Pre-College Programs
Summer@Brown Courses

Summer@Brown Courses (206)

From I Love Lucy to Lost: Television and American Culture

In this course, we will study how television reflects and shapes American culture, from its beginnings as focal point of family life in the suburban 1950s to its current status as interactive experience. We will look at television as a business, as a medium, and as a cultural force. Within that framework, we will analyze who decides which programs to put on the air, and how...

One Section Offered »

American Consumer Culture, 1870-present

What do we mean when we talk about the modern era in the United States as a “culture of consumption?” How have Americans created and reflected identities through participation in this culture? Beginning with the advent of mass production, advertising, and branding, we will examine the development of modern consumer culture, from its foundations in the 1870’s...

One Section Offered »

The Wars Within: Patriotism and Protest in Twentieth-Century America

Why do Americans go to war? How do conflicts abroad shape politics at home? In this course, students will study debates concerning freedom of speech, civil rights, and political repression during the two World Wars, the early Cold War, and the Vietnam era. Reading a range of primary sources, including political speeches, journalism, and literature, discussions will reflect...

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Discovering the Past: Introduction to Archaeology

Do you like solving ancient mysteries, traveling to exotic parts of the globe, visiting ancient monuments, examining ancient artifacts, and studying history? If so, then this course is for you!! This course will introduce you to the fascinating field of archaeology: what it is, how it’s done, how it can help us understand the human past, and how it can help us make sense...

One Section Offered »

The Prehistory of Humans: A Social and Cultural Evolution

The overarching theme of this course is to supply students with an ample understanding of our human antiquity; therefore, we will use archaeology as a means to comprehend our earliest origins and our unique evolution. This course should be of particular interest to students interested in archaeology and in the humanities in general.

The main focus of this course...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

The cultural and social diversity of the world around us is astounding. Anthropology is a discipline that examines different aspects of this diversity and allows one to better understand the complexity of social phenomena. This course introduces students to the most important concepts and approaches used by anthropologists in understanding socio-cultural variation. The course...

Ancient Egyptian Engineering: Cool Old Stuff and How it's Made

This course explores ancient Egyptian "stuff" up close: metal weapons, wooden statues, stone monuments, glass-glazed figurines, and how they were made and used. Students will learn the science and engineering behind these ancient technologies, and discuss how their materials and designs shaped and were shaped by their use in ancient Egypt. Along with the course lectures...

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Artifacts in Archaeology: Understanding Material Culture and Ancient Technologies

The manufacture of artifacts distinguishes us from all other species. This course examines the artifacts that archaeologists most commonly recover: lithics (artifacts made from stone), pottery, and metallurgy, as well as glass, wood, and bone. Students will become aware of the principles that surround human artifacts and the documentation techniques used by archaeologists,...

One Section Offered »

'Girl Code': Sex, Gender, and Pop Culture

Using the MTV series Girl Code as a platform, this course introduces basic concepts and perspectives of our gendered lives by placing gender, sexuality, and culture at the center of analysis. An emphasis will be placed on pop culture and how it continues to shape our understanding of the concepts of women, men, sex, and gender as diverse categories that intersect with class,...

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The Science of the Human Past: Using Biology to Dissect History

History and Biology are often seen as distinct or even competing fields. This class will explore the enormous collaborative potential of both disciplines to deepen and enrich our understanding of the early development of human societies.

In this course, we will use both biological and historical approaches to explore the emergence and development of early human societies...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Urban Anthropology

This course provides an introduction to urban anthropology, or the study of problems, processes, cultures, and institutions associated with city life. Through classroom activities, as well as interactive field trips to urban sites in Providence, students will develop tools for seeing the city anthropologically. Students will gain a highly participatory introduction to city...

One Section Offered »

Techniques in DNA-Based Biotechnology

The development of powerful tools in molecular biology has led to an explosion in our understanding of genes and the factors controlling their expression. Illuminating research, including recent Nobel Prize winning work, is beginning to reveal the significant role of RNA, a molecule long thought to be merely a "messenger."

Through extensive laboratory...

Two Sections Offered »

Introduction to Medicine: Do You Want to Be a Doctor?

So you think you want to be a doctor? This course is designed to help you answer that question by letting you see the practice of medicine firsthand, giving you a taste of what medical school would be like, and helping you evaluate how well your talents and preferences match those of a career in medicine.

You will "try medicine on for size" by spending...

One Section Offered »

The Body: An Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology

This course explores the structure and function of the human body at multiple levels; individual cells, their coming together to form tissues, the organization of tissues into organs, organs working together as parts of organ systems, and finally how those organ systems support one another to maintain the body. Normal structure and function are presented as a starting point,...

One Section Offered »

Exploring Infectious Disease: Are We Safe?

The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the field of infectious diseases and to give students an understanding of pathogens that cause infections and their impact on worldwide public health. This course will be of interest to students who want to study medicine, life science or public health.

Will there be a bird flu outbreak? Can Ebola reach...

Understanding the Nation's Health

What is Public Health? Public health is the latest buzz word in America and encompasses efforts to improve the health of specific populations through education and advocacy. In this one-week course, students will develop an overall understanding of public health. The course will culminate with an opportunity for students to work collaboratively and use their new skills to solve...

One Section Offered »

Scholar-Athlete: Sport Physiology

To understand the organ systems integrated response and adaptations to the stress of exercise.

This topic is interesting to anyone who wants to understand what their body is actually doing during exercise and post exercise at the biological level. The course will introduce and demystify training regimens and diets. Students will be introduced to sciences' evolving...

Three Sections Offered »

Research Techniques in Biomedical Fields

Doctors work to treat diseases but scientists work to cure them. Have you ever wondered about the work that goes on behind the scenes in Medicine? Do you want to find out what it is like to work in a laboratory and be a real "lab rat"? This laboratory intensive course is designed to expose students to basic laboratory research, current topics and techniques in molecular...

Two Sections Offered »

Bacteriology: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly

Did you know that the bubonic plague killed approximate 50% of Europe’s population in the middle ages? Did you know that the bacterium that causes leprosy lives inside of the American Armadillo? Bacteria floating miles high in the atmosphere can cause meningitis. Bacteria even contribute to obesity and heart attacks. Come learn about the amazing world of bacteria!


One Section Offered »

Principles of Human Physiology - Part A

Physiology is the critical study of how living things function. It is not anatomy, but as one of the most fundamental disciplines in the biomedical sciences, it depends heavily on anatomical and biological concepts. An understanding of the basic principles of physiology, especially in regard to our own bodies, is an invaluable part of any budding physicians' or scientists'...

One Section Offered »

Principles of Human Physiology - Part B

Physiology is the critical study of how living things function. It is not anatomy, but as one of the most fundamental disciplines in the biomedical sciences, it depends heavily on anatomical and biological concepts. An understanding of the basic principles of physiology, especially in regard to our own bodies, is an invaluable part of any budding physicians’ or scientists’...

One Section Offered »

Molecular Biology and Biochemistry: From DNA to Enzymes

Molecular biology and biochemistry are two closely related fields where the properties of key biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA, and how they interact with each other in living organisms are studied. Research in these areas have become so successful at explaining living processes that they are used in almost all areas of the life sciences from medicine to the...

One Section Offered »

Organic and Biochemistry: Key Pathways to Success for the Pre-Med Student

Organic and biochemistry are the foundation sciences for the life sciences discipline. Students hoping to have a medical career need to have a strong foundation in chemistry. The MCAT exams given to college students hoping to enter medical/dental or veterinary schools contain a number of sections devoted to general/organic and biochemistry.

The course begins with...

One Section Offered »

Laboratory Research in Biomedicine

Topics to be covered in this laboratory intensive course include the structure and function of biomolecules such as proteins, enzymes, carbohydrates, and DNA, as well as the structure and function of cellular components. In the laboratory, students will carry out several introductory and advanced experimental techniques utilizing both DNA and proteins. Experiments will include...

Two Sections Offered »

Forensic Science - CSI Providence!

What makes an expert witness an expert? What would the perfect crime look like? These are but a couple of the many questions we will explore during this course. Forensic science is an exciting field that combines scientific principles from many different science disciplines with technology and math resulting in new, sometimes surprising outcomes!

This integrated...

Two Sections Offered »

Using Pharmacology To Help Us Study The Nervous System

Have you ever thought about how nerve cells in your brain talk to each other, and how psychoactive drugs can affect this process? In this class you will learn the latest ideas concerning how nerves use chemicals and electricity to communicate with each other, and how drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD, caffeine and nicotine can alter brain communication.


One Section Offered »

Introduction to Public Health and the Global Disease Burden

This course will provide an introduction to public health in terms of terminology, research methods, important chronic and infectious diseases, and career opportunities in the field. This is a great class for students interested in learning more about public health, the social and political context of disease, and future opportunities in the field.

The focus of this...

Drugs, Alcohol & Behavior

Drugs and alcohol have been part of the human experience since prehistory. Why are drugs and alcohol so thoroughly entrenched in human society? How do different drug classes affect human behavior? Why do some people abuse drugs, while others never become addicted? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions. This course will cover the function of drugs in human...

One Section Offered »

Drug Discovery: Treating Human Disease Through Medicine

The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the way that diseases are treated on a physiological level and how drugs are discovered and created. Students will gain an understanding of how the pharmaceutical industry approaches drug discovery, balancing patient quality of life and treatment regimen, as well as how drugs interact with the human body to elicit...

One Section Offered »

The Great Diseases: Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Infections

This course will explore the big killers of mankind. Student will gain a better understanding of the history of disease and the biological reasons diseases occur.

This course will examine the major diseases that man is afflicted with. We will explore cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzeimers, autoimmune...

One Section Offered »

Cancer Biology: An Evolving Puzzle

Have you ever questioned why certain types of cancer are so difficult to treat or how basic science discoveries translate into clinical practice? This course will provide an introduction to cancer biology through hands-on laboratory exercises and interactive lectures. Students will have the opportunity to develop an independent research project and learn about the daily activities...

One Section Offered »

Viruses: Ancient Machines in a Modern World

Have you ever had a really bad cold? Maybe the flu? Do you know a polio survivor? Someone with AIDS?

Do you ever wonder exactly how these illnesses occur? It turns out we are merely guests in a fascinating microscopic world. Among the bacteria, parasites, prions, and other microbes are tiny, lifeless, parasitic beings that have been on earth long before we ever were: we...

One Section Offered »

The Life of a Drug: from Discovery to Market

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without Tylenol or penicillin? How were these drugs discovered? How did they become so popular? Pharmaceutical companies spend over 1 billion dollars developing just one new drug and getting it to the market. Why does it cost so much money? In this course you will find out the answers to these questions and get a look behind...

One Section Offered »

The Politics of Global Public Health

The World Health Organization describes health as a fundamental human right. Explore and discover and learn how to respond to urgent global public health challenges. Global public health is not only driven only by the scientific evidence, but also community, national, and international interests. Even seemingly simple public health solutions, such as providing food for famine,...

One Section Offered »

Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

There's a lot of controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells, but did you know that there are many types of stem cells in the body and that some are already being used to treat diseases? In this course, you'll learn about what stem cells are, what they do, and their importance to research and medicine. You’ll even learn how to culture mammalian cells. Discover...

One Section Offered »

The Immune System: Your Inner Warrior

Have you ever wondered why your doctor poked you with so many needles when you were a kid? Why you got the flu this year but your best friend didn't - but if she eats peanuts she could die within minutes? What your white blood cells are and what makes them different from the "red stuff" that you can see? Why HIV is so deadly and what it means when someone "rejects"...

One Section Offered »

Marine Biology of Invertebrates

From jellyfish to squid, and deep-sea tube worms to coastal lobsters, marine invertebrates play a diverse and crucial role in our world's oceans. In this course students will learn about the major groups of marine invertebrates, including their life cycles, anatomies and evolution, and functions in marine ecosystems. This course will also serve as a fundamental introduction...

One Section Offered »

Scholar-Athlete: Back From the Bench: Sports Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation

Approximately 80% of high school athletes will experience a significant sport-related injury at some point in their athletic career. However, an astounding fifty percent of sports-related injuries are from overuse and 60% of overuse injuries can be prevented. In this interactive course we will explore injury prevention principles, optimal training response, and learn performance...

One Section Offered »

Science on the Fly: the Rise of a Household Pest to a Laboratory Guest

Why have scientists spent over 100 years studying the miniscule fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster? This humble animal has made major contributions to biomedical research and become an invaluable research tool for geneticists and developmental biologists around the world. Students will explore the history and flexibility of this favorite model organism and use it as an illustrative...

One Section Offered »

Brain Basics: From Biology to Behavior

The study of the brain as a biological structure is very different from the study of any other organ in the body. The cells that make up the brain, neurons, share many of the same fundamental characteristics with other cells of the body (exocytosis, manufacturing of proteins, metabolism, growth). However, the functions of these cells result in products that are quite unique...

One Section Offered »

Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior

The facts we have learned as humans across our lifetime and our memories of personal experiences make each one of us unique. Consider, however, how one’s sense of self would be affected if they were unable to form new such memories? At a more basic level, how could animals survive if they were unable to learn from their experiences? This course will offer students...

One Section Offered »

Psychoactive Drugs: Brain, Body, Society

Have you ever wondered about the difference between recreational and medicinal usage of psychoactive drugs (drugs that alter mood and behavior)? Are there basic differences in the action of psychoactive drugs when they are taken for recreational versus medicinal purposes? And how does society decide how to categorize psychoactive drugs: which ones to make legal and which illegal?...

One Section Offered »

Neuroscience in Health and Disease

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and networks of nerve cells, or neurons, that travel throughout the body. Although the field of neuroscience is relatively new, being recognized only in recent decades as a formal discipline, it is growing and expanding at a very rapid rate. The rapid growth of neuroscience and the pace of biomedical...

Two Sections Offered »

Computer Modeling of the Brain

The human brain is one of the most complicated and mysterious systems on the planet. In recent decades a huge push has been made to understand the brain through computer modeling. A large number of scientists have been involved in the development of these models to not only advance our understanding and treatments of neurological and psychiatric illnesses, but also to help...

One Section Offered »

Brain and Behavior: Biological Perspectives and Therapeutic Approaches to Mental Illness

This course will be co-taught by a Ph.D. biologist and a practicing mental health counselor. "Abnormal Physchology" will provide students with a multifactorial perspective on psychopathologies. We will delve into illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Students will study both the...

One Section Offered »

Word Etymologies: The Greek and Latin Roots of English

What do the SAT and the college application essay have in common? Both offer opportunities for the word-smith to shine: both rely on choosing the right words and understanding them in context. Expanding your vocabulary can also improve success in college, especially if you are intending to major in a STEM field, medicine, or law, which have highly specialized vocabularies based...

One Section Offered »

This is Sparta!

Why do we still glorify the Spartans in movies and books over 2000 years after their city and way of life fell to ruins? What about Spartan history and culture has captured the imaginations of those who have studied them, both in the ancient and modern worlds? Their strict, regimented lifestyle produced a class of dedicated, fearsome warriors, but did their eugenics and training...

One Section Offered »

Conquest, Control, and Interconnections: The History of the Roman Empire

Spanning from Britain to Iraq, the Roman Empire connected vast areas and different cultures in a time before the internet, telephones, or mass media. How did the Romans gain such an Empire, how did they govern it, and ultimately why did it fall? This course examines the history of the Roman Empire and considers the unique social, cultural, and political concerns of an imperial...

One Section Offered »

Ancient Greek Theater Production

What did the ancient Greeks do for entertainment? Today we have movies, concerts, YouTube, and countless other sources of amusement. For the ancient Greeks, theater was the main game in town. Every year, companies of citizen actors would produce original, large budget plays. The competition was fierce; the prizes: glory, gold, and undying fame.

This is a performance-focused...

One Section Offered »

Greek Tragedy Alive: Introduction to Ancient Drama and Performance

Drama, tragedy, theater -- these modern terms and concepts have their origins in Ancient Greece, which developed modes of performance that we still enjoy today. Despite the basis of modern theater in antiquity, if we could watch the original performances of Greek tragedy by Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides, the experience would differ greatly from going to see a modern play....

One Section Offered »

Programming and Problem Solving in Matlab

Mat lab is a powerful numerical computing, visualizing, and programming environment that has found wide use across all engineering disciplines and is probably the most commonly used tool for engineering calculations. Electrical engineers use it to accelerate magnetic field measurements, mechanical engineers use it to enhance structural analysis computations and visualizations,...

Introduction to the Global Business Environment

This course deals with the application of global business theory in the context of institutional, political, national and international economic factors. We will study how global trade patterns are determined, how the particular configurations of global finance under which firms operate emerge, and contemporary strategies utilized by firms in the global economy within the context...

One Section Offered »

International Financial Markets and Investments

This course provides an introduction to the study of financial assets and international financial markets. Topics covered include the purpose and functioning of financial markets and institutions, valuation of financial assets, analysis of risk and return, and the recent financial crisis.

The course will address questions such as the following: What are the functions...

One Section Offered »

An Introduction to Game Theory

An Introduction to Game Theory is a three-week core course in behavioral economics. Game theory is the systematic study of strategic interactions that are present everywhere, not only in economics but in politics, sociology, law, computer science, and sports.

The main goal of the course is to introduce students to the basic concepts and tools of game theory and to...

One Section Offered »

How a Nation's Economy Works: An Introduction to Macroeconomics

“Our economy is the result of millions of decisions we all make every day about producing, earning, saving, investing, and spending.” -- Dwight David Eisenhower

Students should think of this three-week core course as An Intelligent Citizen’s Guide to Macroeconomics that provides them with...

One Section Offered »

Economic Growth and Development

Why are some countries so much richer than others? Why is the standard of living in developed countries like the United States so much higher today than it was 100 years ago? Are there policies that poor countries can implement that will help them catch up with those that are rich? Will growth in rich countries continue on its current trend, so that our grandchildren will...

Making Informed Financial Decisions in Today's World Economy

This course introduces students to concepts and tools needed to understand basic economic decision making. By examining how individuals, governments and businesses allocate resources, students will gain an understanding of the environment in which resource decisions are made. In this course, we focus on economic analysis rather than investments. We examine some of the instruments...

One Section Offered »

Technology and its Effect on Business and World Economies

In 1980, three television stations provided entertainment, telephones were stuck to walls, computers took up entire rooms and people found facts in books and consumer goods in a store. Today, smart chips no bigger than a fingernail hold more information than the computer of the 1980s, Google processes 1.2 trillion Internet searches per year worldwide, ecommerce sales topped...

One Section Offered »


Do good‐looking people earn more? Are 'Emily' and 'Greg' more employable than 'Lakisha' and 'Jamal'? Can cancer affect housing prices? Does living near a fast food restaurant cause obesity? Is corruption a cultural trait? This one-week core economics course will examine selected discoveries in applied microeconomics and explain them...

Four Sections Offered »

Econometrics: Statistical Tools to Understand Economic Data

We are exposed to economic data and statistical analysis wherever we go: at the supermarket through prices and quantities of goods, at school through relative performance and GPAs, and in advertising through comparisons between the new iPhone 6 and a competitor’s model. Understanding the message is not an issue, but being a critical user of that information requires a...

One Section Offered »

Intro to Microeconomics

This is a core course in introductory microeconomic theory, introducing students to the fundamental principles of how to think like an economist. By the end of the course, students should be able to combine abstract concepts with formal analytical tools in order to understand how consumers and producers make optimal choices, and how these choices affect real market outcomes....

Two Sections Offered »

Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction

The purpose of the course is to understand behavior using game theoretic concepts. The course will start with the study of basic concepts of game theory and then will move on to the study of decision making by real people who are not perfectly rational. The course will help students understand how people really interact with each other in daily life using both economic theory...

The Entrepreneurial Process: Turning Ideas into Commercial Realities

Being an entrepreneur means being willing to take risks, look at things in new ways and challenge convention with your creativity. In this course, you’ll learn how the entrepreneurial process can work, as well as the ways innovation of products and services are developed and managed. We’ll look at entrepreneurial ventures within both start-up and fully developed...

Two Sections Offered »

Decision Theory: How to Model Rational Choice

What is rational choice? How do economists model the decision making process? The primary objective of this course is to understand the standard way of modeling choice, which serves as the foundation of both micro- and macroeconomics.

The course will be divided into two parts. In the first part, the traditional way of modeling individual and group choice will be...

One Section Offered »

Applied Microeconomics: The Economics of Good Health

This course will introduce students to some basic and common empirical methods used in applied microeconomics. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the intuition behind these econometric techniques and how they can help improve causal estimates. Students will then see how these techniques can be applied to answer important questions in the field of health economics.

One Section Offered »

Economics of the Underprivileged: Starting Small to Make a Big Difference in the World

Do you want to contribute to the making the world free of poverty? Are you curious about why nothing seems to solve this global problem? This course will introduce you to the field of development economics, it will help you understand the economic problems of less developed countries and provide you insights into some key issues facing policy makers today.

With over...

Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things

Presidential Elections, marathon times, wine quality, extramarital affairs, interest rates. What all of these topics have in common is that they can all be explained and analyzed using the tools of Econometrics and Statistics. Did you ever wonder how Nate Silver reaches his election predictions? Did you watch Moneyball and wondered how it was possible for an economist to take...

Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

The Bust of Nefertiti. The great Pyramids of Giza. Karnak Temple. Book of the Dead Papyri.

These are just a few of the places and things students will examine in this course. During this course, students will be introduced to Egyptian material culture, art, and architecture, from over 3,000 years of Egyptian history. We will begin at the moment of political unification in...

One Section Offered »

Ancient Egyptian Religion and Magic

Ancient Egyptian temples stand as enduring remnants of Egypt's religious past. From the Great Pyramids of Giza to pit graves of the non-elite, from the great palaces and temples of kings and gods like Karnak and Luxor to private shrines in houses, this course invites you to partake in the reconstruction of ancient Egypt's religion. By analyzing Egyptian texts, statues,...

One Section Offered »

World Literature

World Literature introduces literary works from four different countries, written in the second half of the 20th century: a Czech novel by Bohumil Hrabal, stories by Argentine master Jorge Luis Borges, a novel by German Nobel Laureate Heinrich Boll, and Little Red Riding Hood versions by British novelist Angela Carter.Through close reading and discussion, you will gain an understanding...

One Section Offered »

Classic Fairy Tales Reconsidered

Originally, fairy tales were not intended for children, but throughout much of their history, they were told among adult audiences for entertainment and instruction. During Romanticism, fairy tales were understood as tales sending a strong moral and didactic message. The basic structure and narrative conventions are provided through magic, supernatural elements, and happy endings....

One Section Offered »

Composing the Academic Essay

Based on Brown’s well-regarded Academic Essay course, in this class you will learn how to organize and craft a well-researched academic essay that explores a topic of your choice on an issue that matters to you. You will develop an idea, expand and support it with evidence, articulate it by means of a carefully-structured argument, and conclude it with implications for...

Four Sections Offered »

Writing Speculative Fiction

In this class we will write. A lot. We will write every day. And by doing so, we will develop as story tellers. We will look at work from the early days of the genre to work written last week. We will look at these stories not only out of a love for sci-fi, but also out of an interest in language. We will see how the great stories were crafted and use that knowledge to inform...

One Section Offered »

Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction

This intensive, fiction writing program offers a blend of small workshops, group writing sessions, and presentations by practicing writers, which will inspire students to consider writing as a process and to experiment with new approaches and modes of creativity. Students will grow as a writer, hone their creative skills, and deepen their passion for the writer's craft....

One Section Offered »

Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry

This intensive, poetry writing program offers a blend of small workshops, group writing sessions, and presentations by practicing writers, which will inspire students to experiment with new approaches and modes of creativity. Students will grow as a writer, hone their creative skills, and deepen their passion for the writer's craft.

Participants explore numerous creative...

One Section Offered »

Introducing The Craft of Journalism

This course is designed to introduce students to the craft of journalism. Students will learn to report stories, how to conduct interviews, and to become close observers of everyday life. Students will become stronger writers, rid their writing of clutter, and learn what it takes to become a good reporter.

This course teaches news writing as a thought process, a...

One Section Offered »

Writing the College Admissions Essay

The main objective of this course is to teach high-school students how to write a personal statement for their college applications.

Wondering how you're going to describe yourself into 500 words? Talk about your dreams without using cliches? Don't you want to set yourself apart from the rest of the college-bound hopefuls? In this week-long seminar, students...

Four Sections Offered »

Scholar-Athlete: Sports Writing

After the game, when the cheering stops, a sports writer's work begins. Learn how to make sport come alive in words -- the drama, the pressure, the pivotal moments, the personalities. You will also gain deeper insights into your own athletic pursuits by learning to communicate the essence of competition. From game coverage to profiles to columns to broader issues, students...

One Section Offered »

Literature of the Fantastic

Students will hone their analytical skills with close readings of some of the most thrillingly strange narratives of the last two centuries. By foregrounding the irrational side of human nature and probing the limits of perceived reality, authors like Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez have greatly expanded the possibilities...

One Section Offered »

Writing Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a story boiled down to its essence, one that hinges on a single word, a phrase or a fragment. In this class will learn by doing. We will write every evening and workshop in every class. We will read the work of a variety of modern authors, learning from those who have come before us. This is a class for exploring and pushing language, it is for students who...

One Section Offered »

Love, Horror, Monsters, Beauties: Writing about Literature by Reading Below the Surface

The goal of this two-week course is to introduce you to the practice of college-level critical reading and writing. Making the transition from high school to college writing is a complex process, one that first entails re-thinking the reading process. This class works under the assumption that there is not a single, easy meaning to any piece of literature. Thus, instead of...

One Section Offered »

Experimental Writing

Experimental Writing is offered to high school students interested in producing works of fiction and non-fiction. By thinking critically about both established authors' works and those of their peers, students will enhance their own understanding of writing. They will have the opportunity to practice drafting in a variety of styles and genres, including memoir, poetry,...

Two Sections Offered »

Intro to Language and Linguistics

Language, the foundation for virtually every human endeavor, remains in many ways as mysterious as our own muscles--the fact that we use them does not automatically grant us an understanding of how they work. Learning about language structure and language use gives us unexpected insights into our ability to communicate and the nature of our social interactions.


One Section Offered »

Communicating Science: Writing, Editing, Reviewing and Presenting the Language of Science

Do you see science or medicine in your future? Two of the greatest challenges facing budding scientists/physicians are to learn the unique language of science and how to effectively communicate with peers. This course introduces essential skills necessary for any science major or premed, emphasizing the language of science and how information is disseminated. Students who...

One Section Offered »

How to Read a Poem (and How to Write One, too)

Poems challenge us. They use language differently from other genres, and their subjects often elude us, and we end up asking what does the poem mean?

How then do poems need to be read? What, other than the technical information we find in books on poetry, do we need to know about poetic forms and language? think about? puzzle over? How do we know when our interpretation...

One Section Offered »

Writing the Expository Essay

This course is designed to teach you how to introduce your voice into an academic conversation. You will learn how to closely read primary texts, summarize arguments, evaluate and respond to critical sources, incorporate evidence and cite references, and employ a variety of rhetorical tools and strategies that will strengthen your position.

This course is designed...

Six Sections Offered »

Literature, Culture, and American Identities

This course is designed to expose students to the diversity of contemporary American literature while developing interpretative skills for the close reading and written analysis of texts. By the end of this course, students will be familiar with major concepts in literary and cultural studies such as globalization, democracy, diaspora, genre, and representation. Through an...

One Section Offered »

Sherlock's Methods: An Investigation of the Detective Novel

You know my methods, Watson! In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, the detective frequently draws attention to his methods of detection and investigation. These methods are precise forms of close readings that focus on details as well as structures or patterns and require logical reasoning. In this seminar, the detective as a reader, as well as the reader...

One Section Offered »

Modern Doomsdays: Robots, Zombies, and Global Collapse

American society has been fascinated with global catastrophe since at least the nuclear age. But in the last few decades, we have seen a resurgance of literature and films that explore doomsday scenarios. This course will critically examine popular and lesser-known works, giving students a relevant medium in which to develop their academic and creative writing skills.

One Section Offered »

Mississippi Writers

"To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi."

Attributed to William Faulkner, this quotation will serve as the framework for an examination of 20th century Mississippi literature. This course will introduce students to major 20th century writers and will focus on how these writers engage issues of class, race, gender, language,...

One Section Offered »

Putting Yourself into Words

This week-long workshop will explore the balance between self-expression and effective communication essential to writing powerful personal narratives, college admissions essays, and creative reflections. As you write and receive feedback daily, you’ll learn not only about purpose, revision, and style, but also about writing as a means of exploring, learning, figuring...

Fifteen Sections Offered »

Robot Rover Derby

Engineers design useful or desirable objects, employing scientific principles. In Robot Rover Derby you and your teammates will design, construct and program a useful and desirable rover that will compete with other rover teams in a ladder tournament.

Your rover can navigate autonomously by onboard computer signals. The rover will start remotely by 900MHz wireless...

One Section Offered »

Alternative Energy Engineering - An Introduction

One of the most pressing issues of modern times is how we will satisfy our future energy needs and what influence this might have on global warming. Energy research should receive significant funding from the Obama administration, and many new developments now try to "go green". This course will provide a strong introduction to many of the relevant issues and provide...

One Section Offered »

RobotC, Robot Do: Programming Lego Robots With A Text Based Language

“RobotC, Robot Do” is a summer course meant for high school students interested in learning about programming, but more so about problem solving. RobotC is a text based programming language which is very similar to the C++ programming language, but designed specifically to work with Lego Mindstorms robots. Students will be able to program robots to move, sense,...

One Section Offered »

Materials Engineering: A Revolution in the Making

What do you think would be the greatest, coolest invention of this century? Many of the greatest scientists and technologists believe that this would be in the field of Materials research " of new materials that have amazing properties, and what’s more " are capable of changing themselves to suit their requirements. Though we know of an amazing array of materials,...

Two Sections Offered »

Modern Rapid Prototyping Techniques

In this course you will have an introduction to the art of fabricating cast metal prototypes. Using three dimensional computer aided design software, rapid prototyping equipment, and the undergraduate Materials science lab to make metal castings, this course will demonstrate some of the basic ideas about how engineers go about designing and fabricating prototypes in the modern...

One Section Offered »

Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion

The main objective of the course is to deliver background knowledge of renewable energy and discuss the advantages and challenges of existing methods of energy storage and conversion. The course will help students to understand the importance of renewable energy. This will provide the foundations to students who are interested in related subjects such as materials engineering,...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Engineering and Design

Are you considering a career in engineering? Are you fascinated by what engineers do? In this course, students will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of the engineering design processes, an appreciation of the far reaching impacts of engineering, and a grasp of the various fields of engineering and a better understanding of the profile of an engineer, including the...

Five Sections Offered »

Engineering Biomedical Systems

Have you ever wondered how scientists make pacemakers or grow cartilage for joint repair? In this course, you will learn how these scientists, called biomedical engineers, develop devices and tissue engineered technologies that often times save lives!

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to biomedical engineering analysis, specifically relating to...

Three Sections Offered »

Mechanics of Materials and the Engineering of Catapults

If you like the idea of applying physics concepts to hurtling objects through the air, you're in for an exciting week. From forces to launch angle, kinematics to bending stress, and composites to prototyping, you'll get the chance to do some quality engineering backed up by college-level scientific concepts. Will you be part of the team to engineer the ultimate catapult...

Three Sections Offered »

Fluid Mechanics through Hovercraft Physics

This course introduces students to the wide world of fluid mechanics, an area that covers vast scientific fields such as aerospace engineering, bacteria locomotion and combustion dynamics, and which is fundamental for flight, rocketry, swimming, bio-locomotion and countless other topics in engineering. We will focus on the physics and engineering of fluids and visualize core...

Three Sections Offered »

Materials Science and Engineering: Where would the world be without them?

Virtually every segment of our everyday lives - be it transportation, housing, clothing, communications, recreation, sports, and so on. - is influenced by materials in one way or another. In our contemporary era, sophisticated electronic devices such as laptops and cell phones rely on components that are made of semiconducting materials. Automobiles would not have been possible...

One Section Offered »

Engineering, Energy and the Environment

What is energy? How do we use it? Where do we get it? Why do we feel that we must find new ways of generating energy? What are the options? If you ever wondered about these questions, this is the right course for you. If you ever saw a wind turbine and said I want to build one for myself no need to wait!

We want energy and lots of it. In everyday life we need lighting,...

Two Sections Offered »

Habitable Worlds: Possible Places for Life in the Solar System and Beyond

Does life exist anywhere else in the Solar System or galaxy? If you have ever looked at the sky and wondered if habitable worlds like (or unlike) ours exist elsewhere, then this is the class for you. This week-long course explores possible habitats for life on Mars, the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and exoplanets (planets around other stars). Along the way, you will learn...

One Section Offered »

Ancient Art in the Flesh: Discovering ancient art at the RISD Museum

This course will introduce students to the art of Egypt, Greece, and Rome in the context of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum. Students will learn about ancient art, and how to apply this knowledge to museum collections; they will devise and present talks on ancient objects in the RISD galleries, and also have the opportunity to design their own exhibition.

One Section Offered »

Introduction to the History of Photography

This course will introduce students to the history of photography as an art form, a technology, and as a means of visual communication, from its invention in 1839 to the recent rise of digital technologies. In addition to introducing students to the historical background of the medium and its practitioners, the course seeks to hone the skills of visual literacy that are critical...

One Section Offered »

Art and Science in Renaissance Rome

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Rome witnessed an explosion of artistic and scientific activity. Spurred by new instruments like the telescope and the microscope, new research into the workings of the human eye, advances in dissection and medicine, and unprecedented travel across the globe, artists incorporated knowledge about the human body, the earth, and the cosmos...

One Section Offered »

Music & Politics: From Mozart to Arcade Fire

So you like listening to music, but have you ever stopped to consider its meaning, even its political significance? In this class we explore the relationship between music and politics, from classical music to indie rock. Through the practice of listening critically to music, this class illuminates past and present political events and demonstrates music’s crucial participation...

One Section Offered »


The art of negotiation has never been more important than it is today. From the classroom to the boardroom, inter-personal skills and a clear conception of the give-and-take of personalities and tactical planning are vital elements of success in today’s world. This course is designed to encourage students to think critically about the history of theories of diplomacy...

One Section Offered »

How History is Made: An Introduction to Source Analysis

How History is Made invites students into the historians' workshop and introduces them to the basics of historical research. We will handle, discuss, and evaluate the sources available to historians when they construct their narratives about the past. Students will learn to identify various types of sources, to analyze and to evaluate a source, and to recognize the various...

One Section Offered »

From Plantation to Wall Street

How did the United States become the world’s biggest economy? What are the roots of Wall Street, global investment, and America’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors? This course journeys though American business history, beginning with colonial trading ventures and ending with the recent financial crisis. It is ideal for students who want to learn more about...

The American Counterculture: From Oz to Occupy Wall Street

This course will focus upon the American Counterculture from its emergence in the 1950s to its legacies in contemporary politics and society. We will analyze the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of the American counterculture in music, literature, style, and politics from the 1950s to the contemporary moment. This material, of which many pre-college students...

One Section Offered »

On the Wrong Side of History: Recalling America's Losers

History is told from the point of view of the winners, but the “losers” leave behind their marks. In this class, students will consider the views of those who lost and place them in context with the views of the winners. They will study the arguments of Tories and others who opposed the American Revolution; the dimensions and dynamics of the pro-slavery debate in...

One Section Offered »

History at the Movies

Whether historians like it or not, most people learn about the past at the movies. Historical movies, from Birth of a Nation (1915) to Lincoln (2012) and The Butler (2013) have larger audiences and greater cultural impact on public perceptions of history than the most celebrated and well-known scholars. Traditionally, historians have grumbled about filmmakers who encroach on...

One Section Offered »

A People's History of War: From Imperial Rome to Modern Afghanistan

“War is hell,” an old saying goes. Yet people have waged war on one another for all of human history, and communities around the globe continue to face the harsh realities of war every day. Rather than focusing on battles and military tactics, this course offers a deeper understanding of the human experience of warfare by studying people ranging from the common...

One Section Offered »

The History of the Modern Middle East

The focus of the course will be the history of the Modern Middle East from Napoleon's incursion into Egypt until the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Concepts and issues to be discussed on a thematic basis include nationalism, cultural renaissance, the decline of empire, genocide, diplomacy, human rights and the status of refugees. Thematic coverage in the course will include...

One Section Offered »

Memoirs and the War on Terror

This course will examine the early years of U.S. foreign policy in "the War on Terror" through the memoirs of government officials, military leaders, journalists, and activists. Emphasis will be placed on the Bush Doctrine and its legacy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the fallout of the Arab upheaval. We will use case studies to analyze central issues in the...

Evil: The History of an Idea

The daily news bombards us with stories about the evils that humans commit against one another--from acts of interpersonal violence such as rape and murder, to atrocities perpetrated on a massive scale, such as genocide and terrorism. Ideas about what it means to be evil, and what it means to be just and good, continue to shape the ways that we understand and react to these...

One Section Offered »

Ancient Warfare

This course will examine warfare in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome. Blood, battles, and brutality have romanticized these warrior rulers -- Ramesses the Great, Darius the Great, Alexander the Great, and Caesar -- and have kept their memory alive into the modern era. To understand their fame, this course will use a cross-cultural approach to the study of war in...

One Section Offered »

Empire States: An Introduction to Imperialism through Pre-Modern Empires

How can ancient Rome help us understand Beijing? Why should we care about the Hittite Empire? This course introduces students to the concepts, applications, and practices of imperialism by exploring and comparing empires of the pre-modern era from both the old and the new world.

Each day we will focus on a different theme and use several different empires as case...

One Section Offered »

ISIS: Jihadi Salafism in the 20th Century

ISIS has become an organization of considerable international interest and concern: it continues to embrace barbaric tactics like beheading, it controls land roughly the size of Great Britain, it has a coordinated and sophisticated approach to social media that helps to spread its message, and it has been publicly disavowed by Al Qaeda Central. This course is designed to look...

One Section Offered »

Cuneiform: The World's Oldest Writing

The class introduces students to the development of writing systems, focusing primarily on the earliest known script, Cuneiform. We are most familiar with the Roman alphabet, but cultures all over the world have designed and used a wide variety of written scripts and each has a rich history and unique features.

Cuneiform, the world’s oldest writing script,...

One Section Offered »

Reconstructing the Crusades: Latin, Greek, and Arab Perspectives

This course will consider the complexities of the Crusader era (ca. 1050-1400), with the particular aim of understanding the Crusades as a driving force in East-West interaction that came at great cost to the societies involved, but also generated fascinating and rich cultural interactions. The main objective of the course is to introduce pre-college students to the skill sets...

One Section Offered »

Number Theory: An Introduction to Higher Mathematics

"Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics." - Carl Friedrich Gauss

Number theory, the study of the integers, is a vibrant area of mathematical research that many students do not have the opportunity to study in high school. The objectives for this course are to expose students to this beautiful theory, to understand...

Two Sections Offered »

Fundamentals for Calculus: Functions and Equations

The aim of this course is to reinforce fundamental concepts and techniques that a student preparing to enter a first calculus or pre-calculus class will need for success. To this end we will focus on those topics introduced in algebra courses which most often pose difficulties for students down the road. Along the way, for enrichment and depending on student interest, we may...

One Section Offered »

Applied Statistics

“For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics.” Such was the title of a New York Times feature and the motivation behind this course. While the field of statistics is growing daily, the most critical aspects of the subject are accessible to high school students. This course will explain how, where, and why statistics is used to solve...

One Section Offered »

How Big Is Infinity? And Other Math Questions

Have you ever wondered how many numbers there really are or how big infinity is? Many mathematicians have asked these questions, and the answers can be fascinating...and sometimes quite strange. This course will be a journey through the mathematical concepts that have helped answer such questions, and along the way you'll get a taste of what pure mathematics is all about.

One Section Offered »

Logic & Paradox

Logic is a system of rules upon which human reasoning is based. It pervades every academic discipline, from mathematics to the sciences, to the humanities. It is a tool that we deploy in our everyday lives. To philosophers, logic is a deep and complex subject of study in its own right. This course is devoted in part to exploring this system of rules, which we will build from...

Two Sections Offered »

Combinatorics: Why Counting Counts, or how to Count Without Counting

Imagine putting a random group of people in a room - how many do you need so the probability that two of them have the same birthday is at least one half? Something like 182 or about 365/2, right? Wrong! In fact, the probability is already greater than one-half with a random collection of only 23 people! At its core, this is a question about counting; in this course we...

One Section Offered »

Probability and Its Applications

Don’t let them fool you! You hear people talking about probabilities all the time. 80% chance of rain? Well, what does that even mean? If a medical test gives the correct answer with 99% probability, does a positive test result mean you have a 99% chance of being sick? It does not. And when you hang out with your friends playing poker, wouldn’t you like to know...

One Section Offered »

Mathematical Modeling: Probability, Linear Algebra and Discrete Markov Chains

The goal of this course is to introduce high level mathematical concepts intuitively, focusing on the real world motivation rather than the theoretical aspect. Students will have the opportunity to see mathematics in action, applied to everyday situations beyond the dreaded "word problems" in algebra and precalculus.

After a brief discussion of probability...

One Section Offered »

The Art of the Film

Everyone loves the movies. In addition to entertaining us, the greatest works of cinema provoke thought, inspire us, move us, and enrich our lives. However, because of the close connection between film and entertainment, we often take movies for granted and watch them strictly for pleasure or in order to evaluate or judge them instead of analyzing them for deeper meanings....

One Section Offered »

History of American Film

This course examines American film-making from about 1920 through the present. Its main objective is to familiarize students with the history of American film, with a special focus on films that have been highly influential both culturally and aesthetically.

This course examines the history of American cinema from the silent era into the era of the studio monopolies...

One Section Offered »

The History of Television: News Coverage through the Looking Glass

We will cover the evolution of television news coverage from the 1950's to the present day, from 15-minute newscasts sponsored heavily by advertisers to today's 24-hour cable channels, owned by major corporations. By week’s end, we should be able to determine whether we are better off today, with more information, and more channels, than earlier generations...

One Section Offered »

Elevator Pitch for the New Media Age: Short-Form Writing and Speaking

Tweets, Facebook posts, e-mails, texts, instant messages, news alerts, ads: ours is the age of short-form communication. This course offers an introduction to different styles and genres of short-form verbal and non-verbal communication to help make you a more persuasive, concise, and creative writer and speaker. We will examine historical and current uses of the short form...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Music Production

"Introduction to Music Production" will provide hands-on study of recording studio techniques and aesthetics. Students will create original studio work while developing listening and technical skills for audio production. Technical topics include digital and analog audio technology, acoustics, microphone technique, signal processing and mixing using professional audio...

One Section Offered »

Electronic Music

Electronic Music explores how advancements in technology give rise to musical styles, such as techno, hip-hop, progressive rock, industrial, and synthpop. Students gain an understanding of the most influential works of electronic music through guided listening, video screenings, selected readings, class discussions, and creative assignments. Each class focuses on a specific...

One Section Offered »

What Is Music Theory?

This course is designed for you to learn: 1) what music theory IS, and 2) how music theory can help you "hear music better." We will investigate patterns and trends in Western classical music (Baroque through twentieth century) and more contemporary genres. The ultimate goal of the course is to see how theory can be applied to student's own musical experiences,...

One Section Offered »

Building Musical Instruments

Bored by the same old sounds? Why not make your own? This is a production course in building simple acoustic and electronic instruments while learning about how sound works along the way.

Students investigate the properties of sound by experimenting with found objects and materials, and then build their own musical instruments based on the principles they discover....

One Section Offered »

The Tiniest Bits of Reality

Why is the Higgs boson so important? Why does Leon Lederman, a Nobel laureate, call it “the God particle”? And what does it have to do with the world we live in: light, electricity, nuclear power, atoms and molecules? In order to answer these questions, we will have to take a journey back in time, to the universe as it was when it was forming. Along the way we will...

One Section Offered »

From the Solar System to the Universe: An Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology

The Solar System. Black holes. Galaxy clusters. Quasars. The closer we look at these and other astrophysical objects, the more mysteries we uncover. This course will provide an introduction to topics of active research in astrophysics and cosmology, travelling from our galaxy to furthest reaches of the Universe. Along the way we will explore objects like black holes, quasars,...

One Section Offered »

The Quantum Revolution in Technology

Nearly 100 years ago, quantum mechanics changed the face of physics forever. The orderly, deterministic rules of classical physics were turbulently turned on their head, unveiling a veritable zoo in which particles can behave like waves and waves like particles, particles can tunnel through walls, and either the position or speed of an object can be known, but both can't...

One Section Offered »

From Newton to String Theory: A History of Physics

We all know how a falling apple helped Newton discover the laws of gravitation, but did you know that playing bongos in the desert helped Richard Feynman untangle quantum field theory? Or that every famous physicist who studied thermodynamics eventually went crazy?

This is a course for people who want to understand what physics is all about. We will discuss the equations...

One Section Offered »

Light and Sight: The Science of Vision

What is light? How does it encode information about the world around us? What are our eyes made of, and how do they record images? How do those images get converted into brain signals? These are the questions guiding our exploration.

Every experience you've ever had has relied on a group of special nerve cells devoted to responding to external stimuli. These cells,...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Nanotechnology

Introduction to Nanotechnology provides a broad overview of Nanotechnology. The course discusses the fundamental science of Nanotechnology and its applications to engineering, biomedical, and environmental fields. This course also focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of the course and how the different basic sciences merge into the field of Nanotechnology.


One Section Offered »

Early Astronomy, From Babylon to Greece

In this class, we will learn to read the sky like an ancient astronomer and will address such questions as: How did the ancient astronomers know the nature of the planets? What were the names of the planets in Babylonian? Who developed the first model of the solar system based around the sun?

This course is focused on the advances made by astronomers in the Greek...

One Section Offered »

Meet the Time Magazine Particle of the Year: The Higgs Boson!

Why was the discovery of the Higgs boson such a significant milestone in our understanding of the fundamental building blocks of matter? The goal of this course is to introduce you to cutting edge particle physics and show you how research is done in this field. You will learn about the elusive Higgs boson, one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time.


One Section Offered »

The Space Paradigm in Fact, Fiction and Commerce: 1903 to 2015

This course will examine the history, development, and exploitation of the space environment, primarily from 1903 to the present. Students will receive a comprehensive overview of the space industry and "space culture" by examining the major milestones in space development. Students will explore the ways in which "space" has both reflected and informed the...

One Section Offered »

Science, Perception and Reality

Modern science throws light on many of the perennial questions of philosophy, sometimes seeming to confirm or refute old answers and sometimes suggesting new ones. Are sensory qualities, such as colors, in external things or only in our minds? Is the world governed by deterministic laws, and if so, what room is there for freedom of the will? Could space have extra dimensions?...

One Section Offered »

Themes from Existentialism

By far the most popular philosophy course at Brown, this course on existentialist philosophy (taught by the current chair of the philosophy department) provides a unique introduction to philosophical thinking, by applying the methods of philosophical analysis and argumentation to questions and issues confronting all human beings: What is the meaning of a life with the distinctive...

One Section Offered »

The Meaning of Life

There may be no single question more important than this: What is the meaning of life? It’s a question we all face, and finding an answer is urgent. Is there even such a thing? If so, is it something outside of us or something we have to give to ourselves? In trying to find answers, we will discuss issues ranging from purpose and fulfillment to happiness and death.

One Section Offered »

An Introduction to Philosophy

We will grapple with the great questions of philosophy. Our provocations will come from classic and contemporary authors, but we will learn to do philosophy, not just study it. Our topics will include the nature of the mind, knowledge, the existence of God, free will, and morality.

In this course we cover many of the main branches of philosophy as understood in the...

One Section Offered »

Ethics: Theory and Practice

What kind of justification can we give for our ethical decisions? Do other people have to accept our justifications? These are questions everyone grapples with, and wondering about it never ends. This course will address different answers philosophers give to these questions.

We’ve all faced tough ethical decisions and given reasons to support what we did....

One Section Offered »

Experience and Consciousness

We typically enjoy a rich conscious mental life: there's a subjective feel, or something it's like, to experience the smell fresh brownies, to be stuck with a pin, or to go on a first date. Conscious experience is such a fundamental part of what it is to be a creature like us that we often take it for granted, but some of philosophy of mind's most fascinating...

One Section Offered »

World Philosophy

What does Confucius have to say about what career to choose? Does Buddhist or Islamic philosophy have anything to say about how to live your life? Examining the ideas from other cultures can be overwhelming and confusing. This courses provides a basic overview of the context and major ideas from cultures around the world.

This course will give students a very broad...

One Section Offered »

Happiness: Philosophy and Psychology

The course introduces the study of happiness by considering classic and contemporary research from the two most relevant disciplines, philosophy and psychology. Besides exposing the students to a topic of immediate human interest, the course also exposes them to two distinct modes of inquiry about it, allowing them to compare and contrast them.

The course explores...

One Section Offered »

Philosophy of Science

This course serves as an introduction to the philosophy of science, focusing on epistemological issues. We will explore foundational questions about scientific knowledge and scientific methods. In doing so, we will gain understanding of the rational requirements that science places upon us as rational agents.

Science is unquestionably one of the most successful...

One Section Offered »

The Body in Pain

Physicians, scientists, philosophers, and writers alike have grappled with the challenges of describing physical pain. The question of pain -- and more specifically how much pain one is able to or should endure -- is found in discourses pertaining to issues as diverse as healthcare, sports, grief, sexuality, illness, disability, torture, capital punishment, and war.

One Section Offered »

Conscience and the Philosophy of Civil Disobedience

This is a course about breaking the law. The law is not always on the side of justice, and when it is not, we have to decide what to do about it. Do we obey the law, or do we engage in civil disobedience?

But what is civil disobedience, and what makes it different from other kinds of law breaking? Are we only allowed to participate in civil disobedience when the...

One Section Offered »

The U.S. In World Politics

Globalization is transforming the relationship between world events and U.S. politics. This course analyzes some of the main challenges, threats, and questions facing the United States in the first decades of the twenty-first century. In addition to introducing students to core theoretical perspectives, concepts, and debates in the study of International Relations and American...

One Section Offered »

Political Theory and the Law

How should we evaluate the laws that govern and bind society? This course will examine the moral and political value of American law through the lens of normative political theory. As such, students will be able to evaluate for themselves whether laws are legitimate.

During the course we will read contemporary and classic political theory in light of the history...

One Section Offered »

Democracy: Philosophy, Politics, & Power

This course seeks to foster critical understanding of the key philosophical conceptions of democracy and their relation to modern social practices.

The objective is to challenge mainstream conceptions of democracy as essentially defined by representative elections and to introduce students to the role of democratic values in all spheres of social life, formal, informal,...

One Section Offered »

The Power of Political Ideas

This course gives students a chance to undertake a fascinating and highly challenging process of political and intellectual exploration. In addition to well-established far right- and left-wing ideas, you will be exposed to and asked to evaluate such ideologies as Nihilism, Radical Feminism, Radical Environmentalism, and even Radical Islam.

This will be an intense,...

One Section Offered »

Global Justice, Part A

Do we have duties to help the poor in other countries? Is every human being owed a human right to health as a basic moral entitlement? This course introduces students to the most important ethical debates about global politics. The course strongly appeals to students who are interested in ethics, political philosophy, public policy, and international relations.


One Section Offered »

Democracy and Crisis: Freedom, Security and Emergency Politics

Wiretapping. Enhanced, invasive airport security screening. Evacuations. Financial bailouts. In these and many other ways, our regular ways of democratic life are disrupted when a crisis looms. But what happens to individual freedom and the accountability of government to its citizens when the red alert siren goes off?

How can (and should) we "as citizens,...

One Section Offered »

Debating Democracy: Individual, Society, and Tradition

All of us are formally equal in a democracy. But does equality breed conformity? Can we really be individuals in the crowd? And conversely, given our many differences - social, economic, and personal - is formal equality enough to keep a democracy going? Or do we need something more, like a shared sense of tradition or purpose? What does a commitment to democracy require of...

One Section Offered »

Ethics and International Affairs

This course examines the complex relationship between ethics and politics in international affairs. Starting with an overview of different perspectives on the role of ethics and morality in international relations, the course then explores the ethical dimensions of issues central to foreign policy and the study of world politics, including the use of force, human rights, and...

One Section Offered »

Watching and Being Watched: The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

The course will consider privacy in the digital age. Students will work through puzzles that push them to consider how laws should govern privacy and how privacy relates to their own development.

At least since George Orwell's 1984, it has been clear that privacy is impacted by technological innovation. In this course we'll consider in detail how technology...

One Section Offered »

After Snowden -- Spies, Lies and Secrets in a Transparent World

Everyone does it " but no one talks about it " until now. The Snowden revelations of extensive American surveillance operations has upset the world of international relations in a dramatic fashion, yet the United States is not the only country that spies. Is spying allowed under international law? Can surveillance and spying be reconciled with democratic values...

The New World (Dis)Order: Terrorists, Insurgents, and Revolutionary Movements in the 21st Century

The international section of today’s newspapers look far different than it did only a few decades ago: rather than stories on large-scale conflict (e.g., World War II), or the prospects for such (specifically, the Cold War), we’re presented with gruesome tales of ISIS, Boko Haram, and other shadowy actors. As these groups grow in strength and number, states and...

One Section Offered »

Understanding Civil Wars: The Causes and Consequences of Internal Conflicts

One of the deadliest and most common forms of political violence in the world today is civil war, affecting people from all corners of the globe, in countries such as Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan and Colombia. This course will introduce students to our current understanding of the origins, dynamics, and termination of civil war. We will pay close attention to some of the key...

One Section Offered »

Global Justice, Part B

Should the United Nations and World Bank be reformed? How should states cooperate to address global warming? This is the second part of a two-part course introducing students to the most important ethical debates about global politics. The course strongly appeals to students who are interested in ethics, political philosophy, public policy, and international relations. Students...

One Section Offered »

Critical Thinking About Human Behavior

This course will introduce students to methods used by psychological science to help answer these common questions about the “unknown.” We will examine common ways in which human thinking leads people to believe strange things and to maintain these beliefs even in the face of contradictory information. Students will develop critical thinking skills for evaluating...

One Section Offered »

Genetics and Human Behavior

The completion of the Human Genome Project may be the most important scientific achievement of our lifetime, but how much can genes tell us about complex human behavior? How much does the environment impact human behavior? What kind of research techniques can be used to identify specific genes and specific environments that impact behavior?

Behavioral genetics is a field...

Two Sections Offered »

Introduction to Clinical Psychology

In this course, students will be exposed to the science and practice of Clinical Psychology. Students will learn about the clinical characteristics of many major classes of psychiatric disorders, and the scientifically validated treatments available for these conditions. This course is intended to provide information for those considering a career in clinical psychology, allowing...

Two Sections Offered »

Current Controversies in Mood Disorders

Can bipolar disorder be accurately diagnosed in children? Do certain antidepressant medications increase risk of suicide? Can alternative remedies such as fish oil stabilize mood swings? These questions address only a few of the recent controversies that surround the study of mood disorders, such as major depression and bipolar illness. Using these disorders to illustrate key...

One Section Offered »

Positive Psychology: The Key to Happiness

For years, psychology has been the study of what ails the human mind. For example, why do certain individuals develop depression or abuse substances? Currently, there is a movement within psychology to study not only what ails the human mind, but what makes us happy, healthy, and content in our lives. Positive psychology is the scientific study of what goes right in our life,...

One Section Offered »

So You Want to Be a Counselor?

This course provides an introduction to the profession of counseling. As such, a primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of counseling and the multiple training disciplines. The course will address the various fields of counseling (e.g., school counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, clinical psychology) and the required training needed...

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Psychology and the Media

In "Psychology and the Media," we will explore and evaluate the ways in which psychology and psychologists are (mis)-represented in the popular media, including movies, television, and on the internet. Students will gain a fundamental knowledge of abnormal psychology, forensic psychology, and the diagnosis and treatment of psychological distress. Films, TV clips,...

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Personality: What Makes Us Who We Are?

This course will introduce students to what psychologists mean when they use the term personality. Theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the concept of personality as well as contemporary research and issues in personality will be explored.

Does money make people happy? Why do some people prefer to study in a noisy coffee shop while other people prefer...

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Community Psychology: Making a Difference in the Real World

Are you interested in psychology and really want to have an impact on your school, neighborhood, community, or society? Are you passionate and have a vision of how to affect and maybe change the system?

Community psychologists seek to understand the relationships between individuals and larger systems. If you have ever wanted to learn about applied psychology that could...

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The Psychology of Gender

What is the latest science about how gender identity develops? Are fathers essential for a child’s well-being? Is fetal sex selection harmful for society? What are the consequences of advertisements that suggest that an individual’s status depends on so-called sex appeal? This course will address these questions, and provide a broad survey of the field of the...

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Psychology of Stress and Trauma

How do we cope with war, natural disaster, or terrorism? What about surviving experiences with abuse or torture? How are these experiences different or similar to routine life stresses like exams, getting divorced, or taking exams? How can you prevent or treat psychological problems that might arise after trauma? These are some of the overarching issues that will be addressed...

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Abnormal Psychology

Have ever wondered if your friend has an eating disorder, if your uncle is an alcoholic, or if your math teacher is depressed? Have you ever thought about why a behavior that is normal in one culture might be considered a disorder in another culture? If so, you have already thought about abnormal psychology. Abnormal psychology involves understanding the nature, causes, and...

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Psychology of Resilience

The field of psychology has long focused on the harmful impact of stress, adversity, and trauma. Yet many remarkable individuals show incredible resilience in the midst of difficult, even horrible, situations. How are some people resilient in the face of abuse, torture, war, natural disaster, or terrorism? What about resilience to routine life stresses like taking exams or...

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Freud: Psychoanalysis and its Legacies

What does it mean to know yourself? Why is love so painful? What is the source of man’s belief in God? How does history repeat itself? Why do our dreams haunt us? Is there a difference between men and women? What is an Oedipus complex, and do you have one? Sigmund Freud devoted his life to answering these questions.

In this course, we will dive deep into the...

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Organizational Behavior

A standard course in any undergraduate Business department, Organizational Behavior introduces students to the theoretical concepts and empirical research in the behavioral sciences as applied to behavior within organizational settings. This course will examine the contemporary principles, techniques and research findings in management and organizational behavior that drive...

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Scholar-Athlete: Introduction to Sport Psychology

The psychology of sport is the study of the interaction between psychological variables and performance in athletic and physical activities. The overall objective of this course is to introduce students to psychological theory and practical skills that influence sport performances. Students will be encouraged to incorporate the personal significance of course content to their...

Two Sections Offered »

Social Psychology

Social psychology is the intriguing study of social context and the way it influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The overall objective of this course is to introduce students to key theories in this fascinating field of psychology. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the application of social psychology research to real-world problems and to incorporate concepts...

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Psychology in Medicine: Emotions, Behaviors, and Disease

Have you ever wondered where the terms “cold feet” or “butterflies in your stomach” come from? Have you ever wondered why zebras and other animals don’t get ulcers? This course will answer these and other questions related to the role of psychology in the onset, course, and treatment of medical conditions.

This course will provide an...

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Introduction to Social and Developmental Psychology

This course will introduce students to the disciplines of developmental and social psychology through the lens of one capacity important to research in both subfields: having a “theory of mind.” “Theory of mind” refers to a person’s ability to use what they observe about someone’s visible behavior to figure out the “invisible”...

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Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

Have you ever wondered how mental illness affects children and their families? Can kids "catch" autism? Can children really suffer from schizophrenia? From autism and anxiety to pediatric bipolar and schizophrenia disorders, in this course, students will learn what psychiatric disorders look like in children, how they are treated, and controversies in childhood psychiatric...

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Psychology of Good and Evil

How do we define good and evil? Are people born that way? What about social, environmental, and cultural forces? What are your individual vulnerabilities and strengths? Let's find out in this course!

The media is filled everyday with stories of unimaginable harm and unselfish heroes. Have you ever wondered what makes people behave the ways they do? What can...

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Science, Politics and Psychological Disorders

This course will focus on landmark scientific studies and political movements which have changed the way psychological disorders are viewed. Through the study of the history of psychological disorders students will be able to track how society and science influence one another.

This course will primarily focus on how psychological disorders such as anxiety disorders,...

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On Being Human: Conceptions of the Self from Aristotle to Frankenstein

Does freedom mean acting on every desire we experience? To what extent are we free, and in what ways are our thoughts and actions determined by factors beyond our control (such as our biology or our culture)? How well do we know ourselves? Do we really know why we do what we do? This course examines classic explanations of human action and character. We explore these topics...

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Between Darwin and Design: Science & Religion in Conversation

Are religion and science fundamentally in conflict with one another? The U.S. has been called the "most religious of the advanced industrial democracies," yet it also stands at the forefront of scientific discovery. Think about the conflict, for example, between evolutionary theory’s and creationism’s understanding of the human being. At the same time,...

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Religious Violence: Religion, Terror and War in Modernity

The past decade has seen a relative explosion in attention in what is typically called "religious violence". This phrase peppers news coverage of current events, books on contemporary politics, and discussions of national and international security. The primary objective of this course is to make sense of this language: Why do we describe some violence as religious?...

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Scholar-Athlete: Sport and Society

Participants in sports, athletes and fans alike, are more than just players in an American past time or a competition. Rather, they are part of a powerful social vehicle that demonstrates "inherent fundamental truths" central to the American identity.

This course will consider how sport perpetuates cultural values embedded in masculinity, with implications...

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Who are you Calling Sick? The Sociology of Diagnosis

How do doctors decide what is wrong with you? What happens when your symptoms cannot be explained medically? How do patients negotiate diagnoses, and where does self-diagnosis come in? This course will address these questions, as well as the decision-making process of diagnosis through a sociological lens. Diagnosis is the cornerstone of modern biomedical practice, since it...

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Social Theory: Understanding Everyday Life

Why is the world the way it is? Do we act as individuals with free will or do we follow social structures that we have no control over? Why are societies unequal and why do these inequalities persist? How is social change possible?

Social theory tackles these ‘big questions’ and addresses some of the most challenging social issues today. Through studying...

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Writing for Performance: Sketch Comedy

This two-week course offers a unique workshop experience for young writers and performers interested in the special challenges of writing sketch comedy for performance. Students will work both collaboratively and individually to develop and refine short scenes, to edit them based on student and instructor feedback, to stage them with minimal time and resources, and afterwards...

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Presenting to the Public

Want to make amazing presentations and influence people? Learn the tips, tricks, tactics, and tools of giving effective public presentations. This course will introduce you to fundamental methods of public speaking and designing effective graphic presentations.

Public presentation skills are central to success in any academic or professional career. This course will...

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Digital Video Production

Digital video production is for budding movie-makers with an emphasis on experimentation in the use of the video medium. The primary goal of the course is to serve as a foundation for further exploration in digital video artwork and storytelling. Students will write, direct, act, shoot, and edit short videos, with beginning and intermediate instruction. We will cover the fundamentals...

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Skyscrapers! The Secret Lives of the World's Tallest Buildings

Ascending a staggering half mile into the sky, the Burj Khalifa represents the culmination of a story that began in 1896 with the ten-story Wainwright Building; the world's first skyscraper. What happened in the intervening century is the story of this class, which traces the forgotten histories of the world's tallest structures. The glistening pinnacle of the Chrysler...

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Drawing Intensive

Drawing Intensive introduces students of all levels to a totally immersive drawing experience on a daily basis. Each day's real art-school-based studio session offers three full hours of drawing combined with group critique, one-on-one feedback to hone technique, and the freedom to experiment. This course gives students a head start in preparing for college art classes...

Two Sections Offered »

Their Art, Your Art: Constructive Pondering

The use of documentaries affords students an opportunity to engage the reflective process of art making through the explorations of the lives of other artists. The course structure would involve interplay between the students' use of "What If" discussion questions and assignments relative to the viewing of the films from wide cultural perspectives on artists'...

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