Students in a class

At the heart of the Global Summer School is an intensive academic programme. It is aimed at increasing your subject knowledge and improving your practical skills. You will develop academically and personally as you are inspired, challenged and supported throughout the programme by our experienced academics, researchers, support staff and Summer School leaders.

You will be allocated a mentor to ensure you feel fully supported throughout the Summer School. This mentor will be a current Imperial student studying a subject related to the academic stream that you are on. They will be on hand to guide you through the academic content and will be able to give you an insight into studying at Imperial College and potential career paths.

There will also be lots of opportunities to ask questions and discuss thoughts in classes and seminars.


You will have the chance to attend a series of career masterclasses, covering such topics as:

  • how to apply to a UK university
  • how to write a personal statement
  • interview skills
  • applying to medicine in the UK

Study programme

The entire Summer School programme will be taught and conducted in English. You will be expected to learn and communicate in English, so a high standard is very important. See our admissions criteria for details of our academic requirements for Summer School students, including English language ability.

Teaching time

Teaching days (Monday–Friday) typically run from 9.30 to 16.00, with one hour for lunch.

Week one: knowledge building

You will start the programme in one of three learning streams. You will be asked, during the application process, to rank the learning streams in order of preference. We will try our best to accommodate your preference when we allocate people to different streams:

  • Engineering

    • The engineering stream combines elements of engineering and design, combined with specialist seminars and workshops delivered by different engineering departments throughout the week.
    • You will have the chance to explore essential engineering skills, working in groups and using problem-based learning to find solutions to real engineering projects.
    • In 2015, for example, students were challenged to design, build and test a bridge. Exploring the engineering principles used in building bridges, they were introduced to ideas of creative design, the importance of material selection and testing and how to use CAD software to aid in the design process.

  • Medicine and life sciences

    • The Medicine and Life Sciences stream aims to provide insights on careers in medicine and the life sciences, whether as a doctor or as a researcher, through hands-on experience of cell biology experiments and their impact in medical research and drug development.
    • You will be given experience of safe, effective laboratory research using the scientific method to design, test and report your research. In addition, you will spend a day at one of Imperial's affiliated hospitals learning clinical skills from leading health professionals.
    • In 2015, for instance, the stream focused particularly on cancer research. Students learned how cells are grown in the laboratory and used during drug design and testing, as well as gained experience with light and florescent microscopes and using computer software to analyse results.
  • Physical sciences

    • The Physical Sciences stream focuses on the physics and mathematics of a central concept in the physical sciences through a series of lectures, workshops, practical investigations and through the use of computing simulations.
    • In 2016, for instance, students studied the phenomenon of oscillations as one of the most fundamental and far-reaching concepts in all of physics. Examples of oscillations occur in all branches of physics, from the smallest studies of subatomic particles to the large scale movements of galaxies. Their ubiquity does not end with physics, as they also feature within such diverse disciplines as biology and chemistry.
    • Students finished the week with a real knowledge and understanding of oscillations and their importance throughout all of the natural sciences; they also encountered new mathematics techniques and developed some real practical programming skills with the Python programming language.

Each stream follows a similar structure of lectures and seminars, taught by current Faculty members.

The classroom-based programme is accompanied by hands-on sessions in our labs and workshops where you’ll use real equipment and learn a range of relevant practical skills under the supervision of our academics and mentors.

Week two: team work and problem solving

You work alongside students from other learning streams in a team challenge that will test the knowledge and skills you have gained in week one. You will work in mixed teams to develop solutions modelled on real problems, such as those faced by technology businesses and start-ups.

Each team will be given a briefing of what will be required from them by the end of the week and will have the opportunity to work independently and creatively, but under the guidance of experts in the field. Challenge topics in the past have included 'Robots for Healthcare' and 'Colonising Space'.

Week two builds to a final showcase event, where you’ll present your ideas to a panel of experts, with prizes available for the best teams.

Certificate of participation

You will take home a certificate of participation awarded by Imperial College London. You may also be able to take home a sample of the work you have completed on the Summer School.

Please note

All the above information is meant as a guide and applicants should be aware that the academic programme is subject to change from year to year. Each year we make changes to the programme based on participant feedback and we are in the process of organising the academic sessions for the 2017 Global Summer School. Please email us at if you have any questions about the academic sessions or any other aspect of the Global Summer School programme.