• What will I learn?
  • Who will I be taught by?
  • Who is this course for?
  • What can I do after?
  • Has ideology given way to a clash of civilisations? How do we allocate power and governance? Is democracy necessarily the best form of government? These are just some of the questions you’ll tackle during this course. As well as the big theoretical issues, you will also look at specific political phenomena, such as voting behaviour, in a stimulating two-week course.

    This year’s course will cover a wide range of topics, such as conflict research and its application in modern politics. Last year, students had the opportunity to explore a number of concepts from political theory in the context of current political developments, including Brexit and the rise of the far right in the US and further afield.

  • All our tutors are current Oxford and/or Cambridge PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. You will have the opportunity to learn about their look at original research and our tutors will take you beyond your school curriculum to investigate your the area of their subject at a higher level - this is great preparation for university/college study! You may even have the opportunity to learn about your tutor’s original, unpublished research.

    Christoph, one of our tutors for 2017, is currently doing his postgraduate degree in International Relations at the University of Oxford. He is also involved in a research project at the Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. Before coming to Oxford, he studied Political Science and Public Law at the University of Mannheim, Germany.

    Arthur, one of our 2016 tutors, is a PhD student in Politics at the University of Cambridge, specialising in political philosophy. Arthur’s academic background includes Master’s degrees in Philosophy, Law, and Political Theory and he studied in Belgium and London before coming to Cambridge.

  • This course is ideal for students 15-18 considering studying Politics or any humanities or social-science related subjects at university, and teaches a method of thought and research that is beneficial to all disciplines.

    You might also be interested in our Philosophy, International Development or Economics courses.

  • Our students go on to studying Politics and other related subjects, including PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) either at universities across the UK, or abroad, including in the US.

  • What are the requirements for this course?

    As an academic summer school, we invite all students to complete a short application form and short interview with one of our staff before booking. We do not expect students to have studied Politics before, but you should be engaged with current events and enjoy debating complex issues.

    English Language requirements: all students need to be able to engage with the course material, which normally means a level of English equivalent to an IELTS score of 5.5 and above, or B2 in the Common European Framework. Don't worry if you don't have a formal qualification - when you chat to one of the team they'll be able to assess your level and answer any questions you may have.

    Not sure about which course is the best for you? Our friendly team is here to help – contact us and we will help you choose the subject that is best suited to your needs.

Studying Politics and International Relations at OISS


Students doing Politics and International Relations at OISS benefit from a combination of small group and one-to-one tutorials, assessed work and individual research. Below is an example of a typical day at the Summer School, to give you an idea of the challenging variety that we offer our students.


 0800   Wake up and go down to breakfast with my friends from my staircase. Have some toast and cereal to start the day, and grab a piece of fruit for a snack later.
 0915   Go to my small group tutorial with our tutor Arthur. Arthur is currently studying for a PhD at Cambridge, focussing the relationship between Christianity and Liberalism. He’s been introducing us to political theory and we have spent lots of time this first week discussing the role of democracy, especially in light of the Brexit vote.
 1100   We have some free time before lunch so me and my friends drop by our rooms to put our books away before we head to a nearby sandwich shop to grab lunch - a brie and bacon panini- delicious! We then head to the University Parks to relax in the sun and chat about our trip to Cambridge tomorrow.
 1300   I’m back in the accommodation now for my Independent Research Time. I pick up my notes from the tutorial and start planning my essay on democracy that’s due on Friday. Since we’ll be in Cambridge all day tomorrow I want to get most of it done today.
 1500   I meet up with the ACs and other students for a Drama Workshop. I do some drama at school and it’s been really fun getting to do more with students from around the world.
 1800   I head back to the accommodation for a yummy fish and chips dinner and catch up with everyone about what they’ve been up to. We also hear from two of the ACs, Ella and Alex about the Cambridge trip tomorrow and what we’ll be getting up to - really exciting!
 1900   Time for my seminar on Film Studies Everyone at the Summer School gets to pick a seminar series to take part in and since I love watching a wide range of films I thought this would be perfect. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how to analyse films and I can’t wait to apply it when I watch the film versions of the books we are studying at school.
 2100   After popping back to my room to change into my gym kit, I meet a bunch of my friends for a Zumba class. It’s really fun and a great way to end the day.
 2200   I jump in the shower to rinse off before hanging out with my friends before bed.
 2300   Everyone’s gone and I finally get to bed - ready for another packed day tomorrow!