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10 Engineering Courses for High School Students

If you're a high school student interested in pursuing an engineering degree in college, consider enrolling in an engineering course! Pre-college courses and certifications can strengthen your college applications by demonstrating your commitment to learning and a genuine interest in specific fields.


Engineering courses can complement your learning by allowing you to explore concepts beyond your school curriculum. This can enhance your academic and professional prospects by indicating your ability to work with advanced material and your practical knowledge in the field of engineering. Admission committees and potential employers highly value candidates who show a genuine interest in engineering, making these courses a valuable addition to your profile.


Courses from well-established programs provide a competitive advantage, prepare you for the demands of higher education, and help you make informed decisions about your academic and career goals. Such experiences also provide foundational expertise and practical skills that can help you initiate research projects or startups. 


Here are 10 noteworthy engineering courses for high school students that you can consider!


Location: Online synchronous sessions will be conducted via live attendance web conference. 

Cost: $3,700 (4-credit course) | $7,400 (8-credit course). Financial aid is available.

Dates: June 24–August 9, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in June.

Eligibility: All high school students can apply.


Harvard Summer School’s Introduction to Probability for Engineering and Data Science course will introduce you to probability theory and statistics, focusing on their applications in engineering and data science. It covers random variables, distributions and densities, conditional expectations, statistical sampling, limit theorems, and Markov chains. This course aims to equip you with the knowledge of probability and statistical methods essential for various engineering fields and contemporary data science.


This course meets via web conference and you will be expected to attend and participate at the scheduled meeting time. You’ll require mathematical knowledge of topics such as set theory, Venn diagrams, basic algebra, basic differential and integral calculus, and matrices to enroll in this course. Only 45 students are accepted into this course.


Location: Online synchronous sessions will be conducted via live attendance web conference. 

Cost: $3,700 (4-credit course) | $7,400 (8-credit course). Financial aid is available.

Dates: June 24–August 9, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in June.

Eligibility: High school students with a background in biology and chemistry can apply.


Harvard Summer School’s Biochemical Engineering and Synthetic Life course will introduce you to the fundamentals of biochemical engineering, including its biological underpinnings, the flow of genetic information within biological systems, the building blocks of living cells, and cellular pathways and control mechanisms. You will learn about the emerging areas of biochemical engineering, including synthetic biology, which enables engineers to create entirely new cells from scratch.


During the course, you’ll get to explore the sub-disciplines of genetic engineering and metabolic engineering, along with applications in specialty chemicals, nutrition, global health, environmental remediation, and sustainability. You will also get to understand the science behind the production of designer molecules ranging from pharmaceuticals to plastics to biofuels. Only 40 students are accepted into this course.


Location: Both in-person (Columbia University, NY) and virtual options are offered. 

Cost: $3,850 - $12,154. Varies based on whether you choose to attend in-person (residential or commuter) or online. 

Dates: 

  • Summer: Two and three-week sessions are available between June 24 and August 2, 2024.

  • Fall: September 20–December 01, 2024.

  • Spring: January–March, 2025 (Exact dates TBA).

Application Deadline: Varies. Applications for Summer Session A are closed but applications for Summer Session B and Fall 2024 are open.

Eligibility: High school students who will be in grades 9-12 in Fall 2024 can apply.


Columbia’s pre-college program offers several courses to choose from, ranging from 1-3 weeks, either in-person or online. In this Introduction to Engineering course, you will gain exposure to one of the fastest-growing fields today. From areas ranging from Mechanical Engineering to Biomedical Engineering, you will get to learn about the growing number of disciplines within the field of engineering through guest lectures and group activities. 


The course will also examine the professional ethics of engineering and evaluate the accountability that engineers have to society and the environment. After this course, you will have an overall understanding of the engineering field, the different career paths available, and the ethics involved in the profession. Around 22-24 students are accepted into this course.


Location: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ

Cost: Application Fee: $60.00 (non-refundable), Tuition: $563.00 per credit

Dates: 

  • Summer classes meet for 5 weeks Monday through Thursday from July 1–August 1, 2024. 

  • Fall classes (September 7–December 14, 2024) and Spring classes (January 25–May 10 or 17, 2025) meet on Saturdays during the semester. 

Application Deadline: 

  • Applications for the summer session typically close in June. 

  • August 1, 2024 (Fall Session) | December 19, 2024 (Spring Session).

Eligibility: High school students in 11th and 12th grades with knowledge of Algebra II can apply.


New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Fundamentals of Engineering Design course provides an opportunity for students to work in teams on open-ended engineering projects, covering basic engineering design elements, processes, measurements, and product development. During this course, you’ll get to earn NJIT college credits in small, customized classes taught by faculty who have been recognized for their commitment to teaching excellence.


The course includes hands-on experiments in a specific major area and teaches the use of engineering tools for computer-aided design and simulation. Emphasis is placed on technical writing, oral presentation, and project management skills. This is a 2-credit course and around 75 students are accepted into the course.


Location: Online synchronous or online asynchronous sessions will be conducted via flexible attendance web conference.

Cost: $3,700 (4-credit course) | $7,400 (8-credit course). Financial aid is available.

Dates: June 24–August 9, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in June.

Eligibility: High school students with knowledge of algebra and geometry can apply. No background is needed in machine learning, computer vision, or wearable devices.


Harvard Summer School’s Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, Drones, and Artificial Intelligence course delves into robotics, autonomous vehicles, and drones, focusing on core technologies and systems through practical exercises and simulations. As these fields are poised for significant growth, with market sizes expected to increase by 10-15% annually over the next 10-50 years, driven by substantial investments, they have the potential to revolutionize numerous industries and transform society, enabling innovations like self-driving cars, same-day drone deliveries, and robotic assistants.


The course covers the theories, tools, and processes behind these technologies, addressing the challenges, limitations, and capabilities of modern robotics, autonomous vehicles, and drones. In this course, you will learn about sensor technologies, systems-level autonomy, vision-based perception, machine learning, artificial intelligence algorithms, mathematical modeling, and engineering design. The aim is to equip students with a fundamental toolkit to advance the next generation in these fields.


Location: Virtual 

Cost: $1,950 per credit. This is a 4-credit course.

Dates: 8 Weeks, June 3–July 26, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Eligibility: High school students in grades 10-12 with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale can apply.


The  Calculus I (Physical Sciences & Engineering) course at Johns Hopkins University covers differential and integral calculus, including analytic geometry, functions, limits, integrals, derivatives, polar coordinates, parametric equations, Taylor's theorem and its applications, and infinite sequences and series. Applications to the physical sciences and engineering are also discussed. Designed for students in these disciplines, the course offers a flexible weekly schedule to accommodate different time zones and schedules, featuring pre-recorded lectures, notes, and interactive materials.


Assessments include computer-scored items for immediate feedback and instructor-graded assignments for personalized learning. You can reach instructors via email or individual reviews, and weekly instructor-led synchronous problem-solving sessions are recorded for later viewing. You should expect to dedicate 5-10 hours per week to this course.


Location: Online or on campus at Harvard University.

Cost: $3,700 (4-credit course) | $7,400 (8-credit course). Financial aid is available.

Dates: June 24–August 9, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in June.

Eligibility: High school students with knowledge of Algebra can apply. 


Harvard Summer School’s Introduction to Computer Science with Python course introduces computer science to students without prior programming experience. It begins with basic computational concepts using Scratch and then transitions to problem-solving and algorithm development with Python. Python is chosen for its simple syntax and powerful libraries, making it accessible for beginners and valuable for data exploration in various scientific fields. 


The curriculum covers fundamental data types and collections (lists, dictionaries, tuples, and sets), control flow, recursion, and object-oriented programming, including information hiding and encapsulation. Additionally, you will be introduced to program performance analysis. Course examples and problems span diverse areas such as text processing and simple graphics. The course also addresses the theoretical and practical limits of computational problems useful in engineering.


Location: Virtual 

Cost: $29 with the certificate and free without the certificate. 

Dates: Self-paced, begins on July 3, 2024 (The course takes 6 hours to complete).

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Eligibility: Open to high school students. 


Offered by the University of Leeds, the Fundamental Skills in Engineering Design course covers key principles and techniques of engineering design essential for professional development in the field. In this course, you will get to explore fundamental aspects of engineering design, including requirement gathering, problem-solving, and project management. 


The course involves active engagement in real-world design scenarios, enhancing problem-solving skills, and providing hands-on experience. It's designed to be highly engaging, including video lectures, readings, hands-on projects, and peer collaboration, allowing you to apply what you learn dynamically and interactively. You will also examine some of the soft skills that you will need for a role in engineering design before moving on to look at a case study that will allow you to think about and practice some of the elements of conceptual design.


Location: Virtual via edX

Cost: Free without a certificate and $139 with a certificate. Financial aid is available. 

Dates: July 3–August 20, 2024. The next session begins on August 29, 2024. The duration of this course is 7 weeks (Self-paced). 

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Eligibility: High school students with knowledge of mathematics and physics.


The Introduction to Aeronautical Engineering course by Delft University of Technology provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of aeronautics. It explores the history of flight, starting from ballooning to modern aircraft, and covers key concepts such as stability, navigation, propulsion, and aerodynamics. 


The course delves into the mechanics of flight, including lift generation by airfoils and wings, and optimal flying conditions for different phases of flight. With a focus on practical applications, this course is designed for those with a basic understanding of mathematics and physics, aiming to equip learners with a solid foundation in aerospace engineering. Overall, in this course, you’ll not only learn about the impact of the history of flight on aircraft today but you will also learn how the earth's atmosphere can be modeled and its importance for aircraft design.


Location: Virtual 

Cost: $29 with the certificate and free without the certificate. 

Dates: Self-paced, begins on July 3, 2024 (The course takes 15 hours to complete). 

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Eligibility: Open to high school students with a background in chemistry, physics, and calculus.


Offered by the University of Michigan, the Introduction to Thermodynamics course introduces thermodynamics, focusing on the transfer of energy between different places or forms. It provides tools to analyze various energy systems, including solar panels, engines, and insulated coffee mugs. Key topics include mass and energy conservation principles, first law analysis of control mass and control volume systems, properties and behavior of pure substances, and applications to steady-state thermodynamic systems.


The course consists of lecture videos, averaging 8 to 12 minutes each, with integrated quiz questions. Additional quizzes at the end of each section offer practice problems. There are no exams. Adhering to the suggested deadlines, students should spend about 3 hours per week on lectures and 3 hours per week on quizzes, totaling approximately 6 hours per week.


Location: Virtual 

Cost: $23 

Dates: Self-paced 

Application Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: Open to high school students with a basic knowledge of trigonometry.


The course "Electrical Power Engineering Principles" provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts of electrical power engineering. It includes 1.5 hours of on-demand video and 9 downloadable resources, covering topics such as alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC), Ohm's Law, Kirchhoff's Current Law, and the behavior of capacitors and inductors. The course also explores the relationship between electricity and magnetism and demonstrates how to create a DC motor. 


Designed for non-engineers, graduate electrical engineers, and high school students, the course requires a basic understanding of trigonometry and the English language. The instructor, Stephen Brooks, is a Chartered Electrical Engineer with over 30 years of experience in the electrical power utility industry. 


Note: You will have full lifetime access to the course. 



One other option — Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to participate in a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Harvard logo

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