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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.

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

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.

Session(s)

Session I

Acting Fundamentals (Session 1)

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)

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

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

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 that run out of nuclear fuel and settle down to a quiet life of slowly fading away.

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

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.

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 the course is to develop in the students 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, this course concentrates on the piece in performance, including the impact of cultural context on interpretation.

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.

Session(s)

Session I

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

Genre Fundamentals: Fiction

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? We will explore concepts and analytical tools for reading and interpreting fiction, paying particular attention to the relationship between narrative, time, and history; the role of narrative in shaping both personal and collective identity; the relationship between allegorical and realist modes of representation; and the status of fiction and of fictional characters.

Session(s)

Session I

Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast

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.

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 Health and Society II

Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Medieval Art

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

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 computationally using the R programming language.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia (China)

This course 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.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to the Civilizations of East Asia (Japan)

This course will emphasize the major transformation of individual identity, community, and nation in Japanese culture and society from the Middle Ages to the present.

Session(s)

Session II

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.

Session(s)

Session I

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.

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 I

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

Shakespearean Tragedy

This course will intensively study three 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

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. The efforts to understand the HR diagram extended for the better part of the 20th century and paralleled the development of modern physics.

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 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 (Session 1)

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)

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)

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 works.<

Session(s)

Session II