The Academic Seminar Programme

Preparing international secondary students for academic success at the world’s top universities

Access to top universities is very competitive...

Students are required to show how they have gone beyond the curriculum.

With PhD researchers from high ranking universities as Academic Supervisors, this unique programme equips pupils with the research, verbal communication, information, advice and guidance, and critical thinking skills for onward success.

Who for: Year 9-13 students at international schools
Format: Intensive 1-2 week programme OR weekly tutorials during term time.

How is it delivered?

The majority of our programmes are currently delivered online. Adapted for optimal learning experiences during Covid, pupils join virtually and are able to benefit from workshops delivered by a variety of experts from top ranked universities globally.

What makes the ASP different?

PhDs as Academic Supervisors

As mentors and tutors, all courses are led by exceptional PhD researchers from the world's top universities: Oxford, Cambridge, Trinity College Dublin and more. PhDs write the coursebook and seminar content based on their unique and world-class research.

Individualised support

The course is delivered to small groups (max. 10), replicating university-style lectures at a research-intensive university, with an extended final assignment, and personalised academic advice during pupil-tutor one-to-one feedback seminars.

Full university preparatory experience

As well as developing deep subject knowledge through their academic courses, students attend mental well-being and university enrichment workshops ranging from undergraduate study skills to bespoke applications advice.

Research-style approach

Unlike most of our early education experiences, ASP encourages students to question everything. Rather than learning to recite facts, ASP challenges evidence, encourages debate, engages critical thinking and promotes voicing opinions.

Coursebooks and seminars

Seminars are accompanied by a bespoke ‘coursebook’. This coursebook is exclusively designed by the PhD Academic Supervisor. Coursebooks are aligned with school-level study, but contain fascinating material that stretches and challenges students beyond the curriculum.

See some of our example courses on the right!

Title: The impact of sports concussion on brain health
Subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Neuroscience
Tutor: Dr. Oisin Joyce
University: Trinity College Dublin
Arts & Humanities
Title: In defence of trash: the power of pop lit
Subjects: English literature, language, history
Tutor: Dr. Eva Burke
University: Cambridge
Social Sciences
Title: The Science of Language and Linguistics
Subjects: Languages, Psychology,
Culture studies, Geography
Tutor: Dr. Kim Fuellenbach
Uniersity: Oxford
Proven Impact

We measure impact on pupils in 4 ways

Courses are proven to boost academic engagement and give students an edge over their peers. The model is based on one that has been independently evaluated by UCAS and shown to increase progression to higher education.

Our programmes show an increase in student competencies pre and post-programme (even small numeric shifts of less than 1% show a statistically significant difference in performance). See below for average increases across our 4 competencies


The ability to think about one's own learning.
Before to after programme increase: 8%


The belief that students can achieve future goals.
Before to after programme increase: 7%


The factors that drive students to behave in particular ways.
Before to after programme increase: 8%

University Readiness

The knowledge students have around higher education and how to access it.
Before to after programme increase: 11%

Programme Impact

of students agreed with the statement that they found the content stimulating and interesting
of students agreed with the statement that they felt more prepared for university or onward study as a result of participation
increase in university readiness skills of participating pupils pre and post programme

Programme Feedback

Teacher feedback

International School Geneva, 2019

“All seminars span a range of subjects, which is so important for students exploring interdisciplinary university-level study. We loved the way that pupils genuinely engage with cutting edge and unique coursebook materials developed by PhDd - thank you.”

Pupil evaluation

International School Dubai, 2022

"…we were able to discuss and engage in interesting topics that branched out of [languages and linguistics]. We could compare and contrast our viewpoints, which allowed us to explore different perspectives."

PhD supervisor comments

International School Taiwan, 2021

“Pupils truly conduct real research and debate through this programme. I really enjoyed interacting with the students during online class. I have rarely seen a course this engaged and enthusiastic before.”


International School, Jumeirah, 2022

“Originally I did not know whether I would do well and wondered about the course. After I did the research and wrote my assignments, I felt proud and excited about the next lesson. Having learnt so much in 2 weeks makes me curious for what we can learn in the future in university.”

Download our programme brochure

Download our brochure for schools to read more.

We are always delighted to have a conversation with your school contact, so get in touch to speak to a member of our team. We take a bespoke approach to planning all our programmes with you. We will always discuss how the ASP can best meet your student needs.


International school expression of interest form

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