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.

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.

ENGL 2311: Poetry

Analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of poetry: with attention to critical theory.

HIST 2311: Out of May: U.S. History to 1877

Growth of American civilization. General survey, with particular attention to social and political aspects. Open to first-year students.

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.

MSA 1315: Mass Media and Technology

An overview of technology as it applies to mass media in America, emphasizing the access of information via the Internet and World Wide Web. Topics include the expanding nature of technology, legal aspects, and the effects of technology on society.

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.

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.


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