Summer Humanities Institute Online

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford has determined that on-campus residential programs should be shifted to an online-only format. In place of our our residential program this summer, we are pleased to offer an online alternative to the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute.

Stanford Summer Humanities Institute Online is a two-week summer program that allows rising high school juniors and seniors to dive deep into the humanities, exploring rich fields of inquiry that are rarely taught at the high school level.

Online Academic Enrichment

Not for credit or grade, our humanities courses allow students to discover new passions through in-depth study of literature, philosophy, history, and art.

In addition to exploring new subjects and ways of thinking, studying the humanities helps develop creative problem solving and research skills.
Intensive Exploration
Participants investigate topics in the humanities that teach them to understand the past, question the present, and imagine the future. Throughout the session, participants have the chance to discuss powerful ideas that they are exposed to in lectures, readings, and discussion sections.
Real-Time Online Instruction
Course instruction is delivered through on-demand video lectures from a distinguished Stanford professor, daily class meetings led by Stanford graduate student teaching assistants, and a one-on-one virtual meeting with the professor.
College-Level Workload
Similar to what they would experience in a college course, students can expect a heavy workload of assignments to work on outside of the live class meeting times. Coursework will include assigned readings, group work, pre-recorded online lectures, and more.
Student Engagement
Active participation is key to creating an online community of engaged learners, and students are expected to participate in class and to collaborate with their peers, professors, and teaching assistants.

Explore the 2020 Online Courses

Courses meet each day (Monday–Friday) for live classroom discussion led by Stanford graduate student teaching assistants. A live class period will be held at both 8:00–9:30am and 4:00–5:30pm PDT, and participants will attend just one of the available meeting times.
Racial Identity in the American Imagination
The Greeks and Beyond
The Age of Jefferson
Magical Realism

2020 Dates and Tuition

Courses will be offered across three sessions this summer. Each session runs for two weeks, with courses meeting Monday–Friday. Please note that students may only attend one course during a session.
Session Dates
Session One
Monday, June 22 – Friday, July 3, 2020

Session Two
Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 17, 2020

Session Three
Monday, July 20 – Friday, July 31, 2020
Online Program Tuition
Tuition for Summer Humanities Institute Online is $2,950.

(Some courses may require the purchase of additional materials such as course readers or textbooks.)

Online Classroom Technology Requirements

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Participants will need to have daily access to a computer that is capable of running the latest versions of internet browsers, plug-ins, and software.
Internet Connection
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Participants will need to be connected to high-speed internet that will support interactive audio and video.
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Participants should have a webcam to support daily participation in class.
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If you are using a laptop with a built-in microphone, we recommend that you use headphones during live class sessions to avoid echo or feedback. If possible, we suggest that you use a USB-based headset with a microphone for clear audio when participating in class.
Suitable Learning Environment
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Do your best to choose a comfortable, distraction-free learning space for the live class meeting times. Keep in mind that the setting should be appropriate for interacting with instructors and fellow students on camera.

Engaging Student Life

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies seeks to not only provide enriching academic experiences, but also to facilitate engaging learning communities that foster critical thinking, promote personal growth, and inspire lifelong learning outside of the classroom. Outside of the academic coursework, students will have opportunities to engage and build community with their peers through a variety of student life seminars, workshops, and activities.
Hoover Tower on Stanford Campus

A Taste of College Life

Learn about life at Stanford, ask current undergraduate students questions about life in college, and engage in dialogue with Stanford community members.
In a common area, a participant uses a laptop during the program.

Build Connections Around the World

Meet participants from other countries while participating in exciting events like orientation, a talent show, a guest speaker series, and commencement.
Two people bike past the Main Quad.

College Access and Career Planning

From understanding institution types to unpacking personal statements, our College Access and Career Planning workshops will help students prepare for life after high school.
Participants do yoga together outside.

Health and Wellness

Understand the concept of total wellness by gaining insight to personal wellness, learning principles and techniques to mindfulness, and discovering healthy habits as students transition to college.
Six students from Cyprus and the UAE

Global Competencies

Develop an understanding of your identity and the biases we all carry. Strengthen cross-cultural communication skills and utilize a social-justice lens to prepare for engagement in an increasingly globalized society.
Stanford Campus


Reflect on your leadership journey, consider the benefits of relational leadership, and take your leadership to the next level with these workshops.

Daily Expectations

Participants have full daily schedules which incorporate the academic and social aspects of the program. Class time and student life activities are scheduled in an effort to accommodate multiple time zones. Each participant will have a unique schedule as they join our online community from their homes around the world.

In general, students can expect to have roughly 3-5 hours of academic work per weekday, in addition to the daily live class period. Outside of the scheduled class period, students are able to set their own schedule for when they complete assigned readings, watch pre-recorded lecture videos, or work on class assignments.

Online Program Frequently Asked Questions

I had already applied to the program before it switched to an online format. What will happen to my original application? Do I have to re-apply for the online program? 

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In the transition to an online program, all previously-submitted applications will automatically transfer to the online alternative. Applicants who already submitted an application for the 2020 residential program do not need to submit a new application to be considered for this summer's online program. Our admissions team will keep applicants informed of next steps. Please note that this transition may delay notification of your final admission status; we thank you for your understanding as we make every effort to keep you informed. 

Who teaches the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute courses?

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Stanford Summer Humanities Institute courses are taught by Stanford faculty members, who teach on their areas of academic expertise, often leading courses similar to ones taught to Stanford undergraduates. Learn more about these Stanford faculty members from their biographies on our site, under About and linked from their respective course pages.

Do Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies program participants receive grades or credit?

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We do not provide course grades or credits for completing a Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies program. Our summer courses are for enrichment purposes only. After the conclusion of the program, participants are sent a written evaluation from their instructor and a certificate of completion.

What is the refund policy for Stanford Summer Humanities Institute Online? 

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Application fees and program deposits are non-refundable. To withdraw, the student or parent must notify Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies staff in writing (via email) prior to the start of the program. No refunds or discounts will be given for withdrawals once the program has begun. Refunds cannot be considered until a formal email request is received.

Please see the table below for our refund schedule.

Date of Written Notification Tuition Refund Amount
Before June 3, 2020 100%
June 3 – June 10, 2020 50%
June 11 – June 17, 2020 25%
After June 17, 2020 0%


Will special considerations be made to the refund policy due to the pandemic?

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If a student must withdraw their enrollment due to impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, they should notify our office by email as soon as possible. In the event that a student is unable to participate due to COVID-19 and must withdraw after the full tuition refund date has passed, we will review each situation on a case-by-base basis. Please contact our office at and our staff will be happy to assist.

Memorial Quad on Stanford Campus

Start Planning Your Summer