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Woodson Summer Scholars

Named in honor of Carter G Woodson, the Woodson Summer Scholars program brings together talented students across the United States who are engaged Black/African American communities.

Top students can now participate in select University of Chicago Summer Session courses free of charge. Students selected will receive a full scholarship to enroll in a 4-week academic program. 

Woodson summer scholars pose for a group photo

The program is comprised of 2 parts:

    1)  3-week academic course remotely taught online; and
    2)  Phoenix Week, a one-week series of workshops and activities hosted on the University of Chicago campus.

Students will spend 3 weeks immersed in an online academic, credit-bearing course. These courses typically require 5-6 hours of work daily, comprised of engagement with faculty, teaching assistants, or peers, and also including time spent on homework, problem sets, papers, or other independent work. For the academic courses, Woodson Summer Scholars will be in class with students from other scholarship programs. Students will be graded for their work and receive a grade for the course.

As a culmination of their academic course, students will then join their peers on campus to participate in Phoenix Week, where they will live in residence for the week. Phoenix Week is designed to introduce students to UChicago, prepare them for college-level work, provide insight to the highly selective admissions process, and allow for students in the program to get to know each other. Participation in Phoenix Week is required to receive their certificate of completion.

Application Requirements

Outstanding current junior year students who are engaged in Black/African American communities, enrolled in a high school in the United States, and who are at least 14 years old, are invited to apply. 

Applications will be accepted online beginning early January 2022. The final deadline is March 9, 2021. There is no application fee to apply.

Application materials include:

  • Online application
  • Transcript (official or unofficial)
  • Writing sample
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • At least one parent confirmation email received

Applicants must complete the Summer Session Application, and all the related requirements which can be reviewed in the How To Apply section. Students who wish to apply for Woodson Summer Scholars should select it as their first-choice program, and then identify which courses from the list below they are most interested in.

All courses will be taught remotely online for Summer 2022. Students in this program will be in class with students enrolled in the other Scholarship Programs. These are the courses offered to all Scholarship Program students:

  • Freedom of Expression and the Politics of Social Media
  • Pathways in Molecular Engineering
  • Revolution and Resistance in the Modern World 
  • Science, Technology, and the Body
  • The Biochemistry of Nutrition
  • The Rise and Persistence of “The Top 1%”: The Sociology of Economic Advantage

Course details can be found here.

The order in which the courses are selected will be considered the order of preference. Students who wish to be considered for this program do not need to complete the rest of the Scholarship Application or provide financial documentation. 

Applicants will be asked to respond to the following essay questions in the application:
     -    Why did you choose the particular program/courses for which you have applied? How are they related to your current interests and future plans? Please be as specific as possible, and make sure your response covers each of the courses you elected. (Limit: 500 words)
     -    Chicago is a city of diversity and each one of our 77 neighborhoods has its own unique culture. Tell us what your culture means to you. How will this program impact your life and your community? (Limit: 500 words)
     -    There are more than 4,500 colleges and universities across the United States. Why would you like to spend your summer with the University of Chicago? What about our academic community excites you the most? (Limit: 250 words)

All questions should be directed to Gabby Campbell at  

Tuition & Fees

All costs, inclusive of tuition and fees, for the program are completely covered. Students will need access to wifi and to provide their own device to participate in the program.

Course Dates

June 13 - July 9
Class starts: June 13
Class concludes: June 30

Arrive on-campus: July 3
Closing session: July 8