How to Take Summer Classes

As summer approaches, it is time for us to begin finalizing summer plans. An important summer option that many Princeton students forget to consider is taking courses at other institutions over the summer. This option allows you to take prerequisites and certain AB distributional requirements outside of Princeton and free your schedule to take other interesting electives during your time here. In this post, I will outline the process of getting approval for summer courses and suggest possible funding opportunities to cover course tuition.

Taking courses over the summer is an important option that we do not hear much about.

AB distributional requirements

AB students may complete up to two pre-approved outside courses to satisfy an LA, SA, or ST distributional requirement, or a departmental prerequisite. Other courses may be approved to count towards your total number of courses at Princeton. To be approved, you must find an equivalent course at another 4-year institution that meets for a minimum of thirty hours of class time. For a departmental prerequisite, your department must approve the course you intend to take as being “substantially similar” to your prerequisite. Course approval includes:

  1. Obtaining a syllabus and course description of the class you intend to take.
  2. Completing an approval form for courses at another institution and bringing this along with the syllabus to your department representative. If the course is required or is a prerequisite for a certificate, then bring the form to that department as well.
  3. Submitting your approval form to your residential college office after obtaining department approval.

For more detailed information on this process, visit the Office of the Dean of the College website.

BSE Pre-reqs

BSE students may complete up to four pre-approved outside courses that can be used to fulfill general BSE requirements, departmental prereqs, or humanities distributional requirements. In order for a course to be approved, it must be a physical course that meets for over a minimum of four weeks with more than thirty hours of class time. A course with a lab must also meet for a minimum of thirty hours of lab time. To get a course approved, you must:

  1. Obtain a syllabus from the course you are trying to get approved
  2. Complete an approval form for courses at another institution and submit it along with the syllabus to the course’s department representative (at Princeton).
  3. If the course is satisfying a departmental requisite, then also submit the approval form to your own department representative.
  4. Once your department approves this form, submit it to the SEAS Undergraduate Affairs Office and to your residential college office.

For more comprehensive details on the approval process, visit the School of Engineering website. In addition, meeting with Dean Bogucki early is advised.

SIFP Summer STEM Fellows

SIFP offers additional opportunities for students to take STEM requirements at Rutgers University and at The College of New Jersey. The most popular courses offered include general and organic chemistry, physics, multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. Students participating in this experience will receive on-campus housing for the duration of the course, a small stipend, transportation, and various academic benefits. In exchange, students are expected to serve as mentors for the FSI summer program. To apply for this position, you must:

  1. Attend an info session
  2. Submit an approval form to your Director of Studies
  3. Submit an approval form to your department representative and Dean Bogucki if you are a BSE student
  4. Complete the SIFP application

For a more comprehensive outline of the approval process, visit the SIFP website.

Summer Course Funding

Outside of SIFP, there are limited funding options for summer courses at other institutions. Some departments may offer course funding on a case-by-case basis, so ask your department if this is an option. In addition, the Office of Financial Aid can provide subsidized loans for summer courses.

Summer courses are a great way to satisfy requirements and obtain more flexibility with your schedule here at Princeton. Though I have not personally taken a summer course, several of my friends took math courses and pre-med requirements outside of Princeton, and they enjoyed having more flexibility in their schedules to take interesting courses here. Given that several offices need to approve summer course plans, interested students should start the process early. Before you begin to fill out any forms, interested students should also meet with their Director of Studies, faculty adviser, and/or department representative.

–Saira Reyes, Engineering Correspondent