USC undergraduates will ideally begin discussing their interest in the program with their Academic Advisor during their Sophomore year, or at the latest in the Fall of their Junior year. Academic Advisors should help students anticipate courses available for transfer from Cambridge. Competitive applicants will be nearly finished with their USC degree by the end of their junior year so it is feasible for them to take a smaller course load (typically 3 courses) while at Cambridge. While the number of courses may be fewer than in a given semester at USC, the course load is equally if not more demanding than a full 16 units. To learn more about studies at Queens’ College Cambridge, applicants are encouraged to visit the University of Cambridge Structure of Courses page and Queens’ College Subjects page. Applicants will work closely with their Academic Advisor and Academic Honors and Fellowships to ensure coursework is transferable.
Most USC exchange students will read for 3 courses while at Cambridge. Classes are divided into lecture and supervisions. For instance, lectures are one hour speeches given by the lecturer twice a week. Students do not interact directly with the lecturer apart from attending these lectures. They are “optional” in the sense that though they are thematically similar to the material covered in supervisions, one does not require the other. Supervisions are one-hour meetings between you, a supervisor, and potentially one or two other students. They may be compared to a combination of a discussion section with a TA and office hours with a professor. These take place every two weeks, and you are expected to have written one roughly 2,000 word essay for each supervision as outlined in the syllabus.
At the close of the Michaelmas Term, USC students will receive a summary report from each of the courses for which they read which will be articulated back to USC for course credit. These courses will not transfer for a grade. Students may read for courses that will satisfy degree requirements, however, a students academic department will determine if a course can be substituted in this way. These conversations should happen well in advance of the student’s departure for the exchange program.
Financial & Housing Arrangements
The USC student participant will pay tuition to USC consistent with any other on-campus term. Merit scholarship recipients would apply a semester of their scholarship to tuition despite studying away from the University.
If the participant is a Financial Aid recipient, his or her aid award will be applied toward costs in the usual way, but the Office of Financial Aid will take into account the cost of living in the UK. Click here for more information about USC Financial Aid and Study Abroad.
Fees for travel, room and board are in addition to the cost of standard tuition. These fees will be paid by the USC student in Britain and are estimated at $10,000. The selected USC student will reside in Queens’ college dormitories with other Cambridge students.
Cambridge is on an 8-week trimester system. This change in term format will be an adjustment for USC students accustomed to the semester system. The selected student will attend during the first trimester, the Michaelmas Term which lasts from early October until the middle of December. The selected student will arrange for their own travel.
The selected USC student will arrive in time to participate in Freshers’ Week. The week includes a variety of programing for new students and as an international exchange student USC students attend despite being slightly more advanced in their degree. Former USC exchange students have thoroughly enjoyed the week and encourage attending as many events as possible!
This sentiment extends for the entirety of the exchange experience. Here’s a bucket list of fun experiences our exchange students have enjoyed:
- Go on a Swap
- Penny someone
- Go tubbing
- Go to Trinity Evensong in your gown
- Attend a formal at another college
- Eat at the Van of Life and the Van of Death
- Visit the University Library
- See a play at the ADC
- Walk, bike, kayak, or punt to Grantchester
- Attend a service at King’s College Chapel
- Play for Queens’ in a sport
- Visit the Fitzwilliam Museum
- Go to a concert at the Corn Exchange
- Go to the Indigo Coffee House
- Go see the Footlights
- Climb Castle Hill
- Attend a debate at the Union
- Be five pennied
- Engineer penny someone
- Go to the Polar Museum
- Cross the Bridge of Sighs
- Visit the Round Church
- Visit the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
- Visit Girton
- Visit the Ascension Burial Ground