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9 Summer Courses for High School Students

Summer courses offer a unique chance to dive into specialized subjects, broaden academic horizons, and gain valuable insights beyond the regular curriculum. Whether online or in-person, these courses pave the way for intellectual growth, fostering a deeper understanding and passion for various disciplines. In this blog, we have highlighted 9 exceptional summer courses across subjects tailored for high school students seeking to maximize their learning potential.


At Harvard University, the Precollege Molecular Oncology course stands out as an opportunity for high school students keen on delving into the intricate realm of molecular biology within the context of cancer research. Participants begin by examining tissue formation during embryogenesis, paving the way for understanding contemporary tumor classification using specific histological and biochemical tools. Emphasis is placed on critical processes like metastasis, angiogenesis, and the profound influence of the immune system on cancer.


Throughout the course, essential cell biology properties like cell division, DNA replication, and cell death receive a comprehensive review. The culmination involves problem-based learning scenarios, providing a practical understanding of how biomolecular techniques intersect with cancer medicine. Designed for those aspiring to delve into biology-related research in the future, this course offers a solid foundation in basic cell biology principles and intricate oncogenesis pathways.


Location: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Cost: $5550

Course Dates: Usually two weeks in June, July, or August (multiple dates available)

Application Deadline: To be announced

Eligibility: High school students who have completed AP Biology or a relevant biology/cancer course


MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) stands as an exceptional opportunity offered by the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), providing unrestricted access to an extensive range of top-tier educational resources. Among its prized offerings, the course titled “Thermodynamics and Climate Change” emerges as a standout feature within the OCW collection.


This course is an in-depth exploration into the foundational principles of thermodynamics, intricately linked with the pressing global concern of climate change. By delving into the core elements of energy, heat transfer, and their profound impact on the Earth’s climate system, students gain invaluable insights into the science underlying climate fluctuations and the urgent matter of global warming.


Location: Virtual

Cost: Free

Course Dates: Self-paced

Application Deadline: None

Eligibility: High School Students proficient in single-variable Calculus with basic programming experience.


The Economics, Politics, and Law program within the renowned Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) initiative stands as an intellectually enriching opportunity tailored for exceptional high school sophomores and juniors worldwide. Participants in this program embark on a comprehensive exploration of intricate economic theories, the dynamics inherent in political landscapes, and the foundational aspects of legal systems on the historic Yale campus.  


Led by Yale’s esteemed faculty and subject matter experts, the program features captivating seminars, discussions, and immersive workshops. Access to Yale’s abundant resources further enriches the learning experience, providing a unique opportunity for young scholars to broaden their perspectives and delve deeply into the most pressing global issues. 


Location: Yale University, New Haven, CA

Cost: $6,500 (financial aid available)

Course Dates: 2 Week Sessions from June to July

Application Deadline: November 1, 2023 (Early) and January 10, 2024 (Regular)

Eligibility: High school sophomores or juniors aged 16–18


The UPenn Wharton Global Youth Program offers a transformative journey into the vibrant realm of business and entrepreneurship through its comprehensive online course. Leveraging innovative online tools akin to those used in Wharton’s esteemed classrooms, the program introduces diverse business themes guided by the faculty to spark a global conversation.


Geared towards students in 9th to 12th grades, this intensive two-week experience immerses participants in design thinking frameworks, delves into the nuances of scenario planning within a business context, and cultivates strategies for effective teamwork. Moreover, the program incorporates two interactive business simulations, providing practical application opportunities to solve real-world challenges.


Location: Virtual 

Cost: $4099

Course Dates: 3 two-week programs across summer from June — August 

Application Deadline: March 6, 2024

Eligibility: High School Students


This immersive online creative writing course delves deep into the art and technique of crafting engaging narratives by esteemed Standard professor Dr. Kimberly Grey. Through an exploration of poems, essays, and short stories penned by esteemed authors, students embark on a journey to refine their individualized writing processes. Understanding the distinct terms set by each creative piece becomes a focal point, enabling students to write with a reader’s sensibility and read with a writer’s discernment.


Utilizing class discussions, purposeful exercises, and collaborative workshops, participants gain a comprehensive grasp of the foundational elements of creative writing. This course not only hones creative thinking but also culminates in the development of a personal portfolio of original works. Importantly, students become integral members of a supportive writing community, fostering an environment conducive to growth and exploration in the realm of creative expression.


Location: Virtual

Cost: $3,050 (financial aid available)

Course Dates: Session 1: June 17, 2024 — June 28, 2024 | Session 2: July 08, 2024 — July 19, 2024

Application Deadline: March 29, 2024

Eligibility: High school students from grades 8 to 11 at the time of application. 


The John Hopkins History and Social Science Summer curriculum encompasses an array of subjects, spanning law, philosophy, economics, U.S. and world history, and psychology. The core of their offerings revolves around engaging in reading, writing, vibrant classroom discussions, and immersive simulations. For younger scholars, the courses offer captivating explorations into ancient history, geography, great explorers, and the workings of the United Nations. Older students delve into course content akin to introductory college-level classes.


Led by adept instructors experienced in guiding bright young minds, all courses provide valuable insights into government structures, world civilizations, global cultural dynamics, and the complexities of the human mind. Whichever course one chooses, it promises a journey filled with essential knowledge and understanding of diverse facets that shape our world.


Location: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Cost: ranges from $3,099 to $6,819

Course Dates: Dates vary based on location but run from June to August

Application Deadline: May 3, 2024

Eligibility: All students from grades 2 to 12


Delve into the captivating realm of Hollywood’s evolution and its present-day global dominance in this online course by the University of Pennsylvania. The course meticulously chronicles Hollywood’s phenomenal growth and expansive global influence since its inception in the 1920s. Exploring the intricate web of the industry, you’ll uncover the interplay between business strategies, political influences, and the artistic realms of film, television, and emerging media.


Through the lens of historical crises like world wars, the Cold War, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the impact of events like 9/11 on American politics, this course offers insights into Hollywood’s adaptive responses. Central to the exploration are close examinations of key studios such as Paramount, Disney, and Fox, among others. Iconic filmmakers like Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Frank Capra, George Lucas, Spike Lee, and numerous other influential figures who have shaped Hollywood’s trajectory across time are also studied.


Location: Virtual

Cost: Free

Course Dates: Self paced-roughly 4 weeks with 3–4 hours per week

Application Deadline: Rolling

Eligibility: Open to all


Within this course, students embark on an exploration of the intersection between AI, game design, and their impactful potential for societal betterment. Fundamental concepts of AI and game design serve as the bedrock of learning, fostering collaborative endeavors among students in team-based activities. Engaging in idea generation and storytelling, students collectively craft games while delving into the essential principles underlying both AI and game design. 


They undertake small-scale user research, unraveling how these projects and games can serve as solutions to real-world challenges spanning education, mental health, and climate change. Students culminate the course by creating and presenting projects that intricately weave together environmental and socio-economic needs within game design.


Location: Virtual

Cost: $3050 (financial aid available)

Course Dates: July 08, 2024 — July 19, 2024

Application Deadline: March 29, 2024

Eligibility: High schoolers in grades 10 and 11


Embark on an enlightening journey with Yale free Online’s course, “Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature,” which offers a profound exploration into the essence of humanity. This comprehensive program meticulously examines philosophical inquiries surrounding human nature, spanning classical philosophical ideologies to contemporary perspectives. Dive into intriguing discussions covering a spectrum of fundamental topics, from dissecting concepts of morality and free will to unraveling the enigmatic nature of consciousness.


This engaging course is structured around thought-provoking video lectures, meticulously curated readings, and interactive assignments. Through these resources, participants are encouraged to navigate and grapple with intricate philosophical concepts. Moreover, the course fosters an environment where individuals can develop their critical thinking skills, empowering them to formulate well-reasoned conclusions and perspectives.


Location: Virtual

Cost: Free

Course Dates: Self-Paced

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to enroll in this course.



Consider exploring the Lumiere Research Scholar Program this summer if you’re eager to delve deeper into the world of research. This selective online high school program, founded in collaboration with researchers at Harvard and Oxford, offers a unique opportunity to elevate your applications and resumes. With over 4000 applicants vying for just 500 spots last year, this program stands as a distinguished platform for aspiring researchers. The application form can be found here.


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 University seal

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