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Skidmore College

Pre-College Courses


Pre-College students may enroll in any approved foundation-level liberal or studio art online course offered as part of Skidmore’s Summer Session for college students.  Offerings include a wide range of courses drawn from the humanities, social and natural sciences; studio art courses and workshops (TBD); and an array of special topics courses from diverse disciplines that provide singular experiences.

2021 Course Descriptions

Course # • course title • credits • instructor • lab fee (if any)
course days (R designates Thursday) • class time 

*All course placements are subject to approval by the Pre-College Program director

 Our 2021 online courses are being finalized, please join our email list to be notified immediately when the courses are announced!



SAMPLE 2020 Course Descriptions

Expand each section below to browse our Course Descriptions.

AN-101 • Intro to Cultural Anthropology • 3 • Christine Vassallo-Oby
M/W/F • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Anthropology is a lot more than the scientific study of humans. By asking ourselves, “what is anthropology?” and “what is culture?” we must understand what cultural anthropologists actually do in practice. A cultural anthropologist is someone who observes, records, and thinks about the operation, function, and design of human life in all of its complexities. Humanity, like culture, is messy, nonlinear, multifaceted, and constantly shifting. Think about the culture which your parents grew up, lots of things may have changed since then, including popular music, technology, medical advancements, and so on. The purpose of this course is to provide you with an introduction to the historical context, current manifestations, and theoretical processes of cultural anthropology as an academic discipline and as a way of viewing the world. We will accomplish this by exploring the similarities and diversity of human societies through ethnographic case studies and cross-cultural comparisons in both film and text. These topics are illustrated through examining the history and utility of anthropology's hallmark method, ethnography, which is the immersion of the researcher in the culture under study.

AR-101 • Intro to Painting • 3 • Angela Heisch • Lab Fee: $60
AR-101Z • Intro to Painting Workshop • 0 • Lab Fee: $60
M/T/W/R/F • 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

An introduction to painting as a medium of visual expression. Emphasis is placed upon exploration of formal and technical concerns. Basic studies include drawing and will explore a variety of subject matter and media directed toward the organization of the two-dimensional plane.

AR 136 • Digital Foundations • 4 • Joe Klockowski • Lab Fee $105
M/T/W/R/F 8:45 AM – 12:30 PM

A survey of technological and aesthetic best practices and theory in visual communication. Students will study the basic functions and integral properties of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other presentation and video editing software. Vector and raster imaging techniques, scanning, printing, and using digital images and typography are introduced through a series of demonstration/projects that build upon one another. Projects focus on design principles and basic skills needed to communicate a visual message with a specific intent.

AS 251C • Special Topics in Asian Studies: The Story of Buddhism • 3 • Benjamin Bogin
M/W/F 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM

An introductory survey of Buddhist traditions focusing on narrative literature and art. Students will examine the social and intellectual history of these traditions as they spread geographically and consider the role of narrative in contemporary Buddhist communities.

GE-101 001 • Earth Systems Science • 4 • Kyle Nichols • Lab Fee: $50
M/T/W/R/F • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

An introduction to Earth’s dynamic systems and geologic processes. The planet is studied from its deep interior to its oceanic, surficial, and atmospheric components to develop a scientific understanding of Earth as a holistic environmental system, of which the biosphere, including humanity, is one component. Within this context, course topics such as rocks and minerals, mountain building, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers, surface and groundwater, and resources are examined from the perspective of the interactions between geologic processes and humans.

NS 101 • Introductory Neuroscience: Mind and Behavior • 4 • Sarita Lagalwar• Lab Fee: $40
M/T/W/R/F 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

An interdisciplinary examination of the neurobiological bases of behavior and mental processing. Topics include the structure and functioning of the nervous system, brain-behavior relationships, and hormonal and genetic effects on behavior and mental processing. Laboratories develop students' understanding of functional neuroanatomy, neural transmission, and human neurophysiology.

SO 101 • Sociological Perspectives • 3 • Andrew Lindner
M/T/W/R 9:30 AM – 11:45 AM

The basic concepts and principles of major sociological perspectives. Attention is given to how these perspectives have been developed and used by social scientists to explain social phenomena. Recommended as an introduction to the discipline.

SW-253 • Human Behavior and the Social Environment • 3 • Peter McCarthy
M/T/W/R9:30 AM – 11:45 AM

A multidisciplinary examination of theories and knowledge of human bio-psycho-social development from birth through later years. The course draws on research from biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science to study the impact of biological, psychological, social, and cultural systems on health and well-being. Students explore the range of social systems in which individuals live (families, groups, communities, and organizations) and study the importance of ethnicity, culture, gender, disability, and other elements of diversity in human development.

WLI-101 • Elementary Italian • 4 • Barbara Garbin
M/T/W/R • 9:00 AM – 11:55 AM

An introduction to spoken and written Italian emphasizing cultural perspectives. Linguistic emphasis is on basic grammar, vocabulary, and the development of reading, conversation, and writing skills while learning about the culture of Italy.
Note(s): Four hours of class, one hour of drill or tutorial. Presupposes no previous study of Italian.


AR-101 • Intro to Painting • 3 • Angela Heisch • Lab Fee: $60
AR-101Z • Intro to Painting Workshop • 0 • Lab Fee: $60
M/T/W/R/F • 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM

An introduction to painting as a medium of visual expression. Emphasis is placed upon exploration of formal and technical concerns. Basic studies include drawing and will explore a variety of subject matter and media directed toward the organization of the two-dimensional plane.

AR-133 • Drawing I • 4Kathy Hemingway-Jones • Lab Fee: $50
AR-133Z • Drawing I Workshop • 0 • Lab Fee: $50
M/T/W/R/F • 1:30 PM – 5:15 PM

This course builds on basic drawing experiences, refining skills in observation, organization, interpretation, and critical analysis. Studio work introduces a range of traditional drawing tools and materials while exploring a variety of approaches to image making and visual expression.

BI 170 • Human Genetics • 4 • Bernard Possidente • Lab fee $80
M/T/W//R/F 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM

An introduction to the principles of genetics and their application to human biology. Topics include the history of genetics; the structure, function, and inheritance of genes; medical genetics; and genetic engineering.
Note(s): Summer: Nine hours of lecture, six hours of lab per week.

GW 101 • Introduction to Gender Studies • 4 • Donny Bellamy
M/T/W/R 1:30 PM – 4:25 PM

An introduction to the origins, purpose, subject matters, and methods of the interdisciplinary study of gender. Students are expected to expand their knowledge of the relative historical and present social conditions of people of different genders in different contexts and to develop analytical skills for the examination of socially significant variables-race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will explore different and often opposing understandings of what constitutes feminism and feminist action. The class format will combine interactive lectures, reading assignments, discussion, formal research and writing assignments, and other student projects. Ideally, students will leave the class with an understanding of how gender structures cultural, political, economic, and social relations in various contexts.

PS 101 • Introduction to Psychological Science • 4 • Elliot Jardin
M/T/W/R/F 1:15 PM – 3:40 PM

An introduction to the science of psychology through a survey of theories, methods, and principles of behavior. Students will learn about empirical studies that are central to the various subdisciplines of psychology.

PY-109 • Physics: Sound and Music • 4 • Jill Linz
M/T/W/R/F • 1:15 PM – 4:30 PM

The physical principles of sound—how it is produced, propagated, and perceived. Illumination of principles will emphasize examples from music. Mechanisms used to produce different types of musical sounds will be discussed as well as the physical principles behind the reproduction of music in its many forms such as radio, tape recorders, and CD players. The laboratory component will include measurement of the speed of sound, frequency analysis of musical instruments, and sound recording.

RE 103 • Understanding Religion • 4 • Eliza Kent
M/T/R/F 1:30 PM – 4:25 PM

An in-depth introduction to the academic study of religion from a variety of perspectives, that attends to religion as a global, cross-cultural human phenomenon. Students will examine multiple traditions, geographical locations, and historical periods. Through close reading of texts, lecture, and discussion, students explore the religious lives of individuals and communities empathetically while also critically examining them within larger political, social, and cultural contexts.

EN 103 • Writing Seminar I • 4 • L. Caitlin Jorgensen
M/T/W/R/F 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM

Introduction to expository writing with frequent writing assignments emphasizing skills in developing ideas, organizing material, and creating thesis statements. Assignments provide practice in description, definition, comparison and contrast, and argumentation. Additional focus on grammar, syntax, and usage.
Note(s): Students and instructor meet in seminar five days a week; students are also required to meet regularly with a Writing Center tutor. This course does not fulfill the all-college requirement in expository writing.

EN 105 • Writing Seminar II • 4 •  Francois Bonneville
M/T/W/R/F 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM

This seminar immerses students in the process of producing finished analytical essays informed by critical reading and careful reasoning. Special attention is given to developing ideas, writing from sources, organizing material, and revising drafts. Additional emphasis is on grammar, style, and formal conventions of writing. Students respond to one another’s work in workshops or peer critique sessions. Occasional informal writing complements assignments of longer finished papers.
Note(s): (This course fulfills the all-college requirement in expository writing.)

Prerequisite: writing placement exam.

EN 105 • Writing Seminar II • 4 •  Thaddeus Niles
M/T/W/R/F 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM

"Under the Influence - Argument and Persuasion in our Lives" Argument seems inescapable. Its rituals have shaped the Western academic tradition, which is perhaps reason enough to study it more closely.  But argument is also a central feature of our lives as citizens and consumers. In this writing course, students will consider the nature of persuasion, various methods of thinking critically, and approaches to translating these methods to academic texts.  Class projects include essays examining the language and logic of persuasive appeals, as well as a final collaborative project.