College Experience

Course Descriptions

College Experience students participate in two classes.  For the morning session, each student selects a three-credit-hour course from SMU's regular summer school offerings, which include choices from many of the disciplines.  In the afternoon, participants study together in a unique learning community - the College Experience Seminar.  Led by dynamic SMU faculty members, students engage in in-depth studies that integrate the disciplines with reading, writing, discussion and learning skills.

College Experience Seminars

In the afternoon, students participate in a special College Experience seminar.

PLSC 4330: Politics and Film

Most Americans look upon films or movies as entertainment. Yet, for students of politics, films can add insight into what we learn in class, in our reading, and in our own research. In so doing, films can serve the purpose of deepening our understanding of politics and culture in the United States. This course will use films as a vehicle for enhancing our understanding of real-world politics and the political research that is typically examined in courses on American politics. We will consider political ambition, electoral politics, the nature of political leadership, theories of decision-making, and the role of the media in American politics. As well, films portray – whether accurately or not – the conduct of politics. But there is also a politics of film making. Films have the potential to deepen our understanding of the political change experienced by the nation. At the same time, such films often raise questions about the political agenda of their creators, the use or misuse of history, and the extent to which the portrayal of people and events is motivated by the profit incentive and cultural norms that govern the industry.

Morning Class Choices

The following courses are frequently recommended for College Experience students. For other choices, consult the SMU Summer schedule, available online at, or from the CE office.

ANTH 3301 Health, Healing, and Ethics: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Sickness and Society

A cross-cultural exploration of cultures and organization of medical systems, economic development and the global exportation of biomedicine, and ethical dilemmas associated with medical technologies and global disparities in health.

ANTH 3334  Fantastic Archaeology and Pseudoscience: Lost Tribes, Sunken Continents, and Ancient Astronauts

This course investigates various claims (e.g., ancient astronauts have visited Earth, archaeologists are not revealing secrets about the Mayan calendar, and creation theory is a scientific alternative to the theory of human evolution) and how archaeologists respond to them.

APSH 1300 The Basics of Photography

Thorough discussion of camera operation and the elements of visual design (space, composition, color, and light). Emphasis is placed upon the creative application of aperture, shutter speed, framing, and lighting. Students must supply their own digital single-lens reflex cameras or advanced compact digital cameras that allow for manual exposure control. Assignments submitted digitally. Written examination. No darkroom or computer lab.

FILM 3300: Film and Television Genres

Hollywood Golden Age
This course examines questions of genre pertinent to film and/or television by focusing on various generic forms and their history. The specific genres under consideration will vary from term to term.

MATH 1304: Pre-Calculus Mathematics

(Especially intended for students who plan to major in science or engineering.) Inequalities, absolute value, graphs, functions, basic analytic geometry, trigonometry, inverse functions. Designed for students who need to improve mathematics skills before taking calculus. 

Prerequisite: One year of high school algebra required; two years of algebra and pre-calculus are highly recommended.

MATH 1309: Introduction to Calculus for Business and Social Science

(Designed for students planning to major in business or the social sciences.) Derivatives and integrals of the algebraic, logarithmic, and exponential functions with applications to curve sketching, maximum-minimum problems, and computation. Prerequisite: Two years of high school algebra are required, and pre-calculus is highly recommended.

MATH 1337: Calculus with Analytic Geometry I

(Generally for science and engineering majors.) Differential and integral calculus of algebraic and some trigonometric functions with applications to velocity, maximum-minimum problems, areas, volumes, work, and curve sketching.

Prerequisite: Two years of high school algebra and pre-calculus. Calculus courses are fast paced and should be taken only by the strongest math students.

PHIL 1305 Introduction to Philosophy

A general introduction to the central questions of philosophy. We will discuss topics from such areas as the theory of knowledge, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy. Typical questions might include: Can we know the world outside our minds? Is it rational to believe in a God who allows evil to exist? Do the laws of physics allow for human freedom? Is morality more than a matter of opinion? Can there be unequal wealth in a just society? Readings will include classical authors such as Plato, Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Mill, as well as contemporary philosophers. The focus of the course will be on arguments for and against proposed solutions to key problems of philosophy.

PHIL 1317: Business Ethics

A discussion of the moral and political issues surrounding a free-enterprise system. Students are introduced to basic moral theory. Further topics include distributive (or economic) justice, the moral preferability of capitalism and socialism, and selected concrete moral issues such as truth in advertising, worker safety, and affirmative action.

PLSC 3321: Congress and Legislative Process

The powers, organization, and rules and procedures of legislatures in the United States: emphasizes the U.S. Congress: its constitutional responsibilities, committee and staff systems, and legislative procedures in the House and Senate.

PSYC 1300 - Introduction to Psychology

Broad introduction to psychology as a behavioral science with special emphasis on cognition, development, learning, social, personality, physiological, and clinical psychology (psychopathology and psychotherapy).

SOCI 2300: Social Problems

Examines social problems within the contexts of their particular societies and cultures; how a social problem is defined; and how solutions are shaped by politics, corporations, media interests, and social movements. Prerequisite: First-year, sophomore, or junior standing only.

THEA 2307: Movement 1

Teaches students to individuate internal energies of the body, to use these energies in movement and creation of precise statuary mime for the stage, and to begin to synthesize physical listening skills for ensemble acting. Skills taught include juggling, hatha yoga, corporal mime, illusionistic pantomime, t’ai chi ch’uan, and improvisation of mime pieces. 

THEA 2311: The Art of Acting

Basic work in acting, voice, and movement for the nonmajor. Relaxation, concentration, imagination, and the actor's exploration and use of the social world.

* The University reserves the right to make changes in this schedule at any time.  Classes are subject to cancellation if enrollment is insufficient.