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Academic Taster Days

Our academic sessions are available for Year 10 – Year 13 learners. Please click on the links below to find out more about the academic sessions we offer. For booking or to find out more, please contact

Academic Sessions are updated regularly. If you have questions about any of the sessions, or if you would like to arrange a visit,  please contact

Education, Humanities and Social Sciences


More information to follow. Please contact with any questions.

Business Management
Digital Marketing and the Giants of Digital (Prof Merlin Stone)

How the digital world is changing the world of marketing, what new businesses approaches are emerging, and what we can expect next - will the robots take over marketing too?

London Past, Present and Future as a Smart City (Prof Merlin Stone)

How London has changed in the last few decade, in terms of employment and population, and how it is still changing, with high tech gradually overtaking finance as the main employer

What organisations like Transport for London are doing to make our city smarter?

Future of Air Travel (Prof Merlin Stone)

How is the world of air transport is changing, with planes becoming quieter and more economic, and everyone wanting to travel more?

Will the third runway at London will make our lives better (or worse?) if it ever happens

How will surface transport will cope?

Marketing Yourself  (Prof Merlin Stone)

How can you become the product that every employer wants, and keep wanting as you change and develop yourself throughout your career?

How should you promote yourself using business social media such as LinkedIn?

The European Union (Prof Merlin Stone)

Where next, with or without Brexit? What has been happening to the Eurozone since the Credit Crunch? Will things change for the better? Does the challenge from China and India bode well for Europe?

Ageing Britain (Prof Merlin Stone)

What is happening to the demography of the UK, compared with other countries? What are the implications for the health service, for the old themselves, and the young?

Artificial intelligence (Prof Merlin Stone)

What does it mean and is it really artificial? How is it already being used around us? Where next?

Ethics in business (Prof Merlin Stone)

What do we know about truth and lies in business, and what do we need to know? Are there any clear trends? Can we guard ourselves against lies? What does it mean to us as we go into the world of work, and try to stay there?

Business Accounting/Finance

Money, the language of business; Finance – key institutions; what is accounting – origins, meaning and purpose.

Business Management/Entrepreneurship

Change management: How to make an elephant dance? Entrepreneurship: What does it take to make it to the top?

Communications and Marketing

More information to follow. Please contact with any questions.

Creative Writing
Dialogue in Short Fiction (Years 11 – 13)

This lecture introduces students to the uses and techniques for presenting dialogue in short fiction, with examples and a short writing exercise. Topics covered include: how to correctly introduce and punctuate dialogue; how to use dialogue to structure a scene; how to use dialogue to show character; how to use dialogue to introduce subtext.

Getting Writing Ideas – ‘Polaroid Moments’ (Years 12 – 13)

This session introduces students to ways of generating ideas for their writing by considering remarkable moments from their life – not necessarily dramatic or traumatic moments, but oddly memorable ones. Discussion includes ways that writers and novelists mine their and other people’s lives for material, the ethics of writing about your own or other people’s lives, and ways to develop ideas so that they divert from what ‘really’ happened.

Flash Fiction (Years 11 – 13)

This session introduces students to the reasonably young prose form of the ‘flash fiction’ – usually stories of 50-1,000 words. We will look at examples of the form by writers such as Lydia Davis, Tania Hershman, Franz Kafka and Amelia Gray, and we will tackle exercises involved in coming up with appropriate ideas and writing and completing a piece of flash fiction.

Criminology and Sociology

More information to follow. Please contact with any questions.

English Literature
What's Your Deepest Fear? The Birth of Gothic (Years: 11-13)

In this session Dr Peter Howell will look at the development of the Gothic in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and argue that the descriptions of dungeons, haunted houses and sexual threat we find their attempts to psychoanalyse the mind, in a direct prediction of what people like Sigmund Freud were later to attempt.

Shakespearean Tragedy, and why it makes us feel happy! (Years: 11-13)

The session focuses on the central paradox of tragedy, as identified by Aristotle and others that the audience ends up enjoying the pessimistic philosophy it appears to embody. Such a paradox can be examined according to any of Shakespeare's major tragedies, and some hints will be given as to why it might be the case.

Shakespearean Comedy and the 'Carnivalesque' (Years: 11-13)

It has in the past few decades been argued that Shakespeare's comedies can best be understood as instances of the 'Carnivalesque' - that is, the literary representation of the world turned upside down, as has happened throughout civilization in carnivals and other festivities. along with this, in texts such as Comedy of Errors, Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure and The Tempest comes, as will be explained, a very profound questioning of sexual, gender and class identity, which has a surprising alignment with recent, 'postmodern' theories of identity.

The Canon of the English Literature and the #MeToo Generation (Years: 11-13)

This session will ask students to rethink the selection of the 'classics' of English Literature in the light of recent debates about feminism and sexual identity. 'Eng Lit' has not - since the 1950s anyway - excluded feminine experience, and is probably a more diverse discipline than subjects like Philosophy, History and Film Studies. However, the critique of patriarchy has now become more urgent, and the need to reflect on what might constitute an emancipated feminine voice in literature will be explored in this seminar.

Rethinking Wordsworth's 'Westminster Bridge' (Years: 11-13)

In this seminar I shall read this apparently simple poem with the students, and suggest, as a way of introducing the study of English at university, that there's a great deal bubbling under the surface. There are instances of plagiarism from a tourist guide and from Worsdworth's sister, historical rupture caused by the war with France, and even repressed feelings about an illegitimate child the poet had fathered, all hidden in this famous sonnet in praise of the City of London.

Film and Screen Media; Film and Digital Production
Jurassic Park (Years: 11-13)

When Jurassic Park was released in 1993, audiences flocked to the cinema to witness the ground-breaking technology, the first time photo-realistic CGI animals had been seen on screen. When Sam Neil’s Alan Grant stared up in wonder at the Brachiosaur and whispered, “It’s a dinosaur”, his stunned reaction was directly mirrored by that of the cinema audience. This positioned the audience as visitors to the park, receiving the same ‘message’ as the fictional characters and enhancing the viewing experience. This interesting and complicated relationship between the fictional universe of Jurassic Park and the consumption of the franchise by fans has continued to develop in the twenty-five years since the first film’s release. From immersive attractions such as Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando to the website for Jurassic World (2015) which, rather than being a promotional website for the film, was in fact the website for Jurassic World the theme park. This session will explore the complex and fascinating ways in which films like Jurassic Park use a combination of filmmaking techniques, merchandising and marketing to better engage the audience in unique and persuasive ways.

Screenwriting (Years: 11-13)

While a glance at the ever expanding closing credits of a feature film will remind you that there are a host of vital technical components that contribute to any successful production, story and character remain the central elements from which all else stems. This session will explore some of the ways in which screenwriters begin to construct fully rounded, multi-dimensional characters, and ensure that they step, convincingly from the page onto the screen. We will investigate a range of methods and techniques used to achieve these goals, and look at some of the distinctions between creating content that will ultimately be watched rather than read. This very practical taster session will offer participants the opportunity to contribute to the creation and refinement of a character through some fun, collaborative exercises.

Creative Problem Solving

Some of the most sought after employability skills in the modern world are the ability to think creatively and work in collaboration with others in order to solve problems. This workshop takes these requirements as a starting point for a fun, imaginative exercise that combines bananas, with a room full of random objects, and calls for participants to use their collective imaginations to provide a transportation solution. 

Did Napoleon Betray the French Revolution: A University History Taster Session

Year 12-13: for those considering History at University Level
Year 11: those considering A-Level History
Year 11-13: students who are studying the French Revolution as part of the Curriculum

Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most discussed figures in European History. From an obscure family of Corsican nobles, Napoleon made his name in France's revolutionary armies, rose to power through a coup d’ét bat, and built an enormous empire through force of arms. Yet he also rationalised laws, introduced religious toleration, and reformed the public administration of the countries that he conquered. In this interactive seminar, which is designed to give you a taste of History at University, we will discuss whether Napoleon betrayed the principles of the French Revolution, as well as thinking about how History at University differs from A-Level, and what studying a History degree can lead on to.

Working with the Past: A Guide to History at University and Beyond

Year 12-13: for those considering History at University Level
Year 11: those considering A-Level History

This session is intended to give students a sense of what studying history is like, of the value of engaging in a critical way with the societies and peoples of the past, and of the sorts of careers that Historians can flourish in. It is intended to give students considering applying for History at University a sense of what that involves, and what it can lead to. It will also be of use to Year 11 students considering their A-Level choices.

Superbowl: a blueprint of American History?

Year 11-13: for those considering studying History at University Level

“Football is the sport of the historical moment,” said Harry Edwards, professor of sociology at the University of California in 1978. “It’s a corporate blueprint for American society.” Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Superbowl, the annual performance of Americanness, watched by well over 100 million people. On 3 February, the Superbowl will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, the third time that the city will have hosted these finals of the American football professional season. Since the late 1970s, these NFL finals have been a cultural marker in American history, and even people who don’t care about the football tune in for the adverts and the big name stars who perform at half time. In 2004, Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ started a public conversation about double standards around the display of the female body; in 2016, Beyoncé mesmerised audiences with a performance of her song ‘Formation’ which leaned heavily on the history and the iconography of the Black Panthers.

This talk will explore the ways we can read American race and gender through the Superbowl. From the #takeaknee controversy through the adverts and half-time performances, we can understand a lot about US history through the ‘historical moment’ of football. And you don’t even have to like football, or know the rules.

Rethinking Sixties Britain.

Years: 12-13

This talk reconsiders the course and legacy of a decade of change, fifty years on. It deals with social changes, cultural innovations and political ideas. 

Commemorating the World Wars

This talk can be adapted for different year groups.

This talk discusses some of the ways in which the two world wars have been turned into objects of memory, commemoration and meaning. The primary focus is on British memory work, with other national memory cultures used as points of comparison. What are the wars taken to mean in 21st-Century Britain?

History without Historians

This talk is aimed at year 12/13 students who want to rethink what history is

This talk invites students to think about uses of the past beyond the conventional borders of 'history'. How do people like artists, filmmakers, curators, lawyers and activists use the past for their own projects? And how does this work relate to what historians do?

Introduction to Law

Will look at the sources of law and focus on Parliamentary and Case law and look at examples of each.  The session is very interactive and the student ambassadors also get involved and help out.  It can be delivered to large and small groups alike.

Technical Theatre

More information to follow. Please contact with any questions.

Sport, Health and Applied Science

The  Faculty of Sport, Health and Applied Science offers educational visits to schools and colleges. These visits allow students to experience an undergraduate practical session, providing them the opportunity to get a taster of university study.

These classes aim to provide both a practical and theoretical insight into the different areas of expertise that are taught across the field of Sport, Health and Applied Science.

Applied Physics
A-Level Physics Experiments

Years: 11 and up
Maximum size: 
10-25 students

Complete mandatory A-Level experiments in a University Setting. Purpose built laboratory facility with state of the art equipment, includes prepared experimental scripts with questions and example answers.

University Physics Experiments Taster Sessions

Years: 11 and up
Maximum size: 
10-25 students

Undergraduate experiments condensed into 30minute session. The session has an emphasis on variety of scientific skills i.e. data collection error analysis and discussion of results.

3D Printing

Years: 11 and up
Maximum size: 
15 students

Understand the fundamentals of 3D printing and what is needed to create the perfect print. Develop skills in 3D design using the platforms such as OpenSCAD and Rhino 3D.

Electronics and Robotics

Years: 10 and up
Maximum size: 
25 students

An in-depth activity on electronics and robotics. Put your understanding of electronics to the test by racing your own robot.

Junior Bionics

Years: 7 and up
Maximum size: 
25 students

Lecture on the future of Bionics and Robotics in medicine. A hands on arts and crafts activity to design a bionic arm. 


Practical based discussion around food and drink interventions to optimise athletic and recreational performance.

What Psychology can tell you about problem solving

Years: 9 and up
Maximum size: 
40 students

Participants will be introduced to what it’s like to study Psychology at University through the use of a modified seminar style session. Participants will work in groups and get to play with some games which require them to solve problems (micro machine cars are featured). Then they’ll learn about the psychological principles that help to explain why some problems are easier than others and how we can study people’s problem solving behaviour in the laboratory.            

Sport Science

An introduction to the use of force platform, 3-D motion capture and high speed filming profiling techniques used as both research and advanced coaching prescription tools.

Sport Psychology

A presentation based review of the modern psychology skill set and techniques used to optimise sporting performance.


Two-part session undertaking a sub-maximal physiology test and a sprint performance test, looking at the collected data as used by professionals to determine training prescription.

Strength and Conditioning
Skill Acquisition

An extended S&C session, looking at how to develop movement and cognitive skills relating to the demands of varying sporting professions.

Strength and Conditioning

Looking at how and why programming, fitness testing and movement skills fit into an athletes training and development.

Institute of Theology

'Mini-lectures on Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics A-Level topics'

Years: 12-13
Maximum size: 40 students

Book a visit to St Mary's University's beautiful campus for 1-3 45 minute lectures on a selection of a-Level topics of your choice, delivered by our world leading experts in the field.

'Studying Theology, Religion, and Ethics at University'

Years: 12-13
Maximum size: N/A

Book a visit from one of our engaging academics to learn about the benefits of studying at University in a 30-minute talk, with a few minutes about Theology, Religion, and Ethics specifically.