Summer Session

Guide to Course Proposals 2024

Summer Session at the University of Chicago welcomes undergraduate and academically talented high school students from around the world each summer to participate in intensive study within our unique scholarly environment alongside our own College students. The Summer Session Office hires faculty, lecturers, and senior lecturers to teach Summer Quarter and September Term undergraduate courses in a variety of subjects, as well as specially designed courses for pre-college students. 

Summer Teaching Overview

This section provides a broad overview; additional details about the differences between undergraduate and pre-college courses are provided, below.

    Summer Session at the University of Chicago includes: 

    • Summer Quarter: June 10-August 17, open to UChicago students, as well as visiting undergraduate, graduate, and pre-college students
    • September Term: August 26-September 13, only open to UChicago students

    Within these sessions we offer two different types of courses for Summer 2024: 

    • Undergraduate courses - during Summer Quarter or September Term we offer courses that are part the regular College curriculum, and 
    • Precollege courses - especially designed for high school students ready to tackle undergraduate-level material in our Immersion or Summer Online programs

    In September, courses from Summer 2023 that had strong enrollments will be sent to departments and/or instructors for renewal.  Instructors should not submit a proposal form for successful 2023 courses.  If you are interested in adding a second section of a successful 2023 course, contact Sarah Lopez

    If you do not receive a renewal form for an offering from Summer 2023 that you would like to have offered again in 2024, you should submit a Course Proposal Form for the offering, accompanied by the rationale for renewing it; we will consider this proposal together with the other proposals for new offerings we receive.

    If you wish to discuss current enrollment trends in your area and other matters that affect what courses should be offered, please contact Stephanie Friedman via e-mail at

    • Courses may be proposed for in-person or remote instruction for Summer 2024
    • Courses may come from the undergraduate curriculum or be especially designed for pre-college
    • Courses are taught in an intensive format, covering the content of a nine-week quarter in a shorter amount of time

    People who teach during the summer tell us they appreciate the intensive schedule, as it allows them to still have a good portion of the summer remaining to dedicate to research, writing, and travel. For remotely taught courses, the intensive format allows for more flexibility in scheduling, which better accommodates students in different time zones. 

    Instructors of remote courses must be in the United States when teaching for the program, specifically in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, or Wisconsin for tax purposes. 

    For information about pay ranges, please visit our main Summer Session Instructional Employment website

    Summer Planning

    mid-September Proposals begin; renewals sent
    October 20 Proposals and renewals due 
    mid-November Proposal decisions sent; final course details for all proposals and renewals sent for review
    December Summer Session website launched
    January Begin accepting applications from pre-college students

    Pre-College Programs 2024
    Additional details about pre-college programming are provided in a dedicated section, below.

      Dates Length Instructional mode Meeting Times
    Immersion 6/17-7/5 or 
    3 weeks in-person 9:00 am-3:00 pm (lunch: 11:30am-1:00 pm)
    Summer Online 7/10-8/9 5 weeks remote 9:00-11:00 am or 6:00-8:00 pm


    Undergraduate Courses 2024
    Undergraduate meetings times must total 27 contact hours and should not begin before 9:00 am, but are otherwise flexible.  Evening courses that ran during Summer 2023 were very successful and are encouraged. 

    Additional details about undergraduate courses are provided in a dedicated section, below.

      Dates Length Instructional mode
    Summer Quarter 6/10-8/17 3-8 weeks primarily remote
    September Term 8/26-9/13 3 weeks in-person or remote

Proposal Considerations & Submission

    The Summer 2024 proposals are due Friday, October 20, 2023.

    • Topics should be chosen from among the academic areas represented in The College. Refer to the College Catalog for a complete list of programs of study.
    • You must provide a CV, which is required by the Provost’s office of all non-faculty summer hires. If you are a UChicago departmental administrator submitting a course that doesn’t yet have an instructor assigned, just upload a document that says “Instructor TBD.”
    • Your proposal form must be accompanied by a draft syllabus. You do not need to plan the course day by day at this stage, but you should provide a title; a clear idea of what concepts, readings, and activities will constitute the course; and a description of student learning outcomes.
    • We strongly encourage all candidates proposing courses to read both sections below about undergraduate and pre-college courses carefully as you consider what course to propose, so that you are sure to meet the needs and interests of the target audience. For those interested in testing out creative course designs, you might find that your proposal fits the pre-college population better than the undergraduate one, or that it works better within September Term than Summer Quarter. 
    • Ask your department, committee, or program office about their individual curricular needs, criteria, and procedures regarding undergraduate course offerings, and use that information to inform what course you decide to propose. For pre-college, review the 2023 Immersion course offerings to make sure you are not proposing something that is already offered.
    • When submitting your proposal, teaching fellows, research associates, and other academic or administrative personnel must provide proof from your supervisor or department chair that you are pre-approved to take on additional teaching duties during the summer. This can simply be an email that says you are approved to teach if your proposal is selected. 
    • The submission deadline for current UChicago affiliates is October 20, 2023.

    All candidates need to submit a Summer 2024 Course Proposal Form by October 20, 2023.  Applicants will be notified in November whether or not their course proposal has been selected as a potential course offering. The Summer Session Office will then work with you and the appropriate department, committee, or program office to finalize details regarding your course offering before requesting approval of your appointment by the Offices of the Dean and the Provost.

    Watch a recording of the Summer 2024 Proposal Information Session - it will prompt you to login and you must scroll down and select "SSO" to login with your UChicago Zoom account; available until Jan 04 2024

    You can also view the slides of the session.


    We invite you to attend an information session on Summer 2024 teaching and the course proposal process. We encourage new instructors to register for a session, so that we have your contact information. The session will be recorded, so if you are unable to attend the live sessions, the recording will be posted here within a day of the session. 

    Wednesday, October 4th
    12:00-1:00 pm Central 

    Please use your UChicago Zoom account for this session.

Additional Information: Pre-College Programs

    In Summer 2024, Immersion pre-college courses will begin one week after Summer Quarter undergraduate courses. 

    Program Start Date End Date Holiday(s)
    Immersion June 17 (Monday) July 5 (Friday) June 19, July 4
    Immersion July 10 (Wednesday) July 25 (Thursday) n/a
    Summer Online July 10 (Wednesday) August 9 (Friday) n/a

    In-Person Immersion Courses

    All Immersion courses meet daily Monday through Friday and both sessions include 13 meeting days.  Meeting days usually run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm with a 90-minute lunch break from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm; the daily schedule can vary, depending on that day’s activities (such as a field trip or group projects). 

    When you fill out your proposal form, request the session you would prefer, but please be aware that you might be asked to teach in a different session, as we try to balance the overall schedule.

    Summer Online Remote Courses

    All remote-only Summer Online courses will have synchronous class sessions held Monday through Friday, July 10-August 9, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am or 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Central Time, additional discussion or lab sections may be scheduled, and asynchronous activities and materials should be made available via Canvas.

    For Summer 2024, we seek course proposals for the pre-college Immersion (3-week residential) and Summer Online (5-week remotely taught) programs, which provide a deep dive into a specific topic (e.g., The Physics of Stars) or broad exposure to a field of study (e.g., Pathways in World Politics). Courses could also be interdisciplinary.

    Pre-college courses allow for a wider variety of potential themes and topics to be covered than is often possible in Summer Quarter undergraduate curriculum courses. When deciding on a topic, consider what would be both interesting and accessible to these students, and is not something already represented in our pre-college Immersion offerings. To further expand our variety of offerings, we are especially interested in proposals in the following subjects:

    Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Sciences

    For the full list of existing pre-college courses, review our 2023 Immersion and Summer Online course offerings.

    Participants in pre-college programs (rising 10-12 grades, mostly ages 15 through 17) gain entrance through a competitive admissions process. Most students live in a university residence hall for the duration of the Immersion program, and are overseen by a dedicated residential program staff (composed mostly of UChicago College students) outside of class.  We know that not all students want to or can participate in a residential program, so we also have remote-only courses in the Summer Online pre-college program.

    All pre-college students apply to specific courses, and are admitted based on their academic readiness for that course, as well as their particular interest in the course subject matter. These courses can serve as powerful pipelines into The College and individual majors.

    Pre-college students are enrolled in only one course at a time. For those participating on campus, they engage in traditional classroom activities like lecture and discussion, but also in hands-on experiences like labs, field observations, field trips, guest lectures, and group projects, all of which provide access to the rich resources available on campus and throughout the city. Pre-college programs allow students to “test drive” the university, and help them make decisions about their future academic and professional paths.

    Immersion courses are not “high school” courses, despite the age of the students enrolled in them. They have course numbers assigned by an appropriate department or program, and carry 100 units of credit, like regular undergraduate courses do. Their participants are registered students of the university with the same access to university facilities as College students (except where precluded by their legal status as minors). They receive a quality letter grade, which is recorded on an official university transcript maintained by the Registrar’s Office. Most importantly, they are expected to tackle undergraduate-level material in their readings, labs, essays, and other assignments.

    In terms of what you can expect from them academically, pre-college students:

    • are not very different from first quarter, first-year students at any selective institution.
    • have the ability to take on undergraduate-level material, but need some additional scaffolding as they make the transition to working in an undergraduate environment, with its different expectations and structure.
    • specifically applied for the courses they are enrolled in, so they bring carefully vetted academic qualifications as well as focused interest in the subject, making them exceptionally motivated and enthusiastic learners.
    • In addition, given the greater number of contact hours, it is important that the daily schedule for pre-college Immersion courses include a variety of teaching modalities, providing a mixture of lecture, small group work and discussion, and other forms of active engagement.

    Rich Kron (Astrophysics)

    The students are excellent and already motivated.  It is rewarding to watch the cohort take shape and help each other as the course progresses, i.e. seeing the social dynamics acting in a positive way to achieve the academic goals. The summer course I teach is similar to PHSC 12700, a core course, which I also teach.  PHSC 12700 is designed for non-science students. The summer course, by contrast, includes students ready to use math and computers and analyze data, so the summer course is tailored to exercise and develop those skills and interests. The intensive format means that the instructor has all of the students’ attention for the period of time, which means the instructor can depend on what was accomplished an hour ago to be remembered for the next hour or next day. This in turn allows projects to be extended from one day to the next, for example, giving a lot of flexibility.

    Christopher Schonbaum (Biological Sciences)

    The extended period of interaction each day and the ability to meet daily allows us to do experiments that we can’t do very easily during the school year.  Typical once a week undergraduate labs are disruptive ,especially when working with living organisms.  In RIBS, we can have students perform experiments in a more natural manner, and similar to the way they would perform experiments in a research lab.  An experiment that might stretch out for several weeks in an undergraduate lab can be done in three days in the summer.  The experiment is fresh in their minds and we can more easily discuss outcomes as a class.  Moreover, the summer students can carry out experiments that are not possible during the school year.  In RIBS, the students perform experiments on cancer cells that require daily observations and follow-up.  In addition, in undergraduate courses, students are often asked to design an experiment but there is not time to actually do the experiment.  In the summer course, the students not only design experiments but they have the opportunity to carry out the experiments and test their hypotheses.

    One other aspect of the summer course that I find appealing is that the students are all excited about studying biology and in general, are eager to talk about science. They are taking the course and spending all day in lab because they want to be here, not because it is a requirement.  The students have lots of interesting questions based on something they read in the news and because of the extended day, we have time to digress and talk about science topics other than what was scheduled.

    Katherine O’Doherty (Psychology)

    I love working with the high school students! The group is typically very diverse and includes many international students — so we have many different perspectives brought to the classroom. Their diverse educational experiences really enrich our discussions. I enjoy the high school students’ enthusiasm and excitement for the future — particularly when they begin collecting and analyzing the data for their research project. They work so hard to finalize the methodology and when they get to put it into practice, collect actual data from human subjects, and present the results they are thrilled.

    The content and assignments are actually quite similar to my college courses, what differs greatly is the timing. Having a full day of class five days a week for three weeks straight is really different from the school year and very fun. I do get to incorporate longer videos in the summer, which are great in psychology courses, I just don’t often have time to show them during the school year. I would say the research project is a fun summer assignment that only works because we have time each afternoon to meet individually with each group to plan and implement their study, analyze the data, etc. It is really fun to end the class with their research presentations — it feels like a real celebration of learning.

    David Reid (Physics)

    I find the students to be the most appealing aspect of the course. They are very eager to learn and work hard and no complaints if the course is challenging.  They want the challenge. For this program, because of the length of the class periods, I definitely plan things differently. I spend much more time with students working on things, and on in-class discussions, than I would during the regular year. The main thing I am able to do is to have much more in-depth discussions because of the longer class period.  Another less conventional assignment students really enjoy in the intensive summer class is to give them a quiz in the form of a game; it takes 90 minutes, and so doesn’t work well in a normal class.

    • Using Lexus-Nexus to write a formal legal brief
    • Sequencing a portion of a bacterial gene
    • Curating your own museum exhibition
    • Writing a computer program that plays chess
    • Conducting an observational study of the psychology of crowds
    • Writing a research paper on an unmet clinical need, and proposing a solution for it

    In such an intensive program, it is important to vary the type and style of instruction and academic engagement throughout the day, mixing direct instruction with small group work, discussion, and actively engaging projects and assignments that can be initiated or completed by students in class. Additional enhancements such as guest speakers or academic field trips should also be scheduled during the academic day.

    The typical schedule is class from 9:00am to 11:30pm, a lunch break from 11:30pm to 1:00pm, then class again from 1:00pm to 3:00 or 4:00pm.

    We require candidates to have some undergraduate teaching experience; those who do not have experience with pre-college students but have a strong interest in gaining that experience will also receive full consideration.

Additional Information: Undergraduate Curriculum Courses

    If you propose an undergraduate curriculum course, you will be asked about scheduling information (your preferred dates, days, and times) for either Summer Quarter or September Term

    Summer Quarter Sessions
    Three-course sequences, such as Self, Culture and Society, can be completed in one summer, with each segment taking place in 3 weeks: 

    Start Date End Date Length Holiday(s)
    June 10 (Monday) June 28 (Friday) 3  weeks June 19
    July 1 (Monday) July 19 (Friday) 3 weeks July 4
    July 22 (Monday) August 10 (Friday) 3 weeks n/a

    Two-course sequences that need more than 3 weeks to meet pedagogical goals can run for 5 weeks: 

    Start Date End Date Length Holiday(s)
    June 10 (Monday) July 12 (Friday) 5  weeks June 19, July 4
    July 15 (Monday) August 16 (Friday) 5 weeks n/a

    Stand-alone course offerings (meaning those not part of a sequence) can be scheduled for:

    • 3 weeks: June 10-28 or July 1-19 (July 22-August 10 is reserved for sequence courses)
    • 5 weeks: June 10-July 12 (July  15-August 16 is reserved for sequence courses)
    • 8 weeks: June 10-August 2 (evening synchronous sessions)

    September Term
    Only one 3-week session is available during September Term, which runs from August 26-September 13 (no class on Labor Day, September 2.) 

    Contact Hours
    All undergraduate courses in The College must meet for a minimum of 27 contact hours. During Summer Quarter and September Term, this means a three-week course should meet for a minimum of 9 hours per week and a five-week course for 5.5 hours per week. 

    Days & Times
    When you fill out your form, request the specific meeting days and times you would prefer, but please be aware that you might be asked to make changes, such as teaching in the afternoon rather than the morning, or in a different session, as we try to balance the overall schedule. If you are proposing a remotely taught course for College students, consider if you could schedule the synchronous sessions in the evenings (6:00 pm-8:00 pm CT) to accommodate students with jobs and internships during the day.

    Evening Courses 
    In Summer 2023 we ran several courses in the evenings for students with daytime responsibilities.  These courses ran for 8 weeks and were very well received by students- we want to expand those offerings and encourage instructors to consider proposing evening courses.  

    Proposing a Longer Course
    Standard, 100-unit daytime courses during Summer Quarter run for either 3 or 5 weeks.  Summer Session will consider proposals for Summer Quarter undergraduate courses longer than five weeks in length, but they must begin on June 10. Please note in your course proposal form why you feel the longer schedule is pedagogically necessary. 

    During Summer Quarter and September Term, the majority of College students do not take classes unless they have a compelling reason to do so, such as completing a required course so they can graduate on time, retaking a course, or studying abroad in the coming year. Since the student population is smaller than during other quarters of the academic year, the number of courses offered is reduced accordingly, and preference is given to course offerings that will best serve student needs.

    Simply put, electives rarely draw student enrollments during the summer, no matter how compelling the topic. Strong preference is given to course offerings that fulfill a major or degree requirement in the College.

    How do you determine if your proposed course might be a fitting addition to Summer Quarter or September Term? You should be able to answer “Yes” to more than one of the questions below:

    • Does it fulfill a Core or major requirement, especially one which students have trouble fulfilling?
    • Is it a course which is often oversubscribed or very full?
    • Is it an especially rigorous course that students might want to take at a time when they can focus on it with fewer distractions?
    • Is it the sort of course which is offered at many different institutions, so that a visiting undergraduate student could likely transfer credit from UChicago to his or her home institution?
    • Does this course showcase well-known strengths of this University or otherwise appeal to students from other institutions who would be looking for an opportunity to study here?
    • Is the department, committee, or division which offers the course willing and able to help recruit students to take the course?
    • FOR SEPTEMBER TERM ONLY: Does it take advantage of campus and city sites and resources or involve pedagogically creative activities that would be difficult to include during a regular academic quarter?

    You will also be asked if you would like to teach your course in-person, remotely, or have no preference. We tend to emphasize remotely taught courses during Summer Quarter as College students need the flexibility they provide. September Term will offer a mix of in-person and remotely taught undergraduate courses, aimed at second, third, and fourth-year students in the College.