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Summer College

Students in front of Kent

Join us online this summer to explore new subjects, delve into a current interest with intense focus, and broaden your powers of perception while earning college credit for undergraduate courses at the University of Chicago. As a Summer Session student, you have the opportunity to enroll in undergraduate courses drawn from the regular curriculum of the College at the University of Chicago.

Summer Session 2020 has concluded. Course information will be updated later this year for Summer 2021. We hope you will join us next summer!

You will have access to the same exceptional educational resources available to all students during the regular academic year. All of our classes are taught by distinguished professors and experienced lecturers. In these smaller class settings, you will be able to receive personal attention from your professors and get to know other students in your class well.

"Because of Summer Session I learned so much about myself and who I am in this world. I studied the hard sciences alongside the humanities alongside the social sciences, all melding together to create a truly unique experience."

Aaron H., Homestead High School, Mequon, WI - 3rd Year in the College

Details

Courses can be three or five weeks long. Read each course listing carefully.

Each summer course, regardless of length, is the equivalent of a full, quarter-long (10 week) course, and meets for a least 30 contact hours.

  • 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).
  • Make sure you don’t choose courses with conflicting schedules, or courses that take place during different sessions.
  • See individual course descriptions for prerequisites, if any.

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors.

  Session I
(3 weeks)
Session I
(5 weeks)
Session II
(3 weeks)
Course Dates June 22 - July 10 June 22 - July 24 July 13 - August 1
Move-in June 20 June 20 July 12
Move-out July 11 July 25 August 2

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

Courses in Program

20th Century American Short Fiction

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course presents America's major writers of short fiction in the 20th century.  We will begin with Willa Cather's "Paul's Case" in 1905 and proceed to the masters of High Modernism, Hemingway, Fitzgerals, Faulkner, Porter, Welty, Ellison, Nabokov, on through the next generation, o'Connor, Pynchon, Roth, Mukherjee, Coover, Carver, and end with more recent work by Danticat, Tan and the microfictionists.  Our initial effort with each text will be close reading, from which we will move out to consider questions of

Session(s)

Session II

A Brief History of Doom: Ragnarok & Other Apocalypses

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course examines the idea of the “end of the world” as conceived in Old Norse, biblical, and other traditions, ancient and modern. Topics to be discussed include visions of the apocalypse and afterlife in Norse Mythology (Snorri’s Edda, The Poetic Edda, The Saga of the Volsungs), the Book of Revelation, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Wagner’s Ring cycle, and Marvel’s Thor franchise.

Session(s)

Session I

Acting Fundamentals (Session 1)

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course introduces fundamental concepts of performance in the theater with emphasis on the development of creative faculties and techniques of observation, as well as vocal and physical interpretation.  Concepts are introduced through directed reading, improvisation, and scene study.

Session(s)

Session I

Acting Fundamentals (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course introduces fundamental concepts of performance in the theater with emphasis on the development of creative faculties and techniques of observation, as well as vocal and physical interpretation.  Concepts are introduced through directed reading, improvisation, and scene study.

Session(s)

Session II

Beginning Poetry Workshop: Composition

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  At its root, the verb compose means to "put together," so in this course we will explore poetic composition as the practice of putting words together in ways that help us compose, discompose, and recompose parts of our lives. Our basic premise will be that poetry offers useful forms of attention and construction, so that to write is to observe the world and to fashion ways of living in it.

Session(s)

Session I

Black Holes

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  White dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes, the so-called compact objects, are among the most remarkable object in the universe. Their most distinctive feature which ultimately is the one responsible for their amazing properties is their prodigiously high density.  All compact objects are the product of the final stages of stellar evolution. White dwarfs have masses comparable to that of the Sun but with the size of the Earth, they come from "smallish" stars

Session(s)

Session II

Classics of Social and Political Thought I

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  In this course we read and discuss works by classical, medieval, and early modern thinkers that have helped shape, if not set, the terms in which politics and society continue to be argued and imagined. The aims of this course are to wrestle deeply with the texts we are reading and to reflect on the varied forms and historical contexts in which their ideas about life in a political community are presented.

Session(s)

Session I

Core Biology

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  What is life? How does it work and evolve? This course uses student-centered interactive learning in the lab, assigned readings from both the popular press and primary scientific literature, and directed writing exercises to explore the nature and functions of living organisms, their interactions with each other, and their environment.

Session(s)

Session II

Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course seeks to develop an appreciation and understanding of a variety of processes by which dramatic scripts are theatrically realized, with an emphasis on the text’s role in theatrical production rather than as literature. Students will learn a range of theatrical concepts and techniques, including script analysis and its application to staging, design and acting exercises. Students will be required to act, direct, and design.

Session(s)

Session I

Elementary Logic

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course is an intensive introduction to the techniques of modern logic.  These include the representation of arguments in symbolic notation, and the systematic manipulation of these representations to show the validity of arguments.  Topics include truth tables, the sentential calculus, and monadic and relational predicate logic.  No prior familiarity with symbolic logic is required.

Session(s)

Session I

Fundamentals of Computer Programming I: Swift and iOS Application Development

*Online for Summer 2020*  This course introduces computer programming using the Swift programming language. The emphasis is on fundamental concepts, including logic, functions, data structures and program design. The course will end with a discussion of iOS application development, though that is not its focus, and the extent to which it is covered will depend on factors such as the availability of technology.

Session(s)

Session I

Genre Fundamentals: Fiction

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of narrative fiction. Together, we will ask: what are basics of complex storytelling? what are its conventions and deviations?

Session(s)

Session I

Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course presents the science behind the forecast of global warming to enable the student to evaluate the likelihood and potential severity of anthropogenic climate change in the coming centuries. It includes an overview of the physics of the greenhouse effect, including comparisons with Venus and Mars; predictions and reliability of climate model forecasts of the greenhouse world. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, Climate Change, Culture, and Society.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Computer Science 1

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  Computers are extremely helpful at solving computational problems: problems involving numbers, counting, logic, arranging things, ordering things, manipulating images, solving puzzles, developing game strategies, and so on. This course examines a rich assortment of interesting and increasingly challenging topics, and explores what computer science has discovered about them, and what is yet to be discovered. Our main activity will be programming, and no prior experience in programming will be assumed.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Health and Society II

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  What can the social sciences teach us about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic or the opioid epidemic of the past decade? How can we understand the sources of inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, both in the United States and globally? What is the significance of varying experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and forms of intervention across cultural settings and historical periods?

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Medieval Art

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  Hybrid creatures carved in stone, gem encrusted metalwork, and page upon page of gold leaf: artists and artisans in the Middle Ages crafted objects like these that evidence complex and diverse techniques, political and ideological motivations, and religious beliefs. In this course, we will study the art of medieval Europe c. 500-1500 CE, with special emphasis on the artistic, political, and ideological forces that created the visual and material culture of the medieval world.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  Although mathematics and biology have traditionally not gotten along, recent advances in molecular biology and medicine have made biological experiments essentially quantitative.  This course introduces mathematical ideas that are useful for understanding and analyzing biological data, including data description and fitting, hypothesis testing and Bayesian thinking, Markov models, and differential equations.  Students acquire hands-on experience working with data and implementing mathematical models computationall

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia (China)

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This is a two-course sequence on the civilizations of Japan and China. This China sequence will review the broad characteristics of Chinese civilization from the beginnings to the present, with special emphasis the social, political and cultural transformations from the nineteenth century to the present.  The Japan course will emphasize the major transformation of individual identity, community, and nation in these cultures and societies from the Middle Ages to the present.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia (Japan)

Canceled for Summer 2020

Session(s)

Session II

Linear Algebra

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course takes a concrete approach to the basic topics of linear algebra.  Topics include vector geometry, systems of linear equations, vector spaces, matrices and determinants, and eigenvalue problems.

Session(s)

Session I

Mathematical Methods for Social Sciences

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course takes a concrete approach to the basic topics of multivariable calculus. Topics include a brief review of one-variable calculus, parametric equations, alternate coordinate systems, vectors and vector functions, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, and Lagrange multipliers.

Session(s)

Session I

Nutritional Science

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course examines the underlying biological mechanisms of nutrient utilization in humans and the scientific basis for setting human nutritional requirements.  The relationships between food choices and human health are also explored.  Students consider how to assess the validity of scientific research that provides the basis for advice about how to eat healthfully.  Class assignments are designed to help students apply their knowledge by critiquing their nutritional lifestyle, nutritional health claims, and/or

Session(s)

Session I

Principles of Macroeconomics

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  The course will cover - via theory and basic economic reasoning, as well as contemporary applications and public policy debates - current major U.S. domestic and international macroeconomics issues, including: the determination of income and output, inflation, and unemployment; the money supply, banking system, and the Federal Reserve; federal spending, taxation and deficits; international trade, exchange rates, the balance of payments and globalization; and long-run population and economic growth.

Session(s)

Session I

Principles of Microeconomics

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  The course treats by way of economic theory, quantification, data, applications, and contemporary issues: (a) the behavior and decision making on the part of individuals, business firms, and the government; and (b) the role of choices, tradeoffs, costs, prices, incentives and markets in the American economy. Special attention will be paid to the contributions of Chicago economists/economics to our understanding of microeconomic principles and public policy.

Session(s)

Session I

Public and Private Lives of Insects

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course examines the ecology and evolution of insects, from their early evolution over 350 million years ago to their adaptations that allow them to exploit nearly every habitat on earth and become the most diverse animal group on the planet.  We explore the basic biology of insects that have allowed them to become the largest group of animals on the planet, making up approximately 1 million of the 2 million described species.

Session(s)

Session II

Shakespearean Tragedy

Canceled for Summer 2020

This course will intensively study 3 of Shakespeare's major tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.  We will devote a full week to each play.  It will be an intensive discussion course, and there will be a 10 - 15 page paper required.  Outside critical reading will be encouraged but not required.

Session(s)

Session I

Stars

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  At the beginning of the 20th century, two astronomers:  Ejnar Hertzprung and Henry Norris Russell independently took catalogues of stars and plotted their brightness as a function of their color. The result, now known as the HR diagram, was to become one of the most influential diagrams in astrophysics. It showed that, contrary to one's naive expectation, the distribution of stars was highly structured.

Session(s)

Session I

Statistical Methods and Applications

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course introduces statistical techniques and methods of data analysis. including the use of statistical software. Examples are drawn from the biological, physical, and social sciences. Students are required to apply the techniques discussed to data drawn from actual research.

Session(s)

Session I

The Workings of the Human Brain: From Brain to Behavior

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course examines how the brain generates behavior.  Topics covered include the organization of the nervous system, the mechanisms by which the brain translates external stimuli into electrical and chemical signals to initiate or modify behavior, and the neurological bases of learning, memory, sleep, cognition, drug addiction, and neurological disorders. 

Session(s)

Session II

Visual Language: On Images (Session 1)

Canceled for Summer 2020  

This section (91) runs for five weeks and focuses on painting and drawing.  This studio course investigates the basic elements common to the visual art experience, emphasizing the relationship between the formal structure of an image to its meaning.  Initial problems isolate principles and conventions common to images, examining such things as color theory, systems of representation, relationships between surface organization, and spatial illusion.  Later students reunite these principles by executing individual works.

Session(s)

Session I

Visual Language: On Images (Session 1)

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This section (92) runs for three weeks and focuses on photography-related media and strategies.  Through studio work and critical discussions on 2D form, this course is designed to reveal the conventions of images and image-making. Basic formal elements and principles of art are presented, but they are also put into practice to reveal perennial issues in a visual field. Form is studied as a means to communicate content.

Session(s)

Session I

Visual Language: On Images (Session 2)

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This section (93) runs for three weeks and focuses on painting and drawing.  This studio course investigates the basic elements common to the visual art experience, emphasizing the relationship between the formal structure of an image to its meaning.  Initial problems isolate principles and conventions common to images, examining such things as color theory, systems of representation, relationships between surface organization, and spatial illusion.  Later students reunite these principles by executing individual

Session(s)

Session II