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Quantum Quickstart

quantum quickstart students pose for a group picture

Quantum mechanics has reshaped how we see the world around us, being hailed as a science with the potential to fundamentally redefine the technological landscape and our society. Information encoded in quantum bits is known to be completely secure from hacking; computers running on quantum algorithms can solve problems that no classical computer could ever solve; and quantum systems enable the world’s most precise measurements.

Chicago has quickly become a hub for this emerging field. In 2020, Argonne and the University of Chicago created a 52-mile quantum loop as a crucial step to the quantum internet. The Chicago area is also home to two of five National Quantum Centers. Our students and professors are fearless and creative problem solvers, who engage in interdisciplinary thinking, and who value diverse perspectives. Diversity is a fundamental driver of innovation and progress in STEM fields. By uniting diverse students and faculty for more than a century, UChicago has fostered one of the most unique—and decorated—intellectual communities in the world.

The Quantum Quickstart program offers the opportunity for a diverse cohort of outstanding Illinois high school students with a passion for STEM to be exposed to the great scientific advances in quantum sciences and the physical foundations of quantum mechanics. Illinois high school students of all backgrounds who value diversity of thought and experience and who have a passion for STEM are invited to apply. 

Program Description

It was refreshing to be able to interact and learn from experienced experts in such a welcoming and inviting environment. I felt I learned so much and I'm excited to apply my knowledge of quantum in the future. My favorite part was seeing Prof. Maurer and Prof. Yang's labs. I'd recommend Quantum Quickstart to everyone and anyone. Words cannot express how much I enjoyed this time.
-Vivi M., Quantum Quickstart participant, UChicago Class of 2027 -

In this one-week accelerated program, curious and ambitious high school students will be exposed to the counter-intuitive quantum world via lectures with faculty in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, theoretical discussions, and tours of world-class lab facilities. Participants will see the inner workings of quantum computers, learn about quantum engineering’s rollout to the consumer market, and even play quantum-adapted board games to understand the concept of entanglement.

In addition to seeing the world through a quantum lens, students will also attend sessions to prepare for future careers in STEM and meet with UChicago admissions counselors to learn about highly selective college admissions. This program is not for credit and participation in all sessions is required to receive the program certificate.

The program will be hosted on-campus, and program participants must reside in campus housing for the duration of the program. This course is being offered at no cost to selected participants.

Program contact: All questions should be directed to Faithe Beadle at with any questions.

Application Requirements

Eligibility: Current 9th or 10th grade students, who are at least 14 years old, and enrolled in an Illinois high school, are invited to apply. 

Applications will be accepted online. The deadline to apply is our Regular Deadline, March 5, 2024. All application decisions for this program will be released at the same time in late April. 

Applicants must complete the summer Session Application, and all the related requirements, which can be reviewed in the How to Apply section.

Application materials include:

  • Online application
  • Transcript
  • Supplement and essays
  • A nomination from a counselor or teacher is recommended, and can be completed here.
  • At least one parent/guardian confirmation email received.

Applicants will be asked to respond to the following essay questions in the application:

  • Why did you choose the particular program/courses for which you have applied? How are they related to your current interests and future plans? Please be as specific as possible, and make sure your response covers each of the courses you elected. (Limit: 500 words)
  • "Since its founding, the University has been committed to the idea that a culture of rigorous inquiry requires an environment where diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas inform and stimulate intellectual exchange, challenge, and engagement.” -UChicago Office of the Provost. How would you contribute to this culture of inquiry in this program? What do you hope to gain or learn by engaging with peers from all over the U.S. or from different parts of the world? (Limit: 300 words)

Review the Application Overview pages for more detailed information.

Costs & Fees

The application fee is automatically waived for any applicant who selects any Enrichment Program as their first choice.

Costs, inclusive of tuition, room, and board, for this program are completely covered. Students will need to have their own health insurance and will need to provide their own transportation to and from campus.

Program Dates

July 28 - August 2, 2024

  • Arrival date: Sun. Jul. 28
  • First session: Mon. Jul. 29
  • Closing session: Fri. Aug. 2
  • Move-out: Fri. Aug. 2