Daytime Duke Courses

Where do college courses come from? At Duke each undergraduate course is sponsored by an academic department and approved by a committee of the faculty. Some courses are considered to be "general" offerings and typically are taught at least once a year, while other courses are "special topics" focusing upon a specific topic that may be offered only once.

We have selected a broad range of courses, including both "general" courses and "special topics," to be featured in the 2016 offerings for Summer College participants. Although some of the courses have cross-listings - that is, the courses are multi-disciplinary in both content and approach and are sponsored by one or more academic departments - we list each course only once, according to its original sponsoring department. Each listing begins with the full name of the sponsoring academic department and is followed by the designation of the department in all capital letters as it will appear on your class schedule and your Duke transcript.

Every course will meet five days a week for two hours and five minutes per class session. The last day of the term may be utilized by your instructor for a final exam, final project, or final paper. Class size is likely to range from 10 to 18 students.

Please rank your top four course choices on your application form. Be sure to read course descriptions carefully as some may contain mature content. Course content will not be modified for students under the age of 18 years old. While we will make every effort to enroll you in your first choice, in the event a class is unavailable or full, we will enroll you in an alternate course of your choosing.

Enrollment in the Duke Summer College for High School Students program begins on December 1, 2015. Course placement for daytime Duke undergraduate classes begins February 22, 2016, when pre-registration for Duke Summer Session opens.
Course Descriptions


(Biology/BIOLOGY) Humans and the Environment. We have an intimate relationship with the natural world because it occurs around, on, and inside us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. From the relationships between us and our microbes and the changes we cause in the weather, to the impact that plant and animal adaptations have on our technology and medicine, we interact with the natural world all the time without truly realizing it. Because of these constant interactions, it is critical that we understand how our actions affect the environment, and in turn how our environments shape the way we live. In this course we will explore our place in nature, focusing on key concepts in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology along the way. Throughout the course, we will also design and perform experiments to ask how we affect nature and how nature affects us.
(Biology/BIOLOGY) Truths and Lies About GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?  Why are they hugely controversial?  This course will investigate the exploding development of GMOs and the reasons for their astonishing growth in the 21st century.  We will focus especially upon the generation of transgenic plants and animals, since generation of GMOs is presumed to be critical for scientific advances in solving problems of food supply and food safety for an ever expanding world population and in the midst of changing climate patterns.  We will also look at all of the steps that a GMO has to follow before it ends up in a product or as a product for purchase in our grocery stores. Finally, we will engage in the exciting debate about the pros and cons for GMOs put forth by companies and ecology groups so that we have a more comprehensive understanding about science and society and how they influence one another. If possible, we will visit a company in the Research Triangle Park (a nearby business and industrial area) that works with GMOs and also host guest speakers who will argue for the advantages and the disadvantages of GMOs.  At the end of the course, where will you position yourself?  Will you support or oppose the ongoing creation of genetically modified organisms?
(Biology/BIOLOGY) Love and Hate Between Humans and Micro-Organisms. How much do you know about microbiology?  This course will provide a broad introduction to what micro-organisms are, where they usually live, and how to work with them in science. You will learn to identify general features of micro-organisms from the three branches of life (bacteria, archaea, and eukarya) and explore how micro-organisms can sometimes have negative consequences and other times be beneficial. In the course’s first part you will explore how micro-organisms affect human health by means of mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, and pathogenesis. In the second part, we will examine how micro-organisms function within industry – for example, with the commercial production of bread, wine, and beer fermentations. Our third section will focus upon micro-organisms in biotechnology by examining model organisms such as E. coli and CRISPER from Archaea. We will conclude our survey of micro-organisms by examining bioremediation for insights regarding the ethics of applying science to address the needs of the world.
(Biology/BIOLOGY) The 3-D Genome and Human Disease. Genomes are highly organized inside the nuclei. Linear DNAs are folded into chromosome territories. Within the territories, individual genes occupy their special localization for proper expression. Misorganization of genomes will result in misregulation of genes and genome instability, which are linked to human diseases, such as cancer, several degenerative diseases including Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and aging. This course will introduce concepts and models of genome organization, current technologies to study 3-D genomes, and case studies of misorganization of genomes and their related diseases – all with the goal of introducing students to the exciting inner life of genome. Highly Recommended Prerequisite: One or more years of high school biology.
(Biology/BIOLOGY) Microbes and the World Around Us. The course will be a survey of microbiology, including bacteriology, virology, and immunology. The goal is to introduce a wide variety of topics to spark your interest in the microbial sciences. Topics will include human disease, ecology, and biotechnology. In addition, we will discuss current events, including antibiotic resistance, Ebola virus, and gene therapy. We will engage in hands-on “dry lab” demonstrations to explore laboratory practices and current research. Finally, you will research scientific journal articles to develop a final project/paper to be presented in class.
Cultural Anthropology
(Cultural Anthropology/CULANTH) Advertising and Society: A Global Perspective. In this course we will examine the history and development of commercial advertising. Specific topics to be addressed include the following: advertising as a reflector and/or creator of social and cultural values; advertisements as cultural myths; effects on children, women, and ethnic minorities; advertising and language; relation to political and economic structure; and advertising and world culture. Although the primary emphasis will be upon American society, this emphasis will be complemented by case studies of advertising in Canada, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Western Europe, and selected other countries.
(Economics/ECON) Game Theory. The interactions of human beings with other individuals, within groups, and with the earth lead us to ponder many questions concerning the ways in which people coordinate and structure their actions. It is to these questions that we turn, in trying to understand the strategic decisions that people make on a daily basis. Will it make a difference if I throw my candy wrapper in the street instead of waiting to find a trash can? How much should I pay for a used car? How will our family decide who cooks dinner? Is it feasible for a firm to enter the market for a new product? Under what conditions would a union go on strike during labor contract negotiations? In this course students learn the basic tools of game theory in order to analyze these various economic and social situations. We start by providing a background and introduction to both game theory and economics. We then proceed to define the terminology used in both fields. Our section on games begins with an analysis of normal form (strategic form) games in which we have a static setting and players move simultaneously. Concepts such as a player’s best response, dominant strategies, and the Nash equilibrium are presented, along with various examples of applications. The three classic games of chicken (hawk-dove), coordination (battle of preferences), and the prisoners’ dilemma are introduced, with an extension to the mixed strategy Nash equilibrium. Next we turn to extensive form games in order to analyze dynamic games in which players move sequentially. The notion of a sub-game perfect Nash equilibrium is discussed, and the technique of backward induction is taught. Repeated interactions between players are then considered as we discuss both infinitely repeated games and finitely repeated games. Topics in public and environmental economics are introduced in order to apply these game theory concepts to situations pervaded by free-riding and collective action problems. Evolutionarily stable strategies are also discussed, allowing us to understand how repeated games can lead to the stability of social inequalities by class, gender, race, and ethnicity. The role of institutions (such as norms, customs, traditions, beliefs, and property rights) in maintaining these inequalities is discussed from a game theoretic standpoint. Lastly, we study situations of asymmetric information between players. We give specific references to issues of principal-agent problems, moral hazard, and adverse selection as applied to monitoring, signaling, and “lemons” markets. We will also discuss bargaining models. The course concludes with a critical analysis of the theories and assumptions used in game theory. In particular, students debate the usefulness of concepts of “rationality.”
(English/ENGLISH) Classics of American Literature, 1915-1960. This course in modern American literature will begin with the major figures of the 1920s and then move through the decades up to 1960. Most of the course will be devoted to novels, but we shall also look carefully at T.S. Eliot, the most influential poet of his time, while giving such attention as time permits to his contemporaries: Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, William Carolos Williams, and Hart Crane. Although our primary interest will be to understand and appreciate the specific works we study, we shall also consider the larger cultural and intellectual context relevant to each writer. In addition to the poets already mentioned, this course will study works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Carson McCullers, Saul Bellow, Richard Wright or Toni Morrison, and John Updike.
(English/ENGLISH) Language and Social Identity. Whenever we hear someone speak, we inevitably make guesses about his or her gender, age, occupation, place or origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. We also often refer explicitly to the language and identity connection. For example, we talk of expressing our identity through our choice of vocabulary, or ‘losing’ our identity along with our regional accent when we enter a new environment such as college. In this course, we will draw on examples from the media, literature, the internet, pop culture, and politics to explore how speakers portray themselves to others through the use of language. We will also consider how language is talked about, and what assumptions people make about others based on how they speak. Students will be encouraged to bring their own examples to class for discussion.
Evolutionary Anthropology
(Evolutionary Anthropology/EVANTH) Introduction to the Primates. In this course we will explore the ecology, behavior, and cognition of the Great Apes, including humans, from an evolutionary perspective. We will survey the living Great Apes and compare and contrast humans and apes to better understand what makes humans unique and identify evolutionary pressures that led to these remarkable differences in cooperation, culture, and communication. Class lectures and discussions will be augmented by occasional visits to Duke’s Lemur Center, a research center of 250 individual primates representing 21 species of prosimians.
(Evolutionary Anthropology/EVANTH) Primate Conservation. This course focuses upon the concepts, practice, and ethics of conservation biology, both at the species and community levels. Attention will be given to a wide variety of topics, including the following: relevant aspects of biogeography, ecology, behavior, and demography; human impact (such as deforestation and hunting); and conservation strategies and policies (objectives, design of protected area networks, impact on local human populations). Throughout this class we will consider the impact of cultural, political, and ethical considerations on primate conservation.
(Linguistics/LINGUIST) Language and the Media: The New York Times to Twitter. The focus of this course is upon the linguistic analysis of texts – from the past and the present, including social media – with a view to understanding how they create, sustain, or challenge "common-sense" understandings of society and politics. English first-language speakers will be equipped with the tools to understand how *their own* language works in the media; second-language (L2) speakers will learn invaluable skills in identifying and understanding idiom, nuance, and rhetoric in both academic and media texts, thus offering preparation for undergraduate classes in a range of disciplines. If possible, writers from the Duke News and Communication Office will visit class to engage students in a few intensive writing and analysis workshops. The instructor of this course has written for news outlets such as The Huffington Post, The London Guardian, The Seattle Times, The Taipei Times, and The News and Observer (of Raleigh, North Carolina).
Markets and Management Studies
(Markets and Management Studies/MMS) The Selling of Collegiate Athletics. This course will look at the ways college athletics departments raise money – through game marketing and ticket sales, advertising and sponsorships, individual and corporate giving programs, and digital marketing and technology. We will investigate how sponsorships are developed with companies in order to obtain advertising dollars and the differing ways college athletic departments obtain sponsorships including print, radio, TV, and signage. We will also look at how universities get money from national television networks as well as how fund raising offices are set up to raise money from individuals and corporations in annual giving programs as well as major gifts. The course provides research, case analysis, and other opportunities to examine the effective principles, theories, practices, and methods involved with all aspects of sports sales. You will be asked to use the internet and current publications to explore trends and issues in the sports marketing industry. Finally you will be introduced to a variety of career options within sports marketing and discuss strategies for obtaining internships and entry level positions with athletic departments and affiliated groups. 
(Philosophy/PHIL) Introduction to Philosophy (emphasis on ethics and value theory). What exactly do philosophers do? This remains a mystery to most people who envision philosophers sitting around pondering the meaning of life. So we will begin this course by clarifying what philosophy is. Next, we will study the tools that philosophers use to assess arguments. After we practice distinguishing good reasoning from bad, we will use these skills to evaluate arguments in epistemology (theory of knowledge), metaphysics, and ethics. Discussion topics will be tailored to student interest, but potential topics to be addressed include the possibility and nature of scientific progress; the nature of mind; space and time; the ethics of environmentalism, genetic engineering, immigration, and the 2008 financial crisis; and, yes, the meaning of life.
(Philosophy/PHIL) Logic. Are you ever puzzled by reading a paragraph that seems to make no sense or a debate that seems to go in a circle? Would you like to improve your test-taking skills for standardized admission tests? Why do pre-law advisors recommend taking a course in Logic as the best preparation for admission to law school? This course will examine the conditions of effective thinking and clear communication. To this purpose, we will look at the most fundamental principles of deductive reasoning and cover the basics of sentence and predicate logic. Some of the topics we will investigate include truth-functional connectives, quantifiers, translation, derivations, and truth trees.
(Physics/PHYSICS) Introductory Seminar on Big Questions in Physics. This course will provide an introduction to six major questions representing frontiers of 21st century physics, such as what are the ultimate laws of nature, how does complex structure arise, and how can physics benefit society.  Individual class sessions will involve presentations by researchers and by students, discussions of journal articles, and tours of physics labs involved with related research. Highly Recommended Prerequisite: One year of high school calculus and one year of high school physics.
(Psychology/PSY) Social Psychology.  Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others.  The primary purpose of this course is to provide a general introduction to the theories, research methods, and major findings of social psychology.  We will examine a wide variety of topics involving how we perceive and interact with other people, including person perception, the self, stereotypes and prejudice, group influences, and pro-social behavior.  Some of the questions we may examine include the following:  why does someone who is ‘good’ act in an evil fashion?  why would people act in ways that are alien to their nature?  why would someone who is considered intelligent do something that is irrational?  Where possible, we will apply the knowledge and skills learned to examine events and situations in the real world and everyday life.
(Psychology/PSY) Adolescence. This course will explore adolescent development across domains of physical, cognitive, and social development. Topics will include those related to normal/typical development as well as abnormal development, particularly with regard to issues of health and mental health in this age group. Additionally, students will learn about the broader world in which adolescents live and the contexts within which development occurs – families, peer groups, schools, neighborhoods, and cultures. This course features a service learning component that allows class members to interact with adolescents in our community by means of a variety of activities on the Duke campus.  This class is particularly appropriate for students interested in counseling or clinical psychology, teaching, educational policy, or medicine.
Public Policy Studies
(Public Policy Studies/PUBPOL) Public Speaking. This course will explore theoretical and practical elements of effective advocacy, not only as applied to public policy issues, but also as related to personal image presentation. While the focus is on efficient oral communication and effective presentation skills (both in large public speaking environments, and in smaller interactive exchanges), stress is also given to the development of compelling arguments, debate, and written expositions for presentation. Emphasis is also placed on the human dimensions of the communication process: vocal intonation, body behavior, audience evaluation, focus, control, distraction, and self-awareness. Individuals who will benefit from this course range from students entering the public arena, scholars entering the political arena, and athletes wanting to develop confidence in the presentation of their public image.