School of Professional Studies

Proposing a Course

Brown University School of Professional Studies offers high-quality campus-based and online programs to diverse audiences regionally, nationally and internationally. The School offers academic programs for pre-college students, as well as Brown and visiting undergraduates. Faculty, adjunct instructors, graduate students, and seasoned educators find that this teaching is an opportunity to develop innovative courses and acquire valuable experience with different audiences. Further information on our varied programs and opportunities to teach within them can be found below.

To propose a new course, you will need to complete the course proposal form. New course proposals are reviewed by our curriculum committee. We will contact you if your new course is approved. If you would like to discuss your course proposal, please contact us (401) 863-7901 to schedule an appointment with a program director.

Teaching Opportunities for Brown University School of Professional Studies

Course: Materials Engineering:
A Revolution in the Making. Starting with 30
chemical elements and 4 materials types,
students explore the world
of ultra-modern materials and the
revolutionary impact of nanotechnology, space
technology, demand for high
performance devices, and more.

Instructors are welcome to submit course proposals throughout the year. Calls for new course proposals are published in Morning Mail.

Proposal Deadlines

We have finalized our Summer 2016 curriculum and new proposals for Summer 2017 will be due on Nov. 1, 2016 for the following programs:

Summer Session (credit-bearing courses)

Summer@Brown Pre-College Courses (non-credit courses)

Leadership Institute (non-credit courses)

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (non-credit courses)

Global Programs (non-credit courses)

STEM for Middle School Students - SPARK (non-credit courses)

STEM II for Rising 9th and 10th Grade Students (non-credit courses)

Online Pre-College Courses (non-credit)
Course proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Learn more about our academic programming

Summer Session for Undergraduate Students

Summer Session serves as the summer term for Brown University, and Brown undergraduates comprise the primary audience for courses, although some visiting undergraduates, advanced high school students, and Brown graduate students do also enroll. A substantial number of students seek to enroll in courses that are pre-requisites for further advanced study; in courses that are particularly challenging during the fall and spring, such that focusing on just this one course in the summer appeals to them; in courses that are frequently closed during the fall and spring; and to a lesser degree in courses that have broad appeal across disciplines. Visiting undergraduates typically seek courses that are foundational in a discipline and which typically share common curricula with other colleges and universities. Advanced high school students generally seek courses that are introductory to a discipline or which appeal to them as exemplars of first year college study. The term is 7 weeks long, which include 6 weeks of instruction (approximately 8 hours per week of class time) along with an additional week of combined reading period and final examinations. Our expectation is that all the goals accomplished in a course offered during a 15-week semester will be accomplished in the 7-week summer session. Students may take no more than two courses during the Summer Session. In order for a course to be offered in the Summer Session, both course and instructor must have the endorsement of SPS and a Brown University academic department, and must also be approved by the University faculty committee responsible for the curriculum – The College Curriculum Committee.

If you have questions about or are interested in teaching in the University’s credit bearing Summer Session, please contact James Chansky, Director of Summer Session and Pre-College Programs at or 401-863-7905.

To learn more, visit:
Undergraduate Programs Web Site »


Online Pre-College Courses

Brown University’s Pre-College Program is accepting proposals for online courses for high school students, which will run for four weeks during the summer term. Our courses are rigorous, active learning experiences designed and led by Brown instructors. Students work one-on-one with their instructors and with talented, motivated students from around the globe as they engage in academic inquiry at the level of first-year undergraduate study. All online pre-college courses are not for credit; Brown awards certificates of completion to those students who successfully meet all course requirements.

Course Format

Courses are fully online, and delivered in Brown's Canvas learning management system. The courses are asynchronous, meaning that students are not required to log in at a set time to do their work. We follow a weekly schedule, so students will know what they need to do each week and the due dates for their assignments, but it is completely up to them when during the week they do their work. Courses should be designed for students to spend approximately 10 hours per week on coursework.

Our Approach to Online Learning

We believe effective learning depends on high-quality instructional design – no matter whether in a traditional face-to-face classroom or in an online environment. Brown’s online pre-college instructors are enthusiastic, imaginative educators working at the forefront of online teaching and learning. They work closely with the SPS instructional designers to develop and deliver course content that exemplifies best practices of student-centered design and inquiry-based learning. We maintain small class sizes that reflect Brown’s policy for teaching assistant support of undergraduate courses, and which fosters exciting, dynamic learning communities that encourage one-on-one interaction, team work, and networking.

To learn more, visit:
Online Pre-College Courses Web Site »
Designing and Teaching Online Course »
Course proposal form »


Summer@Brown Pre-College Courses

High school students interested in the intellectual sophistication and varied methods of inquiry typical of a college curriculum can pursue opportunities through the Pre-College program. These non-credit courses are presented in an intensive workshop/seminar format that meets Monday through Friday, usually for 3 hours per day. Multiple sessions ranging in duration from one week to four weeks are offered, beginning at the end of June and ending the first week in August. The program curriculum reflects the diversity of a college curriculum in general, as well as the diversity of the particular academic fields represented at Brown University. Courses appropriate for this audience should be targeted towards a freshman-level student: in other words, for those beginning learners who are ready to be intellectually challenged, but might not have all of the building blocks of a more experienced student. For the most part, students are most interested in courses that introduce them to a discipline, a particular mode of inquiry, a particular methodology, or a particular issue or topic that provides a vehicle for such an introduction. Course content and delivery should be designed with the length of the term in mind, so that the goals of the course fit the timeframe. As classes meet for three hours daily, it is crucially important for instructors to consider a varied toolkit of teaching techniques, so that classes are engaging and—as much as possible—interactive. While students can be expected to spend up to 3 hours daily on preparation for each class, outside of class work must be similarly engaging, pointed, and directly connected to work done in class.

To learn more, visit:
Pre-College Program Web Site »
Course proposal form »


The Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute is designed for high school students interested in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with socially responsible. The Leadership Institute helps students gain content knowledge in specific academic areas, develop the intellectual skills required to analyze complex social issues, and cultivate both the interpersonal skills and confidence to act on the knowledge they have gained. Faculty will work with the Program Director to synthesize course content with the established leadership components of this Institute. The Leadership Institute is a highly rewarding and intensive experience for both students and faculty. Summer courses are two weeks in length and meet for three hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Additionally, students and faculty are required to attend several late afternoon workshops related to leadership development and spend one full day off-site at a low ropes course. Courses with an interdisciplinary and contemporary focus are particularly popular and successful courses have addressed topics such as: global engagement, public health, women’s studies, the future of science, income inequality, and human rights.

To learn more, visit:
Leadership Program Web Site »
Course proposal form »


Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL)

BELL is a leadership program for high school students focused on environmental studies and science through place-based learning. Historically the programs have been offered in a variety of locations with academic content reflective of each site. Locations have included: Rhode Island:Sustainable Development, Alaska: Cultural Presevation, Economic Growth, and Environmental Choices, Costa Rica: Biology, Conservation, and Sustainability: Hawaii: Environmental Ecology and Culture; New Orleans and Louisiana Gulf Coast: Ecology Culture, and Sustainable Development.

To learn more, visit:
BELL Web Site »
Course proposal form »


Global Programs

Our Global Programs are for pre-college (high school) students who are interested in extending their experience with a language and/or a culture in a secure, faculty-facilitated academic environment typically between one to seven weeks in length. Global Programs are for exceptionally motivated students with interests in cultural diversity, cultural studies of the arts and sciences, and leadership. Faculty who have well established research interests and resources abroad are invited to develop programs with support from the staff of the School of Professional Studies.

To learn more, visit: 
Global Programs Website »
Course proposal form »


Intensive English Language Program

The Intensive English Program offers an immersive English language study for non-native speakers through liberal arts courses that explore American and global culture, history, economics, and the arts. Small class sizes, events, and workshops maximize student participation and student-instructor interaction.

To learn more, visit: 
Intensive English Language Program Website »
Course proposal form »


STEM for Middle School Students - SPARK

The SPARK program is a Pre-College program for middle school students who have demonstrated an outstanding ability in science or math and are seeking to experience additional challenges and gain exposure to a multidisciplinary STEM-based curriculum. SPARK courses are one and two weeks in the summer and classes meet for three hours each morning and on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. They should be designed to introduce a complex scientific topic in a manner appropriate for highly advanced rising 7th and 8th grade students and should include hands-on activities, student-centered learning, and inquiry practices. Faculty should be prepared to develop courses that allow students to begin to think, and act, as interdisciplinary problem solvers.

To learn more, visit:
SPARK Program Web Site »
Course proposal form »

STEM II for Rising 9th and 10th Grade Students

This program is a Pre-College program for students who have completed middle school and are either entering the 9th grade or have just recently completed 9th grade. This program is designed to strengthen the student’s innate curiosity and passion for content in the STEM subjects, further prepare them for success in High School and introduce them to potential career paths. Ten courses will be offered, each two weeks in duration. Classes will meet for three hours each morning and on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Faculty will enhance the academic content through the inclusion of a challenging and comprehensive research project, activity or design challenge. The students will spend time out of class during the full two weeks working on this project and will present their efforts on the final day to their instructor, peers, and family. The students we are educating today will be the leaders of tomorrow. These courses should expose students to the concepts behind topics of global importance that are part of the students’ world and make them aware of where their curiosity and strengths may lead them in the future and how they can have an impact.

To learn more, visit:
STEM II Program Web Site »
Course proposal form »