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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.

  • To qualify as a full-time student, you must take 2 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.

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 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

Academic and Professional Writing

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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

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

Classics of Social and Political Thought II

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This second section of Classics spans the history of Western political thinking from seventeenth-century natural law to eighteenth-century reflections on freedom, government, and commercial society. It is during this period that the modern liberal representative state became a philosophical possibility when the political theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were combined with, and contested by, eighteenth-century discussions of human sociability, governmental rationality, and popular sovereignty.

Session(s)

Session II

Classics of Social and Political Thought III

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  

Session(s)

Session IV

Computing for the Social Sciences

*Online for Summer 2020*  This workshop helps students find their writing voice through a series of creative exercises in fiction, and also in non-fiction and poetry. By the end of the course, each student produces several significant pieces of writing. Daily sessions begin with discussions of reading, followed by afternoon workshops in which students write, revise, and discuss their peers' work.

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

Econometrics

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 for Summer 2020*  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

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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.

Session(s)

Session II

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

Elements of Economic Analysis 1

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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 for Summer 2020*  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 III

Elements of Economic Analysis 3

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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

Ethnographic Research Methods

This course is designed to provide students in the social sciences with a review of ethnographic research methods, exposure to writings from the field, opportunities to try their hand at practicing fieldwork, and feedback on a proposed study that employs ethnographic methods.   This seminar is a practicum in theoretically grounded and critically reflexive qualitative methods of research.

Session(s)

Session I

Field Archaeology

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. At the Tell Keisan site in Israel, 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.

Session(s)

Session IV

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

Game Theory

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course introduces the basic ideas and applications of game theory. Topics include models of games in extensive and strategic form, equilibria with randomization, signaling and beliefs, reputation in repeated games, bargaining games, investment hold-up problems, and mediation and incentive constraints.

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

History of Western Civilization 1

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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 vario

Session(s)

Session I

History of Western Civilization 2

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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 vario

Session(s)

Session II

History of Western Civilization 3

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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 vario

Session(s)

Session IV

Introduction to Biochemistry

Canceled for Summer 2020

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 Computer Science 2

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course provides an introduction to computer programming and computer science in the C programming language.  Topics include control structures, function definition, iteration and recursion, pointers, memory layout and management, and data structure design.  CMSC 15200 is a suitable second course for students who have just taken CMSC 15100 in the summer.  However, and only in the summer, CMSC 15200 can be taken as a standalone introduction to computer science, for students in any area who require related skill

Session(s)

Session III

Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Social Scientists

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This course aims at developing the basic concepts that form the crux of life from both structural and functional perspectives. It will cover cellular functioning and organization and the transformation of energy. In addition, concepts of evolution and natural selection will be investigated. The course also introduces the student to the continuity of life from genetic and molecular perspectives. The course will extrapolate to demonstrate how cells communicate through cell signaling and how defects in such communication often lead to diseases.

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 Spatial Data Science

Spatial data science is an evolving field that can be thought of as a collection of concepts and methods drawn from both statistics/spatial statistics and computer science/geocomputation. These techniques deal with accessing, transforming, manipulating, visualizing, exploring and reasoning about data where the locational component is important (spatial data). The course introduces the types of spatial data relevant in social science inquiry and reviews a range of methods to explore these data.

Session(s)

Session I

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

Introductory Statistical Methods and Applications for the Social Sciences

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

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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

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

Mechanics

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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

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

Self, Culture and Society 1

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  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 for Summer 2020*  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 for Summer 2020*  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 IV

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

Waves, Optics & Heat

*Taught Online for Summer 2020*  This is the third course in a three-course, calculus-based series in the fundamentals of physics. Topics include mechanical waves, sound, light, polarization, reflection and refraction, interference, diffraction, geometrical optics, heat, kinetic theory, and thermodynamics. All labs must be completed to receive credit for the course; this course may not be added after the first lab meeting.

Session(s)

Session IV