Course Information

Online Student

Online Courses for College Credit

WPI's summer online courses for college credit are all offered online which means you can learn from anywhere. Typically courses will have set meeting times however, some courses are offered asynchronously which means they do not have scheduled days and times. At the start of the course, faculty will share important dates and how they have chosen to structure the course. If you have a question regarding a particular course, please contact us and we will share the information available.

This means that the course curriculum is flexible to accommodate students from around the globe- in any time zone! Most course materials are virtual including lectures, project work, and labs.

WPI summer pre-college courses for high school students should prepare to dedicate approximately 28-35 hours for course material over the 5-week. Homework ranges from 10-15 hours per week. Each course runs differently depending on the professor and department.  Most components of the course are virtual, including lectures, project work, and labs. Please look at your individual course for more information.


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. 

2023 Course Offerings

Applied Statistics I (MA 2611)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 1:00pm-3:40pm. Laboratory - Th 1:00pm-2:10pm

Description: 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.

Recommended Background: Calculus II.

Calculus I (MA 1021)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 9:00am -11:40am. Discussion - Tu 10:30am-11:40am. Laboratory - Tu 9:00am - 10:10am

Description: 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.

Calculus II (MA 1022)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 10:00am -12:40pm. Discussion - Tu 12:30pm-1:40pm. Laboratory - Tu 11:00am - 12:10pm

Description: 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.

Recommended Background: Calculus I. Although the course will make use of computers, no programming experience is assumed.

Calculus III (MA 1023)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 9:00am -11:40am. Discussion - Th 10:30am-11:40am. Laboratory - Th 9:00am - 10:10am

Description: 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. 

Recommended Background: Calculus II. Although the course will make use of computers, no programming experience is assumed.

Environmental Biology (BB 1002)

Timing Details: Lecture - TBD, Laboratory - TBD

This course is designed for students seeking a broad overview of ecological systems and the effect of humans on the ecosystems. It provides an introduction to natural ecosystems, population growth, and the interaction between human populations and our environment. It is conducted in an active style including the use of case studies, class discussion/participation, and classroom polling systems. The major goal of this course is to help students become more informed environmental citizens, skeptical when presented with data in the media, and knowledgeable enough to question and make informed decisions about the environment. It will primarily focus on current topics but areas of discussion likely to be covered include ecosystems, populations, biodiversity, pollution, environmental economics and climate change.
This course is intended for non- life science majors.

Recommended background: High School Biology

Discrete Mathematics (CS2022)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 11:00am -1:40pm. Discussion - Tu 11:00am-12:10pm

Description: 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.

General Physics - Electricity and Magnetism (PH 1120)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 1:00-3:30pm, Discussion - F 1:00pm-2:50, Laboratory - Th 3:00pm-4:50pm

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 inPH 1110 or PH 1111 and concurrent study of MA 1022.

Students may not receive credit for both PH 1120 and PH 1121.

General Physics - Mechanics (PH 1110)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/W 9:00am - 11:30am. Discussion - F 9:00am-10:50am Laboratory - T 11:00am - 12:50pm

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: concurrent study of MA 1021 .

Students may not receive credit for both PH 1110 and PH 1111 

Introduction to Biotechnology (BB 1035)

Timing Details: Lecture - M/Tu/Th 9:00am -10:50am. Discussion - F 11:00am-11:50am

Description: 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. 

Recommended Background: A solid working knowledge of biological principles such as would be learned in a rigorous high school biology course.

Introduction to Computer Aided Design - CAD (ES 1310)

Timing Details: Lecture - T 9am-10:50am , Laboratory - Th 9am-10:50am

Description: 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. *This courses uses Solidworks for the software, which is provided

Recommended Background: None. No prior engineering graphics or software knowledge is assumed.

Introduction to Macroeconomics (ES1310)

Timing Details: Lecture - TBD

Description: 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.

Recommended Background: None.

Matrices & Linear Algebra I (MA 2071)

Timing Details: Lecture - Tu/Th 10:00am -12:40pm. Discussion - W 1:00pm - 2:10pm

Description: 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. 

Recommended Background: None, although basic knowledge of equations for planes and lines in space would be helpful.

Organic Chemistry I (CH 2310)

Timing Details: Lecture - TBD Discussion - TBD

Description: 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. 

Recommended Background: A familiarity with the material presented in the general chemistry courses is assumed.

Courses: Humanities and Arts

Foundations of Music Technology (MU 2300)

Timing Details: Lecture - TBD

Description: This course will present ways to facilitate musicianship through the use of technology. Course topics include an introduction to music notation software, MIDI and audio recording, signal processing, and interactive music system programming. The course will address past, current, and emerging trends in music technology as they relate to facilitating an understanding of musical concepts.

Recommended Background: A basic understanding of music notation and the fundamentals of music. 

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

Timing DetailsLecture - T/Th 12:00pm-1:50pm

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.

Students can receive credit only once for HI 1330, 1331, or 1332.

Introduction to Music (MU 1511)

Timing Details: Lecture - Tu/Th - 2:00pm - 3:50pm

Description: 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. 

Introduction to Psychological Science (PSY 1400)

Timing Details: Lecture - T/TH - 10am-11:50am

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

Social Psychology (PSY 1402)

Timing Details: Lecture - TBD

Social psychology is concerned with how people think about, feel for, and act
toward other people. Social psychologists study how people interact by focusing
on the individual (not society as a whole) as the unit of analysis, by emphasizing
the effect on the individual of the situation or circumstances in which behavior
occurs, and by acquiring knowledge through empirical scientific investigation.
This course will examine the cause of human behavior in a variety of domains of
social life. Topics will include, but not be limited to, person perception, attitude
formation and change, interpersonal attraction, stereotyping and prejudice, and
small group behavior. Special attention will be given to applied topics: How can
the research methods of social psychology be used to help solve social problems?
Students will work together in small groups to explore in depth topics in social
psychology of their own choosing.
Suggested background: PSY 1400.

Writing about Science and Technology (WR 1011)

Timing Details: Lecture - TBD

Description: 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.

Recommended Background: None.

WPI reserves the right to cancel any course, in which case students could enroll into an available course or provided a refund.