Pre-College Programs
Summer@Brown Courses

Summer@Brown Courses (232)

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...

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 Four-Color Phenomenon: A Historical Survey of American Comic Books and Graphic Novels, 1938-2000

This course surveys the history of American comic books. It utilizes the study of the medium as an entry point to engage broader trends and issues in American society and culture throughout the twentieth century, like race, class, and gender. Generally, comic books have long been seen as ephemera designed for children, but today, with the rise in popularity of superhero movies...

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...

One Section Offered »

The Human Body: A Cultural Creation

Henna art. Bleached skin. Foot binding. Medical tattooing. Each of these bodily practices represents a socially-constructed understanding of how the human body is treated and experienced in a particular culture. Constituted by much more than genetics and biology, the human body has social, political, physical, symbolic and technological dimensions which vary through time and...

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...

The Archaeology of Globalization

Is globalization something truly new in human history? How can we compare cross-cultural interaction before the written word and after the age of the Internet? In the modern world, what is the difference between "artifact" and "art"? Learn to tackle these questions by thinking like an archaeologist about the material world around you. From the ancient world...

The Prehistory of Humans: A Social and Cultural Evolution

The overarching theme of this course is meant to supply students with an ample understanding of our human antiquity. Therefore, in this course 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, but also the humanities in general.

The main...

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...

One Section Offered »

Artifacts in Archaeology: Understanding Material Culture and Ancient Technologies

The manufacture of artifacts distinguishes us from all other species. Therefore, these artifacts are the building blocks for archaeologists seeking to understand past cultures and their technologies. This course will use case-studies and experimental reconstructions to examine the artifacts that archaeologists most commonly recover: lithics, pottery and metallurgy, as well...

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'...

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...

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...

So What's up Doc?

Are you interested in a career in medicine? This one week course will introduce you to Medical Education "Brown" style and help you decide if medicine might be the right career for you. We will look at characteristics of a "good physician," shadow members of the Brown Medical faculty, tour the Brown Medical School (anatomy lab and the hospitals), do a...

Understanding the Nation's Health

What is Public Health? Public health is the latest buzz word in America, and in this one week course, students will develop an overall understanding of public health. From universal health care to mandated health insurance coverage, students will examine the dichotomy between individual health and public health. Newspaper articles and sound bytes will challenge students to...

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 »

From Mad Cow Disease to Alzheimer's: The Biological Basis of Disease

What do Mad Cow, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease have in common? All these diseases are caused by cellular proteins, found in the brain, which fail to fold properly. Through this course, you will learn about key diseases that are caused by protein mis-folding. Topics covered will include symptoms, cellular physiology and current methods of treatment. You will...

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!

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'...

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’...

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...

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 »

Infectious and Epidemic Disease

Understanding how pathogens are transmitted, lead to illness, and how they can be controlled or cured is the cornerstone of medical science. We will explore a variety of pathogenic organisms by examining their life cycle, transmission from host to host, and why some pathogens result in to epidemics. Students will discover not only the treatment of epidemic disease, but also...

Successful Nontraditional Careers in Life Sciences

Do you have a passion for the life sciences but are uncertain of whether you would like to become a medical doctor? There are many other career choices you could consider, like for example: University Professor, Biotech scientist, Biomedical Researcher, Forensic Scientist, Intellectual Property Attorney, Geneticist, Science Writer, Clinical research liaison and Government...

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.

Pharmacology...

One Section Offered »

Sex and Chromosomes: The Genetics and Biochemistry of Development

Did you ever wonder how a male knows to be male, not female? How does the female know to stay female? What does sex have to do with any of that? Can the male/female development process be altered? That is, can we re-engineer our genome? If so, how do we turn on and off the right genes at the right time to make sure this happens? And if we can control how and when to turn our...

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

Whether you’re pursuing a career in research or medicine, this award-winning class will give you a “behind the scenes” look into drug discovery and prescription medicine. You will learn biological pathways of the most prevalent diseases affecting society and how drugs are being developed to treat these aliments. By course end, you will have developed a fundamental...

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 Pharmaceutical Industry: From Drug 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 an in...

One Section Offered »

The Politics of Global Public Health

Global public health is not only driven by evidence but also community, national, and international interests. This course explores the politics global public health.

The course explores the politics of global public health through a series of historical case studies spanning the globe. In these case studies, we will explore some of the most important public health...

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 »

Introduction to Bio-medical Molecular Virology

The focus of this course is on the molecular biology that allows interactions between a virus and its host cell. We will begin with the fundamentals: a discussion of the basic composition of a virus particle and how the macromolecules from which a virus is composed allows it to interact with a specific host cell. The interaction between virus and host will then be further discussed...

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 »

The Secret Life of the Brain: From Shrimps to Humans

The human brain contains about 100 billion cells known as neurons, yet it remains a mystery how the activity of these neurons makes us think, feel and move. In this course we will try to answer this question.

Standard neuroscience courses usually begin with a description of brain's nuts-and-bolts (neurons, ion channels, synapses), while all the fun topics (behavior,...

Playing Tricks on the Brain!: Perception and Illusion in the Human Visual System

Nearly half of the human brain is devoted to vision, and even the best software engineers at Google and Microsoft can't beat a 3-year-old when it comes to object recognition. Visual perception feels automatic and effortless, and is usually so perfect that we fail to notice it. This course will look at cases where this breaks down when we fall prey to illusions. Like glitches...

Neurotechnology, Where Brain Meets Machine

This course will introduce students to the rapidly advancing interface between the human nervous system and technology, and its potential to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases. A brief introduction to brain basics, and an overview of past, current and future neurotechnology will inspire students to consider how medical technology is envisioned, tested and created in...

The Anatomy of Human Cognition: A Neuropsychological Approach

Much of what is known about the neuroanatomy of human cognition has been inferred from observing how behavior changes as a result of injury or disease. In this course, students will learn about the brain structures and systems involved in memory, language, attention, and executive function by reviewing case studies of patients sustaining brain injuries or disease. By introducing...

From Sound to Synapse: Introduction to Auditory Neuroscience

The main objective of this course is to explore what sound is and how the brain interprets it with a special focus on the perception of music. We will relate the physical properties of sound to acoustic perception, and investigate how music elicits emotional responses.

The course content will answer several central questions that build on one another: How does sound...

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 »

Visual Consciousness

How can a physical system of the brain experience anything? We are going to seek answers to this question within a neuro-scientific framework. Consciousness is the major unsolved problem, although we all experience it everyday.

We will address following questions: (1) What is consciousness?
 (2) What are the neuronal correlates of consciousness in brain? This course...

Word Etymologies: The Greek and Latin Roots of English

What do the SAT and the 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 on...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Roman Culture & Literature

Spectacles, brutality, gluttony, decadence, ruthless ambition, limitless empire: these are a few of the terms associated with the Romans in modern culture. This course examines another side of one of the greatest societies of the Western World from the point of view of their cultural accomplishments. We will learn about their society through their own words, seeing Roman culture...

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 performance of Greek tragedy by Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides, the experience would differ greatly from going to see a modern play....

One Section Offered »

Learning Linux & Programming for Beginners

The main aim of the course is to enable students to learn about a powerful operating system and to become familiar with its most important scripting tools. Computer programming skills are a hot commodity in this ever connected world and this course will get students started on the path to become a software programmer. This course will therefore be attractive to all students...

Taming the Python- Programming in Python using Linux

The main aim of this course is to enable students to learn about a powerful programming language (python) and familiarize with its most important scripting tools. Computer programming skills are a hot commodity in this ever connected world and this course will get students started in the path to become a successful software programmer.

Python is considered as one...

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...

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...

An Introduction to Game Theory

When we decide how to behave, we take into account how other players behave, not only because we care about other people but because it affects what we get out of the interaction. Game theory is the systematic study of this strategic interaction. Strategic interactions are present everywhere not only in economics but in politics, sociology, law, movies, computer science, at...

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

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of economics and more specifically to macroeconomics, that is, with how the big picture of how the economy works.

What are the sources of long-run economic growth? Why are some countries so much richer than others? What determines the course of the business cycle? How are inflation and unemployment...

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

This course analyzes economic effects of continuous advances in technology, automation in production, outsourcing and globalization. From nanotechnology to smart phones to 3D printers, this course helps students understand and predict what the economy of the future will look like.

In 1980, three television stations provided entertainment, telephones were stuck to...

One Section Offered »

Economania

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 course will examine selected discoveries in empirical economics and explain them in easy-to-understand terms, introducing students...

Econometrics: Statistical Tools to Understand Economic Data

This course teaches students how to communicate methods, results, and interpretations using the vocabulary of statistics, with an application in Economics. It is intended to help students that aim to take AP Statistics tests.

Reasoning based on probability and statistics gives modern society the ability to cope with uncertainty. It deals with the design of how data...

Intro to Microeconomics

This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of microeconomics, and by doing so teach students the basics of how to think about economics. Students who adequately complete this three-week course will be well prepared to study economics at the university level. The solid foundation in economic analysis should also benefit students planning to take the AP...

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...

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.

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...

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 »

Classic Fairy Tales Reconsidered

This course introduces students to the original versions of fairy tales and makes them aware the tradition continues to present times.

Originally, fairy tales were not intended for children but throughout much of their history were told among adult audiences for entertainment and instruction. During Romanticism, fairy tales were understood as tales sending a strong...

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...

Two 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 program will excite young writers with numerous tools and alternative approaches to the writing process in either fiction or poetry. Organized into small group workshops based on students' choice of genre, key elements of the program include:

• frequent workshop sessions in which leader and participants offer supportive feedback on your writing;
•...

Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry

This intensive program will excite young writers with numerous tools and alternative approaches to the writing process in either fiction or poetry. Organized into small group workshops based on students' choice of genre, key elements of the program include:

• frequent workshop sessions in which leader and participants offer supportive feedback on your writing;
•...

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 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 set...

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...

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. The writings of authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Jorge Luis Borges provide an ideal starting point for exploring the role of the imagination and of unconscious forces in human experience. Students will finish the course...

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 students to the practice of college-level critical reading and writing. This class works under the assumption that there is not a single, easy meaning to any piece of literature. Thus, instead of trying to find that one “correct” interpretation, we will be reading closely and actively. Students will learn the skills...

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

This course introduces pre-college students to the study of language. We examine how people produce, hear, and classify speech sounds, how we structure words and group them together, and how we use and interpret language in everyday life. We also discuss key findings about the social dimensions of language, its neurological basis, and the history of language.

Students will...

Invisible Cities and Ideal States

We'll consider what societies need to survive and thrive, and design societies to our own specifications. We'll explore what we can learn about our own world -- both how it is and how it could be -- by inventing others.

Our central questions: How do the worlds we live in affect the worlds we can imagine? What can we learn about our own world's...

Future Perfect: Science Fiction and the Politics of Imagination

Are we doomed to repeat history, or can we change ourselves for the better? The Politics of Science Fiction explores the ways in which this imaginative genre helps us to rethink our present lives, our relationship to the past, and the possibilities available to us in the future. By looking at authors’ hopes, fears, and fascinations with their own...

Inward Bound: The Art of Travel Writing

How do we translate our experiences of new places--and new worlds--into a form that we can share with others? When we learn to use the tools of fiction like character, narrative, and description to address topics from the real world including our personal experience and topics that are of interest to us, our writing immediately becomes more powerful. This course provides techniques...

Politics and the Tradition of American Humor: Ben Franklin to Stephen Colbert

Starting with satirical writing from the 18th century and continuing to the late-night television satire of today, this course examines how humor has been used to explore the political and social issues of the time. Jon Stewart's "fake news" uses irony and sarcasm to blur the divide between "real" and "fake" news, while Stephen Colbert's...

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...

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 Analytic 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.

Students will study and...

Four Sections Offered »

Who Is Hamlet?

For over 400 years, Shakespeare's Hamlet has captivated audiences and readers, but people rarely agree on just what type of hero the title character is -- or if he's a hero at all. Is he an ingenious avenger or an insane rebel? A devoted son or a spoiled smart-aleck? A sensitive dreamer or a horrible boyfriend? By closely reading the play, comparing movie adaptations,...

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 »

Human Rights on Film

Samuel Goldwyn, one of Hollywood’s founding fathers, is reported to have said: “Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.” Little did he know that the ensuing century of filmmakers would frequently use movies to impart significant social or political messages"even if audiences weren't ready for them. For instance,...

Freedom, Disobedience, and the Absurd in Literature

Are you free? What is the meaning of your life? When was the last time that you chose to disobey a rule? Why did you choose to do so rather than conform? Was this act of disobedience a positive, productive, and/or necessary force? How do you reconcile the absurd, which arises out of the fundamental disharmony between your individual search for meaning and the incomprehensibility...

Sherlock's Methods: An Investigation of the Detective Novel

This course will introduce students to the literary genre of the detective novel, as well as its successors in contemporary media. Through this genre, with its unique relation to reading as detection, the students will train their critical close reading and analytical skills in order to participate in the current academic discourse. As the revival of the detective motif in...

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.

Mississippi Writers

This course will introduce students to major 20th century writers and will focus on how these writers engage issues of class, race, gender, language, and religion. Most importantly, the course will examine these works to challenge prevailing notions about Mississippi.

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

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...

Six 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...

Do You Want to Be an Engineer?

In this course we will explore the interdisciplinary connections between different engineering fields, ranging from mechanical engineering to materials science, and include topics and projects in biomedical, chemical, and aerospace engineering.

Throughout high school, you may well have wondered why classes focused so much on scientific concepts rather than on any...

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...

Engineering Biomedical Systems

Have you ever wondered how scientists make pacemakers or grow cartilage for joint repair? These scientists, called biomedical engineers, have been working in this new and exciting field to develop devices and tissue engineered technologies to help us live better lives. The most exciting thing about biomedical engineering is that there are many questions left to be answered....

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,...

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 »

From Water Striders to Airplanes: Engineering Fluids

What is fluid? Ranging from air and water (which is obvious), to lava and glass (which is somewhat non-intuitive), to large objects like Jupiter (a gas planet) and the Sun (also gaseous), and even a galaxy (with numerous clouds), a fluid is simply everything that can flow.

In this course you will learn how to apply various important fluid dynamics concepts to a range...

Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering

Are you curious to learn more about how computers work? Do you want to build your first Android Application? Are you fascinated by Laptops and Smartphones and have an interest in learning how engineers use the iterative design process to make these technologically amazing products? If you answered yes to these questions, this introductory course on electrical and computer...

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 »

Trends in Modern Art

This course will look at the major art movements from the 1880s to the present. We will focus on the dominant trends in art making as well as some of the critical theory that surrounds it.

From the Impressionist paintings of Claude Monet, the Cubist work of Pablo Picasso, and the Pop art of Andy Warhol, this course will examine what it means for a work of art to...

Masterworks of World Art: From Caves to Contemporary

This course will explore a key question that lies at the heart of all art historical study: What makes a work of art great? Our objective is not to find one definitive answer to this question, but rather, to raise new questions as we examine a range of iconic masterworks from prehistoric cave painting to contemporary street art. We will consider issues of style, meaning,...

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 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.

Students will receive an introduction...

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...

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 knowledge about the earth and the cosmos found its way into artworks in fascinating...

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...

One Section Offered »

Diplomacy

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 »

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll?: Understanding the Revolutionary 1960s

The 1960s transformed America. Many current conceptions we take for granted " about gender, race, dress, music, the environment, government, and sexual expression " can be traced to this revolutionary decade.

What really happened during the 1960s? How did it become such a transformative decade? Why did so many groups " students, women, African Americans,...

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

The overarching theme is the study of the sociological category of a subculture and the emergence of counternormative cultural expressions in music, literature, style and politics. The main objective of the course is to critically communicate and analyze the historical, philosophical and sociological foundations of the American counterculture from the nineteen fifties to the...

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 arguments of Tories and others who opposed the American Revolution; the dimensions and dynamics of the pro-slavery debate in the antebellum North and South; the alternatives proposed for funding early radio and TV; the American...

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 encroached...

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 examining the social and cultural impact...

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 »

Debates on the Holocaust

There is hardly an event in recent history as prominent in the cultural imagination or as publicly remembered as the Holocaust. And yet for all this attention there is scarcely another topic in history about which even fundamental explanations elude scholarly consensus. This course “Debates on the Holocaust” will engage in-depth with the five most crucial, prominent...

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. Using archaeological and textual sources, we will pursue a diachronic and cross-cultural approach to the study of war in ancient societies.

Ramesses the Great. Darius the Great. Alexander the Great. Caesar. Venere, videre, vicere.
Blood, battles, and brutality have romanticized these...

One Section Offered »

Genocide in the Modern World

From the Holocaust to the Khmer Rouge, genocide, as a crime against humanity, is characteristic of the 20th century. This course introduces students to the concept of genocide by focusing on its historical manifestations in the modern world. Students will study how the term evolved by examining various case studies from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

This...

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 aims to introduce students to the concepts, applications and practices of imperialism by exploring empires of the pre-modern world.

This course aims to use a comparative perspective to understand imperialism by focusing on the empires of the pre-modern era from...

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...

Cuneiform: The Worlds Oldest Writing

Cuneiform, the worlds oldest writing scripts, was invented in the 4th millennium B.C.E. in Mesopotamia. It remained in use until the 1st century C.E., consequently more than half of human history was recorded in wedges on clay. Writing systems encapsulate a certain way of thinking, this course will investigate the process of invention and use surrounding the worlds oldest...

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...

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...

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 2009 New York Times feature and the motivation behind this course. While the field of statistics is growing daily, the most critical understanding of the subject is accessible to high school students, and this course will explain how, where, and why statistics is used to solve real world...

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...

MATH-ART-TECHNOLOGY Connection "An Innovative Approach to Graphing of Functions"

The objective of this course is to provide students an in-depth understanding of mathematical functions and inequalities by producing artistic pictures and animations using the Desmos calculator (https://www.desmos.com). By graphing functions and inequalities using the Desmos calculator, students can create beautiful and interesting artistic images by drawing curves and shading...

The Art of the Film

In “THE ART OF THE FILM” we will examine the dramatic effects and cultural implications of the techniques used in filmmaking, and some of the central developments in film’s artistic and technological history. The course will be broken down into a series of sections, each based upon a given formal technique (mise-en-scene, lighting, editing, sound, etc.) or...

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. News content, news coverage, news delivery, and news consumption has changed significantly from the early days of visual media. Are we better off today,...

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...

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...

African Music and Dance Experience

In this course, students will learn to perform music from Ghana, Togo and neighboring countries of West Africa leading up to a final public performance at the end of the two-week session. Students will learn to play new types of music, gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for African cultures, learn all the dances, songs and drum parts for the genres studied and...

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 (with 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....

Theory of Relativity

This course provides an introduction to Einstein's theories of special and general relativity. These theories have had a profound impact on science and technology as well as our worldview of the universe. By the course's end, students will have a much greater understanding of relativity, its importance, and many of its surprises.

Einstein's theories...

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 »

Physics in Health and Medicine

Ever wonder how our immune system is able to detect and track down harmful invaders? Or how an MRI machine can examine our body from the inside out? In reality, both our bodies and medical technologies heavily rely of the laws of physics to operate effectively.

In this course, we will examine how physical laws govern how our body works. For example, in the circulatory...

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,...

The Extraordinary Inventions of Nikola Tesla

Much is speculated and little is known about one of the most brilliant inventors at the turn of the century, Nikola Tesla. With more than 1000 patented inventions, Tesla laid the foundations of modern society as well as a solid ground for this course. Students will be introduced to the theory of electricity and magnetism and its applications, the principles of wireless transmission...

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,...

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.

The...

One Section Offered »

Early Astronomy, From Babylon to Greece

How did the ancient astronomers know the nature of the planets, and what were their names in Babylonian? Who developed the first model of the solar system based around the sun? These are some of the question we will address, as well as learn to read the sky like an ancient astronomer.

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

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...

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. After 9/11 and Iraq, foreign affairs are no longer distant affairs, yet confusion abounds. This course provides pathways to understanding world politics, usable to students as future voters and global citizens. It combines traditional perspectives on war and trade with a new look at world...

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,...

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 and International Politics

Do we have duties to help the poor in other countries? Should the UN and World Bank be made more democratic? 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.

The course will engage students...

Understanding the Media: Becoming a Critical News Consumer

Media surrounds us, but does it inform us? It is reported that the average news consumer comes across more information in a day than an informed 17th century citizen came across in a lifetime. So how do we surf these waves, how do we avoid being flooded, and how do we discern between fact and fiction, news and information, meaning and symbol?

In this class we will...

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,...

Democracy and Development in Africa

Once labeled "the hopeless continent", the political and economic developments of Africa today suggest the exact opposite. Africa's economies are among the fastest growing in the world, with at least a dozen countries enjoying a growth rate of 6 per cent or higher for six or more years; furthermore, the number of democracies on the continent has risen from a...

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 »

Freedom, Equality, and Security: Civil Liberties in the 21st Century

This course examines some of the rights and liberties protected by the American Constitution and contemporary debates over the proper balance between freedom, equality, and security. Topics to be covered include freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, the right to privacy, the right to bear arms, and equal protection before the law. This course aims to help students think...

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 they 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,...

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 »

Introduction to Psychology and Human Behavior

In this class we will define the scope of psychology and explore some of its most interesting and relevant topics. For example, in what ways does our evolutionary history influence the way we behave today? How has intelligence been defined and measured, and what have been the political and social consequences? How do early patterns of attachment influence current romantic...

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...

One Section 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...

One Section Offered »

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,...

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...

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

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...

One Section Offered »

Great Experiments in Psychology

Are you more likely to obey instructions when you think you're with an authority figure? Is it true that when you are part of a group of people that you will come up with a greater range of ideas, or do your ideas just become more extreme? Is therapy helpful for people with problems such as depression and anxiety or is it no more effective than waiting for these problems...

Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior is an introduction to theoretical concepts and empirical research in the behavioral sciences as they apply to behavior within organizational settings. The primary goal of this course is to prepare students for an advanced leadership role in modern organizations, and is designed for students of any discipline. The course’s main objective is to provide...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

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”...

One Section Offered »

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...

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...

One Section Offered »

Psychology of Criminal Behavior

People commit crime every day. While this is true, we know that all crime is not the same. What makes one crime different from another? Are all criminals different? Do they commit crimes for different reasons? What do we know about their motivation to commit crime? There is much variability in the occurrence of criminal conduct. In this course, we will learn about crime, criminals,...

Game Theory in Psychology and Social Decision Making

Decision-making is a necessarily social endeavor. A variety of considerations must be taken into account before we make decisions when we're interacting with other people. This course will explore the psychological factors that influence our decisions to cooperate, defect, trust, punish, reward and make otherwise impactful decisions when others are involved. We will do...

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...

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,...

One Section Offered »

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?...

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...

One Section Offered »

Social Theory: Understanding Everyday Life

Why is the world the way it is? Do we act as free-willing individuals 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. This course proposes...

One Section Offered »

Under Your Skin: The Social Determinants of Health

Health and illness are not distributed at random in the population. Rather, health follows the fault lines of economic and social inequalities present in human societies, resulting in consistent patterns of health and disease being predicted by class, race, gender, and nation of origin. Beyond individual characteristics, there is evidence that our social environment's...

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

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 will be to serve as a foundation for further exploration in digital video artwork and storytelling. Attendees will write, direct, act, shoot, and edit short videos, with beginning and intermediate instruction. We will cover...

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...

One Section Offered »

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 »