Frequently Asked Questions

Our Programmes

How are CCIR Academy programmes different from other summer programmes?

A number of things differentiate CCIR Academy from other programmes: OXBRIDGE-ONLY FACULTY AND TEAM We only partner with Lecturers (equivalent to assistant professors or above at US universities) or above at either the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford. Founded by Cambridge alumni, CCIR prioritizes offering partnership opportunities for Oxbridge faculty. We are also an organization currently run by Oxbridge students and alumni. Throughout the admission process, every single point of contact an applicant interacts with will be either a current Oxbridge student (PhD or above) or an Oxbridge alumni. SMALL GROUP TEACHING/INTIMATE MENTORSHIP At the heart of our programmes is the relationship between students and their mentors. For our Cambridge Future Scholar programme, our class is limited to no more than 5 students. The small classes ensure ample interaction and thought provoking discussions always take place at each session. RESEARCH-ORIENTED LEARNING Unlike lecture-only programmes, where students learn passively, our programmes emphasize on hand-on research. This kind of project based learning allows students to really dive into the subject and learn in an independent and autonomous manner. HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS Our commitment to maintaining the highest academic standards is reflected in our admissions, our courses, and in the expectations we have on our students. All our programmes are meant to be genuinely challenging and enriching academic experiences for our students.

What are the benefits of attending a CCIR programme?

Most importantly, by the end of your time at a CCIR programme, you will have completed a substantive independent research project. In certain cases, under the guidance of the mentors and our team, your research project will also be published in academic journals or presented at conferences. All our CCIR programmes award graduation certificates and in-depth evaluation reports. Finally, you will have fostered a close personal relationship with a Oxbridge faculty member from whom you can request a letter of recommendation.

What kind of experiences can I expect?

Because of the academic rigor and the small size of our programmes, we are able to deliver an experience for our students that is at once fun and academically enriching. Over the course of the programme, as students work with one another and with the faculty, they will develop relationships that will push them both personally and intellectually.

Will my mentor or TA write me a letter of recommendation?

All our students have the option of requesting letters of recommendation from their mentors. While we cannot guarantee letters of recommendation, we can say that in the past, because our admitted students are all capable and passion at, not a single student who has requested a letter of recommendation has had their request denied.

Does attending CCIR improve my chances of being accepted at top universities/graduate programmes?

Attending CCIR may improve your chances in college/graduate admissions in a number of ways. Most importantly, CCIR offers you a great opportunity to produce and possibly even publish a genuinely impressive piece of academic work. In addition, since you will be interacting intimately with your Oxbridge mentor over a long period of time, your mentor will also likely become an excellent referee for you in the admissions process.

How much work do mentors assign?

Generally speaking, our programmes consist of roughly 1-2 hours of face-to-face interaction hours per week. In addition to the class time, students will be expected to do readings and write essays. On average, including interaction hours, students are expected to devote a total of roughly 4 hours a week for their programme.

Will all the sessions be online?

All CCIR Academy programmes are conducted online with the support of multiple platforms — video conferencing, learning management systems, etc.

Where can I find tuition information?

Detailed tuition information, including merit scholarship opportunities, can be found in our programme prospectus.

What's included in my tuition

Most importantly, your tuition covers supervisions, lectures, and additional weekly one-on-one office hours (30 minutes), if requested. Additionally, your tuition covers your access to Cambridge or Oxford’s academic database (via mentor), Data collection guidance (by the mentor), academic journal submission guidance (by the mentor and CCIR Academic Team), and academic support both during the course of the programme and in the follow up (when you need to request letters and evaluations).

How can I get more information about the programme?

To get more information about our programmes, contact our academic coordinator Aiko at If you’re a counselor or a teacher interested in collaborating with our programme, contact Oliver, our outreach director at


What is the CCIR admission criteria?

CCIR is looking for students who are not just academically strong but who are genuinely passionate about the subject matter for which they are applying. This means you have to demonstrate academic strength in your GPA and your other test scores (if applicable) and show us that you are someone who possesses a genuine passion for learning.

What grade levels are the programmes designed for?

CCIR’s Future Scholar Programme and Future Entrepreneur Programme is designed for sixth form (11th and 12th grade in the US) students. The programme’s curriculum mirrors first-year teaching material at Oxbridge. However, we often receive applications of, and admitted, talented students attending lower levels. The 1-on-1 Mentorship Programme, on the other hand, is much more flexible. In the past, we have both offered mentorships for younger students who were especially talented and mentorships for undergraduate students.

What if I don't have PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores yet?

We are standardized test optional in our admissions. As long as we can see your school transcripts, you’ll be fine.

What is the deadline to apply?

For the 1-on-1 programmes, our applications are rolling all year round. For the Future Scholar Programme, applications for these course are all rolling once opened, until the each class is filled at maximum number of five. The Spring 2021 programme will start at 20 March, 2020. For the Future Entrepreneur Programme, applications are also all rolling once opened, until the team is filled at maximum number of seven. The Spring 2021 programme will start at 20 March, 2020.

Can I apply for scholarships?

All applicants are automatically considered for the merited scholarships. If you face economic hardship and seek financial aid, please inform our Academic Coordinator at and we can make arrangements to best accommodate your situation.

How should I prepare for my interview?

We definitely don’t want you to stress over the interview. While there is an evaluative dimension to our interviews, the primary purpose of these interviews is to get a sense of what you have already known about the subject and what your academic passions are. The interviews are all very casual and conversational in style—so just be prepared to come in prepared to chat about your academic interests.

Online Learning

How does the programme accommodate students who live in different time zones?

Our students come from all around the world and we have become extremely good at coordinating schedules that work for everyone. At the start of every course, we will hammer out the logistics to make sure that we can find a time that works perfectly for everyone involved.

What do I do if I have technical difficulties during video conferencing?

Every video conferencing session will be hosted by a CCIR operations team member. You are welcome to raise the issue through chat at any time. You can also send an email to, which is monitored at all times during active sessions.

Will the lectures and TA sessions be recorded?

Yes. Every session will be recorded and made available after class. You can access them via an unlisted playlist on YouTube or your Learning Management System.

What kind of technology is required?

The only requirements are the Internet (Zoom or compatible browser), front-facing camera, and microphone. Some courses may require specific softwares to be installed. Your mentor and TA will do their best to help you install those softwares.

Doing Research

How demanding are the programmes?

In a word: quite. We are hoping to push you academically and intellectually. However, be assured that you will be closely guided and thoroughly supported throughout this challenging process. And in terms of time commitment, we understand that you are busy so our mentors will ensure that you will not be overloaded with work.

How do I gather data for my projects?

Depending on your project, this may take a number of forms. Survey-based research is a definite possibility, for instance, in the social sciences. In other cases, we instead rely on existing data sets that are either open-source or that are requested from other researchers.

I am interested in science. How can I do a research project without accessing the lab?

In the age of big data, a growing amount of research in the sciences is actually conducted outside of the lab context. Large amounts of data already exist and what is needed is for researchers to mine that data for insights. Our mentors will teach you the skills and tools needed for scientific computing and data analysis.

What is the programme's approach to teaching and learning?

Our programmes ultimately all adopt a project-based learning methodology. However, the project-based methodology is supplemented by more traditional methods of lecturing and supervision wherever necessary. Worth highlighting is the supervision format of our teaching: this small group teaching style, based on critical peer-to-mentor and peer-to-peer interaction, is a Oxbridge hallmark and one that we have made central to our pedagogical methods.

1-on-1 Research Mentorship Programme

The 1-on-1 Mentorship offers students the opportunity to pursue research with a current teaching Oxbridge or Ivy League faculty member. Each mentorship experience is tailored to the specific needs and interests of each individual student. This programme enables you to explore what you want, the way you want.

One student, One mentor, One project.

Programme Outcomes

A Tailor-Made Course
Before we pair you with a mentor our Oxbridge PhD Academic advisors will work with you to craft your perfect research experience 
An Independent Research Project
Complete a journal-level research paper supervised by an Oxbridge or Ivy League faculty mentor.
Browse the 2022 Prospectus for:
  • Programme structure
  • Research course catalogue
  • Mentor biographies
  • Tuition & Scholarship
Oxbridge Level Writing Centre

Our writing centre, staffed by Oxbridge students and alumni, is constantly on call to provide prompt feedback on your writing.

Programme Details

Available all year

31% Acceptance rate

A Letter of Recommendation
The option to request a tailored letter penned by your Oxbridge or Ivy League faculty mentor.
Journal Publication Guidance
Our expert Academic team will guide you to the best forums for showcasing your work
A Signed Evaluation Report
From your Oxbridge mentor, issued by the programme, at the student's request.
Journal Publication Guidance

Publishing requires know-how.  Our expert team will not only help you transition from high school to academic writing, we will also actively assist you in getting your work published.  Our academic advisors actively maintain our database of publications so that we know how and where to best showcase your work.  We will help you avoid predatory academic forums and support you as you publish your work in legitimate journals and conferences.

Independent Ethics Review Committee

For research involving human subjects, an ERC review is often required to ensure the experiment adheres to research ethics.  CCIR's independently-run ERC is led by Dr Tom McClelland at the University of Cambridge. 


Every applicant for the 1-on-1 Mentorship Programme is automatically considered for our CCIR Scholarships based on merit.  

Your own ideas and passions are where we begin. Every aspect of your 1-on-1 mentorship experience can be customized to meet your specific needs and interests. Our Academic Team will help you to design a bespoke research experience and to find the perfect mentor.

Your course can start whenever you want, according to the schedule you need. Typically, mentorships run from 7-14 weeks and are focused on a single project — but everything can be customized to optimize your experience.

A Bespoke Research Experience

Course Structure

Endless possibilities

The CCIR Network reaches top faculty members across Cambridge, Oxford, and select Ivy League universities.  In the past our students have embarked on mentorship experiences in the following areas:

Expected Weekly Engagement



office hours upon requet


correspondence and guidance

face-time hours with your mentor

At CCIR, we are incredibly proud of the work our students do. The aim of the Student Spotlight interview series is to showcase the amazing work that our students do through our programmes. To learn more about the work our students do, follow the arrow below.

Diverse areas of research

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Business Management
  • International Relations
  • Political Economy
  • Bioinformatics
  • European History
  • Architecture
  • Computer Vision
  • Machine Learning
  • Pure Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Biochemistry
  • Economics
  • Astrophysics
  • Sociology
  • US History

Total Flexibility

While the 1-on-1 mentorship offers a flexible structure, many students end up opting for a more standard 14 week structure. Their courses are typically split 50/50 between teaching and research. The first 7 weeks focus on building up your foundations of knowledge. In the second 7 weeks, this will empower you to execute your own independent research project.


How to Apply

Step 1: Intake Meeting

First schedule an 30-minute Intake Meeting with our Academic Coordinator. This will serve not only as a programme info session. As we get to know you and your intellectual aspirations, we are kicking off the course design process.

Step 2: Submit Application Form

Next, complete and submit the required application form and documentation.

Step 3: Interview

Qualified applicants will be invited to an interview with one of our Academic Advisors. Here, you will meet a current PhD candidate from either Cambridge or Oxford with expertise in your stated areas of academic interest.

The purpose of this interview is twofold: to evaluate your academic background and to help you further articulate your academic interests.

Step 4: Mentor Research & Introductory Meeting

This is when we tap into our network of Oxbridge researchers to help you find your perfect mentor. Together with your application materials, we will send the recording of the Advising session to potential mentors. ​

If there is an interested mentor, we will then arrange an 30-minute Introductory Meeting between you and your mentor, where you will get to know each other and finalize the direction of your research.