Courses

Summer Start provides carefully chosen courses intended to introduce you to college-level coursework in a supportive environment. Coursework will focus on such diverse topics as:

  • How do we talk about health? How does disease spread within a community, and what strategies are used to mitigate its spread?
  • What social challenges exist in society today, and what are strategies for solving them?
  • How can we use art to understand what has mattered to humans throughout time?
  • What is the role of video games in our culture today?

In each of these courses, faculty and tutors will help you develop learning strategies for both face-to-face and remote learning. Librarians in the course will help you connect to library resources that will deepen your understanding of course concepts. Out-of-class work will focus on strengthening quantitative and writing skills.

Throughout your courses, you will work in a learning community that includes faculty, staff, peer mentors, and alumni.

A typical course session might include a short lecture from a faculty member, followed by a discussion led by the faculty member and assisted by a student tutor. From there, you might be asked to complete a short writing assignment that you would share with writing faculty designed to help you learn successful strategies for college writing. And following that, you might attend a panel session in which Penn State alumni talk about their Penn State experience and offer advice. From there, you might take a virtual tour of a museum or cultural site that is relevant to the coursework.

Course Offerings

The 2020 program runs July 1 – August 14 (Summer Session 2).
Select your campus of admission from the list below to see Summer Start courses available on your campus.

CAS 222: Foundations—Civic and Community Engagement
What role do individuals play in building and sustaining community? This course will introduce students to theories related to civic and community engagement, with a particular focus on the role they play in creating, sustaining, and transforming community.
Instructor: Robert Herbst

ENGL 15: Rhetoric and Composition
How comfortable and prepared are you to write at a college level? This course is an intensive, rhetorically based experience in reading and writing that will prepare you both to understand the communications that surround you and to succeed in your own communication efforts.

GAME 160 N/CMLIT 191 N: Introduction to Video Game Culture
Why are video games important? How do they shape our lives and the ways we interact with one another? This course focuses on the history, meaning, and value of video games in the US, Europe, and East Asia.
Instructor: Bill White

HIST 021: American Civilization Since 1877
How has American culture and civilization changed in the last 143 years? The course is a historical survey of the American experience from the emergence of an urban-industrial society in the late nineteenth century to the present.
Instructor: Jared Frederick

HUM 100N: Foundation in the Humanities—Understanding the Human Experience
What do the arts, including visual arts, performing arts, history, literary, and philosophy tell us about what it means to be human? This course will help students develop critical tools to understand themes and values reflected in the arts and humanities.
Instructor: Sam Findley

CRIMJ 12: Criminology
What causes criminal behavior? Criminology is the study of the causes of criminal behavior with special focus on the major theories explaining criminal behavior including differential association, anomie, control theory, and labeling theory.
Instructor: Jodi Gill

ENGL 193N: The Craft of Comics
How are comics made and what is unique about the genre? The course combines the literary analysis of comics and graphic novels with the creative practice of making comics. Students will learn how to discuss and assess comics and will use this knowledge to create their own.
Instructor: Robin Bower

CAS 100A: Effective Speech
What are the principles of effective public speaking and communication? This course studies the purposeful use of oral communication as a means of addressing practical problems, both professional and civic. Students will present speeches as well as participate in group discussions and message evaluations.
Instructor: Dawn Reitz

CAS 162N: Communicating Care
What do we talk about when we talk about health? Our states of well-being and illness are topics that, like the weather, drive our daily conversations, but we rarely have time to study and practice these vital exchanges. By exploring how these encounters draw from and work as textual and dramatic performances, this course will guide students to achieve a new level of literacy in the most essential communicative art of caring.
Instructor: Kesha Morant Williams

COMM 168: American Journalism: Values, Traditions, and Practices
What is the historic role of journalism in a democracy? This course is designed to give students an overview of American journalism's traditions, principles, and values.
Instructor: Joshua Phillips

SC 120 N: Plants, Places, and People
How do plants impact civilization and vice versa? Students in this course will first learn basic plant biology, and then situate this information in the context of conversations related to food production, genetics, textiles, medicine, agriculture, and sustainability.
Instructor: Mark Boudreau

AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies3 CREDITS
What does it mean to be an American? This course offers a broad-ranging introduction to American cultural history and the discipline of American Studies, including special topics such as social class and the American dream, nature and wilderness, consumer culture, holidays and festivals, childhood and education, youth culture, popular amusements, racial identity, and the immigrant experience.
Instructor: Jasper Sachsenmeier

CAS 222: Foundations—Civic and Community Engagement
What role do individuals play in building and sustaining community? This course will introduce students to theories related to civic and community engagement, with a particular focus on the role they play in creating, sustaining, and transforming community.
Instructor: Carrie Payne

ENGL 15: Rhetoric and Composition
How comfortable and prepared are you to write at a college level? This course is an intensive, rhetorically based experience in reading and writing that will prepare you both to understand the communications that surround you and to succeed in your own communication efforts.

HUM 100N: Foundation in the Humanities—Understanding the Human Experience
What do the arts, including visual arts, performing arts, history, literary, and philosophy tell us about what it means to be human? This course will help students develop critical tools to understand themes and values reflected in the arts and humanities.
Instructor: John Champagne

ENGL 184: The Short Story
How did the literary genre of the short story come to be? This course explores the historical development of the short story genre throughout the world and will examine how historical contexts relate to the content and style of the stories under discussion.
Instructor: Daniel Krack

ARTH 112: Renaissance to Modern Art
What are some of the significant developments in Western art from the 14th century to the present? This course introduces students to the field of art history by examining both the formal elements of art, as well as the historical context of its creation and impact.
Instructor: Patrick Daugherty

CAS 100A: Effective Speech
What are the principles of effective public speaking and communication? This course studies the purposeful use of oral communication as a means of addressing practical problems, both professional and civic. Students will present speeches as well as participate in group discussions and message evaluations.
Instructor: Rosemary Martinelli

GAME 160 N/CMLIT 191 N: Introduction to Video Game Culture
Why are video games important? How do they shape our lives and the ways we interact with one another? This course focuses on the history, meaning, and value of video games in the US, Europe, and East Asia.
Instructor: Jennifer Breese

CAS 100A: Effective Speech
What are the principles of effective public speaking and communication? This course studies the purposeful use of oral communication as a means of addressing practical problems, both professional and civic. Students will present speeches as well as participate in group discussions and message evaluations.

ENGL 15: Rhetoric and Composition
How comfortable and prepared are you to write at a college level? This course is an intensive, rhetorically based experience in reading and writing that will prepare you both to understand the communications that surround you and to succeed in your own communication efforts.

ENGL 193N: The Craft of Comics
How are comics made and what is unique about the genre? The course combines the literary analysis of comics and graphic novels with the creative practice of making comics. Students will learn how to discuss and assess comics and will use this knowledge to create their own.

GAME 160 N/CMLIT 191 N: Introduction to Video Game Culture
Why are video games important? How do they shape our lives and the ways we interact with one another? This course focuses on the history, meaning, and value of video games in the US, Europe, and East Asia.

HUM 100N: Foundation in the Humanities—Understanding the Human Experience
What do the arts, including visual arts, performing arts, history, literary, and philosophy tell us about what it means to human? This course will help students develop critical tools to understand themes and values reflected in the arts and humanities.
Instructor: Eileen Morgan

SC 135 N: Society and Disease Management
How is disease managed among communities? This course will study such topics as how infectious diseases spread through populations, how infectious diseases impact populations, and global health approaches to managing disease.
Instructor: AmIe Yenser

CAS 100A: Effective Speech
What are the principles of effective public speaking and communication? This course studies the purposeful use of oral communication as a means of addressing practical problems, both professional and civic. Students will present speeches as well as participate in group discussions and message evaluations.
Instructor: Sandy Kile

INART 3: Reception of the Arts
How does art reflect and define culture and the human condition? This course examines how art receives and communicates information.
Instructor: Kate Morgan

CAS 100A: Effective Speech
What are the principles of effective public speaking and communication? This course studies the purposeful use of oral communication as a means of addressing practical problems, both professional and civic. Students will present speeches as well as participate in group discussions and message evaluations.
Instructor: Brian Sensenig

SOC 5: Social Problems
What are the main societal issues facing humanity currently? What social issues will humans face in the future? This course examines such current social problems as economic, racial, and gender inequalities, social deviance and crime, and health challenges.
Instructor: Julie Guistwite

AA 100: Introduction to International Arts
Can art be simultaneously universal and unique? This course will use the arts to consider similarities and differences among cultures by developing each student's ability to appreciate the arts from a variety of cultures.
Instructor: Yoke Slagel

SC 120 N: Plants, Places, and People
How do plants impact civilization and vice versa? Students in this course will first learn basic plant biology, and then situate this information in the context of conversations related to food production, genetics, textiles, medicine, agriculture, and sustainability.
Instructor: Carley Gwin

ENGL 193N: The Craft of Comics
How are comics made and what is unique about the genre? The course combines the literary analysis of comics and graphic novels with the creative practice of making comics. Students will learn how to discuss and assess comics and will use this knowledge to create their own.
Instructor: Nicole Andel

PSU 8: First-Year Seminar University College
Are you ready to meet the expectations, workload, and other aspects of college life? This course will provide an advanced introduction to university life at Penn State, highlighting the many resources available to help students succeed.
Instructor: Kimberly Quinn

BBH 119: Behavior, Health, and Disease
How do we talk about health? How does disease spread within a community, and what strategies are used to mitigate its spread? This course will provide a fundamental understanding of disease processes, disease states, and principles of disease prevention and health promotion.
Instructor: Justina Ferguson

SOC 5: Social Problems
What are the main societal issues facing humanity currently? What social issues will humans face in the future? This course examines such current social problems as economic, racial, and gender inequalities, social deviance and crime, and health challenges.
Instructor: Maripat O'Donnell

ARTH 112: Renaissance to Modern Art
What are some of the significant developments in Western art from the 14th century to the present? This course introduces students to the field of art history by examining both the formal elements of art, as well as the historical context of its creation and impact.
Instructor: Hillary Nelson

CAS 100B: Effective Speech
What are the principles of effective communication in a group setting? This course introduces students to principles of effective communication with a specific focus on group problem-solving with considerable attention given to group dynamics, teamwork, and effective communication within groups.
Instructor: Joe Downing