Pre-College Programs

Courses Starting the Week of July 12, 2015 (96)

Artifacts in Archaeology: Understanding Material Culture and Ancient Technologies

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

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Urban Anthropology

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

One Section Offered »

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 »

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...

One Section 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 »

Exploring Infectious Disease: Are We Safe?

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

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

Understanding the Nation's Health

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

One Section Offered »

Bacteriology: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly

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


One Section Offered »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Visual Consciousness

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

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

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 »

Taste of Java - Programming in Java for Beginners

The aim of the course is to enable students to learn about a powerful programming language (Java) and familiarize with its most important scripting tools. Computer programming skills are highly desirable in this ever connected world and this course will get students started on the path to becoming software programmers. This course will therefore be attractive to all students...

Introduction to the Global Business Environment

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

International Financial Markets and Investments

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

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

Economic Growth and Development

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


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

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 »

Intro to Microeconomics

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

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...

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 »

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...

One Section 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 »

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 »

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 »

Intro to Language and Linguistics

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

Students will...

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...

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 »

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...

One Section 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 »

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...

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 »

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.


One Section Offered »

Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion

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

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Engineering and Design

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

Two 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...

One Section Offered »

Mechanics of Materials and the Engineering of Catapults

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

One Section Offered »

Fluid Mechanics through Hovercraft Physics

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

One Section Offered »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Costa Rica

Brown University, in partnership with the Monteverde Institute, is excited to offer a unique international environmental leadership program in Costa Rica. This 2-week pre-college program introduces students to the theory and practice of conservation and sustainability in Costa Rica. Students study and explore some of the most biodiverse regions in the world and meet with scientists...

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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...

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 »

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 »

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 »

Building Musical Instruments

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

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

The Tiniest Bits of Reality

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

The Extraordinary Inventions of Nikola Tesla

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

Light and Sight: The Science of Vision

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

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

One Section Offered »

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

The goal of this course is to introduce high school students to research in experimental particle physics. Students will be given the experience of conducting research in the real world, at the forefront of cutting edge particle physics research. We will be focussing on the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson, one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time.

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 »

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 »

The U.S. In World Politics

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

One Section Offered »

The Power of Political Ideas

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

This will be an intense,...

One Section Offered »

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

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

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

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

Genetics and Human Behavior

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

Behavioral genetics is a field...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Clinical Psychology

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

One Section Offered »

So You Want to Be a Counselor?

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

One Section Offered »

Community Psychology: Making a Difference in the Real World

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

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

One Section Offered »

The Psychology of Gender

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

One Section Offered »

Abnormal Psychology

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

One Section Offered »

Organizational Behavior

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

One Section Offered »

Social Psychology

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

One Section Offered »

Psychology in Medicine: Emotions, Behaviors, and Disease

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

This course will provide an...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

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

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

One Section Offered »

Drawing Intensive

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

One Section Offered »