Summer Honors Program Course Descriptions

  • SHP Chemistry LabAll courses offered through the Summer Honors Program are designed to be dynamic, interactive explorations by the students and professor into the course topic.

    Classes meet Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and noon and again between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Half the day will be spent in Honors Core and the other half in the discipline-based class chosen by the student. All classes are conducted by IUP faculty members and local professionals.

    Honors Core

    Required class for all students

    In the Interdisciplinary Honors Core Course, all students will tackle some of the most basic and debated questions of human existence, such as, “How do we discern the good from the bad?” or, “What do we know? What do we believe? Is there a difference?” Working with professors from literature, philosophy, history, and the fine arts provides a unique opportunity for a synthesis of ideas. You will be challenged to develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of great scholars’ arguments, group discussions, writing, and group presentations.

    Discipline-Based Class Options (continue to check back for updated course descriptions)


    Genetic Engineering: Techniques and Application

    Covers nucleic acid properties, structure, and functions. The lecture part of the course will cover the principles and techniques of recent developments and findings in recombinant DNA technology. The laboratory component will provide the opportunity to learn and apply hands-on recombinant DNA procedures and the technologies of spectrophotometer analysis of nucleic acids and proteins; restriction enzyme digestion, gel electrophoretic analysis of mutant genes, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis.

    Program Prerequisites: High school biology, chemistry or physics

    Instructor: Dr. N. Bharathan

    Return to Course Selection

    Constitutional Law

    Amend the Constitution!

    Whether it is the issue of same-sex marriage, the right of the unborn to enjoy the status of full personhood, or the limits of the executive branch to push the boundaries of civil liberties in a time of national crisis, the United States Supreme Court struggles daily with the need to balance the rights of its collective citizenry against the individual rights of its citizens, as defined by the Constitution. Justices appointed to this task must wrestle daily with the words of our founding document as they define and interpret the cases that come before it.

    You will explore the process of judicial review. We will begin with an examination of several very complex and emotional legal issues that threaten to rend the fabric of our national unity. You will investigate a controversial topic from a constitutional and legal perspective. You will also undergo the very process of judicial review that takes place in the U.S. Supreme Court. After researching and developing positions, the course will culminate in a presentation of a brief that interprets the case and sets the precedent for all future litigation surrounding the issue.

    Instructors: Dr. D. Chambers and Dr. G Torges

    Return to Course Selection

    English: The Science and Nature of Shakespeare Through The 21st Century

    Reading Film, YouTube, and Social Media

    "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." (Ulysses, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, iii)
     In this course, we will be taking a more “natural” approach to William Shakespeare. All fig leaves aside, for two weeks, we will be interacting with the history of humans and nature by investigating with the actual science present in Shakespeare's works. Among many facets, we will be exploring:

    • Shakespearean ornithology, where we will embark on a bird-watching field trip to a local county park
    • Shakespeare’s botany, where we will study the flora that grow out of the lines within Shakespearean sonnets and plays in order to build our own modern Shakespearean garden
    • Astronomy of the Northern hemisphere that fall throughout Shakespeare’s works, which includes an evening of stargazing and a trip to the university's planetarium to reproduce a celestial Elizabethan experience

    Throughout the course, we will transition between times and spaces in order to correlate how the nature of Shakespeare has evolved into the 21st century in terms of literature, pop culture, and social media. Cross-traveling between our time periods, we will be exploring Shakespeare in the contemporary sphere, such as how he is appropriated via:

    • popularized TV series
    • contemporary film
    • performed Twitter identities and other platforms

    We will delve into how our current human experience both accepts and resists the varying natures of Shakespeare. Examining how his works have outlived the "survival of the fittest" and critically questioning the ways that his works continue to sustain relevance after 400 years will lead us to speculate the influence of perhaps his greatest nature of all: the human nature that connects each of us. 

    Instructor: Ms. O'Toole

    Return to Course Selection


    The Mathematics of Counting

    Can you count? Indeed, a very simple question, perhaps having no simple answer. The answer really depends on what exactly is being counted, and can get quite complicated. For example, can you count how many different routes one can travel in the xy-plane from the origin (0,0) to the ordered pair (30,20) moving only in two directions, either east or north, and in one-unit increments? For another example, suppose A+B+C+D+E=25. How many different solutions are there to this equation subject to the condition that each term is a nonnegative integer? In fact, these two questions are not too difficult to answer with the right tools. In this course, you will learn some of the fascinating and intriguing techniques of mathematical counting, which have far-reaching applications in mathematics, computer science, and coding theory (The Imitation Game). Applications of counting will be discussed and it will be shown why questions like the above are being asked in the first place – they are not being asked just for the sake of asking a question. Underestimating a very simple question would be like underestimating your opponent in a game of chess! By the way, can you count the number of different ways that eight rooks can be placed on a standard chessboard so that they are mutually non-attacking? 

    Instructor: Dr. J Lattanzio

    Return to Course Selection


    Nanoparticles are solid materials that have sizes of 1 – 100 nanometers in at least one dimension.  They don’t behave like normal solids or solutions, and they don’t behave like individual atoms.  Instead they have unique chemical, optical, and electrical properties, that are dependent on their size and shape.  Applications of nanoparticles include advanced electronics, energy storage and conversion, environmental remediation, and biomedical uses including drug delivery.

    In this hands-on course, students will explore some of the emerging applications of nanoparticles in technology and engineering, and study methods of producing, and characterizing various types of nanoparticles ( metal, crystal, organic, and biological).

     Instructor: Dr. J. Ford and Dr. G. Long

    Return to Course Selection

    Political Communication

    The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the key concepts and theories regarding communication’s role in politics and the political process. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to the field through the exploration of research from scholarship in the fields of Communication, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. We will address the role of news media, political entertainment, online media, popular culture, political campaigns, and face-to-face communication from the perspective of both the public and the government. We will also discuss cognitive and behavioral effects of political messages on the public. The primary emphasis of this course will be on American Politics, however, at times we will discuss how the American system differs from others.

    Instructor: Dr. S. Kleinman

    Return to Course Selection


    This course will explore the relationship between the brain, the mind, and behavior. We will examine the neuroanatomical and neurochemical underpinnings of everyday behavior (vision, sleeping, learning) as well as disease states (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Schizophrenia). A variety of hands-on experiences will be used to engage students in the study of neuroscience (examining brain cells under microscopes and sheep brain dissections). Special attention will be paid to how neuroscience methods can be applied to the study of behavior, how drugs influence brain and behavior, and new research findings in the field. We will challenge common beliefs and myths about the brain and its functions. Also, central to this course will be the investigation of how the organization of the nervous system influences how we interact with the environment and conversely how the environment impacts the structure and function of our brain.  

    Instructor: Dr. W. Meil   

    Return to Course Selection

    World War II in America

    Women in the Home Front

    Although no military battles were fought on the American mainland, World War II affected all areas of life at home. In this course, we will look at how women responded to the demands of war: at home, at the workplace, and in their communities. We will look at new areas of opportunity that opened for women in traditionally male dominated areas of life, and at how cultural mores for women were shaped by the realities of war. Among the topics we will address are female pilots, women’s baseball, changing sexual mores, and the special challenges faced by women of color.

    Instructor: Dr. E Ricketts

    Return to Course Selection

  • 2017 Summer Honors Program Application
    Summer Honors Program for High School Students at Cook Honors College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Application for Admission Admission to the Cook Summer Honors Program is a highly selective experience for talented students. Your application and credentials are carefully and holistically reviewed b
    2017 Teacher Evaluation Form
    Summer Honors Program for High School Students at Cook Honors College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Teacher Evaluation Form Summer Honors Program for High School Students at Cook Honors College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Teacher Evaluation Form Admission to the Cook Summer Honors Program is a high
    Summer Honors Program Student Nomination Form
    High school teachers may use this form below to recommend a student for the Cook Honors College Summer Honors Program.
    SHP Room and Board
    Students will live on campus in single gender wings of IUP's Northern Suites.