2021 High School Summer Academy Courses

Program Details


For the 2021 summer, the High School Summer Academy is fully remote.

High School Summer Academy students enroll in one online credit course and a noncredit online research development course. Topics include humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. Course listings including details regarding course synchronicity are included below. The noncredit research development course meets synchronously Monday-Friday from 3:00-4:45pm.

When not in class, students have time for optional online enrichment activities including special lectures from WashU staff and faculty, panel discussions, and informal Q&As. There is also time to work on digital learning badges and participate in academic support activities. All of our enrichment activities are offered through the Pre-College Community Course.

College Readiness

Throughout the five-week session, we provide students a number of enrichment opportunities to support students with the college application process and to prepare them for success, both inside and outside of the classroom. These opportunities include seminars, panel discussions, and informal Q&As. In addition, students can build their resume by earning digital learning badges and a college readiness certificate. 

Learn more about our college readiness activities

Academic Success

High School Summer Academy students gain invaluable experience studying for exams, writing papers, developing research skills, and collaborating with peers. 

Our instructors and program staff are committed to the academic success of our pre-college students. Some of the ways we provide academic support to students include tutoring, advising, group study sessions, specialized workshops and academic support groups.  


Community Building

We create a positive, collaborative community by implementing educational, cultural and social activities for all students. 

Social activities and weekly group meetings encourage social involvement and community building. Regular one-on-one meetings with a program assistant ensure students are receiving the support they need to succeed and provide time for self-reflection.


Pre-Matriculation Credit

Upon completion, students may request a transcript from WashU that will list their coursework and grades earned. Every university has its own pre-matriculation transfer credit policy and we encourage students to do their research as they make future plans. For current guidelines on pre-matriculation credit at WashU, please review the Pre-Matriculation Units section of the WashU Bulletin.

If students intend to use credit earned through High School Summer Academy for high school graduation requirements, that must be arranged by the student with their high school. 


Pre-College Community Course

All students participating in our High School Summer Academy are registered for the Pre-College Community Course. This noncredit course is designed to introduce students to our pre-college community and college life as well as to support students as they make the transition to undergraduate course work. The course includes: orientation materials, academic support and advising, ways to connect with peers, and wellness resources. Students complete a series of required activities as part of the course.

Credit Course Options

Credit courses are taught by WashU instructors from across campus disciplines and research fields including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics. Course offerings rotate every summer. We typically offer between 10-15 course options. These courses are undergraduate courses offered by the College Arts & Sciences and are open to pre-college, undergraduate, and visiting students.

Introductory-level curriculum provides an opportunity for students to create a strong foundation for future undergraduate studies. Course options include:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Micro and Macroeconomics
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Introductory Chemistry
  • International Politics
  • Calculus II

View Full List of 2021 High School Summer Academy Course Listings

When offered during the regular school year, these courses are given over 16 weeks, so the pace during the summer is quite accelerated. Courses may include lectures, discussions and group work. Students should expect any combination of daily assignments, readings, exams, quizzes, papers, and presentations.

When choosing a credit course, students should select a course that will complement their research interests.

Research Development Course

In addition to the traditional undergraduate classroom experience, Academy students will enroll in a noncredit research development course. This course is designed for students to hone critical thinking skills while they navigate complex text and research documents and learn to create powerful arguments. Over the five weeks, students will conduct research on a topic of their choice, which means that when possible, they will focus on practical, applied work with primary and secondary sources, which should provide a good foundation for advanced research and writing. The course meets Monday-Friday from 3:00-4:45pm CST.

Past research projects have included:

  • The Future of Medicine: Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Evaluating the Ethics of the Tuskegee Institute Syphilis Experiment
  • Does the U.S. Care about Healthcare?
  • Shots Fired: The Need for Comprehensive Mental Health Screenings in American Schools
  • The Political Impact of the Arts
  • Education in Niger
  • Desertification of China

Meet the 2021 Research Development Instructors


Aileen Waters


After students are admitted to the High School Summer Academy, they will complete a course registration form and send this form along with a deposit and other registration paperwork to our office. Students do not need to indicate course selections on their application.

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