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Undergraduate Courses

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 when you earn college credit with undergraduate courses at the University of Chicago. As a Summer Session student, you can 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 that are 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.

Details

Courses are 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.

  • See individual course descriptions for prerequisites, if any.

Learn more about Undergraduate Summer Quarter.

Undergraduate courses are open to current College undergraduate students; visiting undergraduate students; and, unless otherwise stated, current high school juniors and seniors.

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

Courses in Program

20th Century American Short Fiction

*Taught Online*  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.

Session(s)

Session II

A Brief History of Doom: Ragnarok & Other Apocalypses

*Taught Online*  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

Academic and Professional Writing

*Taught Online*  Academics and professionals need advanced writing skills if they are to communicate effectively and efficiently.  In this intensive, pragmatic course, students master the writing skills they need by first studying and then applying fundamental structures of effective writing.  Each week, students meet in a synchronous small-group seminars to discuss each other's papers and then watch asynchronous lecture videos on a new principle.  Discussion, editing, critiques, and rewrites ensure that all students sharpen their ability to writ

Session(s)

Session I

Acting Fundamentals

*Taught Online*  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

America in World Civilization II

*Taught Online*  The American Civ sequence examines America as a contested idea and a contested place by reading and writing about a wide array of primary sources. In the process, students gain a new sense of historical awareness and of the making of America. The course is designed both for history majors and non-majors who want to deepen their understanding of the nation's history, encounter some enlightening and provocative voices from the past, and develop the qualitative methodology of historical thinking. 

Session(s)

Session I

America in World Civilization-III

*Taught Online*  The American Civ sequence examines America as a contested idea and a contested place by reading and writing about a wide array of primary sources. In the process, students gain a new sense of historical awareness and of the making of America. The course is designed both for history majors and non-majors who want to deepen their understanding of the nation's history, encounter some enlightening and provocative voices from the past, and develop the qualitative methodology of historical thinking. 

Session(s)

Session II

Approaches to Digital Humanities Using Python

*Taught Online*  This course introduces students to (1) current work in digital humanities with examples of the software applications being used and the computational research being done in literary, historical, linguistic, and cultural studies; and (2) the principles and practices of computer programming using the Python programming language.

Session(s)

Session I

Archival Methods and Historical Thinking

In this course, students will be introduced to archival research methods and to the ways in which historians work with and interpret the sources they use in constructing historical narratives and arguments. We will visit Special Collections, explore digital archives, and consider the range of possible sources and archives, from texts held in national government archives to material objects, maps, audio or video recordings, and everything in between.

Session(s)

Session I

Beginning Fiction Workshop

*Taught Online*  "All writers are exiles wherever they live and their work is a lifelong journey toward a lost land.” So wrote Janet Frame, a singularly talented author who was institutionalized at the age of 21, then saved from a lobotomy only because she won a literary prize.

Session(s)

Session I

Black Holes

*Taught online* White dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes, the so-called compact objects, are among the most remarkable objects 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.

Session(s)

Session II

Building the New Venture

*Taught remotely*  This course is designed for undergraduate students with a curiosity about business and particularly entrepreneurship and small business or not-for profit organizations. It is not necessary that students be planning to start a venture in the near or even distant future. Each week will feature a specific entrepreneurial skill.

Session(s)

Session I

Computing for the Social Sciences

*Taught Online*  This is an applied course for social scientists with little-to-no programming experience who wish to harness growing digital and computational resources. The focus of the course is on analyzing data and generating reproducible research through the use of the programming language R and version control software. Topics include coding concepts (e.g., data structures, control structures, functions, etc.), data visualization, data wrangling and cleaning, exploratory data analysis, etc.

Session(s)

Session I

Drama: Embodiment and Transformation

*Taught Online*  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

Econometrics

*Taught Online*  Required of students who are majoring in economics; those students are encouraged to meet this requirement by the end of their third year. This course covers the single and multiple linear regression model, the associated distribution theory, and testing procedures; corrections for heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation, and simultaneous equations; and other extensions as time permits. Students also apply the techniques to a variety of data sets using PCs.

Session(s)

Session I

Economic Policy Analysis

*Taught Online*  Building on the tools and methods that are developed in the micro and macroeconomics course work, this course analyzes fiscal and monetary policy and other topical issues. We use both theoretical and empirical approaches to understand the real-world problems.

Session(s)

Session I

Electricity & Magnetism

This is a three-course calculus-based sequence  in the fundamentals of physics and represents a full-year's work. Content  is not repeated from course to course. Topics include classical mechanics, electricity & magnetism, wave motion, optics, and an introduction to heat and thermodynamics.  All labs must be completed to receive credit for the course. Final exams are held on the last Wednesday of each course.

Session(s)

Session II

Elementary Logic

*Taught Online*  An introduction to the concepts and principles of symbolic logic. We learn the syntax and semantics of truth-functional and first-order quantificational logic, and apply the resultant conceptual framework to the analysis of valid and invalid arguments, the structure of formal languages, and logical relations among sentences of ordinary discourse.

Session(s)

Session I

Elements of Economic Analysis 1

*Taught in a hybrid model*  This microeconomics course develops the tools economists use to analyze the behavior of markets, the theory of consumer choice, the behavior of firms in response to changing costs and prices, and the interaction of producer and consumer choice.

Session(s)

Session I

Elements of Economic Analysis 2

*Taught Online*  This course examines demand and supply as factors of production and the distribution of income in the economy; it also considers some elementary general equilibrium theory and welfare economics.

Session(s)

Session II

Elements of Economic Analysis 3

*Taught Online*  As an introduction to macroeconomic theory and policy, this course covers the determination of aggregate demand (i.e., consumption, investment, the demand for money); aggregate supply; and the interaction between aggregate demand and supply. We also discuss economic growth, business cycle, inflation and money.

Session(s)

Session I

Ethics in the Digital Age

*Taught Online*   Advanced technology is now integrated into every part of our lives. Often without thinking carefully about the consequences, we have built the Internet, shared our lives on Twitter and Facebook, and pursued research on AI and the technological enhancement of the human body. The goal of philosophy of technology is to step back and reflect on these developments, by bringing together the work of philosophers, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists.

Session(s)

Session II

Field Archaeology (Israel)

This course entails four weeks of full-time, hands-on training in field archaeology in an excavation directed by a University of Chicago faculty member. Students will learn techniques of excavation and digital recording of the finds; attend evening lectures; and participate in weekend field trips. Academic requirements include the completion of assigned readings and a final written examination, in addition to the work on the site and in the lab. Students who are enrolled in this course will pay a Summer Session tuition fee in addition to the cost of participation in the dig.

Session(s)

Session III

Field Archaeology (Spain)

This course entails four weeks of full-time, hands-on training in field archaeology in an excavation directed by a University of Chicago faculty member. Students will learn techniques of excavation and digital recording of the finds; attend evening lectures; and participate in weekend field trips. Academic requirements include the completion of assigned readings and a final written examination, in addition to the work on the site and in the lab. Students who are enrolled in this course will pay a Summer Session tuition fee in addition to the cost of participation in the dig.

Session(s)

Session IV

Game Theory I

*Taught Online*  The origins of game theory in political science reach back to the arms race at the height of the cold war. Since then, it’s applications in political science have proliferated to explaining regime transitions, civil war conduct, and even climate change.

Session(s)

Session II

History of Western Civilization 1

*Taught Online*  This sequence fulfills the general education requirement in civilization studies.  The purpose of this three-course sequence is (1) to introduce students to the principles of historical thought and to provide them with the critical tools for analyzing tests produced in the distant or near past, (2) to acquaint them with some of the more important epochs in the development of European civilization since the sixth century B.C.E, and (3) to assist them in discovering the developmental connections between these various epochs.

Session(s)

Session I

History of Western Civilization 2

*Taught Online*  This sequence fulfills the general education requirement in civilization studies.  The purpose of this three-course sequence is (1) to introduce students to the principles of historical thought and to provide them with the critical tools for analyzing tests produced in the distant or near past, (2) to acquaint them with some of the more important epochs in the development of  European civilization since the sixth century B.C.E, and (3) to assist them in discovering the developmental connections between these various epochs.

Session(s)

Session II

History of Western Civilization 3

*Taught Online*  This sequence fulfills the general education requirement in civilization studies.  The purpose of this three-course sequence is (1) to introduce students to the principles of historical thought and to provide them with the critical tools for analyzing tests produced in the distant or near past, (2) to acquaint them with some of the more important epochs in the development of  European civilization since the sixth century B.C.E, and (3) to assist them in discovering the developmental connections between these various epochs.

Session(s)

Session III

Internet Censorship and Online Speech

*Taught online*   Information dissemination and online discourse on the Internet are subject to the algorithms and filters that operate on Internet infrastructure, from network firewalls to search engines. This course will explore the technologies that are used to control access to online speech and information, and cutting-edge technologies that can empower citizens in the face of these information controls.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to Biological Psychology

*Taught Online*  This course is designed to satisfy the upper division undergraduate core breadth requirement for the undergraduate major in Psychology (PSYC 20300). The material will introduce undergraduate psychology students to the fundamentals of biological psychology and neuroscience. We will concentrate on biological processes which underlie human and animal behavior.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Computer Science I

This course is the first of a pair of courses that are designed to introduce students to computer science and will help them build computational skills, such as abstraction and decomposition, and will cover basic algorithms and data structures. Students will also be introduced to the basics of programming in Python including designing and calling functions, designing and using classes and objects, writing recursive functions, and building and traversing recursive data structures.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Development Economics

Taught Online*  This course will help students learn thorough and practical analysis of development policies and programs. More generally, it will help students think about development in a way that is disciplined by economic theory, informed by empirical research and practically connected to policy. During the first half we will construct an analytical framework to guide our study of development.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Econometrics

*Taught Online*  The objective of this course is to introduce students to the practice of econometrics. The course will focus on the use of multiple regression as a tool to establish causal relations. The course emphasizes all steps of the process of empirical research: data collection, analysis, and presentation (both written and oral). Multiple examples of this process will be discussed and students will be expected to read and evaluate existing research. Students will apply the techniques discussed in class to a topic of their choosing.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Social Scientists

*Taught Online*  This course provides an introduction and overview of how spatial thinking is translated into specific methods to handle geographic information and the statistical analysis of such information. This is not a course to learn a specific GIS software program, but the goal is to learn how to think about spatial aspects of research questions, as they pertain to how the data are collected, organized and transformed, and how these spatial aspects affect statistical methods.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Labor Economics

This course is an introduction to labor economics with an emphasis on applied microeconomic theory and empirical analysis. Topics to be covered include: labor supply and demand, taxes and transfers, minimum wages, immigration, human capital, creativity over the lifecycle and unemployment. For each topic we will describe the basic economic framework used in the analysis, analyze associated cases of study and drawn conclusions about what we have learned. Most of the examples will be taken from U.S.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Money and Banking

*Taught Online* The course focuses on monetary policy and central bank's attempts to stabilize prices and promote maximum sustainable economic growth. Topics include the structure of the Federal Reserve, the conduct of monetary policy, the term structure of interest rates, risk valuation, management of banking, and financial crises.

Session(s)

Session I

Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology

*Taught Online*  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.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to Religious Studies

*Taught Online*  What is religion? Is it truth or an illusion? Is it an opiate or an effervescent? Is it the origin of civilization or the end of it? Is it some of these things, or none, or all? The task of defining religion has bedeviled scholars for centuries and remains a perennial concern in the academic field of Religious Studies.

Session(s)

Session II

Introduction to the Arts of the Italian Renaissance

*Taught Online*  This course will cover the major themes and works of the Italian Renaissance, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and architecture. We will consider stylistic development of the arts from the period of roughly 1300 (late Medieval/pre-Renaissance predecessors) to 1560. Throughout the course we will interrogate the concept of “Renaissance” as a unifying term and examine its relationship to the Medieval in terms of both continuity and change.

Session(s)

Session II

Introductory Statistical Methods and Applications for the Social Sciences

*Taught Online*  This course introduces and applies fundamental statistical concepts, principles, and procedures to the analysis of data in the social and behavioral sciences. Students will learn computation, interpretation, and application of commonly used descriptive and inferential statistical procedures as they relate to social and behavioral research. These include z-test, t-test, bivariate correlation and simple linear regression with an introduction to analysis of variance and multiple regression.

Session(s)

Session I

Labor Economics

This course is an introduction to labor economics with an emphasis on applied microeconomic theory and empirical analysis.  Topics to be covered include: labor supply and demand, taxes and transfers, minimum wages, immigration, human capital, creativity over the lifecycle and unemployment.  For each topic we will describe the basic economic framework used in the analysis, analyze associated cases of study and drawn conclusions about what we have learned.  Most of the examples will be taken from U.S.

Session(s)

Session I

Language, Culture, and Education

*Taught Online*   In this course, we examine past and current theories and research about differential educational achievement in US schools, including: (1) theories that focus on the characteristics of people (e.g., their psychological characteristics, their internal traits, their essential qualities); (2) theories that focus on the characteristics of groups and settings, (e. g., ethnic group culture, language, school culture); and (3) theories that examine how cultural processes mediate political-economic constraints and human action.

Session(s)

Session II

Linear Algebra

*Taught Online*  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 in the Physical Sciences II

*Taught Online*  This is the second in a sequence of mathematics courses for physical sciences majors. It covers multivariable calculus: functions of more than one variable, parameterized curves and vector fields, partial derivatives and vector derivatives (div/grad/curl), double and triple integrals, line and surface integrals, and the fundamental theorems of vector calculus in two and three dimensions (Green/Gauss/Stokes).

Session(s)

Session I

Mechanics

This is a three-course calculus-based sequence  in the fundamentals of physics and represents a full-year's work.  Content  is not repeated from course to course.  Topics include classical mechanics, electricity & magnetism, wave motion, optics, and an introduction to heat and thermodynamics.  All labs must be completed to receive credit for the course. Final exams are held on the last Wednesday of each course.  PHYS 13100 and 13200 count toward the general education requirement in the natural and mathematical sciences.

Session(s)

Session I

Modern Latin American Art

*Taught Online*  This course investigates the development of Latin American art from the early nineteenth century to the present. Through the study of representative artists, movements, and works, we will trace this history from the formation of art academies in newly independent Latin American nations through the region’s rise to prominence in an increasingly global art world. Although we will adhere to a roughly chronological organization, a set of key themes and debates will likewise structure our investigation.

Session(s)

Session I

Nutritional Science

*Taught Online*  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.

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

Psychological Research Methods

This course introduces concepts and methods used in behavioral research. Topics include the nature of behavioral research, testing of research ideas, quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection, artifacts in behavioral research, analyzing and interpreting research data, and ethical considerations in research.
 

Session(s)

Session I

Quantitative Portfolio Management and Algorithmic Trading

*Taught Online*  This course teaches quantitative  finance and algorithmic trading with an approach that emphasizes computation and application. The first half of the course focuses on designing, coding, and testing automated trading strategies in Python, with particular consideration to market models, infrastructure, and order execution. The second half of the course builds on this by covering case studies in quantitative investment that illustrate key issues in allocation, attribution, and risk management.

Session(s)

Session I

Self, Culture and Society 1

*Taught Online*  The “Self, Culture, and Society” sequence introduces students to a broad range of social scientific theories and methodologies that deepen their understanding of basic problems of cultural, social, and historical existence. The first “quarter” deals with the conceptual foundations of political economy and theories of capitalism and meaning in modern society.

Session(s)

Session I

Self, Culture and Society 2

*Taught Online*  The “Self, Culture, and Society” sequence introduces students to a broad range of social scientific theories and methodologies that deepen their understanding of basic problems of cultural, social, and historical existence. The sequence starts with the conceptual foundations of political economy and theories of capitalism and meaning in modern society.

Session(s)

Session II

Self, Culture and Society 3

*Taught Online*  The “Self, Culture, and Society” sequence introduces students to a broad range of social scientific theories and methodologies that deepen their understanding of basic problems of cultural, social, and historical existence. The sequence starts with the conceptual foundations of political economy and theories of capitalism and meaning in modern society. Students then consider the cultural and social constitution of the self, foregrounding the exploration of sexuality, gender, and race.

Session(s)

Session III

Stars

*Taught Online* 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*  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

Survey Data Analysis

This course overviews the way social surveys are conducted, the survey data structure, and common techniques to analyze survey data. Students will explore the actual survey data (using major surveys such as the General Social Survey) and look for answers to their research question. The main goal of this course is providing experience for doing their own social scientific analysis using survey data. Students will learn where to find information about survey data sources and how to conduct analyses for their research project.

Session(s)

Session I

Systems Programming I

This course is the first in a pair of courses designed to teach students about systems programming. In this course, students will develop a deeper understanding of what a computer does when executing a program. In order to make the operations of the computer more transparent, students will study the C programming language, with special attention devoted to bit-level programming, pointers, allocation, file input and output, and memory layout.

Session(s)

Session I

The Press, the Presidency, and Public Discourse

*Taught Online*   The public’s perception of the American president is shaped by the national press, often in ways that make a decisive difference to our democracy. The mainstream press aspires to neutrality, but it is not a pure conduit. It makes decisions about what matters, imposes narratives on a president’s leadership and character, and filters, focuses and critiques presidential speech. At the same time, the president and the White House try to get their message through to the public through various media and channels.

Session(s)

Session I

The Workings of the Human Brain: From Brain to Behavior

*Taught Online*  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 I

Virtual Ethnographic Field Research Methods 

*Taught Online*  “Virtual worlds are places of imagination that encompass practices of play, performance, creativity and ritual.” – Tom Boellstorff, from Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method

Session(s)

Session I

Visual Language: On Images (Section 92)

*Taught Online*  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 II

Visual Language: On Images (Section 93)

*Taught Online* 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. Topics as varied as, but not limited to, illusion, analogy, metaphor, time and memory, nature and culture, abstraction, the role of the author, and universal systems can be illuminated through these primary investigations.

Session(s)

Session I

Visual Language: On Images (Session 1)

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. Topics as varied as, but not limited to, illusion, analogy, metaphor, time and memory, nature and culture, abstraction, the role of the author, and universal systems can be illuminated through these primary investigations.

Session(s)

Session I

Waves, Optics & Heat

This is a three-course calculus-based sequence  in the fundamentals of physics and represents a full-year's work.  Content  is not repeated from course to course. Topics include classical mechanics, electricity & magnetism, wave motion, optics, and an introduction to heat and thermodynamics.  All labs must be completed to receive credit for the course. Final exams are held on the last Wednesday of each course.

Session(s)

Session III