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Arts and Sciences Summer Exploration Program

The Arts and Sciences Summer Exploration program offers middle and high school students one-week intensive enrichment courses intended to introduce them to new areas of study or allow them to engage in content they may already have an interest in. In-person classes meet from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and are taught by Ohio State faculty, staff, and graduate students. Teaching is active, hands-on and encourages participants to engage with the instructional team and their fellow participants. These courses are not for grade or credit and are designed for self-motivated learners.  

Eligibility is based on a participant’s current grade level for the 2023-2024 school year. Students currently enrolled in 7th and 8th grades are eligible for middle school courses. Students currently enrolled in 9th – 11th grade are eligible for high school courses. 

If you have questions about this program, please contact ExploreASC@osu.edu or call Courtney Price at 614-292-8208. 

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2024 Course Offerings

Explorations in Creative Writing

Dates: June 3–7

Eligibility: Middle School (current grade 7-8)

Description: In this course, we will take a deep dive into poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing! In each genre, we’ll be thinking about what it means to develop our own individual writing voice that’s unique to who we are. During the week, we will experiment with daily writing exercises based off prompts crafted to spark creativity and seek inspiration from reading classic and contemporary literary work, as well as different forms of art, such as music and collage. 

Through this course, participants will hone their writing voice in multiple genres. By the end of the course, each participant will have an impressive portfolio of writing developed in our supportive writing community. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course.

Astronomy as a Gateway to the Data Sciences

Dates: June 3–7

Eligibility: High School (current grade 9-11)

Description: Astronomy has entered the “big data” era, in which huge collections of measurements are analyzed to attack the most challenging problems. In this course, we will explore how even the simplest data – the positions and brightness of stars – can address an active research problem. We will build the components of a data analysis pipeline using the most basic parts of the Python programming language, and use real data to search for young stars that have diffused away from the clusters they were born in. 

This course will explore many aspects of competency in the data sciences. This is a true research project! We do not know the answers in advance but will discover them as part of our course. This course will include small group exploration, interviews, peer teaching, and pair programming. Through this course students will learn basic statistical analysis, and gain experience in several fundamentals in the Python programming language. 


  • Participants should have completed high school algebra or geometry prior to taking this course. 
  • Previous experience with astronomy and programming is not required for this course. 

Specific Course Requirements:

  • Personal laptop and charger
    • Contact ExploreASC@osu.edu if lack of access to a personal computer would limit participation.

Sensational Science: Exploring Human Perception

Dates: June 3–7

Eligibility: High School (current grade 9-11)

Description: Discover the wonders and mysteries of how we perceive the world around us. Participants will explore not only the traditional five senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch — but also examine proprioception, nociception, balance, and the complex neural networks that integrate sensory information. 

Through a dynamic blend of lectures, hands-on experiments, interactive activities, and group discussions, participants will learn the science behind how we perceive our environment and ourselves. This course will enhance critical thinking and scientific inquiry skills through investigations of how our brains interpret sensory information. Going beyond the basics, this course will uncover the fascinating spectrum of sensory and perception disorders. From the challenges of navigating the world with color blindness or anosmia to the extraordinary experiences of synesthesia, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of how diverse the human experience of the world can be. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course. 

Pollinator Ecology and Exploration

Dates: June 10–14

Eligibility: Middle School (current grade 7-8)

Description: This course will explore the biology, ecology, and ecosystem services associated with pollinators. While the focus of the course will be commercially managed and native insect pollinators, time will be spent discussing the essential services provided by non-insect pollinators such as birds and mammals. The purpose of the course is for participants to understand the connections between the natural resource of pollination, and how wild plant communities and human systems rely on this service.

Through this course, participants will explore career opportunities in the field of ecology and natural resource management, learn universally applicable research skills, and leave with a well-rounded knowledge of pollinating animals. Participants will create a pinned insect collection and a pressed flower collection. 

During this course student will spend time outdoors collecting insects. As a result, students may encounter insects that bite or sting. This course may not be appropriate for participants with insect allergies. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course.

Course Specific Requirements:

  • Participants will need to bring a smart device with the ability to connect to the internet
    • Contact ExploreASC@osu.edu if lack of access to a smart device would limit participation.
  • Participants will need to download iNaturalist to their device.
  • Closed-toe shoes, hats and sunscreen are recommended as this course will include outdoor activities.


Dates: June 10-14

Eligibility: Middle School (current grade 7-8)

Description: This studio-based, hands-on course will be held in the Ohio State Print Shop in Hopkins Hall. Participants will be introduced to a variety of printmaking techniques including screenprinting, relief printing, monoprinting, risography, and bookmaking. Participants will have the option to focus their work through the lens of comics, storytelling, and character design, if they so choose. At the end of the week participants will visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library on Ohio State campus, where they will view exhibitions and archives of comics and sequential art. 

Through this course, participants will learn how to operate specialized printing presses, tools, and equipment. Participants will create an original portfolio of printed works on paper and fabric. Participants will have the opportunity to share their prints and acquire works by their fellow participants through a course print exchange.

During this course students will use sharp tools and operate printmaking equipment. Students will be supervised and provided with personal safety training for every technique, but there is an inherent risk of injury.

Prerequisites: Previous studio art experience is not required to successfully participate in this course.

Course Specific Requirements:

  • Close-toe shoes are recommended.
  • Clothing may get art materials on them. Participants should dress accordingly.

Introduction to Designed Spaces, Objects, and Graphics 

Dates: June 10-14

Eligibility: High School (current grade 9-11)

Description: Design is elemental to supporting our daily activities, but how are these designs shaped and informed? What connotations do they take on? How do they represent those who display, utilize, and inhabit them?

This course aims to explore graphics design, product design, and interior design vernacular to create a unique design language. Using The Ohio State University’s campus as a case study, students will learn more about design and examine their context. Coursework will utilize sketching, diagramming, modeling, writing, and other activities to understand and critically analyze the designs around us. 

Students will then have the opportunity to communicate their own understanding of designed spaces by proposing one of their own. A series of workshops will empower students to employ professional methods of evaluating, modeling, and presenting their designs.

During this course participants will use sharp instruments. Participants will be supervised throughout the course, but there is an inherent risk of injury. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course. 

Course Specific Requirements: 

  • Personal laptop and charger
    • Contact ExploreASC@osu.edu if lack of access to a personal computer would limit participation.

Intercultural Competence for Future Global Leaders 

Dates: June 24-28

Eligibility: Middle School (current grade 7-8)

Description: Intercultural competence is conceptualized as a lifelong process that includes the development of the attitudes (respect and valuing of other cultures, openness, curiosity), knowledge (of self, culture, sociolinguistic issues) skills (listen, observe, interpret, analyze, evaluate, and relate), and qualities (adaptability, flexibility, empathy and cultural decentering) in order to behave and communicate effectively and appropriately to achieve one’s goals. 

In this course, participants will learn what it takes to become globally-minded and acquire the skills to navigate in multiple, diverse, global and local networks. Participants will understand the core concepts related to culture and intercultural competence, learn the basics of American Sign Language (ASL), develop cultural self-awareness, and understand the relationship between intercultural competence, citizenship and leadership. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course. 

Course Specific Requirements: 

  • Personal laptop and charger
    • Contact ExploreASC@osu.edu if lack of access to a personal computer would limit participation.

Philosophy Through Science Fiction

Dates: June 24-28

Eligibility: High School (current grade 9-11)

Description: Science fiction raises fascinating questions about our world and ourselves. Can a time traveler prevent themselves from being born? Is destroying a machine that acts like a human as bad as murder? If a transporter works by precisely recreating your body somewhere else, then is that person really you? 

In this discussion-heavy, problem-centered course, participants will work together to answer those questions and more, drawing upon a selection of excellent science fiction. Throughout the process, participants will work together to develop their own solutions to puzzles about important concepts like time, identity, consciousness, freedom, moral responsibility, and the nature of reality. The course will include daily movie screenings to make the puzzles more vivid, give participants a set of shared examples to draw on, and encourage them to think more deeply about the media that they consume.

Through this course, participants will be able to extract interesting philosophical puzzles from the media they consume, as well as develop and defend their own solutions to those puzzles. 

This course includes screening science fiction movies and/or television shows that may include mature content. Content shown may have a PG-13 or TV-14 rating.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course. 

The “Me” in Media: Choosing Media Wisely

Dates: June 24-28

Eligibility: High School (current grade 9-11)

Description: Mass media, from the telegraph to television to TikTok, can have important (and sometimes surprising!) effects on the world that we live in today. Media affects our culture, work environments, and political policies. In addition to impacting society as a whole, media influences us as individual people. Whether it’s the music we choose to listen to, the video games we choose to play, or the social media websites we engage with, mass media has impacts on our wellness, career preparedness, and citizenship behaviors.

This course will include a combination of lectures, group and individual activities. We will discuss how different types of media influence society and individual people. Participants will learn about the social sciences and how media provides an avenue through which we can study human behavior. Participants will develop strategies for how they can engage with media in ways that promote health, wellness, and positive citizenship. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience with the subject matter is not required for this course. 

Application and deadline

The 2024 Arts and Sciences Summer Exploration Program application will remain open through May 1. Space in each course is limited, so individual courses may fill before the May 1 deadline. 

If a participant requires an accommodation such as interpretation to participate in this program, please contact the program at ExploreASC@osu.edu or 614-292-8208. Requests should be made as soon as possible. Requests made two weeks before the first day of a course will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date. 

We invite you to sign up for updates to receive information about our programs and be alerted when the when future application windows open.  

Costs and aid

The program fee for the Arts and Sciences Summer Exploration 2024 program is $550 per one-week course, which includes all course materials and activities, lunch, and snacks.

Limited need-based financial assistance may be available in the form of partial support. Financial assistance can be requested on the program application.

Payment deadlines

Applicants have one week to accept their offer of admission to the program and pay the program fee. All payments must be made through the applicant portal. Once an offer is accepted and payment made, the parent or legal guardian must submit emergency contact and medical information, as well as signed Policy Acknowledgement and Consent forms no later than May 15, 2024.  

Refund Policy

The Arts and Sciences Summer Exploration Program recognizes that sometimes plans change. Participants may request a refund of the program fee by emailing ExploreASC@osu.edu according to the following schedule:

  • On or before May 1, 2024: 100% of program fee paid
  • May 2 – May 15, 2024: 50% of program fee paid
  • On or after May 16, 2024: No refund of program fee paid

Program Details

While plans for each course may differ slightly, the daily schedule follows this general model:

  • Drop off 8:15 - 8:45 a.m.
  • Morning session 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Travel to lunch 11:30 - 11:45 a.m.
  • Lunch at Traditions 11:45 - 12:45 p.m. 
  • Travel time 12:30 - 12:45 p.m. 
  • On campus activity 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
  • Afternoon session 2:00-3:45 p.m.
  • Travel to pick-up location 3:45 - 4 p.m.
  • Pick up 4:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Participants will always be escorted between pick-up/drop-off, their assigned classroom, the dining hall, and the on-campus activity by program staff. Additional information about the program will be emailed to participants and families, as needed, closer to the start of the program. 

Lunch will be provided daily at the Traditions at Scott dining hall and will be supervised by program staff. Scott provides a wide variety of food options that meet the most common dietary needs and restrictions, including halal, gluten-free and vegetarian. However, kosher dining is not supported during summer term. 

Pick-up and Drop-off location will be on the Columbus campus. The exact locations will be shared nearer to the program start date. Please check back for this information. 

The first day of the program will kick-off with a brief orientation session. At 8:45 a.m. program staff will walk the students to the orientation location. At the orientation, students will receive a program t-shirt and lanyard, the program staff will be introduced, and the daily schedule will be reviewed. After orientation, students will be escorted to their classrooms and the morning session will begin.  

What to Wear

Participants should wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the classroom, as well as for a range of temperatures. For most courses, participants will spend most of the day inside air-conditioned classrooms. However, we will be walking between the drop-off/pick-up location, classrooms, campus locations and the dining hall. Dressing in layers and wearing comfortable walking shoes is recommended. Any course specific requirements are listed in the course description. 

Friday What to Wear

Each Friday on the last day of classes, we will take pictures of each class cohort. We encourage participants to wear their Arts & Sciences Summer Exploration t-shirt on Friday for this event!

Daily Packing List

  • Cell phone and charger (optional)
  • Personal academic supplies, such as pens/pencils, notebook, and backpack. 
    • Any special academic materials needed for courses beyond this basic list will be provided by the program.
  • Snacks and water: Participants should bring a refillable water bottle every day. While the program will provide an afternoon snack, participants are allowed to bring their own snacks. However, we request that, for the safety of participants with nut allergies, no snacks containing nuts be brought to the program.
  • Personal medications in their original labeled containers (if taken during the day)
  • Sunscreen and umbrella or rain jacket (optional)

The documents linked below are samples of the required program forms. Once an applicant accepts their offer of admission, the parent or legal guardian will receive an email from DocuSign with links to these forms. Forms must be reviewed and signed by May 15, 2024.