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Institute of Continuing Education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Institute of Continuing Education
The Institute's headquarters at Madingley Hall
The Institute's headquarters at Madingley Hall
FounderJames Stuart
AffiliationUniversity of Cambridge
DirectorDr James Gazzard

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) is a department of the University of Cambridge dedicated to providing flexible courses which allow adults of all ages, irrespective of previous educational attainment, to access higher education and obtain qualifications. It is the oldest continuing education department in the United Kingdom.[1]

The institute has an annual enrolment of over 6,000 students, including around 1,000 students from over 60 countries who attend the University of Cambridge’s annual international summer programme.[2] Students can choose from around 250 different courses across three broad disciplinary themes: Arts and Sciences; Creative Writing and English Literature; and Professional Studies.[3]  

The institute has its origins in a series of lectures given by James Stuart in 1867. It is primarily based at Madingley Hall in Cambridgeshire.


The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) was founded as the Local Lectures Syndicate in 1873 by the University of Cambridge engineer James Stuart.[4][5] It has also been previously known as the Board of Extra-Mural Studies (BEMS) and the Board for Continuing Education.

In 1867, the suffragist Anne Clough and the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women commissioned James Stuart to deliver a course of lectures in five English cities in direct response to the growing need for educational opportunity for girls and women.[6][7] These lecturers marked the beginning of the university extension movement, which aimed to provide tertiary teaching for those unable to go to university.[8] Extension centres, guided by Cambridge academics, in cities such as Exeter and Sheffield were central to the formation of new university colleges and led to the expansion of universities in cities across England in the late 1800s.[9]

The University of Cambridge, of which Stuart was a fellow, sanctioned the university extension movement in 1873, when it offered its first course commencing in Derby on 8 October.[10] In the same year, the university appointed the Local Lectures Syndicate, which included James Stuart, as well as Brooke Westcott, Joseph Lightfoot, and Henry Sidgwick.[11] In 1924, the Local Lectures Syndicate became the autonomous Board of Extra-Mural Studies (BEMS)[12] and it found a new permanent home a few years when it moved to the newly-built Stuart House in Mill Lane, Cambridge in 1927.[13] The board was based at Stuart House until 1975, when it moved to Madingley Hall in Cambridgeshire.[1]

In August 1991, the Board of Extra-Mural Studies (BEMS) was renamed as The Board for Continuing Education.[14] The institute received its current name on 1 January 2001.[15]

Location and buildings

The institute's headquarters are in the village of Madingley, Cambridgeshire. It is housed in Madingley Hall, about four miles west of the Cambridge city limits.[16] Madingley Hall was built in the 1540s and was later rented by Queen Victoria for the young Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) while he was a student at Cambridge.[1][16][17] The Hall incorporates 14 classrooms, 62 study bedrooms and full catering.[18]

From left to right (all at Madingley Hall): topiary; old Tudor staircase seen from below; archway into courtyard; lake

Academic overview

ICE offers residential, online, weekend, summer, and part-time courses, as well as public lectures. The duration of study varies, from one and two-day courses, through two-year part-time master's degrees, and courses are often taken for personal interest or for professional development.[1] The institute's teaching is also accomplished by a group of about 300 tutors located in the Cambridge area and elsewhere.[1][4]

Undergraduate Certificates, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas

ICE’s undergraduate courses cover over 30 subjects[19] and all courses are accredited via the United Kingdom's Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).[16]

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas

ICE's one-year part-time postgraduate (FHEQ level 7) courses give students the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification in the arts, sciences or professional disciplines.[20] 

Part-Time Master's Degrees

Master of Studies (MSt) degrees at ICE are usually undertaken over two years.[21] In the 2018-19 academic year, ICE led the introduction of Apprenticeships at Cambridge University to offer skill-based apprentice courses, giving students the opportunity to earn a postgraduate qualification in a select range of professional fields.[22]

In 2020, ICE offered two new vocational master's degree courses: a master’s degree in writing for performance, covering theatre, performance poetry, film, TV, radio and stand-up comedy, and the UK’s first ever master’s degree in the responsible use of artificial intelligence. The latter qualification is designed for technology makers and other professionals who wish to ensure their products cause no harm or augment bias and injustice such as sexism.[23][24]

Short Courses

In September 2019, ICE launched a new series of short courses called ‘Super Tuesdays,’ which provided a three-hour introduction to a specific topic for adults of all ages, with no previous qualifications necessary.[25]


Throughout the 2019-20 academic year, 6,057 adult students enrolled on courses at ICE and a further 2,151 adults attended both virtual and in-person events.[2]

In the summer of 2020, ICE announced it was launching a £1 million bursary programme to help adults hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the programme, the institute offered 1,000 bursaries, each worth £1,000, to go towards tuition fees for more than 30 part-time courses.[26]

Supervision by university

The work of ICE is controlled by the general board of the university, through a management committee. The institute's lecturers are all appointed by the university.[4]

In 2008, when Cambridge University indirectly offered its stamp of approval for certificates in subjects like "garden history" and "well-being", the university faced accusations of dumbing down.[27] According to The Daily Telegraph, the university decided to "take over the awarding of certificates currently offered by bodies such as the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education….”[27] All award-bearing courses, therefore, receive a University of Cambridge qualification, which are part of the UK's Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

In August 2020, the University of Cambridge launched a range of online courses on the EdX global learning platform and chose ICE’s course in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries as its first offering.[28]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Care, Adam (October 24, 2014). "You're never too old for a Cambridge education". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23.
  2. ^ a b "Annual Report 2019–2020" (PDF). University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Course search". Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  4. ^ a b c Barlow, Adrian. Extramural: Literature and Lifelong Learning, pp. 18-19. (Lutterworth Press 2012).
  5. ^ Beyeler, Marc (2015-05-15). "Institute of Continuing Education to sponsor Team of the Year prize at News' Junior Sports Award". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 2015-07-24.
  6. ^ "Clough, Anne Jemima (1820–1892), college head and promoter of women's education". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5710. Retrieved 2021-02-05. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Cunningham, Peter (2009). Beyond the Lecture Hall: Universities and community engagement rom the middle ages to the present day. University of Cambridge. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-9560861-2-9.
  8. ^ Lawrie, Alexandra (2014), Lawrie, Alexandra (ed.), "The University Extension Movement", The Beginnings of University English: Extramural Study, 1885–1910, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 56–85, doi:10.1057/9781137309112_4, ISBN 978-1-137-30911-2, retrieved 2021-02-23
  9. ^ "History and heritage | About us | The University of Sheffield". 2020-12-14. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  10. ^ Jarvis, Peter. Adult Education and Lifelong Learning: Theory and Practice, p. 318 (Routledge 2004).
  11. ^ Welch, Edwin (1974). The Peripatetic University. England: Cambridge University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780521201520.
  12. ^ Barlow, Adrian (2012). Extramural: Literature and Lifelong Learning. The Lutterworth Press. p. 27. ISBN 978 0 7188 9279 1.
  13. ^ "The boardroom at Stuart House (BL28812) Archive Item - The Bedford Lemere Collection | Historic England". Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  14. ^ Anonymous (2020-04-30). "Extra-Mural Studies". Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  15. ^ "Annual Report of the Board of Continuing Education, re-constituted as the Institute of Continuing Education, 2001-02". Cambridge University Reporter. Archived from the original on 2015-12-10.
  16. ^ a b c Henderson, C.W. Open the Gates to the Ivy League: A Plan B for Getting into the Top Colleges, p. 87 (Penguin 2013).
  17. ^ Care, Adam (2015-04-23). "More than 380 species discovered at Cambridge University's Madingley Hall". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  18. ^ "Madingley Hall | Meetings | Reviews". meetingsclub. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  19. ^ Davison, Tim (2016-05-19). "Undergraduate Certificates, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  20. ^ Davison, Tim (2016-05-19). "Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  21. ^ Davison, Tim (2016-05-19). "Part-time Master's Degrees". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  22. ^ "Cambridge University to offer apprenticeship training". BBC News. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  23. ^ "Cambridge University launches master's degree in responsible use of AI". The Independent. 2020-12-06. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  24. ^ "Cambridge University launches Master's degree in the responsible use of AI". Scientific Computing World. 2020-12-08. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  25. ^ "A new programme called Super Tuesdays is set to start at Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education". Cambridge Independent. 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  26. ^ "University starts education bursary to help those hit by pandemic". ITV News. 2020-06-11. Retrieved 2021-02-11.
  27. ^ a b Bingham, John (2008-12-22). "Garden history and 'wellbeing' qualifications from Cambridge University". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2019-04-25.
  28. ^ Tiernan, Carolyn. "edX Welcomes the University of Cambridge". Retrieved 2021-02-11.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 February 2021, at 15:54
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