2023 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 a 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 15.

During your official SOAR summer orientation session — SOAR is something all incoming new students do — you will learn about the components of your L&S bachelor’s degree and how to understand its requirements. It’s okay to not know all that information when you are choosing your preferred SCE classes.

Your SOAR academic advisor will review your placement test scores and any incoming credits-by-exam or transfer credits before you select and enroll in your Fall classes.
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+.

Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences 100:
Weather and Climate

This class introduces you to:

  • nature and variability of wind, temperature, cloud and precipitation;
  • storm systems, fronts, thunderstorms, tornadoes and their prediction;
  • air composition and pollution; and
  • global winds, seasonal changes, climate and climatic change.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Computer Science 202:
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.

Integrated Science 100/150:
Exploring Biology and Exploring Research

Explore exciting bioscience research and opportunities in this unique course that combines “Exploring Biology” and “Exploring Research.” You gain skills and knowledge needed for successful academic and post-graduate careers in biology. This course will teach you core concepts in biology – the “big ideas” that apply to biological phenomena, while exposing you to the scientific research process. You will also develop scientific thinking and communication skills, learn about the breadth of biosciences careers, and become familiar with resources on campus that support student success.

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

This class explores the impact of and barriers to access to information on the lives of low-income ethnic/racial minority communities in the United States. Provides introduction to contemporary information society from a sociological perspective.

Political Science 104:
Introduction to American Politics and Government

This course is an introduction to American politics and government, giving you a good understanding of how the government makes policy and why decisions are made as they are. The course will combine accounts of how “Washington really works” from the popular media, scholarly work on the governmental process, and debates on various political issues and institutions. The course begins with a discussion of the foundations of the American governmental system: the Constitution, federalism, capitalism and questions concerning the democratic nature of government. Then we will examine the American political institutions: Congress, the president, the bureaucracy, and the courts. From there we turn to political participation and examine public opinion, parties, campaigns and elections, and interest groups. Finally, we will see how it all fits together by examining civil rights, social policy, economic policy, and foreign policy.

If you will have AP credit from U.S. Government & Politics, other Political Science classes will be a better fit for you.

Sociology 134:
The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

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 COVID-19 outcomes. 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.