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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Get InfoApply NowIvy League programs in Science, Research, Social Justice, and Mathematics2, 3, or 6 Week ProgramsTuition ranging from $3,199 - $17,899For students completing grades 9, 10, 11 (ages 14-18)


Penn Summer High School Programs offer college credit classes and summer Research Academies in a wide range of subjects for highly motivated students. All academic aspects of the programs are run by The University of Pennsylvania’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS).

  • If you would like to apply to the Penn Summer High School Programs, please click here.
  • For a complete list of college credit courses, please review PENN's course catalog.

We make every effort to keep class information accurate. However, changes in class availability and schedules can occur. We reserve the right to limit enrollment and/or cancel any class due to overwhelming or insufficient enrollment.

  • Ancient HistoryAncient Rome No one in the early 8th century BCE would have taken a bet that a fledgling town in the middle of the Italian Peninsula would one day rule the Mediterranean World, just as no one in the early 4th century CE could imagine an alternative history. The history of Rome spans more than a millennium of great cultural, political, economic, and religious changes. Today we see the Romans as gladiators, as architects, as politicians, and we have surrounded ourselves, at times unconsciously, with symbols of their power, their innovations, and their art. Conquest, warfare, administration, and law making were the great successes of the Roman state and are its greatest legacies today. This class will track the Romans from their humble beginnings through the Republic and into the Roman Empire, exploring its literature, its archaeology, and its art. The course will emphasize political, cultural, and social changes and will focus on the methodologies used by historians to investigate and explain the past. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • Anthropology Archaeology: Window to the Human Past This course will introduce students to the methods and theory of archaeology by exploring how we turn archaeological data into statements about cultural behavior. We will discuss the place of archaeology in the broader field of anthropology and debate issues facing the discipline today. The course will rely on case studies from around the world and from many different time periods to introduce students to the research process, field and lab methods, and essential questions of archaeological anthropology. Students will have the opportunity to work hands-on with archaeological materials through visiting the galleries and working with Penn Museum collections. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Introduction to Human Evolution How did humans evolve? When did humans start to walk on two legs? How are humans related to non-human primates? This course focuses on the scientific study of human evolution describing the emergence, development, and diversification of our species, Homo sapiens. First we cover the fundamental principles of evolutionary theory and some of the basics of genetics and heredity as they relate to human morphological, physiological, and genetic variation. We then examine what studies of nonhuman primates (monkeys and apes) can reveal about our own evolutionary past, reviewing the behavioral and ecological diversity seen among living primates. We conclude the course examining the "hard" evidence of human evolution - the fossil and material culture record of human history from our earliest primate ancestors to the emergence of modern Homo sapiens. You will also have the opportunity, during recitations, to conduct hands-on exercises collecting and analyzing behavioral, morphological, and genetic data on both humans and nonhuman primates and working with the Department of Anthropology's extensive collection of fossil casts. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • BiologyIntroduction to Biology General principles of biology that have been established by studies of microbes, animals, and plants and the viruses of these organisms will be covered. Emphasis will be on the basic chemistry of life, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics. The study of developmental pathways and evolutionary trends in life cycles will be explored using plants as model organisms. (1.5 credit units, supplemental charge applies) (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • Cinema & Media StudiesWorld Film Hist '45-present

    Focusing on movies made after 1945, this course allows students to learn and to sharpen methods, terminologies, and tools needed for the critical analysis of film. Beginning with the cinematic revolution signaled by the Italian Neo-Realism (of Rossellini and De Sica), we will follow the evolution of postwar cinema through the French New Wave (of Godard, Resnais, and Varda), American movies of the 1950s and 1960s (including the New Hollywood cinema of Coppola and Scorsese), and the various other new wave movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s (such as the New German Cinema). We will then selectively examine some of the most important films of the last two decades, including those of U.S. independent film movement and movies from Iran, China, and elsewhere in an expanding global cinema culture. There will be precise attention paid to formal and stylistic techniques in editing, mise-en-scène, and sound, as well as to the narrative, non-narrative, and generic organizations of film. At the same time, those formal features will be closely linked to historical and cultural distinctions and changes, ranging from the Paramount Decision of 1948 to the digital convergences that are defining screen culture today. There are no perquisites. Requirements will include readings in film history and film analysis, an analytical essay, a research paper, a final exam, and active participation.

    (Available 6 week session for college credit)
  • CriminologyCriminology This introductory course examines the multi-disciplinary science of law-making, law-breaking, and law-enforcing. It reviews theories and data predicting where, when, by whom and against whom crimes happen. It also addresses the prevention of different offense types by different kinds of offenders against different kinds of people. Police, courts, prisons, and other institutions are critically examined as both preventing and causing crime. This course meets the general distribution requirement. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • East European StudiesThe Socialist City This course will explore the ideology and politics of the socialist city in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the Second World. We will focus on how design professionals, politicians, and residents realized utopian socialist values in the face of national design traditions, local politics, and limited resources. Beginning with the Soviet case, the course will consider how planners and architects addressed modernization, multi-family housing, and neighborhood units in new city plans. We will consider capitals, like Moscow, as well as less well-known regional centers that had strong local identities, such as Tashkent, Belgrade, and Prague. We will examine the state's use of public spaces for commemorations and preservationists' reinterpretation of existing historic sites. In addition, we will consider how everyday residents experienced the socialist city, including its multi-family housing, shopping centers, and subway systems. We will address how citizens circumvented official state channels to obtain state housing and illegally build homes for themselves, sometimes in a folk style. The course will center on Soviet and East European cities, but also address socialist cities in Cuba and Africa whose design was influenced by transnational exchanges. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • EconomicsIntroductory Economics: Microeconomics Introduction to economic analysis and its application. Theory of supply and demand, costs and revenues of the firm under perfect competition, monopoly and oligopoly, pricing of factors of production, income distribution, and theory of international trade. Econ 1 deals primarily with microeconomic. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • EnglishShakespeare This course offers students an introduction to Shakespeare through some of his most enduring and popular dramatic works. Readings may include tragedies such as Hamlet, King Lear, and Othello; comedies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice; histories such as Richard II and Henry V; and the late romance, The Tempest. We will analyze the genre, dramatic structure, and language of these plays as we practice performing close readings and dealing critically with the issues they raise. How can we place Shakespeare’s drama in the social and political context of his own time, as well as in our own? Course requirements will include a performance exercise, a presentation, and a final research project. Students of all levels are welcome and no prior knowledge is required or assumed. (Available 6 week session for college credit)War and Representation: War, Trauma and Representation in Literature Representations of war are created for as many reasons as wars are fought: to legitimate armed conflict, to critique brutality, to vilify an enemy, to mobilize popular support, to generate national pride, etc. In this course we will examine a series of representations of war drawn from literature, film, memoirs, and music from the United States, Europe, and Africa. We will pursue an investigation of images of conflict and bloodshed in the larger context of the history of military technology, social life, and communications media over the last two centuries. Students will be expected to write two papers and take part in a group presentation on an assigned topic. The goal of the course will be to gain knowledge of literary history in social and historical context, and to acquire critical skills for analysis of rhetoric and visual representations. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Womanifesto How is the literary voice of the black woman writer musically portrayed? Using Jazz, Gospel, Neo-Soul, and Hip-Hop music genres, this course will explore the performance of the black woman's voice in both 20th century literature and music. From writers Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker to musicians, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Nina Simone, we will analyze how these writers/artists used their pens and musical voices to assert social freedom. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • Health & SocietiesEmergence of Modern Science During the last 500 years, science has emerged as a central and transformative force that continues to reshape everyday life in countless ways. This introductory course will survey the emergence of the scientific world view from the Renaissance through the end of the 20th century. By focusing on the life, work, and cultural contexts of those who created modern science, we will explore their core ideas and techniques, where they came from, what problems they solved, what made them controversial and exciting and how they relate to contemporary religious beliefs, politics, art, literature, and music. The course is organized chronologically and thematically. In short, this is a "Western Civ" course with a difference, open to students at all levels. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • HistoryAfrica since 1800 Survey of major themes, events, and personalities in African history from the early nineteenth century through the 1960s. Topics include abolition of the slave trade, European imperialism, impact of colonial rule, African resistance, religious and cultural movements, rise of naturalism and pan-Africanism, issues of ethnicity and "tribalism" in modern Africa. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • Language & LinguisticsIntroduction to Socioling Human language viewed from a social and historical perspective. Students will acquire the tools of linguistic analysis through interactive computer programs, covering phonetics, phonology and morphology, in English and other languages. These techniques will then be used to trace social differences in the use of language, and changing patterns of social stratification. The course will focus on linguistic changes in progress in American society, in both mainstream and minority communities, and the social problems associated with them. Students will engage in field projects to search for the social correlates of linguistic behavior, and use quantitative methods to analyze the results. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • MathematicsCalculus I Brief review of High School calculus, applications of integrals, transcendental functions, methods of integration, infinite series, Taylor's theorem, and first order ordinary differential equations. Use of symbolic manipulation and graphics software in calculus. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Ideas in Mathematics Topics from among the following: logic, sets, calculus, probability, history and philosophy of mathematics, game theory, geometry, and their relevance to contemporary science and society. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Introduction to Calculus Introduction to concepts and methods of calculus for students with little or no previous calculus experience. Polynomial and elementary transcendental functions and their applications, derivatives, extremum problems, curve-sketching, approximations; integrals and the fundamental theorem of calculus. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • PhilosophyIntroduction to Philosophy Philosophers ask difficult questions about the most basic issues in human life. Does God exist? What can we know about the world? What does it mean to have a mind? How should I treat non-human animals? Do I have free will? This course is an introduction to some of these questions and to the methods philosophers have developed for thinking clearly about them. (Available 6 week session for college credit)The Social Contract

    This is a critical survey of the history of western modern political philosophy, beginning from the Early Modern period and concluding with the 19th or 20th Century. Our study typically begins with Hobbes and ends with Mill or Rawls. The organizing theme of our investigation will be the idea of the Social Contract. We will examine different contract theories as well as criticisms and proposed alternatives to the contract idea, such as utilitarianism. Besides the above, examples of authors we will read are Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Mill and Marx.

    (Available 6 week session for college credit)
  • Political ScienceIntroduction to American Politics This course is intended to introduce students to the national institutions and political processes of American government. What are the historical and philosophical foundations of the American Republic? How does American public policy get made, who makes it, and who benefits? Is a constitutional fabric woven in 1787 good enough for today? How, if at all, should American government be changed, and why? What is politics and why bother to study it? If these sorts of questions interest you, then this course will be a congenial home. It is designed to explore such questions while teaching students the basics of American politics and government. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Introduction to Comparative Politics This course is designed to introduce students to comparative political analysis. How can the political behavior, circumstances, institutions, and dynamic patterns of change that people experience in very different societies be analyzed using the same set of concepts and theories? The course will draw on case studies covering a variety of political systems and include attention to the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. Topics will include nationalism, empire, democratization, authoritarianism, race and ethnic conflict, and political economy. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Modern Political Thought

    This course will provide an overview of major figures and themes of modern political thought. We will focus on themes and questions pertinent to political theory in the modern era, particularly focusing on the relationship of the individual to community, society, and state. Although the emergence of the individual as a central moral, political, and conceptual category arguably began in earlier eras, it is in the seventeenth century that it takes firm hold in defining the state, political institutions, moral thinking, and social relations. The centrality of "the individual" has created difficulties, even paradoxes, for community and social relations, and political theorists have struggled to reconcile those throughout the modern era. We will consider the political forms that emerged out of those struggles, as well as the changed and distinctly "modern" conceptualizations of political theory such as freedom, responsibility, justice, rights and obligations, as central categories for organizing moral and political life.

    (Available 6 week session for college credit)
  • PsychologyIntroduction to Experimental Psychology This course provides an introduction to the basic topics of psychology including our three major areas of distribution: the biological basis of behavior, the cognitive basis of behavior, and individual and group bases of behavior. Topics include, but are not limited to, neuropsychology, learning, cognition, development, disorder, personality, and social psychology. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • Science, Technology, & SocietyEmergence of Modern Science During the last 500 years, science has emerged as a central and transformative force that continues to reshape everyday life in countless ways. This introductory course will survey the emergence of the scientific world view from the Renaissance through the end of the 20th century. By focusing on the life, work, and cultural contexts of those who created modern science, we will explore their core ideas and techniques, where they came from, what problems they solved, what made them controversial and exciting and how they relate to contemporary religious beliefs, politics, art, literature, and music. The course is organized chronologically and thematically. In short, this is a "Western Civ" course with a difference, open to students at all levels. (Available during 6 Week Session for college credit)Top
  • SociologyLaw and Society After introducing students to the major theoretical concepts concerning law and society, significant controversial societal issues that deal with law and the legal systems both domestically and internationally will be examined. Class discussions will focus on issues involving civil liberties, the organization of courts, legislatures, the legal profession and administrative agencies. Although the focus will be on law in the United States, law and society in other countries of Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America will be covered in a comparative context. Readings included research reports, statutes and cases. (Available 6 week session for college credit)Top
  • WritingIntroduction to Academic Writing and Critical Reading

    Prestigious universities and colleges place a premium on students' ability to write effectively, persuasively and critically. We will provide students opportunities for discussing the standards of academic written discourse and developing strategies for fulfilling those standards across a range of academic disciplines. Emphasis is on expository writing, and analyzing writing styles. Students practice writing essays and short papers. Class emphasizes the writing process as well as the quality of the finished product. Students keep a portfolio of their work. Crucial aspects of supporting arguments in academic research writing, including plagiarism, techniques to determine sources' credibility and standards for in-text and bibliographical citations are discussed.

    (Available 6 week session enrichment class)