Courses are taught by Washington University instructors which include faculty, graduate students, post docs, and adjuncts from across campus disciplines and research fields including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. These courses are undergraduate courses offered by the College of 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.
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. For every hour spent in class, students should expect at least two hours of work outside of class.
Students may enroll in no more than two 3-unit credit courses. Courses meet in person Monday-Friday from 9:00-10:45am, 11:00am-12:45pm, or 1:00-2:45pm.
About Course Listings
These course listings are subject to change and cancellation without notice. A student must meet any prerequisites listed for the course to be approved to enroll. Registration is processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. If a course is full, it will be indicated below.
When available, a previous summer's syllabus is included in each individual description. Instructors do not remain the same every summer. You should expect similar content, but readings and assignments can vary.
Course times will be available beginning in December.
Students can visit the Campus Bookstore (Early College Scholars courses are Section 21) to view and purchase books online. Textbook information is typically posted 2 weeks before the class start date. Don’t be alarmed if a textbook isn’t listed for a course. Some instructors don’t use textbooks or will wait to share textbook information with students until the first day of classes. Instructors will also share course materials via Canvas, WashU's learning management system.
Summer 2024 Courses
June 10-July 12, 2024
Students interested in enrolling in summer courses should submit a registration form with signed parent liability waiver and release and a copy of their transcript to our office by May 3, 2024.
Space is limited in these courses, so we encourage students not to wait until the deadline to submit registration materials. Each course listed is 3 credits.
Registration for summer will open March 27, 2024.
Biology of the Brain (L41 120)
This course is for students who wish to learn about the biology of the nervous system, and the scientific process of understanding how it works. Biology of the Brain will include lecture, discussion, and analysis of cutting edge research, so active participation will be important. We will discuss the gross anatomy and cellular composition of the brain. We will analyze how the brain develops, changes with experience to create memories, and recovers from injury. Along the way, we will discuss nervous system dysfunction a range of contexts such as Addiction, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Prerequisites: biology. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Biomedical Ethics (L30 233F)
A critical examination, in light of contemporary moral disagreements and traditional ethical theories, of some of the moral issues arising out of medical practice and experimentation in our society. May include euthanasia, genetic engineering, abortion, medical malpractice, the allocation of medical resources, and the rights of the patient. Prerequisites: None. Copy of the 2023 syllabus is available here.
Elementary Probability and Statistics (L24 2200)
An elementary introduction to statistical concepts, reasoning and data analysis. Topics include statistical summaries and graphical presentations of data, discrete and continuous random variables, the logic of statistical inference, design of research studies, point and interval estimation, hypothesis testing, and linear regression. Students will learn a critical approach to reading statistical analyses reported in the media, and how to correctly interpret the outputs of common statistical routines for fitting models to data and testing hypotheses. A major objective of the course is to gain familiarity with basic R commands to implement common data analysis procedures. Prerequisite: Calculus I. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Finite Mathematics (L24 220)
Topics from discrete mathematics will be explored with an emphasis on problem-solving and methods of proofs. Modules on counting; combinatorial tools; binomial coefficients and Pascal's triangle; Fibonacci numbers; combinatorial probability; integers, divisors and primes; and graphs will be covered as well as additional topics as time permits. Addressed mainly to college freshmen and sophomores; it would also be suitable to advanced high school students with an interest in mathematics. Prerequisites: A good understanding of high school mathematics. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
History of Western Art, Architecture & Design (L01 113)
A history of the visual arts, including architecture, sculpture, painting, and design, from the ancient world to the present with emphasis on the relationship of art to society and to political and cultural events. Prerequisite: None. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Intro to Cultural Anthropology (L48 160B)
This course covers the basic concepts and theoretical principles of sociocultural anthropology. Course material is presented from Asia, Africa, Melanesia, Latin America, and North America. Prerequisites: None. Copy of the 2023 syllabus is available here.
Intro to Macroeconomics (L11 1021)
Business fluctuations: inflation, recession; monetary and fiscal policy; economic development. Prerequisites: None. Copy of the 2023 syllabus is available here.
Intro to Microeconomics (L11 1011)
Determination of prices; distribution of national income; theory of production. Prerequisites: None. Copy of the 2023 syllabus is available here.
Intro to Psychology (L33 100B)
Survey and analysis of concepts, research, and theory covering the areas of learning, memory, motivation, personality, social, abnormal, clinical, and biological psychology. Introduces the diversity of questions, areas, approaches, research, and theories that compose the study of mind and behavior. Prerequisites: None. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Intro to Statistics (L24 1011)
Data collection: sampling and designing experiments. Data organization: data, tables, graphs, frequency distributions, numerical summarization of data, and consumer price index. Inference: elementary probability and hypothesis testing. Prerequisites: None. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Logic and Critical Analysis (L30 100G)
This course is an introduction to first-order logic. Logic is the study of the formal properties of arguments. In this course, we learn how to make arguments precise by formalizing sentences and applying methods of deductive reasoning to prove conclusions. We also discuss the relations between logical reasoning and informal reasoning, and logic and rationality. Why study logic? Logic gives you principles and techniques to distinguish good forms of reasoning, helps you to construct correct arguments, and (to some extent) think orderly. Additionally, logic is essential in other fields that you might also be interested in studying (e.g., mathematics, computer science, linguistics, and analytic philosophy). And of course, logic is a fun and interesting subject in its own right. The course presumes no background in philosophy or logic. Prerequisites: None. Copy of the 2023 syllabus is available here.
Matrix Algebra (L24 309)
An introductory course in linear algebra that focuses on Euclidean n-space, matrices and related computations. Topics include: systems of linear equations, row reduction, matrix operations, determinants, linear independence, dimension, rank, change of basis, diagonalization, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, orthogonality, symmetric matrices, least square approximation, quadratic forms. Introduction to abstract vector spaces. Prerequisite: Calculus II. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Social Problems and Social Issues (L40 106)
This course explores and analyzes contemporary American social problems and social issues using sociological tools. The sociological perspective provides the overarching framework for analyses of social issues, along with the application of sociological theory and research. Topics include aging, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, violence, poverty, discrimination, health care, family, globalization, and environmental degradation. Prerequisites: None. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Thinking About Religion (L23 102)
Nearly everyone has had some experience with something they would call "religion," from at least a passing familiarity through the media to a lifetime of active participation in religious communities. But what do we actually mean when we use the word? What is a religion? What does it mean to call something a religion, or "religious"? And what does it mean to study religion, given the slipperiness of the concept itself? This course offers an introduction to the academic study of religion through a consideration of these questions: What is religion, and how can we study it? Do we need an answer to the first question to pursue the second? Why, and toward what ends, might we undertake such study? We will also consider what is at stake in our investigation and inquiry into religion-for the inquirers, for the subjects of inquiry, and for society more broadly-and what kind of lens the study of religion offers us on ourselves, our neighbors, and society, in turn. To these ends, we will discuss major theoretical approaches to the study of religion and significant work on religions and religious phenomena, toward a better understanding of what "religion" might be and how it might be studied today. No prior knowledge or experience of religion, religions, or anything religious is expected or required. Prerequisites: None.
Topics in Banned Books From the Giver to the Lord of the Flies (L14 245)
In this course we will read a number of Young Adult novels that have been banned and examine what leads to the banning of a book. Why are YA novels particular targets of censorship, and why does society attempt to sanitize narratives about adolescence? The novels we will cover, by Toni Morrison, Stephen Chbosky, William Golding, and Lois Lowry, among others, have been banned in the United States on political, religious, sexual, or social grounds. We will gain insight into the controversies these novels started and also consider the themes and questions raised by the texts and their moral implications. In written assignments and class discussion, we will explore what, if anything, these novels have in common and what they may contribute to the study of literature. Students will be asked to engage critically with the texts they encounter and to hone their close reading skills while also considering historical and cultural contexts of the novels. Readings: "The Lord of the Flies," William Golding; "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," Stephen Chbosky; "The Bluest Eye," Toni Morrison; "The Giver," Lois Lowry; "The House on Mango Street," Sandra Cisneros. Prerequisites: None. Copy of 2023 syllabus is available here.
Special Session: Intensive Introductory Latin: From Grammar Basics to Translation
June 10-August 2, 2024
Discover the language used by the ancient Romans, spoken by millions across the Roman Empire and premodern Europe, and used in documents and inscriptions to the present day.
In this accelerated introduction to Latin, students will learn the principles of Latin grammar and vocabulary and begin reading Latin texts in a challenging but supportive environment. At the end of the course students will be able to read the great literature of ancient Rome as well as Latin texts of later periods, and they will be prepared to enroll in an intermediate-level Latin course at Washington University or elsewhere.
This course is ideal for students interested in developing critical thinking, memory, research, writing, and oral presentation skills. Since most medical terminology is derived directly from Latin, students interested in pursuing a career in medicine or other health care profession will find this course extremely valuable. Syllabus is available here.
Prerequisites: None. This course is 6 credits.
Noncredit Exploration Courses
In addition to for credit course selections, students in the Early College Scholars Program have the option to "add-on" one of the following noncredit, online Exploration Courses:
- Spandex, Spangles, and Stripes: Race, Gender, and the American Superhero
- Case Studies in Biology: Climate and Health
- Personal Narrative
- The Biological Basis of Human Disease
- Introduction to Environmental Science
- Set in Stone? Monuments, Memory, and Public History
Exploration Courses are offered asynchronously. This means students will not have set required times to attend "live" class sessions. However students should not mistake this flexibility with a self-paced course. Each course will include discussions, lectures, readings, and assignments that will need to be completed by specific deadlines. Full course descriptions, dates, and additional information about these courses is available here. The cost to add-on an Exploration Course is $785 (a discounted rate for Early College Scholars participants).
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I have access to the library to study before or after class?
Yes. As part of your orientation tasks, you will need to get a student ID card which will allow you access to the library. You are welcome to study on campus before and after classes.
Do I have to enroll in courses year round?
No. The program is offered year round, but you do not have to enroll in courses year round. Many students choose to enroll in courses for only one semester.
Can I purchase food on campus?
Yes. All dining locations except credit/debit card payments for food purchases.