Pre-College Programs

2015 Course Catalog (227)

From I Love Lucy to Lost: Television and American Culture

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

One Section Offered »

American Consumer Culture, 1870-present

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

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 »

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 »

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

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

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

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Urban Anthropology

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

One Section Offered »

Forensic Science: CSI Providence - Senior SPARK

Forensics is the application of science to answer questions pertaining to the law. Methods used to solve criminal investigations have progressed significantly over the past thirty years. Investigators and scientists now collaborate and use forensic technologies to uncover facts associated with criminal cases. This course will uncover the truth behind criminal investigations...

One Section Offered »

So You Want to be a Laboratory Scientist? - Junior SPARK

Have you ever wondered what DNA looks like? Are you curious about what it is like in a laboratory, working to solve problems in the medical field? Have you ever wanted to solve a crime?

This course is designed to expose middle school students to basic laboratory research in the fields of biotechnology, microbiology, medicine, forensics and general laboratory techniques....

One Section Offered »

Conservation of Endangered Species - Junior SPARK

We always hear about endangered species all over the world. What exactly is being done to protect these animals and their habitats? Most people do not realize it, but every endangered species has a recovery plan that maps the road to successfully increasing populations and saving habitats. Zoos are a huge part of these recovery plans by being a place for breeding and increasing...

One Section Offered »

Understanding the Human Body: An Exploration of Anatomy - Junior SPARK

Have you ever wondered how your body does all the things that it does?

Our bodies contain 206 bones and over 600 muscles, all coordinated by a central computer called the brain. In this course, you will learn how your body's components work as one, to keep you going everyday.

This exciting hands-on course will provide an opportunity to answer your questions...

One Section Offered »

DNA Science and Biotechnology - Senior SPARK

The field of Modern Biotechnology explores breakthrough technology that has revolutionized pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biomedical research. Scientific researchers in DNA Science work to understand diseases, develop treatments and cures, and to address concerns with the environment and our food supply. This laboratory-based course is designed to expose students to the...

One Section Offered »

Understanding the Human Body: An Exploration of Anatomy - Senior SPARK

Have you ever wondered how your body does all the things that it does? Our bodies contain 206 bones and over 600 muscles, all coordinated by a central computer called the brain. In this course, you will learn how your body’s components work as one to keep you going everyday.

This exciting hands-on course will provide an opportunity to answer your questions...

One Section Offered »

Fatal Infections: Why are Some Diseases Incurable? - Senior SPARK

How do germs invade the human body? How does our body fight these tiny invaders and in some circumstances lose the battle? Why do some diseases affect humans and not animals or vice versa? In this course, you will learn why certain infections cannot be cured and what makes a germ infectious to humans. Ever curious how vaccines work to protect us from deadly microbes? We will...

One Section Offered »

Forensic Science: CSI Providence - Junior SPARK

Forensics is the application of science to answer questions pertaining to the law. Methods used to solve criminal investigations have progressed significantly over the past thirty years. Investigators and scientists now collaborate and use forensic technologies to uncover facts associated with criminal cases. This course will uncover the truth behind criminal investigations...

One Section Offered »

Techniques in DNA-Based Biotechnology

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

Through extensive laboratory...

Two Sections Offered »

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

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

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

One Section Offered »

The Body: An Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology

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

One Section Offered »

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 »

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'...

One Section Offered »

So You Want to Be a Doctor?

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Eight Weeks

Is a career in medicine right for you? This course is designed to help you answer that question. Experience the study of medicine in a whole new way and get a taste of what medical school and practicing medicine in a variety of different medical specialties would be like. Participants in this class will:

• Study gross anatomy, histology, physiology, and microbiology...

One Section Offered »

Principles of Human Physiology - Part B

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

One Section Offered »

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 »

Body at Work: Anatomy, Physiology, and Disease

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

In this course you will study the major organ systems of the body, investigate normal and pathologic anatomy and physiology, and examine common diseases and injuries and their effect on the body’s organ systems.

This course provides students considering a career in the health professions a foundation in the study of human form and function from the perspective of practicing...

One Section Offered »

DNA Science: Forensics, Food, and Medicine

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

DNA can solve a crime, identify a future disease, and distinguish our common ancestors. A remarkable molecule, it has often been referred to as the “building block of life.”

Advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to an explosion in our understanding of DNA and how it impacts us, both as individuals and as a society. This course will introduce...

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 »

Leadership and Global Health

Despite world-wide advances in technology and development, providing basic health care to people in resource-poor settings continues to pose enormous challenges. Now more than ever, the global community is focused on overcoming inequities in health care and reducing poverty as a means of curbing the spread of disease and improving lives. Building on this momentum, this course...

One Section Offered »

Forensic Science - CSI Providence!

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

This integrated...

Two Sections Offered »

Using Pharmacology To Help Us Study The Nervous System

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

Pharmacology...

One Section Offered »

Drugs, Alcohol & Behavior

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

One Section Offered »

Drug Discovery: Treating Human Disease Through Medicine

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

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

One Section Offered »

Cancer Biology: An Evolving Puzzle

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

One Section Offered »

Viruses: Ancient Machines in a Modern World

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

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

One Section Offered »

The Life of a Drug: from Discovery to Market

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

One Section Offered »

The Politics of Global Public Health

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 »

Marine Biology of Invertebrates

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

From Brain to Sensation: Neurobiology of Perception - Senior SPARK

Taste! Smell! Sound! Sight! Touch! Balance! How is all of this information turned into sensation? Hint: it involves the brain! Students will learn how our brains make sense of the world around us, and they'll learn a little brain anatomy along the way too!

Through a combination of individual and small group experiments, students will about the sensory systems...

One Section Offered »

From Brain to Sensation: Neurobiology of Perception - Junior SPARK

Taste! Smell! Sound! Sight! Touch! Our world is alive with stimuli and these are just some of the many senses we use to explore it. But how are all of these senses transformed into our everyday perceptions?? I’ll give you a hint: it involves your brain! The brain is a fascinating organ- it only weighs about three pounds, but has billions of specialized cells that make...

One Section Offered »

Brain Basics: From Biology to Behavior

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

One Section Offered »

Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior

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

One Section Offered »

Psychoactive Drugs: Brain, Body, Society

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

One Section Offered »

Neuroscience in Health and Disease

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

Two Sections Offered »

Computer Modeling of the Brain

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

One Section Offered »

Neuroscience in Action: Understanding Our Brains and Nervous Systems

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Five Weeks

The human brain has more than 85 billion nerve cells, also known as neurons. Ever since the original description of the neuron by Santiago Ramon y Cajal in the 19th century, neuroscientists have known that understanding the neuron is key to understanding how the brain works. This course is an introduction to neuroscience in which we will examine the inner workings of the neuron:...

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

Word Etymologies: The Greek and Latin Roots of English

What do the SAT and the 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 »

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 »

Making Informed Financial Decisions in Today's World Economy

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

One Section Offered »

Technology and its Effect on Business and World Economies

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

One Section Offered »

Leadership and Global Development

Despite unprecedented increases in global wealth, a large share of the world’s population still lives in abject poverty. Addressing economic, social, and political inequality is one of the primary challenges for the world in the 21st century.

Development is a complex and controversial endeavor. Some think of development as industrial or economic growth, some as a...

One Section Offered »

Becoming an Entrepreneur: Turning Ideas into Startups

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

Are you full of great business ideas? Do you love sharing these ideas with your friends and family? Does your imagination wander when you think about how a product or service could be developed or improved? If so, you may be on your way to becoming the next great entrepreneur!

Develop your ability to see the world with an entrepreneurial eye and look for your next great...

One Section Offered »

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 »

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 »

TOEFL Preparation

This course is an intermediate-advanced level English course focused on preparation for the TOEFL test. Students will review test-taking strategies and develop skills in Listening, Grammar, Reading and Writing. Students join in class discussions to reinforce their knowledge of the structure of English. They will complete in-class and homework assignments related to developing...

One Section Offered »

World Literature

This course offers the analysis of literature and of genre types derived from a variety of literary works from different countries, all but one written in the second half of the 20th century.

Literatures of the World: This blended Canvas course will introduce literary works from four different countries, written in the second half of the 20th century: a Czech novel...

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 »

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...

One Section Offered »

Literature of the Fantastic

Students will hone their analytical skills with close readings of some of the most thrillingly strange narratives of the last two centuries. 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...

One Section Offered »

Writing Flash Fiction

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

One Section Offered »

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

The goal of this two-week course is to introduce 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 »

Writing for College and Beyond

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

Are you ready to start writing the way college students write? Challenge yourself intellectually and creatively as you explore and experience writing as a form of inquiry, and a part of social conversation.

The first half of this course offers you the chance to think carefully about writing narrative prose, which is in effect a form of storytelling. Thus you begin the course...

Three Sections Offered »

Storytelling in the Digital Age

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

In 2008, Nicholas Carr asked everyone on the internet, “Is Google making us stupid?” The answer seems to be yes, and no. The immediate availability of boundless stores of information gives us all a crutch to lean on when we need quick answers; if you have a smartphone in your pocket, you are a walking encyclopedia. But only so much information will fit on a smartphone...

One Section Offered »

Putting Your Ideas Into Words

Do you ever wish you could express your thoughts in a clearer and more compelling manner? Do you have convincing arguments and brilliant insights in your mind that just don't seem to translate into your writing? This course will help you get those great ideas onto paper and communicate them effectively to your intended audience, whether that is a high school teacher,...

One Section Offered »

Read, Think, Write - Approaching the College Essay

Despite our increasing reliance on screens in our 21st-century lives, writing remains a crucial skill that one must have. The texts we will read are not only important for their philosophical and social content, but also for their exemplification of various modes of written argumentation. Our discussion of the various texts will focus on the three levels of reading: summary,...

One Section Offered »

English On Stage: Building Language Skills Through Performance

The main objective of English on Stage is to provide students with an opportunity to hone their English language skills through improvisational and scripted performance. By setting English instruction in the world of the dramatic arts, the course encourages students to experiment with newly learned vocabulary and grammar. It supplements more traditional language learning models...

One Section Offered »

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

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

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

One Section Offered »

Writing the Expository Essay

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

This course is designed...

Four Sections Offered »

Literature, Culture, and American Identities

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

One Section Offered »

Sherlock's Methods: An Investigation of the Detective Novel

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.

One Section Offered »

Mississippi Writers

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

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.

One Section Offered »

Putting Yourself into Words

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

Six Sections Offered »

Nanotechnology: The Small Wonder from Atom to Space - Senior SPARK

In this hands-on course, you will learn about nanotechnology and its broad spectrum of applications in current life. You will experience the fundamental rules behind nanotechnology through interesting experiments, activities and games. You will also see how scientists at Brown conduct leading nanotechnology research. In addition, you will get a chance to design your own nanotechnology...

One Section Offered »

Aerospace Engineering and Rocket Science - Junior SPARK

Have you ever looked at an airplane and wanted to know how it works? Do the words; rocket, space, and satellite excite your imagination? Have you even wanted to know how NASA shoots up satellites into outer space and reach their final destination millions of miles away? Or how to build an airplane that can travel faster than the speed of sound? If these questions excite you,...

One Section Offered »

RobotC : An Introduction to Programming using LEGO Robots - Junior SPARK

Do you like LEGO's? Do you like robots? Have you heard of the Mars Rover? Do you want to learn about ultrasonic, light, and sound sensors? Do you like computers? If these questions appeal to you, then you will want to register for this course.

This LEGO robotics course will feature fully customizable LEGO robotic rovers (car-like vehicles). Students typically...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Mechanical Engineering: Design and Experimentation - Senior SPARK

Do you want to learn what it takes to be an engineer? There are many kinds of engineers; those who specialize in building bridges, designing submarines, or recording high-speed movies of an explosion. It might be daunting to figure out what type of engineer is right for you. Students will actually become familiar with the full range of engineering in this class.

Engineering...

One Section Offered »

Robot Rover Derby

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

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

Materials Engineering: A Revolution in the Making

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

Two Sections Offered »

Modern Rapid Prototyping Techniques

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

One Section Offered »

Exploring Engineering

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Two Weeks

Are you considering a career in engineering? Are you fascinated by what engineers do?

In this free, open course, you will gain an understanding of the various fields of engineering and explore the engineering design process, from conceptual design and optimal choice evaluation to project construction and the need for engineering ethics.

This introductory course is a recommended...

Two Sections Offered »

Biomedical Engineering: The Smart Design of Medical Implants and Devices

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Three Weeks

Are you passionate about innovative approaches to improving human health? Biomedical engineers apply principles of biology, medicine, and science, along with problem-solving skills and critical thinking, to a broad spectrum of problems, from designing regenerative medicine and new methods of drug delivery to micro-devices and gene therapy.

In this course, you will explore...

One Section Offered »

Materials Science and Engineering: Designing for Society's Needs

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Three Weeks

Are you interested in learning more about the materials that surround our everyday lives? How might newly developed, advanced materials positively impact society? In this course, you will explore the mathematical and scientific fundamentals behind the field of materials science and engineering. You will explore the current state of the art in engineering design as you test...

One Section Offered »

Renewable Energy Engineering: Wind and Solar Power

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

The demand for energy is expected to grow 30% by 2040. What role can engineers play in developing renewable energy sources? In this course, you will explore the some of the science, math, and technology that is used to extract energy from renewable resources. You will:

• Apply engineering concepts and principles to solving renewable energy issues
• Examine how...

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 »

Leadership and the Future of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, and emerging technologies have a major impact on our everyday lives in the 21st century. They provide new insight into our complex world and address a range of global needs and problems. Few pre-college students are exposed to the advanced research that will likely lead to the future of science, technology and medicine. In this...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Engineering and Design

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

Three Sections Offered »

Engineering Biomedical Systems

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

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

Three Sections Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

Exploring the World of Marine Science - Junior SPARK

Students will learn the basics of estuarine ecology and environmental sciences through a variety of field exercises and data collection techniques. The one-week course will allow students to learn about Narragansett Bay in-depth by using Save The Bay’s waterfront Bay Center laboratory, classroom, shoreline and dock space, and from bay field trips aboard Save The Bay’s...

One Section Offered »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Climate Change and Sustainable Development

BELL Rhode Island is a unique outdoor learning experience. The academic content of this course centers on understanding the causes, impacts, and solutions to climate change both globally and locally. In order to appreciate the many manifestations of climate change, our curriculum draws from both environmental science and environmental studies including biology, chemistry, economics,...

Six Sections Offered »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Hawai'i

This spring, Brown University offers curious high school students a unique opportunity to explore Hawaiian culture, tropical ecology, and leadership skills. Traveling from the mountains to the sea, students will explore the Big Island’s diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, studying geology, forest ecology, aquatic life, cultural studies, and land use. Participants...

One Section Offered »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: New Orleans & Louisiana Gulf Coast

This April, Brown University offers outstanding high school students an opportunity to study wetland ecology, human geography, bayou cultures, and leadership skills in the nation’s largest coastal wetlands laboratory: the Mississippi River Delta. The program begins in the heart of New Orleans where we explore the natural and social forces that shaped the history of city....

One Section Offered »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Alaska

BELL is a unique outdoor learning laboratory. The courses draw their curricula from many different disciplines: history, biology, geology, economics, environmental studies, and leadership theory. In this course, students will travel to southern Alaska to experience, first-hand, the beauty and complexities of historic and present-day Alaska. Learning will be fast-paced, experiential,...

One Section Offered »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Narragansett Bay

This summer, Brown University invites highly-motivated students to examine some of the most pressing and complex issues impacting our oceans and coasts. Beyond its natural beauty, the ocean is one of our most important natural resources: it is a source of seafood, minerals and oil; a primary means of transportation and shipping; and the hub of tourism and recreation. It is...

Two Sections Offered »

Beginning Spanish in Segovia

Spanish has become the second language of the United States and the third most spoken language in the world. Today’s Spanish language learner can look forward to using their language knowledge in personal and professional settings: in business, finance, education, medicine and public health, arts, law, politics, diplomacy, and humanitarian and environmental work.

In...

One Section Offered »

Intermediate Spanish in Segovia

The aim of this course is for students to significantly improve their communications skills in Spanish, particularly their oral expression and listening comprehension, in order that their immersion in Spanish culture during their time in Segovia is successful and rewarding. Daily classes are taught completely in Spanish and focus on proficiency in everyday speech to facilitate...

One Section Offered »

Exploring the Planets and Moons of our Solar System - Junior SPARK

Now is the time to get involved in planetary science! NASA is sending out mission after mission of unmanned spacecraft to investigate the mysteries of our solar system. Come and explore the latest high-resolution datasets and learn how to plan a mission to one of our inner planets.

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered how the Moon got there? Why...

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

From Kodak to Instagram: Photography as a Global Language

Twitter. Facebook. 'Selfies.' How do today’s forms and uses of photography represent a continuation of, or break with, those of the past? Through a focus on photography’s use in digital contexts, students in this course will learn methods of critical visual analysis, build visual literacy skills, and prepare for coursework in fields such...

One Section Offered »

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

This course will introduce students to the art of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the context of the 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...

One Section Offered »

Art and Science in Renaissance Rome

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

One Section Offered »

Music & Politics: From Mozart to Arcade Fire

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

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 »

Lessons in Leadership: What History's Great Leaders Can Teach Us Today

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Three Weeks

What makes a great leader? What is your own leadership potential, and how can you increase it? Do you have a passion -- such as literacy, the environment, or equal rights -- and hope to make an impact one day?

Great leaders often possess several key leadership skills. Based on one of Brown University's most popular political science courses, this course offers students...

One Section Offered »

How History is Made: An Introduction to Source Analysis

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

One Section Offered »

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 »

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 »

Pop Music in American Culture and Politics

This course examines the development of popular music over the last 100 years from jazz and folk to indie rock and hip hop. Students will learn about U.S. history through the perspective of music. It provides a chance to learn how to analyze music critically and express one's ideas clearly.

This course is both about U.S. history and the history of music....

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

Reconstructing the Crusades: Latin, Greek, and Arab perspectives

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

One Section Offered »

The Many Faces of Rome

This intensive three-week course introduces the complexities and beauties of Rome, an ancient and vibrant metropolis. Designed for high school students without prior experience in Rome, the course introduces students to workshops and lectures by world-class Brown faculty, as well as immersive Italian language studies, all in the very heart of Rome.

As a pre-college...

One Section Offered »

Geometry and Dynamics: From Chaos to Fractals - Senior SPARK

This course will explore the mathematics that underlies chaos, dynamics, fractal geometry, and the emergence of structure from simple rules. Understanding these principles opens one's eyes to beautiful and bizarre sides of mathematics and fundamentally enriches our understanding of the universe.

Millions of individuals buy and sell in the stock market, interacting...

One Section Offered »

Spy Training 101: How to Encode and Decode Messages like an Expert - Senior SPARK

The course provides an introduction to the history and mathematics behind cryptography. From Julius Caesar's encoded messages to his generals and Thomas Jefferson's wooden cipher to modern day encryption systems, codes have always been used to protect important or personal information. In this course we study the mathematical concepts behind encoding and decoding...

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...

One Section Offered »

Fundamentals for Calculus: Functions and Equations

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

One Section Offered »

Applied Statistics

“For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word-Statistics.” Such was the title of a 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 »

Mathematical Modeling: Probability, Linear Algebra and Discrete Markov Chains

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

After a brief discussion of probability...

One Section Offered »

The Art of the Film

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...

One Section Offered »

Electronic Music

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

One Section Offered »

What Is Music Theory?

This course is designed for you to learn: 1) what music theory IS, and 2) how music theory can help you "hear music better." We will investigate patterns and trends in Western classical music (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 »

Everyday Mechanics and Special Relativity: From Earthly Speed to the Speed of Light! - Senior SPARK

Newtonian mechanics and Einstein's theory of Special Relativity is a very exciting and beautiful part of our daily life! Every single day, we see mechanics, experience it, and enjoy it through many cool activities! Every time we shoot an American football, bike, drive, take ride on a roller coaster, or fly in an airplane, we precisely obey the fundamental laws of mechanics...

One Section Offered »

Physics in Film - Star Wars and Beyond - Junior SPARK

Lightsabers clash in a galaxy far far away as a pair of droids walk slowly towards the setting of the twin suns.

It's hard to argue with the claim that Star Wars is one of the most iconic pieces of science fiction in the past century, but how does it hold up as a work of science fact? Death stars, blaster bolts, jet-packs, wormholes, space travel, the force...will...

One Section Offered »

The Tiniest Bits of Reality

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

One Section Offered »

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 »

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...

One Section Offered »

Science, Perception and Reality

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

One Section Offered »

Themes from Existentialism

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

One Section Offered »

The Meaning of Life

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

One Section Offered »

An Introduction to Philosophy

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

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

One Section Offered »

Ethics: Theory and Practice

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

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

One Section Offered »

Experience and Consciousness

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

One Section Offered »

World Philosophy

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

This course will give students a very broad...

One Section Offered »

Happiness: Philosophy and Psychology

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

The course explores...

One Section Offered »

Philosophy of Science

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

Science is unquestionably one of the most successful...

One Section Offered »

The Body in Pain

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

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Public Policy: Leading and Creating Change

Public policy is the set of laws, rules, and regulations enacted and enforced by government. Policy is made in response to a societal issue or problem that requires attention and is made on behalf of the public. Examples of public policy include: marijuana legislation, standardized testing in schools, environmental regulations, and immigration. Policy affects virtually every...

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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,...

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Leadership and Global Engagement

The world is a complicated place. World leaders must address an array of domestic and international issues on a daily basis. Their leadership qualities and styles often reflect cultural and social norms as well as their nation’s political system. Understanding how global leaders make decisions and how those decisions impact the world is vital as the world becomes increasingly...

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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,...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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International Politics and Global Justice

This course aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of the role of ethics in international affairs. It does not aim to convert students to a particular perspective, opinion, or other viewpoint. Instead, the goal is to equip students with the ability to apply ethical principles to international phenomena. To accomplish this goal, this course will focus on developing...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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So You Want to Be a Counselor?

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

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Psychology and the Media

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

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Personality: What Makes Us Who We Are?

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

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

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Community Psychology: Making a Difference in the Real World

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

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

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The Psychology of Gender

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

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Psychology of Stress and Trauma

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

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Abnormal Psychology

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

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Psychology of Resilience

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

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Freud: Psychoanalysis and its Legacies

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

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

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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...

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Scholar-Athlete: Introduction to Sport Psychology

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

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Social Psychology

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

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Psychology in Medicine: Emotions, Behaviors, and Disease

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

This course will provide an...

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Introduction to Social and Developmental Psychology

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

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Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology

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

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Psychology of Good and Evil

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

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

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Science, Politics and Psychological Disorders

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

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

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

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

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Between Darwin and Design: Science & Religion in Conversation

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

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Religious Violence: Religion, Terror and War in Modernity

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

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Scholar-Athlete: Sport and Society

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

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

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Women and Leadership

Despite remarkable progress over the last hundred years, women in the 21st century still face unique challenges in educational, career, social, and political arenas. In this course, students (1) analyze the position and portrayal of women in society, (2) explore how gender and other factors influence women’s leadership styles, and (3) propose strategies to facilitate...

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Leadership and Social Justice

Leadership and Social Justice is a course designed to provide engaged students with the tools and theory needed to become successful change makers, activists, and community organizers. This course explores how grassroots movements can transform communities, cultural norms, and global systems. How are campaigns developed, initiated, and orchestrated? What factors determine a...

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Changing Business: Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social problems. In this course, students will study how social entrepreneurs and social enterprises are addressing global challenges in areas such as education, job creation, the environment, arts, poverty, health care, and finance. Students will explore how different kinds of...

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Identity, Diversity, and Leadership

Who am I and how does my personal background impact my life experiences, my world view, and my relationships with others? To work effectively as a leader towards social change, one must have self-knowledge and an understanding of how individual, institutional, and societal inequity manifests in society, both locally and globally.

Through engaging readings, provocative films...

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Who are you Calling Sick? The Sociology of Diagnosis

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

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Social Theory: Understanding Everyday Life

Why is the world the way it is? Do we act as 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...

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Human Trafficking: Saints, Sinners, and Modern Day Slavery

In the past decade, human trafficking has rapidly risen to the top of the global human rights agenda. This course introduces students to the varying definitions of human trafficking in law and practice in a variety of global contexts. It provides an overview of critical debates in "modern day slavery" studies, including: gender, labor, migrant, and sexual...

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TheatreBridge

TheatreBridge and Playwrights Workshop offer a connecting link between high school and college theatre and encourage a commitment to a life of creative engagement. The highly selective programs provide promising young actors and playwrights an opportunity to stretch their imaginations and skills as they create new work under the mentorship of established theatre professionals....

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Writing for Performance: Sketch Comedy

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

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Creativity and Social Change

In this course, we will study how art and activism have intersected in contemporary society. Students will study the ways in which artists and community-based art initiatives are effectively addressing a wide array of social issues. Providence is home to a several nationally recognized youth arts programs and students will have an opportunity to learn about these organizations...

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Digital Video Production

Digital video production is for budding movie-makers with an emphasis on experimentation in the use of the video medium. The primary goal of the course 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...

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

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

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Drawing Intensive

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

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Their Art, Your Art: Constructive Pondering

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

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