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Immersion

UChicago's gothic rooftops against a backdrop of the Chicago skyline

Summer Immersion Programs for High School Students

Immerse yourself in one of your passions and take advantage of the rich educational resources offered by the University through our summer Immersion programs for high school students. In these undergraduate-level courses, you will get personalized attention from faculty, researchers, and other professionals who will lead you through workshop discussions, research projects, and other activities.

Whether you’re looking for creative writing workshops, preview courses in STEM fields, or to explore theories of ethics, philosophy, and free expression, the University of Chicago’s summer Immersion courses offer you the opportunity to explore a topic of interest in-depth. 

The biggest advantage of this program is its caliber in teaching. The depth and style of teaching was perfect, keeping a perfect balance of serious work and an exciting atmosphere. Despite having to read tons and writing an essay, I was still eager to jump out of bed and dash into class."
Lawrence X., Western Academy of Beijing, Beijing, China

DETAILS

Courses are all three weeks long. Students should expect to spend at least 6 hours on coursework everyday. Read each course listing carefully.

Each summer course is the equivalent of a full, quarter-long (10 week).

  • Once you choose the course(s) for which you would like to apply, make a note of the department code and course number (ex. ANTH 21501).
  • See individual course descriptions for prerequisites, if any.

Eligibility: Current high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, who are at least 14 years old.

  Session I Session II
Course Dates June 21 - July 08 July 13 - July 29
     

To search for courses based on your grade level and academic interest, check out the course finder.

Courses in Program

Biological Inquiry

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  In Biological Inquiry, students will learn about current research in molecular genetics and cell biology. As a class, we will read and talk about biotech methods used in research labs. In lieu of hands-on experiments, students will use simulation software to learn current techniques (CRISPR, synthetic biology, next generation sequencing) as well as more well-established techniques (cloning, PCR, cell culture and pharmacology of medicines).

Session(s)

Session I

Biology and Its Modern Applications (Session 1)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course aims at developing the basic concepts that form the crux of life from both structural and functional perspectives. It will cover cellular functioning and organization and the transformation of energy. In addition, concepts of evolution and natural selection will be investigated. The course also introduces the student to the continuity of life from genetic and molecular perspectives. The course will extrapolate to demonstrate how cells communicate through cell signaling and how defects in such communication often lead to diseases.

Session(s)

Session I

Biology and Its Modern Applications (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course aims at developing the basic concepts that form the crux of life from both structural and functional perspectives. It will cover cellular functioning and organization and the transformation of energy. In addition, concepts of evolution and natural selection will be investigated. The course also introduces the student to the continuity of life from genetic and molecular perspectives. The course will extrapolate to demonstrate how cells communicate through cell signaling and how defects in such communication often lead to diseases.

Session(s)

Session II

Biotechnology for the 21st Century (Session 1)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course is designed to provide a stimulating introduction to the world of biotechnology. Starting with an overview of the basic concepts of molecular biology and genetics that serve as a foundation for biotechnology, the course will segue into the various applied fields of biotechnology. Lectures and the corresponding activities will include microbial biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, biofuels, cloning, bioremediation, medical biotechnology, DNA fingerprinting and forensics.

Session(s)

Session I

Biotechnology for the 21st Century (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course is designed to provide a stimulating introduction to the world of biotechnology. Starting with an overview of the basic concepts of molecular biology and genetics that serve as a foundation for biotechnology, the course will segue into the various applied fields of biotechnology. Lectures and the corresponding activities will include microbial biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, biofuels, cloning, bioremediation, medical biotechnology, DNA fingerprinting and forensics.

Session(s)

Session II

Collegiate Writing: Awakening into Consciousness (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*   How might we, as individuals and societies, sometimes remain unaware or ignorant? How can our lives – psychological, social, political, and spiritual – be reshaped by awakening from this lack of awareness? What does it mean to achieve true consciousness?

Session(s)

Session II

Communicating Effectively: Free Expression, Civic Argument, and Public Advocacy

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Communication shapes our lives – personal, professional, and political. Communication skills are also highly correlated with college and professional success: critical thinking, argument, writing, perspective-taking, and research skills are all foundational to a liberal arts education and life beyond college. The objective of this course is to help students develop these essential skills through an introduction to the principles and practices of public discourse: advocacy, argument, and speaking.

Session(s)

Session II

Contagion: Infectious Agents & Diseases (Session 1)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  COVID, Zika, Ebola, HIV, SARS…in our increasingly globalized and mobile world, infectious diseases can emerge and spread faster than ever before, making epidemics, even pandemics, a real possibility.  That, together with increasing antibiotic resistance, makes understanding where these threats come from and how we can control their spread one of the most urgent issues of our time.

Session(s)

Session I

Contagion: Infectious Agents & Diseases (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  COVID, Zika, Ebola, HIV, SARS…in our increasingly globalized and mobile world, infectious diseases can emerge and spread faster than ever before, making epidemics, even pandemics, a real possibility.  That, together with increasing antibiotic resistance, makes understanding where these threats come from and how we can control their spread one of the most urgent issues of our time.

Session(s)

Session II

Creative Writing

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  "What is education?" asks the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard: "I suppose that education was the curriculum one had to run through in order to catch up with oneself."  When we speak of "finding your voice" or "writing your story" or "mining your material," we speak of things you already possess but that take work to realize.  Creative Writing is that work.

Session(s)

Session II

Culture and Immigration

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Immigration defines our past and present: from refugee crises to diasporic communities old and new, from the increasingly globalized nature of higher education to tech giants employing skilled laborers of diverse nationalities, immigration has shaped and continues to shape our reality.

Session(s)

Session I

Democracy's Discontents

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Most would agree that in recent years the very idea of democracy has taken it on the chin, but might we also be learning that democracy has a glass jaw? There have certainly been those over the past two-hundred-plus years who thought so. In this course we will read a number of major thinkers who have called the value and very possibility of democracy into question.

Session(s)

Session II

Developmental Psychology: Theories and Techniques

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  In just a few short years, infants go from helpless beings who cannot even hold their heads up to walking, talking, thinking people who are able to understand complex games, infer intentions in others, and even engage in reflexive thought (i.e., thinking about thinking). In this class, we will explore this transition by studying major theories of developmental psychology, examining how the mind (and correspondingly, the brain) changes from infancy through adolescence.

Session(s)

Session I

Economics from an Experimental Perspective

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  A growing field in which the University of Chicago has been a leader, experimental economics uses experimental methods – observing everyday interactions and decisions made by people either in the lab or in the field -- to explore economic questions ranging from how markets and other exchange systems work to what motivates people to make decisions about matters such as conserving environmental resources or donating to charitable causes.

Session(s)

Session II

Explorations in Neuroscience: Neurons, Behavior, and Beyond

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  How does the brain work, and how do changes in brain structure and function give rise to neurological conditions and deficits? Developing a deeper understanding of the brain has been deemed one of the 21st century’s Grand Challenges, and this course will draw on different research methodologies to begin unraveling one of life’s greatest mysteries.

Session(s)

Session I

Fairy Tales and the Construction of Childhood

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  In this course we will study fairy tales within the broader context of the history of childhood and practices of education and socialization. Today, fairy tales are commonly considered the stuff of children’s literature and film. But as historians such as Philippe Aries remind us, before the Enlightenment children were seen as little adults and childhood was therefore not considered as a distinctive period of life.

Session(s)

Session I

Happiness in Western Thought, Art, and Culture

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This program will explore “happiness” as a set of ideas, artifacts, and problems in the cultures of Europe and the Americas. We will study works ranging from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy to modern short stories, lyric poems, and films, by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Seneca, Kant, Mill, Keats, Shelley, and Dickinson.  As we do so, we will examine the different definitions and understandings of happiness put forward by these texts.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to Creative Coding

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course is an introduction to programming, using exercises in graphic design and digital art to motivate and employ basic tools of computation (such as variables, conditional logic, and procedural abstraction). We will write code in JavaScript or related technologies, and we will work with a variety of digital media, including vector graphics, raster images, animations, and web applications.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to Proof-based Discrete Mathematics

*Taught Online for Summer 2021This course will introduce you to higher-level mathematical argumentation and proof, an understanding of which is crucial to making the transition from high school to undergraduate math coursework. What we take as given early on in the study of mathematics actually has reasoning behind it, and this course will show you how to begin to uncover and articulate that reasoning for yourself.

Session(s)

Session I

Justice, the State, and the Individual

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course will introduce you to some of the most important issues in political thought. What should we think about the nature of justice, and the relationship between justice, morality, law, and social conventions? How do, should, and could individuals and their political communities relate to each other? What is the basis, if any, for the legitimacy of political authority? What are possible approaches to the resolution of political and social conflicts, and what are the relative merits of those approaches?

Session(s)

Session I

Making Art in the Age of the Internet

*Taught Online for Summer 2021Through your everyday use of conventional technology--taking photos on your phone or controlling avatars in a gaming platform--you have already laid the foundation for creating cutting edge art. In this course, students will investigate a range of new media art that uses this technology, building a theoretical and visual vocabulary that will inform their own artwork, critiquing each other’s work along the way toward a culminating, final project.

Session(s)

Session I

Mathematical and Computational Research in Biological Sciences

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Using computation to model and study biological systems is one of the leading edges of current scientific research. In this hands-on exploration of the latest techniques, students will learn how macromolecules, such as DNA, RNA, and proteins, perform their functions and how to visualize and quantify their behavior.

Session(s)

Session I

Pathways in Data Science

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Learn how to glean insights and meaning from complex sets of data in this overview of a field with growing importance in business, government, and scientific research. Students will learn to use the transformational tools of data science and see how researchers are applying them in the service of social good. First, students will study how data is collected and stored, and then how it is explored, visualized, and communicated.

Session(s)

Session II

Pathways in Economics

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This program introduces students to the approaches to economic research and experimentation that make UChicago a world leader in the field. Full-time lecturers in the Department of Economics teach classes on topics in macroeconomics, microeconomics, game theory, and field experiments, drawing on research that applies the tools and insights of the field in new and exciting ways.

Session(s)

Session I

Pathways in Economics (Calculus-Based)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This program introduces students to the approaches to economic research and experimentation that make UChicago a world leader in the field. Full-time lecturers in the Department of Economics teach classes on topics in macroeconomics, microeconomics, game theory, and field experiments, drawing on research that applies the tools and insights of the field in new and exciting ways.

Session(s)

Session II

Pathways in Human Rights

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  What are “human rights”? How are they different from “civil rights”? How do laws, treaties, and norms work in practice to protect rights? Are human rights truly universal, applying to all? Students will explore these questions and more, addressing human rights on a local, national, and global scale. Course materials will include philosophical essays and historical analyses, contemporary court decisions, films and other artistic representations, as well as virtual visits with outstanding human rights advocates and artists.  

Session(s)

Session I

Pathways in Molecular Engineering (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  The emerging field of Molecular Engineering brings together concepts from chemical and mechanical engineering, materials science, physics, and nanotechnology to innovate across a wide range of areas, such as energy storage and harvesting, water purification, and manufacturing electronic, biomedical, and mechanical devices. Molecular engineers may build new materials or objects from the molecule up, or even create new molecules that do not exist in nature.

Session(s)

Session II

Pathways in World Politics

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  International relations offers conceptual tools for understanding the causes of and possible solutions to many of the challenges facing the world today, including global pandemics, wars, nuclear proliferation, economic crises, and climate change. Why is there no world government? What are the consequences of not having a world government?

Session(s)

Session II

Poetry and Popular Music

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  What are the boundaries of poetry and music, and what role do they (or can they) play in our lives? Although the origins of lyric poetry are in music and performance, much of that connection has been lost. As a result, many of our critical discussions of poetry remain divorced from its connection to voice, presence, and performance, and many of our discussions of lyrics in hip-hop, rock, and other popular music have neglected a discussion of their connection to literary language.

Session(s)

Session II

Power and the Presidency

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  What are the foundations of presidential power, and how should it be applied? These questions have been topics of debate since the founding of the U.S., and have become of particular interest in recent years.

Session(s)

Session I

Revolution and Resistance in the Modern World

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  This course introduces students to the history and theory of rebellion, revolt, and resistance. From peasant rebellions to urban uprisings, from heretical movements to nationalist struggles, the course examines how communities resisted and negotiated structures of power, be they bureaucratic, religious, social, or political.

Session(s)

Session I

Talking to Others: The Psychology of Communication

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Talking to people is seemingly easy—we do it all the time. But when we think about the sheer number of people we’ve talked to, and the fact that we communicated successfully with so many of them, conversation doesn’t seem so trivial any more. What allows us to understand (and be understood by) others in conversation? This course explores how conversation works, and the psychology behind communication.

Session(s)

Session I

The Global Political Economy: Power, Inequality, and Globalization

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Since the 1970s, economic inequality has been on the rise. Today, the world’s richest 1% own 44% of the world’s total stock of wealth. The problem is especially acute in the US, where three individuals alone now own more than the bottom half of the country combined.

Session(s)

Session II

The Physics of Stars: An Introduction

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Understanding how stars work - what makes them shine - is one of the great accomplishments of 20th-century science. The theory of stellar structure allows us to investigate the interiors of stars, even though what we observe is radiation from their outer atmospheres. This theory also helps us determine how old stars are, how they create heavier nuclei from lighter nuclei in their centers, and how they evolve from birth to death, ending as a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.

Session(s)

Session II

The Psychology of Learning

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Humans’ ability to learn from and teach others is a feature that sets our species apart. In this online course, students will investigate learning across the lifespan. What hinders learning and what enhances it?  We will learn about engagement, memory, analogical reasoning, executive function, social-emotional components of learning, mindset, “grit”, insight, stereotype threat and more.

Session(s)

Session II

What is Community? Making Sense of Social Connection in a Disconnected World

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Why is social connection so important? What threatens our sense of relatedness to others? How can we thrive as social beings while spending so much time in front of screens? We will begin with a consideration of the meaning of human connection from the vantage points of Aristotle, Adam Smith, and the French sociologist Emile Durkheim.

Session(s)

Session II