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Summer College

Students in front of Kent

Join us 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.

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.
  • To qualify as a full-time student, you must take two courses in the same session. Students who want to live in the residence hall and/or obtain a student visa must be full-time.
  • See individual course descriptions for prerequisites, if any.
  • For language courses and admission information, please visit the Summer Language Institute website.

Eligibility: Current high school juniors.

  Session I
(3 weeks)
Session I
(5 weeks)
Session II
(3 weeks)
Course Dates June 24 - July 11 June 24 - July 26 July 15 - August 2
Move-in June 22 June 22 July 13
Move-out July 12 July 27 August 3

Course(s)

20th Century American Short Fiction

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, Fitzgerald, 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 ethnicity, gender and psychology.

Session(s)

Session II

A Brief History of Doom: Ragnarok & Other Apocalypses

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. Students will consider how thinking about “the end” has shaped the present in varied historical and cultural contexts.

Session(s)

Session I

Acting Fundamentals

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

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

Classics of Social and Political Thought I

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

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is the field of psychology devoted to the scientific study of the human mind. In this course we will examine how cognitive psychologists use various methods to understand how humans think. We will cover key research in the topics of perception, attention, short and long term memory, knowledge, forgetting, decision-making, problem-solving, and emotion.

Session(s)

Session II

Core Biology

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. In other words, we will explore how to understand the complexities of biological phenomena at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and community level through scientific inquiry.

Session(s)

Session II

Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

Students examine the performance and the aesthetics of two dramatic works in contrasting styles but with unifying themes. The goal of this course is to develop an appreciation and understanding of a variety of techniques and of the processes by which they are theatrically realized. Rather than focus on the dramatic text itself, we concentrate on the piece in performance, including the impact of cultural context on interpretation. To achieve this, students are required to act, direct, and design during the course.

Session(s)

Session I

Elementary Logic

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. 
Attendance at every class meeting is required.  Please note beginning and ending dates.

Session(s)

Session I

Exploring the Resilient City

In recent years, sub-national units of government have enacted meaningful policy plans in the wake of the ongoing failure of the international community to address global climate change. Cities in particular have shaped their plans to address the now-inevitable effects of climate change by adopting policies that emphasize resilience and environmental protection, without sacrificing economic growth, and with attention to the ongoing challenges of poverty and inequality.

Session(s)

Session II

Fundamentals of Computer Programming I: Swift and iOS Application Development

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 also include some light iOS application development, though that is not its focus.
 

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Computer Science 1

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 Genres: Writing the Visual Arts

Writers have long been fascinated, inspired, and puzzled by the visual arts. In this course, we will study two genres of writing—poetry and the creative essay—that have enjoyed long and productive relationships with painting, photography, and sculpture. What attracts writers to art? How might language render (or fail to render) visual experience? How might writing help us see art in new ways? How might art objects inspire new ways of writing?

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Medieval Art

From towering cathedrals to elaborately jeweled reliquaries, the art of the Middle Ages is hugely diverse in both materials and meanings. In this course, we will focus on the medieval period, c. 500-1500 in primarily Western Europe and study different artistic styles of art making, including early Christian and Byzantine, Anglo-Saxon and Viking, Insular, Carolingian, Ottonian, Romanesque, and Gothic. We will consider both secular and sacred art pieces as well as the changing ways that art objects were understood by their beholders.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to Music: Analysis and Criticism

This course aims to develop students' analytical and critical tools by focusing on a select group of works drawn from the Western European and American concert tradition. The texts for the course are recordings. Through listening, written assignments, and class discussion, we explore topics such as compositional strategy, conditions of musical performance, interactions between music and text, and the relationship between music and ideology as they are manifested in complete compositions.
 

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia (China)

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. The two courses may be taken separately.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia (Japan)

This is a two-course sequence on the civilizations of Japan and China, with emphasis on major transformation of individual identity, community, and nation in these cultures and societies from the Middle Ages to the present.  This sequence focuses on Japan from 1600 to the postwar era and on China from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.  The two courses may be taken separately.  These courses count toward the general education requirement in civilization studies.
 

Session(s)

Session I

Linear Algebra

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. Students may register for the second course (MATH 19620) without having taken the first.
 

Session(s)

Session III

Mathematical Methods for Social Sciences

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. Students may register for the second course (MATH 19620) without having taken the first.
 

Session(s)

Session I

Media, Culture, and Society

"Gain an overview of how new media are transforming societies and cultures across the world.
Study issues as diverse as videomaking and cultural conversation among indigenous peoples, mass media and nationbuilding in the developing world, advertising and the politics of satire in Europe and the United States."
 

Session(s)

Session I

Nutritional Science

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 current nutrition policy issues.
 

Session(s)

Session II

Principles of Macroeconomics

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

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

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

Reframing Women: Female Portraiture from the Mona Lisa to RuPaul

As soon as portraiture was reinvented in the early 1400s, male patrons commissioned male artists to record the likenesses of their wives, mothers, daughters and lovers.  With little sociopolitical agency of their own, the women depicted in these paintings also had little control over how they were portrayed. As such, their visual identities were constructed and framed by “the male gaze”—that is, the visual point-of-view of a cis-gendered, European, heterosexual male.

Session(s)

Session I

Shakespearean Tragedy

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

Statistical Methods and Applications

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 Social Life of Clean Energy

This course in political and environmental anthropology focuses on how renewable energy forms (like solar, wind, biofuel, and geothermal) have become increasingly important sites of political activity, commercial opportunity and social imagination.

Session(s)

Session I

The Workings of the Human Brain: From Brain to Behavior

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

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

This section (93) runs for three weeks and focuses on photography.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 II

Visual Language: On Images

This section (92) runs for three weeks and focuses on painting and drawing. 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