Applications for summer 2020 are closed. Click here to be notified about future programs.

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Pre-Collegiate Humanities Research

High school students interested in the humanities struggle to find relevant experience beyond school. We're here to change that.

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Considering studying languages, literature, history, philosophy, or cultural studies in college? You might be passionate about reading, writing, ideas, and persuasion, or interested in pursuing a career in academia, law, media, or creative writing. You might even be interested in pursuing other fields but wish to develop your writing, creativity, and critical thinking skills through the humanities — increasingly considered an integral part of higher education in any field.

Studying the humanities can be a rewarding, though often challenging, path. There are many pre-collegiate summer programs in the STEM disciplines, but the average applicant to a humanities degree is unlikely to have much knowledge or experience in the field they intend to major in beyond what they learn at school.

Humanities Class is a selective online school for high school students from all backgrounds who want to pursue a research project in the humanities before college with the mentorship of recent graduates with humanities degrees from top universities. We love to work with students who are intellectually motivated in the humanities and want to enrich their profile for college admissions by doing research in the humanities in high school. Participants will gain familiarity with their areas of interest and become more nuanced readers and writers by completing an individualized and in-depth college-level research project in their field of choice.

With the right guidance, materials, and mentorship, completing a research project before college can help you stand out from the crowd. As the most selective colleges increasingly look at extracurricular activities as a deciding factor in admissions decisions, it's important to showcase your interests and passions, but also reveal depth of commitment and initiative in your area of interest. College admissions counselors will like to see college-level research experience in applicants. The critical thinking and writing skills you gain from this program will make your application stand out from the rest.

It is normal to be unsure about what you want to study in college when you don't know what it is really like to take classes in your field of interest. Through meaningful exposure in the field you are considering, you can determine early on if it is right for you.


The program is guided by graduates with humanities degrees and approximates the experience of undergraduates in a humanities seminar at a prestigious university in the U.S.

This means that students will learn to think about texts not in isolation but in connection to big ideas that cross disciplinary boundaries. The class enables intellectual exploration and freedom from any set canon but also gives a birds-eye view of the major methods and schools of thought with which one implicitly comes into dialogue in any humanistic inquiry.

Participants will also receive real, individualized attention from each of our instructors. We will tailor our teaching to engage with students’ ideas, talk them through new concepts, and help them think through problems.

We also hold office hours to offer help on individual research projects, college admissions, the Common Application, potential universities to which students might apply, and college essay topics, among other questions.

Before applying to college, students who enroll will:

Our instructors are equipped to guide college-level projects in a variety of disciplines. They are currently active in fields including but not limited to: literature, philosophy, literary theory, political theory, psychoanalytic theory, race, gender, and sexuality studies, philosophy of law, linguistics, art history, renaissance studies, musicology, classics, environmental studies, philology, medical humanities, intellectual history, cultural history, historiography, translation, history of science, history and philosophy of mathematics, media studies, anime studies, and history of the book.

They also work in languages like English, French, German, (Classical and Mandarin) Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Italian, Ancient Greek, and Latin.

If the student completes the project in a satisfactory manner, our instructors are happy to provide them with a letter of recommendation.

At the end of the program, students will receive a certificate of completion. We can also assist students with getting their research published in a journal. If they choose, students can also have their research project featured on our website.


The summer 2020 program consists of two 90-minute classes weekly for 10 weeks, from late June to early September. Hours will be determined based on the students' availabilities.

We divided the program into four modules. The introductory module will be conducted in groups. Students will then be paired with an instructor for the remaining three modules, in which students will work one-on-one with the instructor toward a full-length essay on their topic of choice.

Weeks 1–3: Introduction

Students will gain a foundation to the research methods, questions, and important figures in their disciplines. This module will consist of seminars led by each instructor on the following topics: “The World in Translation,” “An Introduction to Historiography,” “Is surveillance a violation of privacy?”, “What Does it Mean to Mean?” and “Literary Theory and the Law.”

Weeks 4–6: Literature review

Students will define a field of inquiry, formulate a question, and prepare a literature review in which they evaluate contemporary scholarship relevant to their topic.

Weeks 7–9: Writing

Working with guidance from their instructor, students will construct a scholarly argument and produce a full-length paper based on their research.

Week 10: Presentation

Students will present their papers to their peers.


Applications for summer 2020 are now closed.

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