Summer Pre-College at UMass Amherst

students and a professor speaking on a summer day

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We'd love to see you at UMass next summer. Just fill out the form below to receive updates about Summer 2017!


See Our 2017 Offerings Below

1-Week Programs

Session 1: June 25th-July 1st

The Pre-Veterinary Medicine program is an immersion experience for high school students seeking to learn about (1) the field of veterinary medicine, (2) the steps involved in successfully completing a pre-veterinary undergraduate program and becoming a competitive candidate for applying to veterinary school, and (3) the time and financial commitments involved in choosing this career path.

This one-week program includes an overview of the veterinary profession and the academic preparation and animal experience required for becoming a competitive applicant to veterinary school. Students will complete hands-on rotations in basic comparative anatomy and physiology, animal handling and restraint, and overviews of veterinary pharmacology, parasitology, biosecurity, diagnostic imaging, and obstetrics.

The schedule for the program consists of short lectures and discussions on the UMass main campus in addition to hands-on modules in laboratories and at the University’s Hadley and South Deerfield Farms. During hands-on modules, students will interact with Polled Dorset sheep, Boer goats, and Belted Galloway cattle.

Course Objectives
Students completing this course should be able to:

  • recognize and use some basic veterinary terminology.
  • explain basic mammalian and avian digestive, skeletal, and reproductive anatomy and physiology.
  • perform livestock handling, restraint, and basic physical assessments.
  • describe some common veterinary therapeutics and the laws regarding their use.
  • understand fundamentals of radiography and ultrasonography and perform a transabdominal reproductive ultrasound examination on a sheep.
  • describe basic similarities and differences between zoo, wildlife, and exotic animal care and management.
  • discuss how various management practices impact animal health, welfare, and productivity.
  • develop a personalized plan of action (completion of academic requirements and animal experiences) for becoming a competitive veterinary school applicant.

Important Safety Information

  • Due to the physical activities involved in this program and the interaction with large animals, students are required to complete a medical health history form and sign an Informed Consent Form prior to attending this program. Participants under the age of 18 years old will need a parent signature on the Informed Consent Form.
  • Work will often be outdoors or in barns. Therefore, appropriate attire is required, including coveralls and rubber, washable boots. For compliance with biosecurity requirements, clean coveralls and boots are expected at the beginning of each class. When work is done, boots and coveralls must be disinfected on the farm.


  • In addition to the enrollment fee, there is a $45 supply fee which includes coveralls, a stethoscope, and a clipboard for each student. These supplies will be distributed on the first day of the program, and students will take them home at the end of the program.
  • Students must bring their own washable, rubber boots to the program. The boots should go up to at least the mid-calf.

Dr. Katherine Beltaire, Lecturer, Department of Veterinary & Animal Sciences

Session 2: July 9th-July 15th

Through the study of trees and the impact of their health on urban communities, students in the Sustainable Tree Care program will take a proactive approach to climate as they learn what they can do now and in the future to make their communities greener. Trees provide many benefits in cities and towns like shading houses and cleaning the air and water; they also improve our quality of life. To maximize these benefits, we have to plant the right tree for a site and properly care for it. If we do, the benefits that the tree provides will far outweigh the cost of caring for the tree. In this 1-week intensive, we will learn about proper tree selection and care.

This program covers a number of earth science-related topics including: botany, physiology, soil composition, run-off, and pollution. Students will also receive hands-on experiential training in: identifying trees, identifying disease in trees, climbing trees (knot tying, ascension, limb walking, tree worker safety), pruning, plant health care, and pest management.

Our 1-week intensive will balance academic study of the science and business of arboriculture while offering an introduction to the basic skills required to work in the field.

Assistant Professor Brian Kane, Department of Environmental Conservation

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Session 3: July 23rd-July 29th

What is genetic engineering, and how does it work?  What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Is it safe to eat them?  What ethical issues are raised by making GMOs?  This one-week program for high school students will explore the manipulation of DNA and its relationship to genetically modified organisms.  The program aims to increase participants’ understanding of ideas and tools used in modern biotechnology and to explore the pros and cons of modifying an organism’s DNA.  Through a combination of hands-on activities and laboratory experiments, we will investigate the structure of DNA, techniques for DNA engineering, and the transformation of genetic material into host organisms to modify their biology.  Possible projects include transforming a jellyfish gene into bacteria and testing foods from the grocery store for the presence of transgenes.  Participants will have the opportunity to focus on a topic of their choice for group presentations at the end of the week.  Here is your chance to explore the science behind the news headlines!

Prior completion of high school biology or equivalent experience is strongly recommended.  Students with some prior exposure to cellular biology are more likely to find the program rewarding.

Ludmila Tyler & Becky Miller, Lecturers, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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With little more than a computer, a microphone and a midi keyboard it is possible to explore all the wonderful ways of making music electronically. In this one week course we will focus on the principles of recording, editing and mixing digital audio as well as electronic synthesis and sequencing. In the process we will consider the basics of composition and arranging. No prior experience is required, but more advanced music students are welcome as well. We will all compose our own music in our favorite and other styles! Mornings will be spent in lab class, learning software and techniques, and afternoon sessions will be devoted to individual work on projects/compositions. Each student will have his/her own workstation. There will also be a field trip to a professional recording studio in the area. Come with open ears and a willingness to experiment and play!

Robert Eisenstein, Senior Lecturer, Director of the Five College Early Music Program

2-Week and 3-Week Programs

Session 2: July 9th-July 22nd (2-Week)
July 9th-July 29th (3-Week)

How does your DNA relate to how you look, act, and function?  Is your dog excitable and/or easily trained?  Is the gene for red hair similar in distantly related species?  How do we identify significant differences in genetic sequences between individuals?  These are just some of the questions we will try to answer in the Genetics, Genomics, and Evolution program.

We will start off with some basic background information about DNA and genetics, and introduce you to some of the fundamental techniques used to analyze DNA, such as micropipetting, DNA isolation and quantification, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and restriction enzyme digestion.  We will also learn to use bioinformatics to build evolutionary trees from DNA sequences.  

We will work extensively with two model organisms, yeast and dogs.  We will use UV light to mutate yeast cells, and then use something called complementation analysis to try and figure out which gene(s) was(were) mutated.  We will also work with dog DNA to study various aspects of a dog’s appearance and/or behavior.  You may contribute a sample of YOUR DOG’S DNA for analysis if you so desire.

To get the most out of this course it is recommended that you have completed at least one high school biology course.

Please join us for two weeks of fun and exploration of Genes, Genomes, and the inter-relatedness of life on Earth.

Dr. Kari Loomis, Lecturer, and Katherine Dorfman, Professional Technician, Department of Biology

Have you ever wondered how business works? How businesses make decisions ranging from what new markets to enter, to how big should a new factory be? What the different activities are that happen inside a company (e.g., management, marketing, accounting, finance), and how they are coordinated in order to be successful? This course provides the framework for all future business courses. It is a broad-based introductory course designed to give you exploratory experiences in all aspects of business. It will acquaint you with the dynamic business world of the 21st century. Economics, management, globalization, startups, marketing, finance, accounting, operations, and careers in business will be included. The use of technology and its impact on business will also be stressed. By gaining an understanding of the world of business and its related terminology, you will be able to:

  • Consider the ethical and social responsibility issues involved in the current business environment
  • Evaluate the global economy and its impact on U.S. economy
  • Identify and define the functions of and challenges facing management
  • Describe the responsibilities and significance of human resource management
  • Explain the basic accounting process
  • Outline the marketing function and describe its significance
  • Describe the United States’ financial and investment systems and their role in business

Anurag Sharma, Associate Professor, Isenberg School of Management

Equine Management Program is a two-week intensive program for motivated young adults seeking to explore what it takes to succeed in the horse industry, and in doing so, challenge themselves to become better horsemen and future leaders in the equine profession.

Each day, students will join a small group of their peers for hands-on practicums and workshops at the university’s Hadley Farm Equine Center. UMass faculty, visiting equine professionals, and of course, the horses themselves will all play a role in the learning experience. The program will begin with instruction on horse behavior and safety training. Students will explore topics in equine veterinary medicine, breeds and conformation, stable and pasture management, nutritional regimes, foaling basics, and equine business concepts. In addition, each student will adopt one of the farm’s horses for the duration of the program and work intensively with that horse on a variety of equine care, training, and management topics. Students will develop their horsemanship skills through both ground work and riding.

Throughout the program, students can expect to:

  • Gain an understanding of modern business and equine management skills required in the horse industry. 
  • Recognize how the principals of equine behavior, anatomy, nutrition and reproduction are applied to the daily management of an equine facility.
  • Develop their horsemanship skills through daily work with horses both in-hand and under saddle.
  • Explore educational opportunities and career pathways in the equine profession.
Important Safety Information
  • Every student must wear an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet and boots with a heel. Riding pants, tall boots or paddock boots with half chaps, and riding gloves are recommended. Students must bring their own riding apparel.
  • All students must sign an equine liability release form and attend a safety training session on the first day.
  • Pants and boots must be worn when working with horses.

In your letter of interest, please describe your interest in the equine industry, and explain what you hope to gain from the Equine Management Summer Pre-College Program. We invite applications from all and hope to gather students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Dr. Cassandra Uricchio, Director of Equine Management, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

In this 2-week intensive, we will explore the field of Forensic Anthropology and learn how the science of biological anthropology is applied to legal processes. Students will be introduced to forensic death investigation and learn about basic skeletal biology, entomology, and forensic science methods. We will have daily lab exercises where students work with skeletal remains of humans and other animals and learn how to ID bones and recognize signs of trauma and disease.

You will also work in groups to create a biological profile of a skeleton: you will determine their age, sex, ancestry, and potential injuries. This is important information when you're trying to determine the identity of an individual and/or their potential cause of death. 

Throughout the course, we'll also discuss the proper procedure used to collect skeletal elements from a potential crime scene, and examine the ethical issues involved when working with human skeletal remains. At the end of the course, students will take part in a mock-crime scene investigation, and use the techniques we learned to process a scene and analyze evidence!

Stacey Matarazzo-Rine, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology

Residential spaces full - accepting only commuter students.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Summer Transportation Institute (STI) is intended to create awareness among high school students about transportation related careers in STEM and to encourage the pursuit of a college degree as preparation for a job in the transportation industry.

  • Are you a rising 10th  – 12th grader ?
  • Do you have a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale ?
  • Did you successfully complete 1 course of High School Algebra?
  • Do you have a strong interest in mathematics, science or computer technology?
  • Can you commit to a four-week program on the UMass Amherst Campus?

During the four-week mixed residential and commuter program, in July 2017, up to 20 participants (rising 10th  – 12th graders) will be exposed to selected topics in all modes of transportation via invited talks, team projects, field trips, along with academic enhancement and recreational activities.

The Summer Transportation Institute highly encourages participation from women, minorities, and students with disabilities.

STI is fully grant-funded. Selected applicants will have their program fees covered in full by the grant.

Melissa Paciulli, Manager of Research and Development, UMass Transportation Center (413) 519-4814

Hosted by the #1 ranked Sport Management department on the globe, the McCormack Department's Sport Management & Leadership Academy provides a platform for talented high school students to learn practical sport business applications and industry insights from our world renowned faculty and industry-leading alumni.

During this two-week program hosted from July 9 - 22 on UMass’ flagship campus, students will gain management and leadership training within the context of the highly competitive sports industry, learning industry best-practices in areas such as:

  • Event Management
  • Sport Marketing & Sales
  • Sport Law & Labor Relations
  • Organizational Behavior & Leadership in Sport
  • Player Performance & Data Analytics

The McCormack Department challenges students to use a management lens to strategic decision making in sports, offering a diverse and highly interactive approach to academic enrichment. In-class lectures and case competitions will be augmented by the presence of UMass alumni in sport leadership positions, and on-site visits to regional sport businesses such as Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place and The Basketball Hall of Fame. Finally, students will experience a sense of college life on one of the nation’s premier campuses, with housing & social events in the University’s modernized Commonwealth Honors College, and meals at UMass Dining Commons (ranked #1 nationally by The Princeton Review).

Will Norton, Director of The McCormack Center for Sport Research & Education

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July 9 - 29

The UMass Amherst Summer Design Academy provides an opportunity for high school students interested in architecture, landscape architecture, urban or interior design the opportunity to experience the profession and see firsthand the kinds of activities that take place in a university design program.

The Design Academy's interactive educational experiences include design exercises, hands-on building, drawing, and model-making activities, a visit to an architecture office and a construction site, as well as lectures, discussions, and design reviews with visiting architects.

The three week intensive will be composed of two parts: Week One will provide an introduction to the design disciplines of Architecture, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Building Design & Technology, through guest speakers and mini design projects. Weeks Two and Three will focus on a conceptual approach to architecture, developing the design of a freestanding building; an Artist's Studio & Gallery. Students will build their own modular design system, develop a concept for their building, and learn how to draw, model, and present their ideas.

To see examples of last year's work, visit our Facebook page: UMass Amherst Pre-College Summer Design Academy.

Rachael Chase, Lecturer, Department of Architecture

The Summer Engineering Institute is a multi-faceted program that allows students to explore how engineers envision creative, practical solutions that benefit the everyday lives of people and the communities in which they live. Students will be exposed to selected topics in chemical, civil, computer systems, electrical, environmental, industrial, and mechanical engineering.

These areas will be examined through faculty-led presentations, hands-on, guided discovery, and a design project. Presentations will be made by practicing professionals and university faculty members. Students will attend field trips geared toward technical learning, team building, and enrichment activities; they will also tour active engineering labs on campus in order to experience current research projects in a variety of engineering fields. Finally, students will participate in group activities, research projects, and presentations.

The course will be conducted in the Integrated Learning Center, which offers a modern computer station for each student and state-of-the-art instructional technology, as well as several locations in the Engineering Quadrangle. Students are expected to develop skills in:

  • Engineering Design
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Research
  • Computer software (including AutoCAD and ArcGIS)

Students will also come away with:

  • an increased awareness of engineering and career opportunities
  • an improved understanding of the methods of application of the important skills associated with a successful career in engineering
  • an increased level of knowledge about some of the challenges associated with different branches of engineering
  • a better understanding of which pathways in higher education will prepare them for engineering-related careers

Applicants with both demonstrable financial need and academic merit may apply for a partial scholarship. Deadline for scholarship applications is May 1st, 2017. See Program Fees for more information.

Dr. Paula Rees, Director, Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center, Director, Engineering Diversity Programs

From Source to Sink: Exploring the impact of climate and landscapes on water's journey

Where does water go when it rains? Where does your drinking water come from? Where does it go after you wash the dishes or take a shower? This 2-week course explores these questions and much more as we learn about the hydrologic cycle and how our area’s geology gives us the water that we depend on.

You will navigate the Pioneer Valley, learning about the geologic and hydrologic processes that shape watersheds and understanding how watersheds function. You will become an expert in the different types of storage reservoirs for water in the surface and subsurface. We will romp through rivers and take measurements of water flux and water chemistry in forests, wetlands, and from monitoring wells. We will take advantage of laboratory facilities (such as the stable isotope and hydrogeology laboratory) in the Geosciences Department at the University of Massachusetts to analyze and interpret data collected during our field experiences.

Students will come away from the course with a wide variety of hands-on field experiences as an early introduction into careers as environmental scientists, geoscientists, hydrologists, and environmental engineers. They will understand and appreciate the role of geologic processes that shape how water moves on, through, and beneath our feet. They will gain new perspectives on the global distribution of water and the challenges we as a society face managing this resource in a rapidly changing world.

Associate Professor David Boutt, Department of Geosciences

July 9 - 29

Now celebrating its 38th year, White Mountain Summer Dance Festival offers three weeks of intensive dance training on the campus of UMass Amherst. WMSDF is an exploration of movement and creativity for students, educators, and anyone looking to enrich and deepen his or her understanding of the moving body and the creative process.

Under Artistic Director Laura Glenn, WMSDF offers an internationally recognized innovative and comprehensive approach that combines specialized training, personal attention, and hands-on instruction. Nine faculty members work together to present a cohesive curriculum with more than 12 hours of instruction daily. All classes are taught by gifted educators committed to helping participants reach their maximum potential in dance and movement artistry. It is a program that supports breakthroughs in technique, creativity, and life. Classes include:

  • Ballet
  • Modern/Contemporary
  • Anatomy/Kinesiology
  • Repertory (with weekend concert performance opportunities)
  • Choreography/Composition
  • Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis
  • Yoga
  • Pre-technique (strength, flexibility and conditioning)

Enrollment is limited to 40 resident participants to ensure a four-to-one student-to-faculty ratio.

For more information, visit the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival official website.

Assistant Professor Paul Dennis, Department of Music and Dance

Session 3: July 23rd-August 5th

Did you ever wonder how the computer generated worlds of major motion pictures and video games are made?

Autodesk Maya, the leading generator of 3D animation assets, has come to dominate the entertainment industry.  This two-week course will introduce you to the basics of computer animation and 3D modeling. For anyone interested in developing a career as a 3D animator, this course provides the necessary foundation from which all specialties are launched.

Maya has been used to create graphics for many cinematic films, including Academy Award winners The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Avatar, Hugo, Rango, and Gravity.  It is also used to create visual effects for television programs, including Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Bones, and Boardwalk Empire.  Maya is involved in creating visual effects for video games, including Halo 4, Tomb Raider, and many more.

Our course provides a thorough introduction to Autodesk Maya's modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering capabilities that will help new users make the most of this sophisticated application.

In this course, you will learn about the Autodesk Maya user interface, and you'll learn to work with lighting, shading, and polygon and NURBS modeling.  You will receive an introduction to Mental Ray in Maya, and you will learn to work with the UV Texture Editor.  In addition, you will learn how to apply the tools of other programs like Photoshop CS6 and Adobe After Effects to the Autodesk Maya software.

You will:

  • develop a complete understanding of the Autodesk Maya interface
  • create several 3D polygon models
  • learn lighting, materials, and shading using Photoshop CS6 to add textures
  • learn how to use cameras and rendering using Adobe After Effects to finalize your projects
  • learn how the Maya program is used in the entertainment industry as well as in fine art
  • watch films that have used the tools of Maya
  • complete a short animation

David Hannon, Lecturer, Department of Art

This hands-on course will guide students to see that entrepreneurship is everywhere and for everyone. Students will be given frameworks to think about creating something new that solves a problem in the world, such as a product, a business, a nonprofit, or any new kind of organization. Working in teams, students will then be given access to resources to begin implementing their ideas. We will cover all stages of the entrepreneurial process, from gathering intel in the “real world” to pitching ideas and working with mentors to finding sources of funding. A visit to the UMass 3D printing lab and field trips to local incubators and accelerators such as Valley Venture Mentors and TechSpring in Springfield, MA are included. Graduation from this course will be a demonstration of each team's solution to fellow summer program students and UMass Entrepreneurship mentors.

Birton Cowden, Associate Director, Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship

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Do you love crime shows? Do you love science? Have you ever wondered “How do forensic scientists do that?” If so, then the Summer Pre-College Forensic Chemistry program at UMass Amherst is perfect for you!

This program emphasizes current scientific techniques in the areas of forensic chemistry and biology. Students will learn and apply the scientific principles behind the crime-solving techniques used by real forensic scientists. Students interested in a career in forensics will gain an understanding of the education, training, and other requirements needed to get hired. Attendees will conduct experiments, interpret their results, and communicate the results of their tests. Topics explored during the course may include: drug chemistry, fire debris analysis, toxicology, biology, DNA analysis, and fingerprint analysis. The differences between fictional forensic shows and what happens in real life will also be discussed.

Students will have the opportunity create their very own professional scientific poster based on research they conduct about an area of forensics of interest to them. The poster will be presented to their peers on the last day of the course. In addition to lab work, students may have the opportunity to visit a real crime laboratory and hear guest lectures from experts in the field of forensics.

A pre-requisite of high school chemistry is required. Applicants with both demonstrable financial need and academic merit may apply for a partial scholarship. See Program Fees for more information.

Raina Kittilstved, Department of Chemistry

The Human Health and Movement (Kinesiology) program is a two-week hands-on program that explores exercise science, health and fitness. This activity-based curriculum will introduce the concepts that students in the field of Kinesiology will need to master to become certified physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, and fitness professionals. Participants will have short lecture sessions to introduce testing techniques such as blood pressure, body composition and flexibility and will then practice their skills with their peers. Student will complete their own health profiles and will have a personal trainer assist in designing and implementing an individualized exercise program that will help them achieve their fitness goals.

The format of the program is a few introductory lectures followed by several hands-on lab experiments that will provide student-centered team learning experiences. Some of the labs will include off-site locations were we can test different variables in the surrounding community.

The nutrition component of this program includes identifying foods that fuel the body for effective training and a potential creative cooking competition.

Throughout this program, students can expect to:

  • Gain a working knowledge of muscles and bones
  • Explore their fitness levels through testing
  • Develop a personalized fitness plan
  • Gain an understanding of training and mobility techniques
  • Identify current fitness trends and establish a practice for safe exercise
  • Experience nutrition through menu planning and healthy eating
  • Apply the principles of health and fitness to create a lifetime plan for healthy living
  • Understand the future pathway for education and career opportunities in the field of Kinesiology

Important Safety Information
Due to the physical activity involved in this program, students will be required to complete a medical health history and sign an additional “informed consent” form prior to attending this program. Participants under the age of 17 years old will need a parent signature for the informed consent.

Thomas St. Laurent, Lecturer, Department of Kinesiology

During this two-week program, we will build a ground-up understanding of observational astronomy to explore the nature of observations and the foundations of astronomy as a modern science. We'll learn to understand observations from both space and ground telescopes, surveying the state of current observations to better understand all the constituents of the universe. We'll have the opportunity to take images with the 16 inch telescope at the UMass Orchard Hill Observatory during several night observing sessions. We'll examine the Universe as a zoo, studying different unique objects in the universe, from planets to stars to black holes to galaxies to the Universe itself. Students will spend time in interactive lectures that are problem-solving based and in labs, doing experiments and getting a hands-on understanding of what professional astronomers do.

Prof. Stephen Schneider, Department of Astronomy

Love sports? Love broadcast journalism? You’ll love this 2-week hands-on sports broadcasting program at UMass Journalism.

Learn the basics of sports broadcasting in our new state-of-the-art broadcast studio with experienced UMass Journalism faculty as your teachers. You’ll learn about story idea generation, game preparation, interviewing, script writing, camera work, video/audio editing and on-air presentation. And you’ll cover actual sports stories in the Amherst area to gain experience in the field. You’ll learn how to use our cutting-edge cameras and equipment, too—and have a great time with new friends in the process.

Greeley Kyle, Lecturer in Broadcast Journalism, Journalism Department, and Steve Fox, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Sports Journalism Concentration, Journalism Department

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The UMass Department of Theater presents a two-week summer Theater and Performance Intensive for all students with an interest in theater, regardless of prior experience. Participants in the program will unite as an ensemble to devise (co-create) and perform a new theater piece. This approach allows all participants to find their voices through both the process and the presentation of the final piece. Everyone will perform in the devised piece and participants will receive both individual and group guidance in acting work. All participants will be challenged and grow as artists whether they are seasoned actors or new to theater.
Students who enroll in the Theater and Performance Intensive can expect to:

  • Become part of an ensemble through conversation, theater games, and other acting and theater exercises
  • Create a new work of theater that speaks to the ensemble’s and the individuals’ experiences of, concerns about, and hopes for the world they live in
  • Learn about and explore acting and theater as a career, locally, nationally, or internationally
  • Get to know the UMass Department of Theater and use the Department’s studio and theater spaces
  • Learn to lead and participate in fruitful and creative rehearsal sessions
  • Perform a new theater piece for friends, family, theater professionals, and community members
  • Leave with an increased understanding of and confidence in their work as performers, theater makers, speakers, leaders, and members of their community and the world beyond

Students of all races, ethnic origins, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identifications are welcome and encouraged to apply. Some need-based scholarships will be available to students who may not otherwise be able to afford the program tuition.

Lena Cuomo, Lecturer, Department of Theater

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6-Week Research Intensives

June 25th - August 5th

Our competitive 6-week summer Research Intensives program places high-achieving high school students in professional working labs alongside distinguished faculty, graduate and undergraduate students in state-of-the-art labs. We offer placements in Biology, Biochemistry, Environmental Conservation, Physics, Psychology and Food Sciences.

Students eligible to apply should have grades of B or above in mathematics and science courses as well as an interest in majoring in the biological Sciences. Applicants should indicate their top 3 lab choices and reason for interest in the personal statement portion of the application.

Interested in research but can't make the 6 week commitment? Try a 1-week program such as Investigating Genetic Engineering & GMO's; or a 2-week program such as Genetics, Genomics & Evolution or Forensic Chemistry.

Click for Available Labs

EducationUSA Academy for International High School Students

JULY 9 TO AUGUST 5, 2017
Our EducationUSA Academy program will help you understand more about higher education in the US and prepare you to apply to US colleges and universities. All students complete a personal statement as part of the program, which can be used for applications to US colleges. You will also meet many students from the US and around the world.

EdUSA Academy Info

Why Pre-College at UMass Amherst?

UMass Amherst is a top research university located in the scenic Pioneer Valley. We offer courses in all kinds of topics with outstanding faculty. Our facilities are top notch, featuring award-winning dining, brand-new accommodations, and cutting edge facilities.

Pre-college programs at UMass combine all the major elements of college, including great academics, living in a residence hall, and eating in our award-winning dining commons. Of course, it takes a little help to adjust to life on a college campus, so we have great live-in program assistants who are specially trained to help you get used to a new environment, both geographic and social. We have lots of great events in the evenings and on weekends that help you connect with other pre-college students.

The bulk of the weekdays are focused on your academic subject. Our offerings are below. You can see there is a wide range of great courses to choose from. UMass faculty and grad students represent the dedication of UMass Amherst to top-quality research and teaching. These courses will make you think. They will also give you a chance to try out various fields before having to decide on a major when you get to college. What is it really like to be a chemist? What kinds of engineering options are there? What is it like to perform Shakespeare at the college level? We hope you follow your curiousity and join us this summer at UMass Amherst!

Comments from Students

I loved everything about it. I made so many friends and made so many great memories.

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I just wish it was longer!

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I loved my teacher.

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Currently accepting applications for Session 3 programs. Applications are now closed for Sessions 1 and 2.

We accept applications from rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school who are in good academic standing and have no academic or disciplinary suspensions on their records. High school seniors who will graduate in the spring of 2017 are also welcome. Please check the course descriptions carefully for eligibility requirements.

Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis, but it is best to apply early as programs fill up quickly.

To apply for Summer Pre-College Programs, we require

  • A written statement of interest: a brief, one-page statement describing why you want to attend Summer Pre-College at UMass Amherst and specifically the program you have chosen. For Research Intensives, please include your top 3 lab choices and why you're interested in each one.
  • An unofficial high school transcript (PDF) including grades from fall 2016. Rising sophomores should attach a middle school transcript as well as fall grades from 2016.
  • A letter of recommendation written by a teacher or guidance counselor who can speak to your skills, abilities, maturity level and academic accomplishments that make you a suitable candidate for the program you are applying to. Letters of recommendation should be obtained by the applicant and uploaded into the online application system. If your reference prefers to submit their letter of recommendation directly, please upload a brief statement, in PDF format, indicating that your letter of recommendation is being sent directly, and instruct your reference to email the letter to:
  • A $35 non-refundable application fee

White Mountain Summer Dance Festival applicants must submit a Dance History (statement of interest is optional). Your Dance History should include: your dance experience, dance education, and goals at the festival, as well as a video link (YouTube or Vimeo) - see Guidelines.

International students will be asked to provide additional information regarding TOEFL scores.

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Student Life


Summer Pre-College students stay in a freshman residence hall in the modern, fully air-conditioned Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community. Each floor is assigned two Program Assistants (PAs), experienced UMass undergrads who work as RAs during the school year. The PAs act as mentors, get participants situated on campus, lead them in various activities, and give them the scoop on Res Life. A Residence Hall Director lives in the residence hall throughout the program and is on-call at night. The Residence Hall Director is a trained member of the UMass Res Life program and offers support, guidance, and night-time supervision. Residence Hall floors are single sex, and each student is assigned a roommate. We enforce an 10:30pm nightly curfew.

Check out a 360° room tour.


UMass Amherst is ranked #1 in the country for campus food by the Princeton Review!

Students can choose from several dining commons and cafes on campus for meals. The University’s award-winning food service provides a variety of choices (including vegetarian and vegan options) for each meal. It’s not unusual at one meal to have a choice between sushi, pho noodles, create-your own stir-fry, pizza, a pasta bar, or the deli station. Not to mention the soft-serve sundae bar. Three meals a day are included in room & board. Students can use their meal card swipes at campus cafes as well as the dining commons.

UMass Amherst Dining


  • Recreation Center – take a break from the summer heat and enjoy a fitness class, work out in the weight room or on the exercise machines, or try the indoor jogging track.

  • W.E.B. DuBois Library – did you know UMass Amherst has the largest academic research library in Massachusetts? With 28 stories, it’s also the 2nd tallest library in the world, and has a special peregrine falcon nest on its roof. The library also features a cafe and a Learning Commons with computers available for student use.


All UMass Amherst residence halls are locked 24 hours per day, and campus is patrolled 24/7, seven days a week, by the UMass Police Department. Access to the Summer Pre-College residence hall is restricted to Summer Pre-College students and staff only by use of an electronic key. The residence hall security desk is manned from 5pm – 11pm Monday – Thursday, and 5pm – 12am on Fridays and Saturdays. Bed checks are performed nightly after curfew by our Program Assistants.


Twice a week, students are given an opportunity to boost their college preparedness through evening workshops in several key academic skills. Workshops may include visits from UMass and local college admissions officers.

  • Free, optional SAT and ACT Prep from Method Test Prep with yearlong access to the online platform
  • College Applications

Our experienced Program Assistants will create weekly schedules of fun & inclusive evening activities – leaving room for impromptu soccer games or dance parties, of course. Sample activities include:

  • T-shirt tie-dying
  • Frisbee
  • Karaoke
  • Visit to downtown Amherst
  • Talent show
  • Spa night
  • Mason jar decorating
  • Pizza party
  • Board game night
  • Movie night

Optional Trips

We offer fun-filled weekend field trips for students to take a break from their studies and see New England.

  • Six Flags New England – featuring several rollercoasters, thrill rides, and a water park, Six Flags is a summertime classic and makes for an excellent day of relaxation and fun with new friends.


Daily Life

Summer Pre-College classes run from 9am – 4pm Monday – Friday. Our programs offer a balance of lectures and hands-on learning in classrooms, labs or outdoors. A typical day might look like this:

  • 9am – 12pm: Lecture
  • 12pm – 1pm: Lunch
  • 1pm – 4pm: Project, activity or group exercise based on morning lecture

Or the day might be spent on a field trip, observing the principles of the previous day’s topic in practice.

  • 4pm – 6pm: Free time
  • 6pm: Dinner (dining Commons close 8pm)
  • 7pm – 10:30pm: Co-curriculars / College prep workshops / Free time

Amherst Area

Amherst, Massachusetts offers the perfect blend of New England charm and cosmopolitan culture and energy – that’s why it’s been named one of the “top college towns in North America.” As a large, bustling university in the heart of a small town, UMass Amherst has the best of both worlds, and summer is the best time to visit. Amherst is home to the Emily Dickinson museum, the Eric Carle Museum, the Yiddish Book Center, and a host of restaurants, independent bookstores and cinemas.


Program Fees


Application Fee $35 - All Applicants

Fees for One-Week Intensives

  • Program fee (with one academic credit): $725
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $510
  • Activity fee: $45
  • Total for one week: $1,327

Fees for Two-Week Intensives

  • Program fee (with two academic credits): $1,450
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $1,008
  • Activity fee: $90
  • Total for two weeks: $2,595

Fees for Three-Week Intensives*

  • Program fee (with three academic credits): $2,175
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $1,506
  • Activity fee: $90
  • Total for three weeks: $3,818

*Above three-week intensive fees apply to the Summer Design Academy. See below for White Mountain Summer Dance Festival.

Fees for Six-Week Research Intensives

  • Program fee (with six academic credits): $5,400
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $3,000
  • Activity fee: $90
  • Total for six weeks: $8,537

Fees for White Mountain Summer Dance Festival

  • Program fee (with three academic credits): $1,650
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $1,506
  • Activity fee: $90
  • Total for three weeks: $3,293

Please Note: The Summer Design Academy and 3D Animation & Video Production programs have an additional $100 dollar materials fee, and the Pre-Veterinary Medicine program has an additional $45 materials fee, to cover the cost of necessary tools and supplies. These come pre-packaged through the Departments of Art, Architecture, and Veterinary & Animal Sciences.

Commuter Option
Students living in or near Amherst, MA may apply to attend as commuter students. Commuter students must have their own transportation to and from campus. A lunch-only meal plan, UCard, Rec Center access and activities are included. Fees for 1-week programs are $924, 2-week programs are $1,749, 3-week programs are $2,529, Research Intensives are $5,919, and White Mountain Summer Dance Festival are $2,004.

For UMass Employees
Full and part-time benefited employees of the UMass system are eligible for a tuition credit for their dependents (program fees only). Full time employees receive a 50% reduction in tuition; part time employees receive a 25% reduction in tuition. The UMass system includes benefited employees at: UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Lowell, UMass Dartmouth &UMass Medical. Please contact for instructions.

VISA Fees for non-immigrant, non-US residents/passport holders
I-20, SEVIS & Delivery: $350

A limited number of partial scholarships are available on a program-by-program basis. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic merit. Programs currently accepting scholarship applications are: Forensic Chemistry, Summer Engineering Institute, Sustainable Tree Care, White Mountain Summer Dance Festival, Summer Theater & Performance Intensive.

To apply for a scholarship, with the help of your parent or guardian, please write a statement addressing how receiving a scholarship would affect your ability to attend the program you have applied for. We cannot process your scholarship application until you have completed and submitted your online application (with all supporting materials). Your scholarship essay should include your application number, name, date of birth, and the name and email address of your parent or guardian. Send scholarship letters to:

A letter of verification from a community member who is aware of your family's financial situation is helpful as we review your application. Letters from high school principals, guidance counselors, community or religious leaders, or a representative from a social service agency are all acceptable. The letter should describe the nature of your relationship and a statement verifying your financial need. This letter should be emailed to:

Deadline for scholarship applications is May 1st, 2017.

Payment and Refund Policy

Confirmation of Attendance
Once accepted, housing, meal, and registration fees must be paid to hold a student’s space in the program. Payment of the housing and meal costs represents the student’s confirmation of attendance and is non-refundable. The full balance of total fees is due 4 weeks prior to the program start date.

Minimum Enrollment Contingency
Acceptance to Summer Pre-College programs is contingent upon courses reaching a minimum enrollment. If a course to which you have been accepted is cancelled due to under-enrollment, we will offer you a space in an alternate program.

Refund Policy
If UMass Amherst Summer Pre-College cancels a course for any reason, students receive a full refund of program, housing, meal, and registration fees. If a student withdraws from the program, refunds for the Program Fee only are provided according to the schedule below. Housing, meal, and registration fees are non-refundable.

Summer Pre-College Refund Schedule 2017

Session 1: June 25
Before June 11: 100% of Program Fee
After June 11: No refund

Session 2: July 9
Before June 25: 100% of Program Fee
After June 25: No refund

Session 3: July 23
Before July 9: 100% of Program Fee
After July 9: No refund

Withdrawals must be submitted in writing to:

Contact us

Please don't hesistate to get in touch! We are easily reachable by email at and by phone at 413-577-2112.