Pre-College Programs

Courses Starting the Week of June 29, 2014 (42)

American Consumer Culture, 1870-present

What do we mean when we talk about the modern era in the United States as a “culture of consumption?” How have Americans created and reflected identities through participation in this culture? Beginning with the advent of mass production, advertising, and branding, we will examine the development of modern consumer culture, from its foundations in the 1870’s...

The Four-Color Phenomenon: A Historical Survey of American Comic Books and Graphic Novels, 1938-2000

This course surveys the history of American comic books. It utilizes the study of the medium as an entry point to engage broader trends and issues in American society and culture throughout the twentieth century, like race, class, and gender. Generally, comic books have long been seen as ephemera designed for children, but today, with the rise in popularity of superhero movies...

The Archaeology of Globalization

Is globalization something truly new in human history? How can we compare cross-cultural interaction before the written word and after the age of the Internet? In the modern world, what is the difference between "artifact" and "art"? Learn to tackle these questions by thinking like an archaeologist about the material world around you. From the ancient world...

From Mad Cow Disease to Alzheimer's: The Biological Basis of Disease

What do Mad Cow, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease have in common? All these diseases are caused by cellular proteins, found in the brain, which fail to fold properly. Through this course, you will learn about key diseases that are caused by protein mis-folding. Topics covered will include symptoms, cellular physiology and current methods of treatment. You will...

Principles of Human Physiology - Part B

Physiology is the critical study of how living things function. It is not anatomy, but as one of the most fundamental disciplines in the biomedical sciences, it depends heavily on anatomical and biological concepts. An understanding of the basic principles of physiology, especially in regard to our own bodies, is an invaluable part of any budding physicians’ or scientists’...

Using Pharmacology To Help Us Study The Nervous System

Have you ever thought about how nerve cells in your brain talk to each other, and how psychoactive drugs can affect this process? In this class you will learn the latest ideas concerning how nerves use chemicals and electricity to communicate with each other, and how drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD, caffeine and nicotine can alter brain communication.

Pharmacology...

Sex and Chromosomes: The Genetics and Biochemistry of Development

Did you ever wonder how a male knows to be male, not female? How does the female know to stay female? What does sex have to do with any of that? Can the male/female development process be altered? That is, can we re-engineer our genome? If so, how do we turn on and off the right genes at the right time to make sure this happens? And if we can control how and when to turn our...

Drugs, Alcohol & Behavior

Drugs and alcohol have been part of the human experience since prehistory. Why are drugs and alcohol so thoroughly entrenched in human society? How do different drug classes affect human behavior? Why do some people abuse drugs, while others never become addicted? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions. This course will cover the function of drugs in human...

Introduction to Bio-medical Molecular Virology

The focus of this course is on the molecular biology that allows interactions between a virus and its host cell. We will begin with the fundamentals: a discussion of the basic composition of a virus particle and how the macromolecules from which a virus is composed allows it to interact with a specific host cell. The interaction between virus and host will then be further discussed...

From Sound to Synapse: Introduction to Auditory Neuroscience

The main objective of this course is to explore what sound is and how the brain interprets it with a special focus on the perception of music. We will relate the physical properties of sound to acoustic perception, and investigate how music elicits emotional responses.

The course content will answer several central questions that build on one another: How does sound...

Word Etymologies: The Greek and Latin Roots of English

What do the SAT and the application essay have in common? Both offer opportunities for the word-smith to shine: both rely on choosing the right words and understanding them in context. Expanding your vocabulary can also improve success in college, especially if you are intending to major in a STEM field, medicine, or law, which have highly specialized vocabularies based on...

Introduction to Roman Culture & Literature

Spectacles, brutality, gluttony, decadence, ruthless ambition, limitless empire: these are a few of the terms associated with the Romans in modern culture. This course examines another side of one of the greatest societies of the Western World from the point of view of their cultural accomplishments. We will learn about their society through their own words, seeing Roman culture...

Learning Linux & Programming for Beginners

The main aim of the course is to enable students to learn about a powerful operating system and to become familiar with its most important scripting tools. Computer programming skills are a hot commodity in this ever connected world and this course will get students started on the path to become a software programmer. This course will therefore be attractive to all students...

Econometrics: Statistical Tools to Understand Economic Data

This course teaches students how to communicate methods, results, and interpretations using the vocabulary of statistics, with an application in Economics. It is intended to help students that aim to take AP Statistics tests.

Reasoning based on probability and statistics gives modern society the ability to cope with uncertainty. It deals with the design of how data...

Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction

The purpose of the course is to understand behavior using game theoretic concepts. The course will start with the study of basic concepts of game theory and then will move on to the study of decision making by real people who are not perfectly rational. The course will help students understand how people really interact with each other in daily life using both economic theory...

Decision Theory: How to Model Rational Choice

What is rational choice? How do economists model the decision making process? The primary objective of this course is to understand the standard way of modeling choice, which serves as the foundation of both micro- and macroeconomics.

The course will be divided into two parts. In the first part, the traditional way of modeling individual and group choice will be...

Applied Microeconomics: The Economics of Good Health

This course will introduce students to some basic and common empirical methods used in applied microeconomics. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the intuition behind these econometric techniques and how they can help improve causal estimates. Students will then see how these techniques can be applied to answer important questions in the field of health economics.

Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction

This intensive program will excite young writers with numerous tools and alternative approaches to the writing process in either fiction or poetry. Organized into small group workshops based on students' choice of genre, key elements of the program include:

• frequent workshop sessions in which leader and participants offer supportive feedback on your writing;
•...

Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry

This intensive program will excite young writers with numerous tools and alternative approaches to the writing process in either fiction or poetry. Organized into small group workshops based on students' choice of genre, key elements of the program include:

• frequent workshop sessions in which leader and participants offer supportive feedback on your writing;
•...

Writing Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a story boiled down to its essence, one that hinges on a single word, a phrase or a fragment. In this class will learn by doing. We will write every evening and workshop in every class. We will read the work of a variety of modern authors, learning from those who have come before us. This is a class for exploring and pushing language, it is for students who...

Invisible Cities and Ideal States

We'll consider what societies need to survive and thrive, and design societies to our own specifications. We'll explore what we can learn about our own world -- both how it is and how it could be -- by inventing others.

Our central questions: How do the worlds we live in affect the worlds we can imagine? What can we learn about our own world's...

Future Perfect: Science Fiction and the Politics of Imagination

Are we doomed to repeat history, or can we change ourselves for the better? The Politics of Science Fiction explores the ways in which this imaginative genre helps us to rethink our present lives, our relationship to the past, and the possibilities available to us in the future. By looking at authors’ hopes, fears, and fascinations with their own...

Writing the Analytic Essay

This course is designed to teach you how to introduce your voice into an academic conversation. You will learn how to closely read primary texts, summarize arguments, evaluate and respond to critical sources, incorporate evidence and cite references, and employ a variety of rhetorical tools and strategies that will strengthen your position.

Students will study and...

Engineering Biomedical Systems

Have you ever wondered how scientists make pacemakers or grow cartilage for joint repair? These scientists, called biomedical engineers, have been working in this new and exciting field to develop devices and tissue engineered technologies to help us live better lives. The most exciting thing about biomedical engineering is that there are many questions left to be answered....

RobotC, Robot Do: Programming Lego Robots With A Text Based Language

“RobotC, Robot Do” is a summer course meant for high school students interested in learning about programming, but more so about problem solving. RobotC is a text based programming language which is very similar to the C++ programming language, but designed specifically to work with Lego Mindstorms robots. Students will be able to program robots to move, sense,...

BELL: Costa Rica

Brown University, in partnership with the Monteverde Institute and the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), is excited to offer a unique international environmental leadership program in Costa Rica.

This 3-week pre-college program introduces students to the theory and practice of conservation and sustainability in Costa Rica. Students study and explore some of the most...

Trends in Modern Art

This course will look at the major art movements from the 1880s to the present. We will focus on the dominant trends in art making as well as some of the critical theory that surrounds it.

From the Impressionist paintings of Claude Monet, the Cubist work of Pablo Picasso, and the Pop art of Andy Warhol, this course will examine what it means for a work of art to...

On the Wrong Side of History: Recalling America's Losers

History is told from the point of view of the winners, but the “losers” leave behind their marks. In this class, students will consider the arguments of Tories and others who opposed the American Revolution; the dimensions and dynamics of the pro-slavery debate in the antebellum North and South; the alternatives proposed for funding early radio and TV; the American...

A People's History of War: From Imperial Rome to Modern Afghanistan

“War is hell”, an old saying goes. Yet people have waged war on one another for all of human history, and communities around the globe continue to face the harsh realities of war every day. Rather than focusing on battles and military tactics, this course offers a deeper understanding of the human experience of warfare. By examining the social and cultural impact...

Memoirs and the War on Terror

This course will examine the early years of U.S. foreign policy in "the War on Terror" through the memoirs of government officials, military leaders, journalists, and activists. Emphasis will be placed on the Bush Doctrine and its legacy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the fallout of the Arab upheaval. We will use case studies to analyze central issues in the...

Probability and Its Applications

Don’t let them fool you! You hear people talking about probabilities all the time. 80% chance of rain? Well, what does that even mean? If a medical test gives the correct answer with 99% probability, does a positive test result mean you have a 99% chance of being sick? It does not. And when you hang out with your friends playing poker, wouldn’t you like to know...

Theory of Relativity

This course provides an introduction to Einstein's theories of special and general relativity. These theories have had a profound impact on science and technology as well as our worldview of the universe. By the course's end, students will have a much greater understanding of relativity, its importance, and many of its surprises.

Einstein's theories...

The Quantum Revolution in Technology

Nearly 100 years ago, quantum mechanics changed the face of physics forever. The orderly, deterministic rules of classical physics were turbulently turned on their head, unveiling a veritable zoo in which particles can behave like waves and waves like particles, particles can tunnel through walls, and either the position or speed of an object can be known, but both can't...

From Newton to String Theory: A History of Physics

We all know how a falling apple helped Newton discover the laws of gravitation, but did you know that playing bongos in the desert helped Richard Feynman untangle quantum field theory? Or that every famous physicist who studied thermodynamics eventually went crazy?

This is a course for people who want to understand what physics is all about. We will discuss the equations...

Introduction to Nanotechnology

Introduction to Nanotechnology provides a broad overview of Nanotechnology. The course discusses the fundamental science of Nanotechnology and its applications to engineering, biomedical, and environmental fields. This course also focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of the course and how the different basic sciences merge into the field of Nanotechnology.

The...

Understanding the Media: Becoming a Critical News Consumer

Media surrounds us, but does it inform us? It is reported that the average news consumer comes across more information in a day than an informed 17th century citizen came across in a lifetime. So how do we surf these waves, how do we avoid being flooded, and how do we discern between fact and fiction, news and information, meaning and symbol?

In this class we will...

Debating Democracy: Individual, Society, and Tradition

All of us are formally equal in a democracy. But does equality breed conformity? Can we really be individuals in the crowd? And conversely, given our many differences " social, economic, and personal " is formal equality enough to keep a democracy going? Or do we need something more, like a shared sense of history, tradition, or purpose?

We will explore...

Psychology of Stress and Trauma

How do we cope with war, natural disaster, or terrorism? What about surviving experiences with abuse or torture? How are these experiences different or similar to routine life stresses like exams, getting divorced, or taking exams? How can you prevent or treat psychological problems that might arise after trauma? These are some of the overarching issues that will be addressed...

Developing Minds: An Introduction to Developmental Psychology

How do infants and young children perceive and think about the world? This course will explore the rapid patterns of growth and cognitive change that occur early in life. It will also examine the methods that researchers use to learn about how infants and children learn, think, and grow.

What do infants know about the world, and how do they develop so quickly into...

Psychology of Criminal Behavior

People commit crime every day. While this is true, we know that all crime is not the same. What makes one crime different from another? Are all criminals different? Do they commit crimes for different reasons? What do we know about their motivation to commit crime? There is much variability in the occurrence of criminal conduct. In this course, we will learn about crime, criminals,...

Between Darwin and Design: Science & Religion in Conversation

Are religion and science fundamentally in conflict with one another? The U.S. has been called the "most religious of the advanced industrial democracies," yet it also stands at the forefront of scientific discovery. Think about the conflict, for example, between evolutionary theory’s and creationism’s understanding of the human being. At the same time,...

Presenting to the Public

Want to make amazing presentations and influence people? Learn the tips, tricks, tactics and tools of giving effective public presentations. This course will introduce you to fundamental methods of public speaking and designing effective graphic presentations.

Public presentation skills are central to success in any academic or professional career. This course will...