2024 SCE courses

😎   for students attending the Summer Collegiate Experience   😎

At SCE, you have one morning class and one afternoon class, each running for the six weeks of the program.

Using the SCE Enrollment Form emailed to you, you will rank your preferences among these classes. SCE staff will confirm that you are eligible for your preferred classes based on your placement tests and any incoming credits like Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes. In the course-rank form, list any AP/IB tests that you plan to take. It’s okay if you did not take AP/IB classes in high school: students have many different paths to college.

Students will have confirmation of their class assignments and enrollment by June 17.

Credit by Exam | Read your credit evaluation | Viewing your placement test scores

Morning classes

Astronomy 103: The Evolving Universe: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

The cosmos is vast, mysterious, and beautiful. Join us on an exploration of the universe, from the Big Bang to the birth, life, and death of stars and the warped reality of black holes. Includes life-cycles of stars; supernovae and creation of elements; white dwarfs, pulsars and black holes; the Milky Way and galaxies; distances of stars and galaxies; quasars; expansion of universe; modern big bang cosmology, dark matter, dark energy. For students with appropriate mathematics preparation, such as:

  • AP Calculus AB or BC, score 3+
  • AP Computer Science Principles, score 4 or 5
  • IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches, score 4+
  • IB Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation, score 4+.
  • Course Designation: QR-B, Physical Science.

Requisites: QR-A satisfied.
Course Designation: QR-B; Physical Science.

Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences 100: Weather and Climate

If you want to learn about weather and climate through engaging lectures, interactive class activities, and field trips without all of the intensive math and equations, then this is the class for you.  This basic level course has no required prerequisites.  Some of the topics covered in the course include severe weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes, lightning, global precipitation and cloud patterns, the hydrologic cycle, monsoons, mid-latitude cyclones and fronts, the greenhouse effect, and climate change.

Course Designation: Physical Science.

Communication Arts 100: Introduction to Speech Communication

This course will guide you through the process of researching, writing, revising, and delivering four speeches and will improve your oral communication, writing, listening, library research, and critical thinking skills. Although this is an excellent skills class that many students take in their first year, other courses will be a better fit if you will have credit for the following:

  • AP English Literature & Composition
  • AP English Language & Composition
  • IB English A

Course Designation: CommA.

Communication Arts 260: Communication and Human Behavior

Concepts and processes relevant to the study of communication and human behavior including approaches to communication inquiry, the dynamics of face-to-face interaction, and the pragmatic and artistic functions of public communication.

Course Designation: Either Humanities or Social Science.

Computer Science/Library & Information Studies 102: Introduction to Computation

Computers are now part of almost every area of human society: increasingly shaping our work, our recreation, our communication, and our relationships with other people. If you are a little curious about some of the ways that software programs enable computers to perform such a wide range of services and create such diverse kinds of experiences for the humans who use them, then this is a course for you.

  • If you will have AP credit from Computer Science Principles, other Computer Science classes will be a better fit.
  • To be eligible for this class, you must place into Math 96/141 or higher on UW Math Placement Test.

We will begin with a gentle, enjoyable, and foundational introduction to computer programming, using an approach known as “creative coding.” For this, we will use the wonderful programming environment named “Processing” to learn key fundamentals of programming in the Python language, writing and playfully experimenting with simple computer statements that generate onscreen color drawings and interactive animations. Then, we will gradually transition to a more standard, but just as friendly, Python programming environment. Python is an excellent first programming language for beginners to learn, both because it allows for a gradual learning process and because it is also very versatile, powerful, and widely used. As you learn the basic concepts and techniques of Python programming in this course, along the way you will also develop a new understanding of many of the ways that computers and software are able to perform such a wide variety of roles in our lives.

Most class time will be dedicated to hands-on learning, where you learn by watching and coding along with what the instructor is demonstrating for you. Outside-class exercises will build upon this hands-on learning. This is truly a course for beginners. Absolutely no prior experience with any kind of computer coding is needed or expected.

Requisites: Placement into Math 141 or higher.

Course Designation: QR-A; Natural Science.

English 100: Introduction to College Composition

English 100 will introduce you to typical argumentative writing you’ll do at UW-Madison. By the time you complete the course, you’ll know how to pick and research a topic, evaluate and synthesize sources, and produce a solid, carefully edited essay. A primary focus will be social justice as explored by Claudia Rankine in her award-winning Citizen: An American Lyric. Although this is an excellent skills class that many students take in their first year, other courses will be a better fit if you will have credit for the following:

  • AP English Literature & Composition
  • AP English Language & Composition
  • IB English A

Course Designation: CommA.

Folklore 100: Introduction to Folklore

What do memes, tacos, and fairy tales have in common? They’re all part of some group’s folklore! Lynne McNeill defines folklore in Folklore Rules as “informal, traditional culture,” the “stuff that we learn from each other, by word of mouth or observation, rather than through formal institutions like school or the media.” This “stuff” might appear in the memes you share with friends, or the newest, hottest TikTok dance; it might be found in your taco toppings, or the way you hold your bow when playing the violin; it might be heard in your response when someone sneezes, or the stories you tell among friends at a party; it might come up in your beliefs, or your holiday traditions, or your grandmother’s favorite recipe. Folklore is everywhere, and through this course, we will learn how to unpack folklore not only to understand how it moves through groups, time, and space, but also to consider what it can tell us about cultures, both living and long past.

Studying folklore offers you the opportunity to hone several skills: information-gathering (through participation, observation, and ethnographic interviewing in the real world and through library research), critical reading (of print texts and folkloric “texts” such as objects, events, and performances), and critical thinking (discerning cultural patterns, asking questions about representation, and considering how to convey cultural information to different audiences). We will ask ourselves what makes something folklore and what folklore can tell us about how culture is changing today. We will attempt to answer these questions through multimedia and writing assignments, which together will help us see the world like folklorists and communicate what we see with others. Folklore 100 will introduce you to the stimulating discipline of folklore studies, to examine why we do, make, believe, and say the things we do.

Course Designation: CommB

Mathematics 118: Summer Collegiate Experience Mathematics

A preparation and introductory math course for students enrolled in the Summer Collegiate Experience program. Includes material from algebra and trigonometry. Highly recommended for students who, based on placement test scores, are matched with:

  • “MATH 96,” for student with any academic interests, or
  • “MATH 96/MATH 141” and are interested in a STEM-related major or a pre-health path.

This course is not intended for students who placed into Math 112 or higher.

Afternoon classes

Chican@ Latin@ Studies 201: Introduction to Chican@ and Latin@ Studies

Introduction to the interdisciplinary study of Chican@s in the United States. You will become acquainted with recent scholarly literature, paradigms, theories, and debates within Chican@ studies pertaining to the historical, economic, cultural, and sociopolitical dimensions of the Chican@ experience in the United States.

Course Designation: Ethnic Studies; Social Science.

Classics 102: Ancient Narratives and Modern Times

Do we have to endure suffering to achieve happiness? Did people find the path to personal flourishing millennia ago? Heroes and anti-heroes – do their definitions change over time? If you want to explore these questions through characters you have known since childhood (Batman, Yoda, Percy Jackson, etc.), then Classics 102 is for you! Focusing on the direct and indirect influence of Greco-Roman narratives in modern media, the course introduces students to the two cultures that allegedly invented philosophy, mythology, democracy, slavery, religion, and more. Developing literary analysis and critical comparison, student-directed learning will be assessed by papers, online discussions, social media posts, and creative options.

Course Designation: Literature.

History 109: Freedom Seekers: Slavery and Revolution in Early America

This course will explore the history of slavery during the era of the American Revolution. More specifically, we will focus on the experiences of people for whom liberty and the “pursuit of happiness” meant freedom from enslavement. The stories of bound men, women, and children of African descent who escaped slavery reveal an often-forgotten side of the struggle for independence. Those who attempted to liberate themselves risked incredible danger in declaring their own freedom. Violence, mutilation, death, and an uncertain future far from family and friends awaited many. Perhaps this is why the stories of enslaved runaways or “freedom seekers” do not frequently appear in textbooks or other traditional narratives of the American Revolution. In contrast, this course will consider the intersecting histories of slavery and the American movement for independence. The course will also introduce students to the methods historians use to recover the past with an emphasis on the hidden histories of the enslaved. Finally, we will consider contemporary debates among both scholars and the broader public over the history of slavery and its ties to the movement for American Independence. In contrast to well-worn stories of idealistic patriot leaders, we will examine how the politics of slavery shaped the creation of the United States, and ultimately ask, just how revolutionary was the American Revolution?

Course Designation: Either Humanities or Social Science.

Integrated Science 100/150: Exploring Biology and Exploring Research in STEM

Explore exciting bioscience research and opportunities in this unique course that combines “Exploring Biology” and “Exploring Research in STEM.”  You will gain foundational skills and knowledge needed for successful academic and post-graduate careers in the biosciences and other STEM disciplines. In this course, you will:

  • learn the core concepts in biology (evolution; transformation of energy and matter; information exchange and storage; structure and function; systems biology);
  • be introduced to the scientific research process and gain skills in reading scientific literature;
  • consider how scientific research benefits from diverse perspectives;
  • explore careers in biology and research; and
  • become familiar with resources and opportunities on campus to support your success as a STEM student.

Please note that this is a topics course intended to be taken before the introductory biology series, and is not an introduction to biology course. Much of the course will center on four primary topics that relate to biology in Wisconsin and current research. The course will involve engaging discussions, collaborative activities, and projects to help you develop your skills as a scientist.

Course Designation: Biological Science.


Library & Information Studies 202: Informational Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society

What is information? What is technology? What is society? Where and how do these concepts intersect? This course provides an introduction to the contemporary information society from a sociological perspective as we explore the impact of, and barriers to, information access on the lives of historically minoritized groups in the United States, with a particular focus on Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. We begin by defining terms to lay the groundwork for exploration of information inequalities in various social systems (education, criminal justice, medical, built environment). As we move through the course, you build critical analysis skills and apply them to systems and structures with which you engage in your daily lives.

Course Designation: Ethnic Studies; Either Humanities or Social Science.

Sociology 134:  The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity in the United States

Where do racial categories come from? Why do racial and ethnic inequalities exist? Do we live in a “post-racial” society (or will we ever)?

This course invites you to take a sociological approach in understanding the reality of race and ethnicity in the United States. We will first explore how racial and ethnic hierarchies emerged historically and establish why sociologists refer to race as a “social construct.” We will then assess the significance of race and ethnicity in a variety of social contexts, from schooling and employment to health outcomes. We will contextualize contemporary racial and ethnic inequality with social and historical evidence. Finally, we will consider the future of race in America and discuss a few ways in which we may fight racism and achieve race and ethnic justice in the world.

Course Designation: Ethnic Studies; Social Science.

Sociology 138: The Sociology of Gender

Gender is everywhere. We build our lives, our institutions, and our relationships on our ideas about gender, often without noticing it at all; it feels like gender is part of the “natural” or “normal” way life works. In this class, we will set out to denaturalize these ideas. We will talk about where gender comes from and how we learn it, how we perform gender and how we police how others perform gender, and how gender structures our society from the interpersonal to the structural level. We will investigate how misogyny and transphobia are evolving today, as well as discuss resistance to gender norms and the future of gender politics.

Course Designation: Social Science.