Skip to main content

Question Everything: A Summer Philosophy Program

Question Everything is a mind-expanding residential summer program for high school students, offered by the UMass Amherst Department of Philosophy. We’ll explore exciting philosophical issues in a fun and supportive environment. It’s a chance for participants to get a taste of college, meet new people, and most importantly, question everything!

Question Everything is open to rising high school seniors from Springfield and Holyoke, MA. 

In 2024, Question Everything’s theme will be “Freedom and Liberty.” Participants will explore questions such as:

  • Do all humans have an inalienable right to liberty? (What are inalienable rights? What is liberty?)
  • What’s the difference between moral and legal rights and how do these relate to liberty?
  • To what kinds of liberty (if any) do we have a right? Are some types of liberty more important than others? For instance, is there a moral right to free expression, and if so, does it have limits?
  • Do young children have a right to liberty? Why or why not? Do non-human animals have such a right?
  • Are there circumstances under which the government (or someone else) can justifiably take away or limit someone’s liberty? If so, what are these circumstances?
  • Is incarceration ever morally justified? Should prisons be abolished or completely rethought?
  • What is free will? Is there a connection between having a right to liberty and having free will?

The summer program will feature a variety of activities. On each weekday, we’ll meet from 9am to 4pm, with a one-hour lunch break. On most days, there will be an interactive presentation by a UMass professor about an interesting issue related to our theme. The remainder of the time, you will engage in discussions, debates, role-play activities, games, and reading or writing activities, all connected to freedom and liberty. You will also have time to do your own research about an issue that you find particularly intriguing and present your findings to the others!

Aside from helping you discover philosophy, meet like-minded people, and discuss fascinating questions, the program will provide help with the college application/ financial aid process and participants will also be eligible to receive 3 college credits.

All admitted applicants automatically receive a full scholarship covering room and board, instruction, and materials. Question Everything is funded by the Teagle Foundation’s Knowledge for Freedom Initiative.

In addition to the summer course, the program will feature a component during the 2024/25 school year to help participants navigate the college application process and continue thinking about big questions.

To get more information and to apply, visit the Question Everything website

Please note for this program only, applications are done at this link, not through the general Summer Pre-College application. Please see the Question Everything website for application deadlines.