students in the lab

Pre-College Online Courses

Study health sciences, engineering, creative expression, writing for college, and more.

Summer 2019 Application Opens in December

Pre-College Online courses at Brown are rigorous, active learning experiences, designed and led by innovative and dedicated Brown instructors. Explore challenging subjects through coursework designed to inspire curiosity and discovery, engage in intellectual discussion, and connect with students from around the world – enthusiastic, creative, accomplished students like you.

Access your coursework anytime, anywhere.

Brown’s online courses are asynchronous, which means you are not required to log in at a set time of day. Courses are designed so that students committing about 10 hours per week are able to complete the course.

Academic challenge and meaningful, personalized feedback

Throughout your course, you will interact with your instructor and your student colleagues. Your instructor will evaluate your assignments, respond to your discussion posts, and invite you to connect one-on-one to provide support and advance your learning. Students who meet all course requirements, will receive a Certificate of Completion and a Course Performance Report. Pre-College online courses are not for college credit.

Academic Success – Week by week

Your first week of study is reserved for course orientation: getting to know Canvas (Brown's learning management system)... reviewing course expectations and strategies for your success, learning about your instructor, and helping us to learn a bit about you.

In the following weeks, you will begin working with your instructor and classmates on the course itself, and will be expected to log in daily to participate in discussions and keep up with course assignments.


4-Week Course: $885
5-Week Course: $1,180
6-Week Course: $1,475
9-Week Course: $1,960

Course Instructors

Brown’s pre-college online instructors are drawn from Brown faculty, graduate departments, and colleges and universities around the country who share Brown's commitment to student-centered learning.

To enhance the level of engagement in your course, your instructor may have recruited a teaching associate (TA). Brown University TAs are carefully selected based on their prior work with the instructor, advanced experience in the field, accolades and achievements, and demonstrated investment in teaching.

Carlos Aizenman

Carlos Aizenman is Professor of Neuroscience in Brown's Neuroscience Department, where his research aims to understand the role of sensory experience in shaping the connectivity and functional properties of developing neural circuits, as well as its implications for neurodevelopmental disorders. He focuses on on the visual system of Xenopus laevis tadpoles, a preparation amenable to a variety of experimental approaches, ranging from molecular biology, single-cell electrophysiology, live cell imaging, computational modeling, and behavior. Carlos' interest in neuroscience began as an undergraduate at Brown, where he worked in visual cortical synaptic plasticity in the laboratory of Mark Bear. As a PhD student, he studied plasticity of inhibitory inputs and of intrinsic excitability of deep-cerebellar nuclear neurons. His postdoctoral work combined his interest in the visual system with his interest in the regulation of neural excitability, work that continues in his current lab. Dr. Aizenman was recently honored with a Teaching with Technology Award by the Dean of the College.

Course: Neuroscience in Action: Understanding Our Brains and Nervous Systems

Christopher Carr, PhD

Christopher Carr, PhD, is currently the Writing Projects Specialist in the Office of the Dean of the College at Brown supporting the Associate Deans for Fellowships and for Pre-Professional Advising. Along with writing institutional letters on behalf of Brown students applying for various prestigious fellowships and places in medical school, he advises students on their personal statements and helps them to develop their ideas into formal project proposals. Chris received his PhD from the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown, where he wrote on 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature and film. Both his interests in Russian and in teaching developed during his Peace Corps service in Uzbekistan from 1999-2001, after which he earned an MA in Russian from Middlebury College in 2004. Prior to his graduate studies at Brown, Chris taught a wide range of writing classes to students of all ages and backgrounds at several colleges in his hometown of New York City. In addition to teaching Russian language and literature courses during his doctoral studies, he worked as a Writing Associate at Brown's Writing Center, as a Writing Instructor in Brown's Pre-College Program, and as a Special Lecturer in English at Providence College.

Course: Writing for College and Beyond

Dr. Stephen Foley

Dr. Stephen Foley has taught English and Comparative Literature at Brown since 1982. He always has been interested in how words relate people to places, from Catullus's shimmering poem on the Sirmione peninsula, where he liked to spend the summer and sail his boat, to the outer and inner worlds of Pico Iyer's Journeys website, and the vast discourse on travel that is springing up across the web and changing from day to day.

Professor Foley attended Brown and majored in Classics and English. He holds graduate degrees in English from Yale, where he taught before returning to Providence. He has published work on Renaissance literature, and has served several times as chair of the Department of English.

Course: Reading, Writing, Traveling: An Exploration in Creative Nonfiction

Andrew Gabor

Andrew Gabor has worked as a solar power technology engineer and entrepreneur for over 20 years. Andrew did his graduate research in thin film photovoltaics (PV) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where he invented the 3-Stage process for forming record-efficiency CIGS solar cells. He then switched to crystalline silicon PV and spent 11 years at Evergreen Solar, and later helped to found 1366 Technologies. He has worked on all processing steps for solar cell and solar panel manufacturing, and has designed factories in the U.S. and Europe. In his consulting business, he has performed work in panel design and sourcing, factory design, cost analysis, process and materials development, due diligence investigations for investment in PV companies, and has served as a consulting analyst for Greentech Media Research. He regularly lectures on the PV industry at Brown University and advises students interested in the renewable energy field. Now as CTO at BrightSpot Automation, he is developing novel testing equipment for the PV industry with an emphasis on panel durability and performance.

Course: Power from the Sun: Possibilities, Realities, and Career Paths in the Solar Energy Industry

Rachel Gostenhofer

Rachel Gostenhofer finished her PhD in Brown's History Department in 2016, after completing a thesis on the history of scientific innovation and patenting in France. She then served as Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department, and is currently an instructor for Brown's Pre-College Programs and works as a ghostwriter and editor at Providence Word and Thought, Co.

Course: Humanities Seminar: Disruptive Thinkers, Ideological Conflict, and Social Revolution

Dr. Karen Haberstroh

Dr. Karen M. Haberstroh is Lecturer in Engineering and Associate Director of Engineering Programs for Brown University’s School of Professional Studies. Dr. Haberstroh’s research addresses the use of novel nano-structured polymeric materials in soft tissue engineering applications. In addition to her research accomplishments, Dr. Haberstroh is dedicated to engineering and science education, and especially focuses on novel methods of education geared toward increasing the percentages of females and minorities in math, science, and engineering fields.


Biomedical Engineering: The Smart Design of Medical Implants and Devices

Materials Science and Engineering: Designing for Society's Needs

Dr. Indrek Külaots

Dr. Indrek Külaots is a Senior Lecturer in School of Engineering at Brown University. In 1995, Dr. Külaots completed the requirements for a MS degree in Mechanical Engineering at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, and was appointed to a Lecturer at the same University. In 1997, he enrolled in the PhD program of the School of Engineering at Brown University, where he received a MS degree in Applied Mathematics in 2000 and a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering in 2001. After receiving his PhD, Dr Külaots continued his research and teaching career at his alma mater first as a Senior Research Engineer and later as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. Dr. Külaots has received the "Dedicated Faculty Award" from Brown School of Engineering Rhode Island Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi Class of 2015 students.

Dr. Külaots's research involves several research branches with the unifying theme of energy and its impact to the environment. More specifically Dr Külaots's research team investigates bio-wastes (both wood and agricultural). Carbonized biochars (byproducts in bio-oil refinery process) from these bio-wastes offer great opportunities as cheap or no cost sorbents materials in the use of environmental pollution cleanup situations. Our early results suggest that these biochars are excellent candidates for lead removal from the drinking water. Dr. Külaots will teach the Renewable Energy Engineering unit.

Course: Renewable Energy Engineering: Wind and Solar Power

Dr. Donna Lizotte

Dr. Donna Lizotte holds a PhD from Brown University in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry (MCB). She teaches a variety of science courses at Brown, including “Research Techniques in Biomedical Sciences.” As a member of the Science faculty, Donna also teaches Biology and Molecular Biology courses at The Wheeler School, an independent day school in Providence. Under Donna’s direction, Wheeler students have participated in a number of research projects. Projects have included cloning the housekeeping gene glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) from two different plant species, work that been published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information GeneBank database. In addition, several DNA barcoding projects have been used to characterize and identify several different species of organisms.

Course: DNA Science: Forensics, Food, and Medicine

John Mulligan

John Mulligan received his PhD in English Literature from Brown University in May, 2015. He currently teaches and researches at Rice University's Humanities Research Center, and is a postdoctoral fellow in Rice's Center for Research Computing. John's research focuses on the intersections of literature, art, science, and technology in the nineteenth century, and pursues work in the digital humanities, from designing interactive art projects to analyzing large data sets. John has taught college-level literature courses at Brown, the University of Rhode Island, and Rice University in Houston. He previously has presented his interdisciplinary work at NASSR, ACLA, Brown's astronomy department, RISD, NAVSA, and the Houston Health Museum. You can view some of John's critical work and digital projects on his blog.

Course: Storytelling in the Digital Age: Narrative Analysis, Story Craft, and Media Production

Molly Rice

Molly Rice is a playwright, songwriter, and experienced designer who gravitates toward offbeat musicality, multi-genre/multimedia collaborations, and site-specific work. Her plays have been developed/produced in New York City theaters including the Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Women’s Project and Rattlestick Theater, and regional and experimental theaters including ART (Cambridge, MA), Montana Rep, Kitchen Dog Theater and Salvage Vanguard. She’s been published by American Theater Magazine, Dramatists Magazine, Heinemann Press, Kenyon Review, Austin Chronicle, Play: A Journal, and Indie Theater Now, and commissioned by NYU/ Tisch Graduate Acting, Visible Theater, The Drilling Company, Montclair State University, and Pace University. Honors: International Women’s Playwriting Festival (winner), New York Innovative Theater Awards (nominee), Kesselring Fellowship (nominee), Brown’s Weston Prize For Graduate Playwriting. Most recently, she received a 2-year, NEA-funded commission from the Pittsburgh Office of Public Art to create a new work for and with the city's refugee populations (exp. 2019). Most recent work includes the true-crime concert musical Angelmakers: Songs for Female Serial Killers. Molly has taught at Brown, Kenyon College, Marymount Manhattan, Montclair State, Pace University, Carnegie Mellon University and Point Park University, where she is currently on the faculty of the MFA “Writing for Stage and Screen” program. MFA: Brown University, 2006.

Course: Writing for College and Beyond

Dr. Dale Ritter

Dr. Dale Ritter has served for over fifteen years as the course director for Human Anatomy, which is part of the first-year curriculum in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He also teaches an intensive four-week human anatomy course for Physician Assistant students at Bryant University. Multiple high school courses fill out much of his summer. Dr. Ritter is a member of the curriculum committee and the medical committee on academic standing at the medical school, and is an academic advisor for Biology concentrators.

Course: Body at Work: Anatomy, Physiology, and Disease

Joel Simundich

Joel Simundich received his PhD in English from Brown University in 2017. At Brown, he taught several courses on narrative prose and writing in academic contexts for undergraduates as well as rising high school students. Before coming to Brown, he received his BA at the Harriet Wilkes Honors College in Jupiter, Florida, and his MA in English at the University of Florida, where he taught a number of courses on technical writing and rhetoric. He is currently Visiting Professor at Wheaton College and Lecturer at Emerson College. His teaching and research interests include 19th-century British literature and culture, disability studies, and composition.

Course: Writing for College and Beyond

Stephen Smith, MD, MPH

Stephen R. Smith, MD, MPH is professor emeritus of family medicine and former associate dean for medical education at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Smith earned an international reputation for innovation in medical education. He was the architect of the competency-based curriculum at Brown that has been replicated at many medical schools around the world. Since his retirement, he has been working part-time in the community health center in his hometown of New London, Connecticut. He also served as the principal investigator of a project to promote good stewardship in primary care that has since grown into the Choosing Wisely campaign. He earned his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1972 and his master of public health degree from the University of Rochester in 1977.

Course: So You Want to Be a Doctor?

Keith Spangler

Keith Spangler is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences and an Sc.M. student in the Department of Epidemiology at Brown University. He is interested broadly in how climate and climate change affect human health and well-being. In particular, his research seeks to quantify how the cumulative health risks of climate change vary across space as functions of multiple climatic hazards and social vulnerabilities. This work builds upon the themes of his undergraduate work in global environmental change and sustainability at Johns Hopkins University, and is motivated by a desire to inform public health interventions aimed at improving population health and resilience to climate change at various spatial scales.

Course: Climate & Climate Change: Scientific, Societal, and Global Implications

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