If you are interested in pursuing sociology at a university level, consider doing a summer program about sociology! We have curated some high school-level programs that will help you break down the complexities of human society in any field of your interest.
From social inequality and political systems to cultural beliefs and practices, sociology helps us critically analyze the world for better problem-solving. Even if you aren’t targeting sociology specifically, you should check out some of these programs because an understanding of sociology can make you more well-rounded in other streams of study like global health, technology, climate, international relations, political science, history, policy, urban planning, and more.
1. UC Santa Barbara’s Research Mentorship Program, Sociology Track
The Research Mentorship Program is a competitive summer program for ambitious, high-performing high school students around the globe who want to participate in multidisciplinary, practical, university-level research. You choose a research project from a list of disciplines given by the program, including sociology, and are matched with a mentor (graduate student, postdoc, or faculty).
This program teaches you how to write technical papers in a professional style and present your research findings in formal academic symposiums. You can also earn university credits that will be recorded on your permanent record at UC Santa Barbara. If you’re interested in this program, we’ve also written an in-depth piece detailing everything you need to know about RMP 2023!
Location: Residential, UC Santa Barbara
Commuter option: Around $5,000
Residential Option: Around $12,000
Application deadline: March 15, 2023
Program dates: June 20 – August 4, 2023
Eligibility: Students all over the world who are in 10th and 11th Grade with a minimum GPA of 3.8
TASS is one of the nation’s most selective summer programs for high school students interested in sociology. During the six weeks of the program, you will engage in team-building exercises, attend lectures and seminars, participate in discussions, and complete group projects with others.
Two programs are available through TASS: TASS-CBS (Critical Black Studies) and TASS-AOS (Anti-Oppressive Studies). The curriculum, offered at several colleges, is designed to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills about social issues. What is excellent about TASS is that apart from coursework directly relevant to sociology, you’ll also explore topics and ideas within history, literature, and art. There are a lot of sociological undertones across each of these branches, so you’ll get a holistic view of the role sociology plays at different intersections of historical and systemic racial oppression.
The program requires you to commit to three hours per day of college-level instruction in addition to exposing you to planning and carrying out community service projects using a fixed program budget.
Location: Cornell University, University of Maryland, and the University of Michigan
Application deadline: Applications for TASS are now closed. The applications for the 2023 programs were open from mid-November 2022 till January 4, 2023.
Program dates: June 25 – August 5, 2023
Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors. Black and indigenous students, other students of color, and/or students who have experienced economic hardship are strongly encouraged to apply.
3. Penn Arts and Sciences Social Justice Research Academy
The Social Justice Research Academy is designed to encourage critical thinking about the sociological, historical, and political context of inequality and resistance. During the course of the program, you will attend lectures and workshops to develop leadership, research, and analytical skills.
If selected, you will be required to work on a capstone project where you have to develop a research question around topics discussed in the coursework. These usually take the form of traditional academic papers and sometimes more creative projects. Past projects have been on AAPI representation in Hollywood, redlining, gun deaths among Black men, COVID-19 disproportionately affecting minority populations, and more.
If you liked this program and are interested in programs at the cusp of law and sociology, check out our post.
Location: Residential, University of Pennsylvania
Cost or stipend: $9,700 program fee and $75 application fee
January 31 (Priority application deadline)
March 31 (International student application deadline)
May 1 (Domestic student application deadline)
Program dates: July 9 – July 29, 2023
Eligibility: Current 9th – 11th Grade students
In this program, you will learn about current issues in climate and energy from faculty at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the Becker Friedman Institute, and the Climate Impact Lab. You get to participate in collaborative hands-on projects, and rigorous discussion-based classes and refine your critical thinking skills to look at global environmental issues through a sociological lens.
Location: Residential, University of Chicago
Application deadline: March 1, 2023
Program dates: July 23 – July 28, 2023
Eligibility: Applicants should be at least 15 years of age and be current high school sophomores, and juniors enrolled in a high school in the United States.
5. Lumiere Research Scholar Program – Sociology Track
Lumiere was founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Hundreds of ambitious high school students do sociology research through the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs. Each student is paired with a top PhD and works with their mentor 1-1 to produce a university-level research paper.
The programs are entirely virtual and vary in duration based on the student’s end goal with respect to how much of a deep dive they would prefer. The research opportunities range from pure sociology to combining sociology with other disciplines.
Past research has explored urban disaster management and Mumbai’s informal economy, and the impact of social movements on effective political change and public political attitudes.
You can find the application form here.
Also, check out the Lumiere Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.
Application deadline: There are four cohorts throughout the year. Applications are due in February, May, September, and December, respectively. Apply here!
Program dates: There are four cohorts throughout the year in spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Eligibility: All high school students may apply.
This is a four-week summer intensive academy for 26 gifted high school students interested in sociology and media who are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the intersection between media communications and civics.
You will take a variety of first-year college-level courses and get the chance to network with creative academics working to advance the sociological issues of racial, gender, and ethnic diversity in journalism and communication. Ethnography, writing, critical thinking, public speaking, debate, multimedia creation, and interviewing are among the skills you can expect to learn.
Location: Residential, University of Southern California
Cost or stipend: Free
Application deadline: March 31, 2023
Program dates: June 19 – July 14, 2023
Eligibility: Students must reside and attend high school in Los Angeles County
The Anson L. Clark Scholar Program is an intensive seven-week summer research program for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors from around the globe. It gives students the chance to collaborate closely with prominent faculty in a research-intensive setting. Along with weekly seminars, the program also offers field trips, lectures, and discussions with faculty and other like-minded students.
While this program doesn’t explicitly offer a sociology track, past scholars working on the history and economics research areas have done research requiring heavy sociological knowledge. Past Clark Scholars have written about how delays in desegregation are shaping schooling today and how the media is affected by IPOs.
Location: Residential, Texas Tech University campus
Cost or stipend: Free (on-campus meals and board) with a $750 tax-free stipend upon completion of a successful research project
Application deadline: February 13, 2023
Program dates: June 18 – August 3, 2023
Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors – you must be at least 17 years of age by the program start date
Yale University’s Sociology Offerings
Yale Young Global Scholars offers two different tracks depending on your area of interest within sociology: Solving Global Challenges (SGC) for those wanting to actively work on social problem-solving and Literature, Philosophy, & Culture (LPC) for those who want to critically analyze the sociological impact of culturally significant media.
This program is designed to enable students to critically examine social systems, issues, current affairs, and media through a sociological lens. Some of their sample lectures and seminars are on Black feminism in pop culture, the portrayal of the second world war in media, racism, and anti-racism, the relation between privilege and sustainability, and the structures of inequality in the 21st century.
Location: Residential, Yale University
Cost or stipend:
$6,500 program fee
$75 application fee
Application deadline: Applications for the 2023 sessions are already closed. Based on this year’s deadlines, the applications are open from November to early January each year.
Session I: June 18 – June 30, 2023
Session II: July 2 – July 14, 2023
Session III: July 16 – July 28, 2023
Eligibility: Students have to be
At least 16 years old by the first day of Session III
A current sophomore or junior (or any international equivalent)
A first-time participant
9. Yale Summer Session – Sociology courses
If you’re interested in pursuing sociology at a university level, you can get a head start by taking a course during the Yale Summer Session for college credit! Some of last year’s courses focused on race, gender, and class inequities in the U.S., the history of education in relation to the development of the U.S. empire, cultural anthropology, feminist and queer ethnographies, and more.
For more information on summer offerings at Yale, check out our post.
Location: Residential, Yale University
$75 application fee
Costs include tuition and residential program fees. Look at the breakdown of costs here.
Session A: April 3, 2023
Session B: May 8, 2023
Session A: May 29 – June 30, 2023
Session B: July 3 – August 4, 2023
You must be entering your senior year of high school (summer after junior year) or freshman year of college (summer after senior year).
You must be 16 years of age or older by the program start date.
Brown University’s Sociology Offerings
10. Summer@Brown – Sociology & Anthropology Courses
Summer@Brown is an enriching pre-college summer program for ambitious high school students with a keen interest in sociology. You will attend classes for a minimum of three hours daily for five days a week and also spend three hours daily doing an independent study for your course of choice.
There are almost 50 different courses in sociology and anthropology that you can choose from – and you are allowed to participate in up to two simultaneous Summer@Brown courses! Depending on your specific areas of interest, you can choose classes where you learn about ethnographic research, women’s and gender studies, dynamics of race and oppression, social movements, media and culture, politics, poverty, and so much more.
Check out our post for more information on what is available in Brown during the summer.
Location: Residential, Brown University
Cost: Your cost is determined by the number and duration of courses to be taken.
Application deadline: May 12, 2023
Program dates: June 25 – July 28, 2023
Eligibility: Students completing grades 9 to 12, ages 14 to 18 by June 18, 2023
Leadership Institute – Brown University
The Leadership Institute at Brown University encourages students passionate about sociology, justice, social movements, and politics to collaborate on collaborative leadership models. This program is meant to hone your research and problem-solving skills to develop an Action Plan that you can apply to a problem in your community. You can choose your course of interest, with sociological topics surrounding intercultural communication, social movements, women and leadership, global health, and more.
Location: Residential (Brown University Campus) OR Online (through Canvas, Brown’s Learning Management System)
Cost or stipend:
Residential program fee: $5,218
Online program fee: $5,313
Application deadline: May 12, 2023, at 11:59 PM EST
On-Campus I: June 25 – July 7, 2023
On-Campus II: July 16 – July 28, 2023
Online: July 10 – August 4, 2023
Eligibility: Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 16 to 18 by June 18, 2023
Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD 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.