Talented & Gifted Program

Course Descriptions

Course assignments are based on the following criteria:

• Evidence of the student’s suitability for the course;
• Information provided in the essays;
• Date the completed application is received;
• Available space in the class; and
• Alumni status in the program.

Although SMU does not grant high school credit for TAG courses, many students have negotiated with their local school districts to arrange for high school credit. For assistance, contact the Director of TAG.

Morning Selections (Credit Courses)

Typically, students with strong SAT/ACT or comparable test scores are the first considered for credit-course placement. Individual classes have specific requirements. Qualified younger students are eligible for (and have been highly successful in) credit classes. All students who participate in these freshman-level, college-credit courses receive grades which will appear on an official SMU college transcript.

ARHS 1335 : Monsters, Mayhem, and Miracles: 
Art and Life in the Medieval World
Dr. Pamela Patton
3 college credits
The Great Hall at Hogwarts; the Knights Templar of the Da Vinci Code; the werewolves from New Moon—what do these have in common?  They are all creations of the Middle Ages, an age of daring crusaders, awesome architecture, and fantastical beings of all kinds.  This course explores the medieval world through images, monuments, music, and legends ranging from the miraculous to the preposterous, offering students a new perspective on the power of our medieval heritage.          

EDU 2349: Psychology of Adjustment

Dr. Ann Batenburg
3 college credits
When we think of psychology, we often think of what would be abnormal psychology – what can go wrong with a person, or why people behave as they do in negative situations. Positive Psychology takes the opposite approach. It looks at what is right with human behavior and wonders how we can increase positive behavior and affect. It is a rapidly emerging field within the social sciences. It focuses on human strengths as well as weaknesses. It examines both stressors and resources in the environment.  Positive psychology is interested in resilience as well as vulnerability. The topic of positive psychology is well-being, the cultivation of optimal living. The goal of positive psychology is to increase flourishing. Well-being theory has five elements: positive emotion, engagement, meaning, accomplishment, and positive relationships. The goal of this class goes beyond the cognitive understanding of positive psychology. It invites students to engage in discussions and activities that promote the acquisition of strategies and skills that enhance each student’s capacity to live a flourishing life.

Introduction to  Writing
Dr. Tori Sharpe
3 college credits
In this creative writing workshop we will read, study, and compose within three genres: creative nonfiction, poetry, and short fiction.
We will begin the course by reading several nonfiction essays. As a class, we will explore the ethical and practical boundaries that writers must define when writing within this genre. Where should writers draw the line? At what point must we call a piece of writing “fiction” and when is it still acceptable to label it “nonfiction”? We will then move into poetry week, where we will read and study a variety of poems by a wide range of writers, from early modern poets to the Romantics to contemporary writers, and by formalists and poets who break with poetic conventions. This unit will be divided by form and structure: elegy, ode, sonnet, repeating forms (sestina and villanelle), and narrative—which will serve as an introduction to our next unit, the prose narrative. In the final week of the course, we will study short fiction. Like the poetry unit, we will read stories by a wide range of writers from a wide range of eras. This unit will be divided by writer, with many of the stories being taken from the same collection so we can see how the stories speak to one another and support overarching themes.

MATH 1307: introduction to Mathematical Sciences
Ms. Sara Weiss
3 college credits
Students explore operations on sets, permutations and combinations, probability, vectors and matrices, Markov chains, linear programming, and elementary statistics. Prerequisite:   Algebra I.

PLSC 4334: The Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement
Dr. Dennis Simon
3 college credits
This course will focus upon the history, politics, and moral claims of the movement that not only destroyed the system of racial segregation known as Jim Crow but also dissolved barriers to political participation by African Americans in the American South.  Accordingly, we will examine the rise of the civil rights movement, the politics and culture of the segregated South, and the evolution of how national politicians addressed the issues of race and segregation.  We will also explore the legacy of this revolution and its influence on contemporary politics and culture in the United States. 

Afternoon Selections (Noncredit Courses)

All afternoon courses are taken for noncredit.

Discovering Downtown
Mr. Alex Marbukh
Dallas has moved into the world of mass transit with its train system linking north and south. The train can whisk TAG students to the West End or to downtown in minutes to explore among the skyscrapers and discover secrets of architecture and careers hidden among the glass-front buildings. Students in this course will explore all this and more as they visit various sites throughout Dallas and meet with professionals within the city. The course will combine architecture, urban planning, government, and sociology by applying them to real world situations.

Game Design
Mr. Mark Nausha 
If you love playing video games, this is the class for you! Make your first video game in this one-of-a-kind class that shows you the crucial keys to designing your first 2-D game. Conceptualization, play experience, challenge levels, graphics and elements, music and sound, software, and simple coding are just some of the concepts that we'll explore as you learn how to really get into the game - because you made it yourself! No prior experience necessary, just a desire to have fun.”

Photography in the Age of Instagram®
Mr. Jim Olvera 
Before Snapchat®, Flicker® and Shutterfly®, people took their time making photographs. Some people still do. They are photographers, and the pictures that they make have the power to enlighten, entertain and influence us. In these sessions, we will work both in the classroom and in the field so that you can learn not only how your camera works, but also how to better use it to show others the way you see the world. After all, isn't that why you take pictures in the first place?

Theater Arts

Ms. Sarah Rutan
This course focuses on body technique, voice and diction, imagination, acting techniques, characterization, and preparation of monologues and duets. Visiting experts provide enrichment workshops on topics such as stage combat, sword fighting, stunts, makeup, and dance. The expanded class format allows former students to continue their Theater Arts studies.   

What’s Eating You? – The Truth About Our Food
Ms. Kelyn Rola
This course will cover all things “Food.” We will discuss the origin of the food we consume, how various products are made, factors that influence what we eat, and what changes we can make to be more health-conscious and environmentally-friendly. We will spend time critically analyzing the organic food industry, local sustainable food, and discuss which foods are really “bad” for us and which are not. We will also spend a portion of the course covering health and how nutrition impacts health. Students will leave this course with the knowledge to make informed choices about what they eat, as well as improved critical analysis skills.

Creating Original Songs
Dr. Robert Krout
Writing songs gives us opportunities to share and express feelings and thoughts in unique, musical ways. This course will explore the creation of music and lyrics via the writing of songs. Topics will include various approaches to songwriting, lyric techniques, song styles, song topics, creating melody, harmony and chord progressions, arranging, performing, copyrighting, and recording of songs using GarageBand for iPad. There will be opportunities to perform our songs in a class concert. No previous musical training is required. iPads, guitars, and keyboards will be available for student use, and students are welcome to bring their own.


PDF Course List

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