Pre-College Programs

Courses Starting the Week of July 13, 2014 (95)

Our Summer Pre-College Program residence halls are filling, but we still have some room: 

  • Men’s halls have space during all one week sessions
  • Women’s halls have space only for those one week sessions beginning July 20 and July 27
  • Space is available for both men and women during the last two week session beginning July 27

Wait-list Protocol

To ensure we have residence hall space for students wishing to enroll in terms where residential space is limited, we've instituted a course waitlist: this is why you may have seen in the course catalog that the course you’re interested in is “waitlisted.”  If you've paid your deposit, you may put yourself on the waitlist and if there’s room for you in the appropriate residence, we’ll move you into the course. If you want to find out whether there is still room in a course and the residence hall before your pay your deposit, please contact our office.

Courses listed as “Open” or “Waitlisted” still have space available, but the latter may be contingent on appropriate space in our residence halls.

"Full: Waitlist Closed" means there is no space in a course, the waitlist already full, and so not open to new registrants.

For course announcements and updates, please Join our Mailing List »

From I Love Lucy to Lost: Television and American Culture

In this course, we will study how television reflects and shapes American culture, from its beginnings as focal point of family life in the suburban 1950s to its current status as interactive experience. We will look at television as a business, as a medium, and as a cultural force. Within that framework, we will analyze who decides which programs to put on the air, and how...

One Section Offered »

The Human Body: A Cultural Creation

Henna art. Bleached skin. Foot binding. Medical tattooing. Each of these bodily practices represents a socially-constructed understanding of how the human body is treated and experienced in a particular culture. Constituted by much more than genetics and biology, the human body has social, political, physical, symbolic and technological dimensions which vary through time and...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

The cultural and social diversity of the world around us is astounding. Anthropology is a discipline that examines different aspects of this diversity and allows one to better understand the complexity of social phenomena. This course introduces students to the most important concepts and approaches used by anthropologists in understanding socio-cultural variation. The course...

One Section Offered »

Forensic Science: CSI Providence - Senior SPARK

Forensics is the application of science to answer questions pertaining to the law. Methods used to solve criminal investigations have progressed significantly over the past thirty years. Investigators and scientists now collaborate and use forensic technologies to uncover facts associated with criminal cases. This course will uncover the truth behind criminal investigations...

One Section Offered »

Understanding the Human Body: An Exploration of Anatomy - Senior SPARK

Have you ever wondered how your body does all the things that it does? Our bodies contain 206 bones and over 600 muscles, all coordinated by a central computer called the brain. In this course, you will learn how your body’s components work as one to keep you going everyday.

This exciting hands-on course will provide an opportunity to answer your questions...

One Section Offered »

Techniques in DNA-Based Biotechnology

The development of powerful tools in molecular biology has led to an explosion in our understanding of genes and the factors controlling their expression. Illuminating research, including recent Nobel Prize winning work, is beginning to reveal the significant role of RNA, a molecule long thought to be merely a "messenger."

Through extensive laboratory...

Two Sections Offered »

Understanding the Nation's Health

What is Public Health? Public health is the latest buzz word in America, and in this one week course, students will develop an overall understanding of public health. From universal health care to mandated health insurance coverage, students will examine the dichotomy between individual health and public health. Newspaper articles and sound bytes will challenge students to...

One Section Offered »

Bacteriology: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly

Did you know that the bubonic plague killed approximate 50% of Europe’s population in the middle ages? Did you know that the bacterium that causes leprosy lives inside of the American Armadillo? Bacteria floating miles high in the atmosphere can cause meningitis. Bacteria even contribute to obesity and heart attacks. Come learn about the amazing word of bacteria!


One Section Offered »

So You Want to Be a Doctor?

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Five Weeks

Is a career in medicine right for you? This course is designed to help you answer that question. Experience the study of medicine in a whole new way and get a taste of what medical school and practicing medicine in a variety of different medical specialties would be like. Participants in this class will:

* Study gross anatomy, histology, physiology, and microbiology in...

Three Sections Offered »

Body at Work: Anatomy, Physiology, and Disease

  • Program: Online
  • Length: Four Weeks

In this course you will study the major organ systems of the body, investigate normal and pathologic anatomy and physiology, and examine common diseases and injuries that affect the body’s organ systems.

Students considering a career in the health professions will find this course provides a foundation in the study of human form and function, with an emphasis on the...

Two Sections Offered »

Infectious and Epidemic Disease

Understanding how pathogens are transmitted, lead to illness, and how they can be controlled or cured is the cornerstone of medical science. We will explore a variety of pathogenic organisms by examining their life cycle, transmission from host to host, and why some pathogens result in to epidemics. Students will discover not only the treatment of epidemic disease, but also...

One Section Offered »

Drug Discovery: Treating Human Disease Through Medicine

Whether you’re pursuing a career in research or medicine, this award-winning class will give you a “behind the scenes” look into drug discovery and prescription medicine. You will learn biological pathways of the most prevalent diseases affecting society and how drugs are being developed to treat these aliments. By course end, you will have developed a fundamental...

One Section Offered »

The Great Diseases: Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Infections

This course will explore the big killers of mankind. Student will gain a better understanding of the history of disease and the biological reasons diseases occur.

This course will examine the major diseases that man is afflicted with. We will explore cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzeimers, autoimmune...

One Section Offered »

Cancer Biology: An Evolving Puzzle

Have you ever questioned why certain types of cancer are so difficult to treat or how basic science discoveries translate into clinical practice? This course will provide an introduction to cancer biology through hands-on laboratory exercises and interactive lectures. Students will have the opportunity to develop an independent research project and learn about the daily activities...

One Section Offered »

Viruses: Ancient Machines in a Modern World

Have you ever had a really bad cold? Maybe the flu? Do you know a polio survivor? Someone with AIDS?

Do you ever wonder exactly how these illnesses occur? It turns out we are merely guests in a fascinating microscopic world. Among the bacteria, parasites, prions, and other microbes are tiny, lifeless, parasitic beings that have been on earth long before we ever were: we...

One Section Offered »

Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

There's a lot of controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells, but did you know that there are many types of stem cells in the body and that some are already being used to treat diseases? In this course, you'll learn about what stem cells are, what they do, and their importance to research and medicine. You’ll even learn how to culture mammalian cells. Discover...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

From Brain to Sensation: Neurobiology of Perception - Junior SPARK

Taste! Smell! Sound! Sight! Touch! Balance! How is all of this information turned into sensation? Hint: it involves the brain! Students will learn how our brains make sense of the world around us, and they'll learn a little brain anatomy along the way too!

Through a combination of individual and small group experiments, students will about the sensory systems...

One Section Offered »

Brain Basics: From Biology to Behavior

The study of the brain as a biological structure is very different from the study of any other organ in the body. The cells that make up the brain, neurons, share many of the same fundamental characteristics with other cells of the body (exocytosis, manufacturing of proteins, metabolism, growth). However the functions of these cells result in products that are quite unique...

One Section Offered »

Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior

The facts you have learned across your lifetime and your memories for personal experiences make each one of us unique, as humans. Consider, however, how one’s sense of self would be affected if they were unable to form new such memories? At a more basic level, how could animals survive if they were unable to learn from their experiences? This course will offer students...

One Section Offered »

Psychoactive Drugs: Brain, Body, Society

Have you ever wondered about the difference between recreational and medicinal usage of psychoactive drugs (drugs that alter mood and behavior)? Are there basic differences in the action of psychoactive drugs when they are taken for recreational versus medicinal purposes? And how does society decide how to categorize psychoactive drugs: which ones to make legal and which illegal?...

One Section Offered »

The Secret Life of the Brain: From Shrimps to Humans

The human brain contains about 100 billion cells known as neurons, yet it remains a mystery how the activity of these neurons makes us think, feel and move. In this course we will try to answer this question.

Standard neuroscience courses usually begin with a description of brain's nuts-and-bolts (neurons, ion channels, synapses), while all the fun topics (behavior,...

One Section Offered »

Neurotechnology, Where Brain Meets Machine

This course will introduce students to the rapidly advancing interface between the human nervous system and technology, and its potential to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases. A brief introduction to brain basics, and an overview of past, current and future neurotechnology will inspire students to consider how medical technology is envisioned, tested and created in...

One Section Offered »

The Anatomy of Human Cognition: A Neuropsychological Approach

Much of what is known about the neuroanatomy of human cognition has been inferred from observing how behavior changes as a result of injury or disease. In this course, students will learn about the brain structures and systems involved in memory, language, attention, and executive function by reviewing case studies of patients sustaining brain injuries or disease. By introducing...

One Section Offered »

Visual Consciousness

How can a physical system of the brain experience anything? We are going to seek answers to this question within a neuro-scientific framework. Consciousness is the major unsolved problem, although we all experience it everyday.

We will address following questions: (1) What is consciousness?
 (2) What are the neuronal correlates of consciousness in brain? This course...

One Section Offered »

This is Sparta!

Why do we still glorify the Spartans in movies and books over 2000 years after their city and way of life fell to ruins? What about Spartan history and culture has captured the imaginations of those who have studied them, both in the ancient and modern worlds? Their strict, regimented lifestyle produced a class of dedicated, fearsome warriors, but did their eugenics and training...

One Section Offered »

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...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to the Global Business Environment

This course deals with the application of global business theory in the context of institutional, political, national and international economic factors. We will study how global trade patterns are determined, how the particular configurations of global finance under which firms operate emerge, and contemporary strategies utilized by firms in the global economy within the context...

One Section Offered »

International Financial Markets and Investments

This course provides an introduction to the study of financial assets and international financial markets. Topics covered include the purpose and functioning of financial markets and institutions, valuation of financial assets, analysis of risk and return, and the recent financial crisis.

The course will address questions such as the following: What are the functions...

One Section Offered »

Economic Growth and Development

Why are some countries so much richer than others? Why is the standard of living in developed countries like the United States so much higher today than it was 100 years ago? Are there policies that poor countries can implement that will help them catch up with those that are rich? Will growth in rich countries continue on its current trend, so that our grandchildren will...

One Section Offered »

Making Informed Financial Decisions in Today's World Economy

This course introduces students to concepts and tools needed to understand basic economic decision making. By examining how individuals, governments and businesses allocate resources, students will gain an understanding of the environment in which resource decisions are made. In this course, we focus on economic analysis rather than investments. We examine some of the instruments...

One Section Offered »

Technology and its Effect on Business and World Economies

This course analyzes economic effects of continuous advances in technology, automation in production, outsourcing and globalization. From nanotechnology to smart phones to 3D printers, this course helps students understand and predict what the economy of the future will look like.

In 1980, three television stations provided entertainment, telephones were stuck to...

One Section Offered »


Do good-looking people earn more? Are `Emily’ and `Greg’ more employable than `Lakisha’ and `Jamal’? Can cancer affect housing prices? Does living near a fast food restaurant cause obesity? Is corruption a cultural trait? This course will examine selected discoveries in empirical economics and explain them in easy-to-understand terms, introducing students...

One Section Offered »

Intro to Microeconomics

This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of microeconomics, and by doing so teach students the basics of how to think about economics. Students who adequately complete this three-week course will be well prepared to study economics at the university level. The solid foundation in economic analysis should also benefit students planning to take the AP...

One Section Offered »

The Entrepreneurial Process: Turning Ideas into Commercial Realities

Being an entrepreneur means being willing to take risks, look at things in new ways and challenge convention with your creativity. In this course, you’ll learn how the entrepreneurial process can work, as well as the ways innovation of products and services are developed and managed. We’ll look at entrepreneurial ventures within both start-up and fully developed...

One Section Offered »

Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things

Presidential Elections, marathon times, wine quality, extramarital affairs, interest rates. What all of these topics have in common is that they can all be explained and analyzed using the tools of Econometrics and Statistics. Did you ever wonder how Nate Silver reaches his election predictions? Did you watch Moneyball and wondered how it was possible for an economist to take...

One Section Offered »

Ancient Egyptian Religion and Magic

Ancient Egyptian temples stand as enduring remnants of Egypt's religious past. From the Great Pyramids of Giza to pit graves of the non-elite, from the great palaces and temples of kings and gods like Karnak and Luxor to private shrines in houses, this course invites you to partake in the reconstruction of ancient Egypt's religion. By analyzing Egyptian texts, statues,...

One Section Offered »

TOEFL Preparation

This course is an intermediate-advanced level English course focused on preparation for the TOEFL test. Students will review test-taking strategies and develop skills in Listening, Grammar, Reading and Writing. Students join in class discussions to reinforce their knowledge of the structure of English. They will complete in-class and homework assignments related to developing...

One Section Offered »

Composing the Academic Essay

Based on Brown’s well-regarded Academic Essay course, in this class you will learn how to organize and craft a well-researched academic essay that explores a topic of your choice on an issue that matters to you. You will develop an idea, expand and support it with evidence, articulate it by means of a carefully-structured argument, and conclude it with implications for...

Two Sections Offered »

Writing Speculative Fiction

In this class we will write. A lot. We will write every day. And by doing so, we will develop as story tellers. We will look at work from the early days of the genre to work written last week. We will look at these stories not only out of a love for sci-fi, but also out of an interest in language. We will see how the great stories were crafted and use that knowledge to inform...

One Section Offered »

Love, Horror, Monsters, Beauties: Writing about Literature by Reading Below the Surface

The goal of this two-week course is to introduce students to the practice of college-level critical reading and writing. This class works under the assumption that there is not a single, easy meaning to any piece of literature. Thus, instead of trying to find that one “correct” interpretation, we will be reading closely and actively. Students will learn the skills...

One Section Offered »

Intro to Language and Linguistics

This course introduces pre-college students to the study of language. We examine how people produce, hear, and classify speech sounds, how we structure words and group them together, and how we use and interpret language in everyday life. We also discuss key findings about the social dimensions of language, its neurological basis, and the history of language.

Students will...

One Section Offered »

Inward Bound: The Art of Travel Writing

How do we translate our experiences of new places--and new worlds--into a form that we can share with others? When we learn to use the tools of fiction like character, narrative, and description to address topics from the real world including our personal experience and topics that are of interest to us, our writing immediately becomes more powerful. This course provides techniques...

One Section Offered »

Politics and the Tradition of American Humor: Ben Franklin to Stephen Colbert

Starting with satirical writing from the 18th century and continuing to the late-night television satire of today, this course examines how humor has been used to explore the political and social issues of the time. Jon Stewart's "fake news" uses irony and sarcasm to blur the divide between "real" and "fake" news, while Stephen Colbert's...

One Section Offered »

Putting Your Ideas Into Writing

Do you ever wish you could express your thoughts in a clearer and more compelling manner? Do you have convincing arguments and brilliant insights in your mind that just don't seem to translate into your writing? This course will help you get those great ideas onto paper and communicate them effectively to your intended audience, whether that is a high school teacher,...

One Section Offered »

English On Stage: Building Language Skills Through Performance

The main objective of English on Stage is to provide students with an opportunity to hone their English language skills through improvisational and scripted performance. By setting English instruction in the world of the dramatic arts, the course encourages students to experiment with newly learned vocabulary and grammar. It supplements more traditional language learning models...

One Section Offered »

How to Read a Poem (and How to Write One, too)

Poems challenge us. They use language differently from other genres, and their subjects often elude us, and we end up asking what does the poem mean?

How then do poems need to be read? What, other than the technical information we find in books on poetry, do we need to know about poetic forms and language? think about? puzzle over? How do we know when our interpretation...

One Section Offered »

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...

Two Sections Offered »

Toward a Global America: Identity and Difference in the American “Melting Pot”

America has been described as a melting pot and a nation of immigrants, but what does it mean to be an “American” and to claim an “American” identity? This course will introduce students to the study of personal and group identity in U.S. literature and culture. Crossing multiple genres, historical periods, and cultural forms (fiction, film, TV), we...

One Section Offered »

Putting Yourself into Words

This week-long workshop will explore the balance between self-expression and effective communication essential to writing powerful personal narratives, college admissions essays, and creative reflections. As you write and receive feedback daily, you’ll learn not only about purpose, revision, and style, but also about writing as a means of exploring, learning, figuring...

Two Sections Offered »

RobotC : An Introduction to Programming using LEGO Robots - Junior SPARK

Do you like LEGO's? Do you like robots? Have you heard of the Mars Rover? Do you want to learn about ultrasonic, light, and sound sensors? Do you like computers? If these questions appeal to you, then you will want to register for this course.

This LEGO robotics course will feature fully customizable LEGO robotic rovers (car-like vehicles). Students typically...

One Section Offered »

Do You Want to Be an Engineer?

In this course we will explore the interdisciplinary connections between different engineering fields, ranging from mechanical engineering to materials science, and include topics and projects in biomedical, chemical, and aerospace engineering.

Throughout high school, you may well have wondered why classes focused so much on scientific concepts rather than on any...

Two Sections Offered »

Materials Engineering: A Revolution in the Making

What do you think would be the greatest, coolest invention of this century? Many of the greatest scientists and technologists believe that this would be in the field of Materials research " of new materials that have amazing properties, and what’s more " are capable of changing themselves to suit their requirements. Though we know of an amazing array of materials,...

One Section Offered »

Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion

The main objective of the course is to deliver background knowledge of renewable energy and discuss the advantages and challenges of existing methods of energy storage and conversion. The course will help students to understand the importance of renewable energy. This will provide the foundations to students who are interested in related subjects such as materials engineering,...

One Section Offered »

From Water Striders to Airplanes: Engineering Fluids

What is fluid? Ranging from air and water (which is obvious), to lava and glass (which is somewhat non-intuitive), to large objects like Jupiter (a gas planet) and the Sun (also gaseous), and even a galaxy (with numerous clouds), a fluid is simply everything that can flow.

In this course you will learn how to apply various important fluid dynamics concepts to a range...

One Section Offered »

Exploring the World of Marine Science - Junior SPARK

Students will learn the basics of estuarine ecology and environmental sciences through a variety of field exercises and data collection techniques. The one-week course will allow students to learn about Narragansett Bay in-depth by using Save The Bay’s waterfront Bay Center laboratory, classroom, shoreline and dock space, and from bay field trips aboard Save The Bay’s...

One Section Offered »

Beginning Italian in Rome

To really experience Italy one must feel the color and rhythm of the Italian language. This course aims to help students experience the Italian language in everyday contexts, so that they may use it in their wanderings around Rome. In the classroom, students will learn by doing, and they will be involved in all sorts of team projects, musical games, and creative thinking activities....

Two Sections Offered »

Hurricanes, Global Warming, and the Science of Weather - Junior SPARK

Summer weather produces storms that include lightning, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. You will track these storms as they are occurring during the week of study at Brown and will learn about these storms and the weather systems that produce the storms. We will also explore how global warming is affecting the strength of hurricanes. What might you do to guard against...

One Section Offered »

Secrets & Symbols of Roman Art & Architecture: Renaissance & Baroque

This course will provide an in-depth, insider investigation of the architectural and artistic wonders of the city of Rome, from the Renaissance through the Baroque. But more than this, this course will bring students behind the scenes, to explore the secrets and symbols of the hidden city. While the course will cover the major items of art historical interests, from the Caravaggio’s...

One Section Offered »

Music & Politics: From Mozart to M.I.A.

So you like listening to music, but have you ever stopped to consider its meaning, even its political significance? In this class we explore the relationship between music and politics, from classical music to indie rock. Through the practice of listening critically to music, this class illuminates past and present political events and demonstrates music’s crucial...

One Section Offered »

Ancient Rome: Archaeology and Civic Life

The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the high point of Roman civilization, the Early Imperial Era, from which remains rich literary and archaeological evidence. Students will investigate the Romans through daily visits to archaeological sites throughout the modern city of Rome, as well as through museum visits and readings in the relevant literature.

One Section Offered »

The American Counterculture: From Oz to Occupy Wall Street

The overarching theme is the study of the sociological category of a subculture and the emergence of counternormative cultural expressions in music, literature, style and politics. The main objective of the course is to critically communicate and analyze the historical, philosophical and sociological foundations of the American counterculture from the nineteen fifties to the...

One Section Offered »

The History of the Modern Middle East

The focus of the course will be the history of the Modern Middle East from Napoleon's incursion into Egypt until the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Concepts and issues to be discussed on a thematic basis include nationalism, cultural renaissance, the decline of empire, genocide, diplomacy, human rights and the status of refugees. Thematic coverage in the course will include...

One Section Offered »

Combinatorics: Why Counting Counts, or how to Count Without Counting

Imagine putting a random group of people in a room - how many do you need so the probability that two of them have the same birthday is at least one half? Something like 182 or about 365/2, right? Wrong! In fact, the probability is already greater than one-half with a random collection of only 23 people! At its core, this is a question about counting; in this course we...

One Section Offered »

Modern Italy Through Film

Italy has a long and important film history, one recognized throughout the world: Rossellini, Bertolucci, Fellini, De Sica, Antonioni, Visconti and many others " all of them have contributed in important ways to international, global cinema. At the same time, these directors have also been deeply engaged with the exploration of what it means to be Italian; they, in their...

One Section Offered »

History of American Film

This course examines American film-making from about 1920 through the present. Its main objective is to familiarize students with the history of American film, with a special focus on films that have been highly influential both culturally and aesthetically.

This course examines the history of American cinema from the silent era into the era of the studio monopolies...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Music Production

"Introduction to Music Production" will provide hands-on study of recording studio techniques and aesthetics. Students will create original studio work while developing listening and technical skills for audio production. Technical topics include digital and analog audio technology, acoustics, microphone technique, signal processing and mixing using professional audio...

One Section Offered »

Everyday Mechanics and Special Relativity: From Earthly Speed to the Speed of Light! - Senior SPARK

Newtonian mechanics and Einstein's theory of Special Relativity is a very exciting and beautiful part of our daily life! Every single day, we see mechanics, experience it, and enjoy it through many cool activities! Every time we shoot an American football, bike, drive, take ride on a roller coaster, or fly in an airplane, we precisely obey the fundamental laws of mechanics...

One Section Offered »

The Physics of Music and Neuroscience of Hearing - Senior SPARK

What does it take to hear music? What makes musical instruments sound different from one another even when you play the same note? How can an opera singer shatter glass? Why is a cello much bigger than a violin? Why are the sound of a cymbal and a snare drum different from each other? Why does the note change when you hold different finger holes on a flute?

In this...

One Section Offered »

The Tiniest Bits of Reality

Why is the Higgs boson so important? Why does Leon Lederman, a Nobel laureate, call it “the God particle”? And what does it have to do with the world we live in: light, electricity, nuclear power, atoms and molecules? In order to answer these questions, we will have to take a journey back in time, to the universe as it was when it was forming. Along the way we will...

One Section Offered »

Physics in Health and Medicine

Ever wonder how our immune system is able to detect and track down harmful invaders? Or how an MRI machine can examine our body from the inside out? In reality, both our bodies and medical technologies heavily rely of the laws of physics to operate effectively.

In this course, we will examine how physical laws govern how our body works. For example, in the circulatory...

One Section Offered »

From the Solar System to the Universe: An Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology

The Solar System. Black holes. Galaxy clusters. Quasars. The closer we look at these and other astrophysical objects, the more mysteries we uncover. This course will provide an introduction to topics of active research in astrophysics and cosmology, travelling from our galaxy to furthest reaches of the Universe. Along the way we will explore objects like black holes, quasars,...

One Section Offered »

The Extraordinary Inventions of Nikola Tesla

Much is speculated and little is known about one of the most brilliant inventors at the turn of the century, Nikola Tesla. With more than 1000 patented inventions, Tesla laid the foundations of modern society as well as a solid ground for this course. Students will be introduced to the theory of electricity and magnetism and its applications, the principles of wireless transmission...

One Section Offered »

Light and Sight: The Science of Vision

What is light? How does it encode information about the world around us? What are our eyes made of, and how do they record images? How do those images get converted into brain signals? These are the questions guiding our exploration.

Every experience you've ever had has relied on a group of special nerve cells devoted to responding to external stimuli. These cells,...

One Section Offered »

Science, Perception and Reality

Modern science throws light on many of the perennial questions of philosophy, sometimes seeming to confirm or refute old answers and sometimes suggesting new ones. Are sensory qualities, such as colors, in external things or only in our minds? Is the world governed by deterministic laws, and if so, what room is there for freedom of the will? Could space have extra dimensions?...

One Section Offered »

Themes from Existentialism

By far the most popular philosophy course at Brown, this course on existentialist philosophy (taught by the current chair of the philosophy department) provides a unique introduction to philosophical thinking, by applying the methods of philosophical analysis and argumentation to questions and issues confronting all human beings: What is the meaning of a life with the distinctive...

One Section Offered »

The Meaning of Life

There may be no single question more important than this: What is the meaning of life? It’s a question we all face, and finding an answer is urgent. Is there even such a thing? If so, is it something outside of us or something we have to give to ourselves? In trying to find answers, we will discuss issues ranging from purpose and fulfillment to happiness and death.

One Section Offered »

The U.S. In World Politics

Globalization is transforming the relationship between world events and U.S. politics. After 9/11 and Iraq, foreign affairs are no longer distant affairs, yet confusion abounds. This course provides pathways to understanding, usable to students as future voters and global citizens. It combines traditional perspectives on war and trade with a new look at world politics, tracing...

One Section Offered »

The Power of Political Ideas

This course gives students a chance to undertake a fascinating and highly challenging process of political and intellectual exploration. In addition to well-established far right- and left-wing ideas, you will be exposed to and asked to evaluate such ideologies as Nihilism, Radical Feminism, Radical Environmentalism, and even Radical Islam.

This will be an intense,...

One Section Offered »

Democracy and Crisis: Freedom, Security and Emergency Politics

Wiretapping. Enhanced, invasive airport security screening. Evacuations. Financial bailouts. In these and many other ways, our regular ways of democratic life are disrupted when a crisis looms. But what happens to individual freedom and the accountability of government to its citizens when the red alert siren goes off?

How can (and should) we "as citizens,...

One Section Offered »

Watching and Being Watched: The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

The course will consider privacy in the digital age. Students will work through puzzles that push them to consider how laws should govern privacy and how privacy relates to their own development.

At least since George Orwell's 1984, it has been clear that privacy is impacted by technological innovation. In this course we'll consider in detail how technology...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Psychology and Human Behavior

In this class we will define the scope of psychology and explore some of its most interesting and relevant topics. For example, in what ways does our evolutionary history influence the way we behave today? How has intelligence been defined and measured, and what have been the political and social consequences? How do early patterns of attachment influence current romantic...

One Section Offered »

Genetics and Human Behavior

The completion of the Human Genome Project may be the most important scientific achievement of our lifetime, but how much can genes tell us about complex human behavior? How much does the environment impact human behavior? What kind of research techniques can be used to identify specific genes and specific environments that impact behavior?

Behavioral genetics is a field...

One Section Offered »

Introduction to Clinical Psychology

In this course, students will be exposed to the science and practice of Clinical Psychology. Students will learn about the clinical characteristics of many major classes of psychiatric disorders, and the scientifically validated treatments available for these conditions. This course is intended to provide information for those considering a career in clinical psychology, allowing...

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So You Want to Be a Counselor?

This course provides an introduction to the profession of counseling. As such, a primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of counseling and the multiple training disciplines. The course will address the various fields of counseling (e.g., school counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, clinical psychology) and the required training needed...

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Community Psychology: Making a Difference in the Real World

Are you interested in psychology and really want to have an impact on your school, neighborhood, community, or society? Are you passionate and have a vision of how to affect and maybe change the system?

Community psychologists seek to understand the relationships between individuals and larger systems. If you have ever wanted to learn about applied psychology that could...

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Abnormal Psychology

If you have ever wondered if your friend has an eating disorder, if your uncle is an alcoholic, or if your math teacher is depressed, you have already thought about abnormal psychology. The study of abnormal psychology includes, but is not limited to: (1) identifying aberrant behavior and (2) determining when the behavior qualifies as a mental illness. Researchers in this area...

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Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior is an introduction to theoretical concepts and empirical research in the behavioral sciences as they apply to behavior within organizational settings. The primary goal of this course is to prepare students for an advanced leadership role in modern organizations, and is designed for students of any discipline. The course’s main objective is to provide...

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Social Psychology

Social psychology is the intriguing study of social context and the way it influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The overall objective of this course is to introduce students to key theories in this fascinating field of psychology. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the application of social psychology research to real-world problems and to incorporate concepts...

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Psychology in Medicine: Emotions, Behaviors, and Disease

Have you ever wondered where the terms “cold feet” or “butterflies in your stomach” come from? Have you ever wondered why zebras and other animals don’t get ulcers? This course will answer these and other questions related to the role of psychology in the onset, course, and treatment of medical conditions.

This course will provide an...

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Psychology of Good and Evil

How do we define good and evil? Are people born that way? What about social, environmental, and cultural forces? What are your individual vulnerabilities and strengths? Let's find out in this course!

The media is filled everyday with stories of unimaginable harm and unselfish heroes. Have you ever wondered what makes people behave the ways they do? What can...

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Digital Video Production

Digital video production is for budding movie-makers with an emphasis on experimentation in the use of the video medium. The primary goal of the course will be to serve as a foundation for further exploration in digital video artwork and storytelling. Attendees will write, direct, act, shoot, and edit short videos, with beginning and intermediate instruction. We will cover...

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Digital Photography

This is a course in Basic digital photography dedicated to STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. It is divided in two parts: The first being theoretical, with the analysis of the work of the masters of Photography, an historical and technical approach to the style and an overlook to the traditional techniques of the past and present (from B/W prints to Lightroom and Photoshop software elements....

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Foundations of Creative Process

Creativity is typically characterized as the ability to produce work that is both novel and appropriate to a given context, which is to say, useful and meaningful. Through interdisciplinary studio practice, this course will challenge students to develop and refine their own personal approach to the creative process.

In this course, we will explore divergent thinking...

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Skyscrapers! The Secret Lives of the World's Tallest Buildings

Ascending a staggering half mile into the sky, the Burj Khalifa represents the culmination of a story that began in 1896 with the ten-story Wainwright Building; the world's first skyscraper. What happened in the intervening century is the story of this class, which traces the forgotten histories of the world's tallest structures. The glistening pinnacle of the Chrysler...

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