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Academic Overview for Frontiers Online Courses for College Credit

WPI's summer online courses for college credit are taught asynchronously. This means that the course curriculum is flexible to accommodate students from around the globe- in any time zone! All of the course materials are virtual including lectures, project work, and labs.

WPI summer pre-college courses for high school students are about 28-35 hours for class time over the 5-week. Homework ranges from 10-15 hours of homework per week. Each course runs differently depending on the professor and department.  All components of the course are virtual, including lectures, project work, and labs. Please view our Summer 2021 course offerings below. 

Suggested Online Courses for College Credit in Summer Session II

There are many online courses for high school students offered through WPI Summer Session, however below is a list of suggested courses for high school students in the Frontiers for Credit program.  The suggested courses cover introductory material that does not require prior knowledge in a particular discipline. With consideration of a high school student academic background, they would be most successful in the suggested courses. Note: WPI online courses for college credit do not have pre-requisites. 

Courses: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Applied Statistics I (MA 2611)

    Cat. I This course is designed to introduce the student to data analytic and applied statistical methods commonly used in industrial and scientific applications as well as in course and project work at WPI. Emphasis will be on the practical aspects of statistics with students analyzing real data sets on an interactive computer package. Topics covered include an analytic and graphical representation of data, exploratory data analysis, basic issues in the design and conduct of experimental and observational studies, the central limit theorem, one and two sample point and interval estimation and tests of hypotheses. (CRN 32191)

  • Calculus I (MA 1021)

    This course provides an introduction to differentiation and its applications. Topics covered include: functions and their graphs, limits, continuity, differentiation, linear approximation, chain rule, min/max problems, and applications of derivatives. Recommended background: Algebra, trigonometry and analytic geometry. Although the course will make use of computers, no programming experience is assumed. (CRN 30533)

  • Calculus II (MA 1022)

    This course provides an introduction to integration and its applications. Topics covered include: inverse trigonometric functions, Riemann sums, fundamental theorem of calculus, basic techniques of integration, volumes of revolution, arc length, exponential and logarithmic functions, and applications. (CRN 30534)

  • Calculus III (MA 1023)

    Cat. I This course provides an introduction to series, parametric curves and vector algebra. Topics covered include: numerical methods, indeterminate forms, improper integrals, sequences, Taylor's theorem with remainder, convergence of series and power series, polar coordinates, parametric curves and vector algebra. Although the course will make use of computers, no programming experience is assumed. (CRN 30535)

  • Calculus IV (MA 1024)

    Cat. I This course provides an introduction to multivariable calculus. Topics covered include: vector functions, partial derivatives and gradient, multivariable optimization, double and triple integrals, polar coordinates, other coordinate systems and applications. Although the course will make use of computers, no programming experience is assumed. (CRN 30770)

  • Discrete Mathematics (CS2022)

    This course serves as an introduction to some of the more important concepts, techniques, and structures of discrete mathematics, providing a bridge between computer science and mathematics. Topics include sets, functions and relations, propositional and predicate calculus, mathematical induction, properties of integers, counting techniques, and graph theory. Students will be expected to develop simple proofs for problems drawn primarily from computer science and applied mathematics. Recommended background: none. (CRN 32726). 

  • General Physics - Electricity & Magnetism (PH 1120)

    An introduction to the theory of electricity and magnetism. Topics include: Coulomb's law, electric and magnetic fields, capacitance, electrical current and resistance, and electromagnetic induction. Recommended background: working knowledge of the material presented in PH 1110 or PH 1111 and concurrent study of MA 1022. Students may not receive credit for both PH 1120 and PH 1121. (CRN 32379)

  • General Physics - Mechanics (PH 1110)

    Introductory course in Newtonian mechanics. Topics include kinematics of motion, vectors, Newton's laws, friction, work-energy, impulse-momentum, for both translational and rotational motion. Recommended background: one high school physics course. (CRN 32393)

  • Introduction to Biotechnology (BB 1035)

    This course will cover topics including genes-to-proteins, cell cycle, genomics, synthetic and systems biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine, cellular signaling, personalized medicine, and the production of therapeutic biologics. Through lectures, discussion and project work, students will gain an understanding of the function of biological systems at the molecular and cellular level and explore their application through genetic and cellular engineering to biotechnology. Projects will be designed to facilitate students’ understanding of the links between biological systems, biotechnology applications and their impact on society. This course is intended for BBT and other life science majors. Recommended background: a solid working knowledge of biological principles. (CRN 32410)

  • Introduction to Computer Aided Design - CAD (ES 1310)

    This introductory course in engineering graphical communications and design provides a solid background for all engineering disciplines. The ability to visualize, create, and apply proper design intent and industry standards for simple parts, assemblies and drawings is a necessity for anyone in a technology environment. Computer Aided Design software is used as a tool to create 2D & 3D sketches, 3D parts, 3D assemblies and 2D drawings per an industry standard. Multi view and pictorial graphics techniques are integrated with ANSI standards for dimensioning and tolerances, sectioning, and generating detailed engineering drawings. Emphasis is placed on relating drawings to the required manufacturing processes. The design process and aids to creativity are combined with graphical procedures to incorporate functional design requirements in the geometric model. No prior engineering graphics or software knowledge is assumed. (CRN 31565)

    *This courses uses Solidworks for the software.

  • Introduction to Material Science (ES 2001)

    This beginning course provides important background for all science and engineering disciplines regarding the capabilities and limitations of materials in our everyday lives. Students are introduced to the fundamental theme of materials science-- structure-property-processing relationships—in metals, ceramics, and plastics. Aspects of material structure range from the atomic to microstructural and macroscopic scales. In turn, these structural features determine the properties of materials. In particular, this course investigates connections between structure and mechanical properties, and how working and thermal treatments may transform structure and thus alter material properties. This knowledge is then applied to material selection decisions. Recommended background: prior knowledge of college-level chemistry and college-level physics. (CRN 31288)

  • Introduction to Psychological Science (PSY1400)

    Psychological science is the experimental study of human thought and behavior. Its goal is to contribute to human welfare by developing an understanding of why people do what they do. Experimental psychologists study the entire range of human experience, from infancy until death, from the most abnormal behavior to the most mundane, from the behavior of neurons to the actions of nations. This course offers a broad introduction to important theories, empirical findings, and applications of research in psychological science. Topics will include: use of the scientific method in psychology, evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, the anatomy and function of the brain and nervous system, learning, sensation and perception, memory, consciousness, language, intelligence and thinking, life-span development, social cognition and behavior, motivation and emotion, and the nature and treatment of psychological disorders. (CRN 32380)

  • Matrices & Linear Algebra I (MA 2071)

    This course provides an introduction to the theory and techniques of matrix algebra and linear algebra. Topics covered include: operations on matrices, systems of linear equations, linear transformations, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, least squares, vector spaces, inner products, introduction to numerical techniques, and applications of linear algebra. Credit may not be earned for this course and MA 2072. Recommended background: None, although basic knowledge of equations for planes and lines in space would be helpful. (CRN 32192)

  • Organic Chemistry I (CH 2310)

    A systematic survey of the major reaction types and functional groups in organic chemistry. The course will provide a representative collection of characteristic reactions and transformations of a variety of types of organic molecules. Most of the examples will be drawn from aliphatic chemistry. Some theoretical models will be introduced with a view toward establishing a general overview of the material. The course is intended for chemists, chemical engineers, pre-medical students and all those interested in the biosciences. A familiarity with the material presented in the general chemistry courses is assumed. (CRN 32341)

Courses: Humanities and Arts

  • Business Writing & Communication (WR 2210)

    Cat. I. This course emphasizes the standard written genres of professional, workplace communication. Students will analyze the history, purposes, conventions, and social consequences of a variety of business communications, focusing on digital and print correspondence, reports, and proposals directed to internal and external audiences. Students will learn about the culture of a professional environment and the role of writing in structuring identity and relationships within that context. Classes will be conducted as interactive writing workshops in which students assess and respond to rhetorical scenarios and sample texts from a variety of professional worksites. Students will create portfolios, producing professional writing samples they may use on the job market. (CRN 32368) 

  • Elementary German I (GN 1511)

    An intensive language course designed to teach concise expression of ideas in writing and speaking. Basic grammar and significant cultural aspects are introduced through the aid of readings, audio-recordings, video, and oral group interaction. (CRN 32438)

  • Elements of Writing (WR 1010)

    This course is designed for students who wish to work intensively on their writing. The course will emphasize the processes of composing and revising, the rhetorical strategies of written exposition and argumentation, and the reading and citation practices central to academic inquiry. In a workshop setting, students will write a sequence of short papers and complete one longer writing project based on multiple source texts; learn to read critically and respond helpfully to each other's writing; and make oral presentations from written texts. (CRN 32736)

  • Fundamentals of Music I (MU 1611)

    This course concentrates on basic music theory of the common practice period. If time permits, instruction includes ear training, sight singing, and work on scales and intervals. Recommended background: basic knowledge of reading music. (CRN 32735)

  • Introduction to the History of Science and Technology (HI 1330)

    An introduction to the questions, methods and source materials that shape historical studies of science and technology. Sections vary in content and emphases; some may explore the interplay of science and technology across time, while other sections might exclusively develop themes within either the history of science or the history of technology. (CRN 32355)

  • Introductory Macroeconomics (ECON 1120)

    This course is designed to acquaint students with the ways in which macroeconomic variables such as national income, employment and the general level of prices are determined in an economic system. It also includes a study of how the techniques of monetary policy and fiscal policy attempt to achieve stability in the general price level and growth in national income and employment. The problems of achieving these national goals (simultaneously) are also analyzed. The course stresses economic issues in public policy and international trade. (CRN 31403)

  • Introduction to Music (MU 1511)

    This course, designed for students who have little or no previous experience in music, will present an approach to the study of music that includes studying some concepts of music theory (rhythms, scales, keys, intervals, harmony). The course will also include a study of some of the great masterpieces through listening, reading, and discussion. Recommended background: No previous experience is necessary. (CRN 32734)

  • Literary Pandemics (EN 201X)

    This course explores the cultural and historical underpinnings of contemporary pandemics by attending to representative literary works from a wide range of pandemics and plagues past and present. Attention will be given to distinct genres from drama and poetry to fiction and film, to geographical contexts from the British and the Mediterranean to the North American and South African, and to distinct periods from classical antiquity through the medieval and early modern eras to the modern and contemporary moments.  Recommended background: None. (CRN 32464)  

  • Topics in Law, Justice, and American Society (HI 2318)

    This course treats law as a powerful social, economic and political phenomenon that cannot be fully understood apart from its history. Through a focus upon a particular theme and chronology, each section surveys the role of law (constitutional, statutory, regulatory and common) and legal institutions in shaping American society and culture, as well as how the law and its institutions have been shaped by individuals, advocacy groups, and broader social, cultural and political forces. Different sections of this course might explore constitutional law and social change (e.g. civil rights, abortion, and same-sex marriage); criminal law and mass incarceration; law and the construction of race; law and gender; or patents, copyrights, and intellectual property. (CRN 32748) 

  • Writing about Science and Technology (WR 1011)

    This course will examine the appropriate dissemination of scientific information in common science writing genres such as science journalism, consulting reports and white papers, and policy and procedure documents. In a workshop setting, students will write and revise documents that promote broad understanding of scientific research and analysis of specialized knowledge. Course lectures and discussions investigate ethics of scientific reporting and teach students how to recognize deceptive texts and arguments (both quantitative and qualitative). The course is reading and writing intensive and is intended for students with backgrounds in a scientific discipline who are interested in applying their disciplinary knowledge. (CRN 32444)