Summer Programs at UMass Amherst

Students review work at a table

Soak up more than sun this summer.

Experience every amazing aspect of summer life at UMass Amherst and earn college credits, too.



Request information

Questions about Enrollment?

We are here to help. Contact us to learn more >>

Live the life of a UMass Amherst student this summer and get a jump on college while you’re at it. Our Pre-College Summer Programs feed your mind while treating you to the full campus experience, from dorm life to dining hall. (FUN FACT: Our food service is #1 in the nation.) Not to mention the natural beauty and cultural charms of summer in Pioneer Valley.

Inside the classroom, you’ll engage in coursework and labs through hands-on learning and state-of-the-art research facilities. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to pursue your passion at a higher level.

Discover UMass Amherst’s Pre-College Summer Programs and apply today.

Open to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors. Admissions are rolling.

Financial Aid

Limited scholarships are available for our 1-week, 2-week or 3-week programs. Deadline to apply is 3/31. For details and instructions, please visit

2019 Program Schedule

A Sustainable Planet

In this class, we will explore some of the major environmental challenges that exist for society today, including climate change, water issues, waste, and pollution, and we will examine the legal and ethical issues that surround the search for solutions. Corporate sustainability and the role that business plays in both harming and preserving the environment will be a focus for discussion. This class will also give participants the opportunity to take a look at sustainability initiatives here at UMass and beyond.


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.

Circuits, Robotics, & Arduino

Inspired by the Maker movement, this course will encourage and empower students to invent, design, and build fun and practical hardware projects that interact with the physical world. The course will provide a hands-on introduction to basic electronics and circuit design, mobile robotics, and microcontroller programming using Arduinos. After building the necessary foundations through short lectures and plenty of experimentation, students will work on a creative final project that they will be able to take home at the end of the course. Experience with neither electronics nor programming is required.​

Drug Discovery

This 2-week summer program will utilize the Plant Cell Culture 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 gain hands-on lab experience: Micropipetting, DNA Extraction & Purification, PCR and much more!

Engineering Institute

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.

Entrepreneurship / Becoming a Game-Changer

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.

Equine Science

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.

Forensic Anthropology

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.

Forensic Chemistry

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.

Genetic Engineering

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.

Genetics, Genomics, & Evolution

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.

How Business Works

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.

Human Health and Movement (Kinesiology)

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.

Music & Technology

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!

Particle Physics

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.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

The Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program is an immersion experience for rising 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.

Seeing the Invisible

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.

Sport Management

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.

Sports Broadcasting

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.

Summer Design Academy

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.

Video Games as Worldbuilding

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 Effecttrilogy, SkyrimRed 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?


Summer Pre-College students stay in a modern, fully air-conditioned freshman residence hall in the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community. Two Program Assistants (PAs) oversee each floor. All floors are single gender, and each student has a roommate. The Residence Hall Director is on site/on call 24/7.


Amherst is a top-ranked college town with natural beauty and a diverse arts scene. Activities for Summer Pre-College students include weekend excursions, evening events like Karaoke and outdoor movie nights, and social and academic workshops.


All residence halls are locked and campus is patrolled 24/7 by the UMass Police Department. Students and staff use electronic keys to gain access to the residence halls.