Summer Pre-College at UMass Amherst


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Summer 2019 Program Dates

Session 1: June 30 | Session 2: July 7 | Session 3: July 21

Summer 2019 Programs

1-Week Programs

Session 3: July 21 - 27

This one-week course will focus on electronic music production, recording, mixing, synthesis, and the fundamentals of digital signal processing. There will be instruction in music production software such as Logic X, Max8, and Audacity, as well as an introduction to music theory, songwriting, and arranging. Students will create their own original music over the week.

Each student will have a workstation, with MIDI keyboard and computer, and we will utilize the University's soundproof recording booths in the Digital Media Labs of Du Bois Library. No prior experience is required.

Jazer Giles, Lecturer, Department of Music

2-Week and 3-Week Programs

All programs are 2-week unless otherwise noted

Session 2: July 7 - 20

How does your DNA relate to how you look, act, and function? How does your dog’s DNA relate to its appearance and behavior? 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. To get the most out of this course it is recommended that you have completed at least one high school biology course.

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. 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, Department of Biology

Plant-derived products have been used to cure diseases throughout the course of human history. It’s no surprise that the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to Chinese pharmaceutical chemist Youyu Tu for her discovery of artemisinin, an anti-malaria drug that has saved millions of lives (

This 2-week summer program will utilize the Plant Cell Collection Library (PCCL) at UMass Amherst, a unique resource containing over 1,000 plant cell lines collected from across the globe. Over the two weeks, students will have opportunities to work closely with six UMass professors in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department and Biology Department, to study plants and their importance to human life. You will learn first-hand about the exciting research currently underway in each of these professors’labs. As a student, you will explore the wonderland of plant-derived natural products, and solve the mystery of a single plant cell line chosen specifically for this course. Finally, this course will give you the chance to have fun with live plants in a research environment, where you can appreciate their diversity, beauty and vast potential.

This program is supported by the Plant Biology graduate program at UMass Amherst.

Li-Jun Ma, Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Sergey Savinov, Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Sibongile Mafu, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Jennifer Normanly, Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Tristram Seidler, Assistant Professor, 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

The Equine Science 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 by working directly with our university trainer. Please note this is not a riding program; students will be learning systematic training techniques for young horses and horses in rehabilitation programs.
Throughout the program, students can expect to:

  • Gain an understanding of the evidence-based, scientific concepts behind caring for horses. 
  • Recognize how the principles 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 and the university trainer. 
  • Explore educational opportunities and career pathways in the equine profession.

Important Safety Information

  • Every student must wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet, gloves, and boots when working with our young horses in training workshops. There are a limited number of helmets to borrow at the farm. All students must bring boots and gloves. 
  • 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 Science 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

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

Explore the exciting world of electrons, particles of light, the famous Higgs boson, and more. Learn about the fundamental forces and conservation laws that govern this world of particles, and, by extension, our world. In addition to the underlying physics concepts, Learn about how modern science is done by actually doing it. Work in teams to analyze real data from modern particle experiments such as the CMS experiment at CERN. Decide what particle to focus on and figure out how to separate collisions in which your particle is produced from background "look-alike" events. The skills you will develop, such as statistical analysis, are used not only by particle physics, but also by professionals in astronomy, genetics, epidemiology, and the new field of data science.

Brokk Toggerson, Lecturer, Department of Physics

This two-week program will build a ground-up understanding of observational astronomy, exploring the basis of human extraterrestrial observation and the art of turning astronomy into a science. We'll use the foundations of astrophysics to explain the implications of modern observations, supplementing data with observations we will learn to take during the class. We will develop a physically motivated framework with which to understand observations by undertaking a survey of the lifetimes of different unique objects in the universe, from stars to galaxies to the universe itself. Students will do some late night observations (weather permitting) using the Orchard Hill Observatory and other telescopes, as well as making observations with digital cameras.

Dr. Daniela Calzetti, Professor, and Patrick Kamieneski, Lecturer, Department of Astronomy

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 7 - 20 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 learning. 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 Patriot Place, the Mullins Center and The Basketball Hall of Fame.

The McCormack Department is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in the classroom, and the sports industry. Students of color who cannot meet the financial obligations of the Sport Management & Leadership Academy are encouraged to apply for a scholarship. Please see Program Fees for more information.

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

Learn More

July 7 - 27

The UMass Amherst Summer Design Academy provides an opportunity for high school students interested in architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design the opportunity to experience the profession through the creative challenges of a university design program.

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

The three week intensive will be composed of two parts: Week One will provide an introduction to the design disciplines of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Building Design & Technology through a series of short design projects. Weeks Two and Three will focus on developing a conceptual approach to architecture through the design of a freestanding building; an Artist's Studio & Gallery. Students will build their own conceptual models out of wood and concrete, develop a concept for the design of 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 areas such as biomedical, 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. Students will tour active engineering labs on campus in order to experience current research projects in a variety of engineering fields. Finally, students will participate in activities, research projects, and presentations geared towards technical learning, team building, and enrichment activities.

The course will be conducted in one of the campus team based learning labs, which offer modern computer stations 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

Students will also come away with a/an:

• Increased awareness of engineering and career opportunities
• First hand experience succeeding as an engineering student
• Improved understanding of the methods of application of the important skills associated with a successful career in engineering
• Increased level of knowledge about some of the challenges associated with different branches of engineering
• 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. Please see Program Fees for more information.

Dr. Paula Rees, Assistant Dean for Diversity, College of Engineering

Session 3: July 21 - August 3

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.

Yeongsu Kim, Lecturer, Isenberg School of Management

In this 2-week intensive, we will explore the fields of Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology to learn how the science of biological anthropology is applied to legal processes and learning about the past. 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 identify 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 or archaeological excavation, and examine the ethical issues involved when working with human skeletal remains. On the last day, students will take part in a mock-crime scene investigation, and use the techniques we learned to process a scene and analyze evidence!

Sarah Reedy, Lecturer, and Stacey Matarazzo, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology

What is genetic engineering, and how does it work? What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Is it safe to eat them? How do DNA forensic techniques work? What can genetic testing tell us? And what ethical issues are raised by this new frontier in science? We invite you to join us for a two-week program exploring these topics!

In our program, we will investigate the analysis and manipulation of DNA, while focusing on current and emerging applications in this rapidly advancing field. Since DNA is the genetic material that unites bacteria, plants, and people, our program aims to increase participants’ understanding of ideas and tools used in modern biotechnology. At the same time, we will discuss the pros and cons of elucidating – and sometimes even editing – an organism’s DNA. Through a combination of hands-on activities, discussions, and laboratory experiments, we will investigate the structure of DNA, techniques for DNA sequencing and engineering, and the transformation of genetic material into host organisms to modify their biology. Possible projects include transforming a jellyfish gene into bacteria, testing grocery store foods for the presence of transgenes, generating DNA fingerprints, and learning what it means to sequence a genome. Participants will have the opportunity to present their findings in teams at the end of each week. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore the science behind the news headlines!

This program is designed for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with consideration also given to rising freshman with strong preparation in cell biology. Prior completion of high school biology or equivalent experience is strongly recommended for all applicants. Students with some prior exposure to cell biology are more likely to find the program rewarding.

Dr. Ludmila Tyler, Senior Lecturer, and Dr. Becky Miller, Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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

The Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program is an immersion experience for junior and senior 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 two-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 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 sign a Liability Release Form prior to attending this program. Participants under the age of 18 years old will need a parent or a guardian signature on the Liability Release Form. The Liability Release Form must be notarized by a notary public and returned to UMass prior to arrival for the program.
  • Consult your physician to determine whether or not you should participate in this program involving animals and work in barns with dust and pollen if you have allergies, a compromised immune system, or if you are pregnant.
  • 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.

In your Statement of Interest, please describe your interest in the veterinary profession and explain what you hope to gain from the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program.

Dr. K. Beltaire, UMass Clinical Veterinarian and Lecturer, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences 

This two-week program will build a ground-up understanding of observational astronomy, exploring the basis of human extraterrestrial observation and the art of turning astronomy into a science. We'll use the foundations of astrophysics to explain the implications of modern observations, supplementing data with observations we will learn to take during the class. We will develop a physically motivated framework with which to understand observations by undertaking a survey of the lifetimes of different unique objects in the universe, from stars to galaxies to the universe itself. Students will do some late night observations (weather permitting) using the Orchard Hill Observatory and other telescopes, as well as making observations with digital cameras.

Dr. Daniela Calzetti, Professor, and Patrick Kamieneski, Lecturer, Department of Astronomy

In this course, students will use genetic engineering to coax cells into showing us their inner workings.  We will study up- and down-regulation of gene expression by growing bacteria engineered to fluoresce when they detect lactose, and we will ourselves engineer mammalian cells to show us what their cytoskeleton does during cell division.

We will:

  • grow bacteria containing a gene that will make a particular mammalian organelle glow
  • extract the DNA from those bacteria
  • grow mammalian cells in culture
  • insert the bacterial DNA into those mammalian cells
  • select only the cells that successfully incorporate the DNA
  • make beautiful images of the transformed cells using fluorescence microscopy.

Along the way we will try to answer such questions as:

  • How do we see color?
  • What is fluorescence?
  • How does a microscope work?
  • What is a gene?
  • How are genes expressed?
  • What is the difference between gene expression in bacteria and in mammalian cells?
  • What is the inside of a cell like?
  • How does the rate of cell division differ between mammalian and bacterial cells?

Kate Dorfman, Laboratory Coordinator, and Beth Punska, Technical Assistant, Department of Biology

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

This 2-week intensive uses the power of imaginative storytelling in gamic worlds as an introduction to video game studies and video game design. We will approach video games by exploring various techniques for telling compelling stories in the medium. Why are some games like the Mass Effect trilogy, Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption 2, the Tomb Raider franchise, and Mafia 3 so often celebrated for their creation of immersive, captivating worlds and stories? How do these games create virtual worlds that are believable and meaningful?

Students will learn some fundamentals of storytelling and also learn some strategies for imagining and constructing simple digital games. By providing fundamental instruction in both storytelling and in game design, the course bridges Humanities and STEM interests and proficiencies. We will play, analyze, and create games in order to give students with interests in STEM fields (such as computer science and engineering) an opportunity to explore skills, topics, and debates related to the humanistic study of digital culture. Similarly, our study of video games will give students interested in Humanities disciplines (such as literature, creative writing, and art) an opportunity to develop some pragmatic design and technical skills.

Neither technical expertise nor experience playing video games is required. Creative writers, storytellers, gamers, and curious individuals of all skill levels are welcome. We will study, play, critique, and create games from the ground up. Readings and examples will come from literary and cultural studies, and digital tools are likely to include Twine and Construct 2.

TreaAndrea Russworm, Associate Professor, Department of English

6-Week Research Intensives

Session 1: June 30 - August 10

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 Astronomy, Biology, Biochemistry, 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 our 2-week intensive in Plant Biology.

Click for Available Labs

EducationUSA Academy for International High School Students

JULY 6 TO AUGUST 3, 2019
Our EducationUSA Academy program will help you understand more about higher education in the U.S. and prepare you to apply to U.S. colleges and universities. All students complete a personal statement as part of the program, which can be used for applications to U.S. colleges. You will also meet many students from the U.S. 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 listed above. 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? 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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Applications for Summer 2019 will open in late December / early January.

We accept applications from rising sophomores*, juniors and seniors in high school. High school seniors who will graduate in the spring of 2019 are also welcome. Please check the course descriptions carefully for eligibility requirements.

*Please note, for the Pre-Veterinary Medicine program we accept applications only from rising junior and seniors.

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 2018. Rising sophomores should attach a middle school transcript as well as fall grades from 2018.
  • 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

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

Internet Explorer browser is not recommended for the application.


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.

  • SAT / ACT Prep Workshops
  • Admissions Panel
  • Financial Wellness Workshops
  • Real Talk with Program Assistants

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.
  • Mass MoCA – located in North Adams, MA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the largest modern art museums in the country.


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): $830
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $608
  • Activity fee: $60
  • Total for one week: $1,545

Fees for Two-Week Intensives

  • Program fee (with two academic credits): $1,660
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $1,220
  • Activity fee: $125
  • Total for two weeks: $3,052

Fees for Three-Week Intensives

  • Program fee (with three academic credits): $2,490
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $1,832
  • Activity fee: $150
  • Total for three weeks: $4,519

Fees for Six-Week Research Intensives

  • Program fee (with six academic credits): $6,000
  • One time Registration fee: $47
  • Housing and full meal plan: $3,668
  • Activity fee: $175
  • Total for six weeks: $9,890


Please Note: The Summer Design Academy has an additional $125 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 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 $1,046, 2-week programs are $1,998, 3-week programs are $2,910, and Research Intensives are $6,616.

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


Full Scholarships
UMass Summer Programs is offering one full, need-based scholarship for Drug Discovery: Medical Properties of Plants, and one for the Summer Engineering Institute. See below to learn how to apply.

Partial Scholarships
Students accepted to any 1-week, 2-week or 3-week program may apply for a partial, need-based scholarship. Scholarships are not guaranteed, as funding is limited. Unfortunately scholarships are not available for the 6-week Research Intensives. See below to learn how to apply.

Additional Scholarships
The following programs also offer need-based, partial scholarships through their host departments: Summer Engineering Institute, and Sport Management & Leadership Academy*.

How to Apply for a Scholarship
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:

The deadline for scholarship applications is April 1st, 2019. We will disburse any available aid on April 8th.

*Sport Management & Leadership Academy: The McCormack Department is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in the classroom, and the sports industry. Female students and students of color who cannot meet the financial obligations of the Sport Management & Leadership Academy are encouraged to apply for a scholarship. Applications will be judged based on the applicant’s academic record, sport-related work or participatory experience, and a short, 500 word essay that describes their career aspirations. Please submit scholarship essays to: The deadline is March 31st.


Payment and Refund Policy

Confirmation of Attendance
Once accepted, a non-refundable deposit of $500 must be paid to hold a student’s space in the program. Payment of the deposit 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 Summer Programs cancels a course for any reason, students receive a full refund. If a student withdraws from the program, refunds are provided according to the schedule below. The $500 deposit is non-refundable.

Summer Pre-College Refund Schedule 2019

Session 1: June 30
Before June 2: 100% minus deposit
After June 2: No refund

Session 2: July 7
Before June 9: 100% minus deposit
After June 9: No refund

Session 3: July 21
Before June 23: 100% minus deposit
After June 23: 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.