trips and outings, supervise their activities outside of lessons and eat with the students at meal times. Most students will form very close bonds with their Mentor over the course of the programme.

    To follow on from the academic lessons and consolidate or extend learning, on some days the students’ timetable allows for mentor supervisions in which homework set by teachers will be completed. The Mentor supervisions are spaces in which students will continue their academic learning in a very free and intimate setting, designed to be comparable where possible to the undergraduate supervision system of Cambridge University.

    Dates, Fees and Registration


    The 2018 Programme runs from Sunday 29th July - Saturday 11th August 2018 in Churchill College


    GBP £3,988. This covers:

    • Tuition and Teaching Materials
    • Accommodation
    • All meals, including lunches
    • Cost of visits and travel to and from the airport

    It does not cover air-fares, travel insurance or pocket money.


    • Admission to the Cambridge Science Programme is limited to students aged 12-17 years.
    • In some circumstances, we may ask for the applicant to provide a reference from the school and a copy of their latest school report.
    • Students from one of our participating schools should apply via their school. (Please follow the School’s own timetable for Applications.)
    • For individual applications not linked with our participating schools, please download an Application Form below and return it to us by 1st March 2018.

    Download Application Form


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