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Teaching and Learning

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Teaching at Cambridge takes place in three basic ways:

Each separate subject (or ‘paper’) you study will be based around a series of lectures lasting for either a term or the full academic year. You will have between one and three lectures per paper each week. These take place in the department and everybody studying the paper is expected to attend

Some papers will also include seminars. These are more informal sessions, usually requiring the students to read and discuss texts set beforehand and often including a presentation, either from the lecturer or some of the students.

For each paper you will also have a weekly supervision. For these you are expected to prepare a short essay on a given topic, which you will then discuss in a group of two or three with your supervisor. Your supervisor will be a member of the academic staff or a senior graduate student. Supervisions are an excellent way to explore and understand new ideas as well as a means of developing your academic confidence. When you come to write your dissertations, you will have one to one supervisions with an expert in the field.

Your college will appoint one of its History of Art fellows (or sometimes a fellow of another college) as your director of studies. It is likely that your director of studies will also be a member of the department’s academic staff. You will meet with them regularly. They will oversee your academic work, arrange supervisors for you, and be there to help you with any difficulties that may arise.