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High School Summer Institutes

Discover Your Passion

Program Overview

High School Summer Institutes allow students to discover a new passion, or dive deeper into an existing one, through a noncredit, interdisciplinary environment. Each institute has a specific theme or focus and includes traditional undergraduate classroom activities like lectures, discussions, small group collaboration, and final projects. Students explore the connections between different fields of study as they examine scholarly text and engage with WashU instructors. These programs are designed for students to ask questions, collaborate with peers, and consider new ideas.

2024 institute themes include:

  • Ancient Studies
  • Creative Immersion
  • Healthcare Continuum 
  • Environmental Studies
  • Research Development

These two-week programs are ideal for students who want to experience college-level curriculum without the pressure of a letter grade. Class sizes are small (typically between 15-20 students) to ensure students receive personalized feedback from instructors.

High School Summer Institute students live on campus in one of our top-ranked, air-conditioned residence halls. In addition to course work, students participate in specialized college readiness, community, and academic success enrichment activities.

Learn more about our enrichment activities


The High School Summer Institutes are two-week programs from July 14-27, 2024.


To be eligible for a High School Summer Institute, students should:

  • Be a current sophomore or junior in high school (graduating in 2026 or 2025).
  • As an international student, have a TOEFL iBT score of at least 90 or an IELTS Academic score of at least 6.5. Additional guidelines for international students are available here.
  • Meet any prerequisites listed for the institute to which they are applying.

We are looking for mature, academically motivated students enrolled in challenging curriculum which may include honors, advanced placement, and International Baccalaureate courses, if offered by their high schools. Students who are collaborative, intellectually curious, and creative thinkers thrive in our program.

Fees and Scholarships

The 2024 program fee for a High School Summer Institute is $3,185. Need-based scholarship assistance is available. Children of WashU employees and returning students are eligible for a 10% discount. Additional details on fees, need-based scholarships, and discounts are available here.

Grades and Transcripts

Although institutes are noncredit, they are rigorous. At the conclusion of course work, enrollment in a High School Summer Institute will be recorded and become part of a student's record at WashU. Noncredit courses do not issue a traditional letter grade (A, B, C, D, F). Instead, students will receive an "L" for successful completion/audit or a "Z" for unsuccessful completion/audit. Students can request a transcript from the Office of the University Registrar.

Students are evaluated based on attendance in classes, completion of assignments by deadlines, quality of work produced, participation in discussions, as well as their ability to adhere to academic integrity standards and program policies. 

Because High School Summer Institutes are noncredit, no transferable credit is earned.

Acceptance and participation in High School Summer Institute course work and activities does not imply or guarantee acceptance into a degree program at WashU. For questions about the undergraduate admission process, please contact Undergraduate Admissions.


Institutes and Schedule

Institutes are taught by WashU instructors from across disciplines and research fields. Institute offerings rotate every summer.

View 2024 Program Details

How to Apply

In order to apply to the High School Summer Institute, students must complete an online application, including short essays, and submit the following supplemental information:

  • $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Transcript
  • Teacher recommendation
  • International applicants must send an official TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic score report.

The deadline to submit an application and all supplemental information is April 1, 2024 at 11:59pm CT.

Questions about applying? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.

2024 applications are closed. Applications for the 2025 summer will open November 1, 2024.

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I have found my passion in life. This is my dream and I feel supported here to be on the right path to success.

―Marcelarising senior from Curitiba, Brazil

Wondering about campus life in the summer?

Explore Residential Life