Credit Courses For Hotchkiss Students Only

Why study during the summer?

Summer courses provide an opportunity to expand the scope and the depth of The Hotchkiss School curriculum by allowing current students to complement their current studies through immersion in a class that they would not have the chance to take during the traditional school year. Our summer courses are designed to be distinctive and to provide unique teaching and learning experiences based on place, off-campus resources and faculty/staff expertise. 

For more information about the course offerings below, please contact Paul Oberto, dean of summer programs.

To register for a summer course, please email Linda Yoo, summer programs coordinator. 

What does “for credit” mean exactly?

  • Summer courses are taught by former or current Hotchkiss faculty or staff members and offered exclusively to Hotchkiss students and thus will be as academically rigorous as any other Hotchkiss-sanctioned course students in which students can enroll.
  • Four-week courses appear as a ½ credit, the equivalent of a semester course, on a student’s transcript, and two-week courses appear as a ¼ credit on the transcript - the equivalent of our current full-year ½ credit courses. The grade earned in the summer term will contribute to a student's upcoming year's GPA, just as any course would.
  • For some students, the chance to demonstrate sustained interest in a particular subject or an innovative curricular and pedagogical structure will be a compelling part of the narratives they are crafting at Hotchkiss.
  • Ultimately, once summer for-credit courses become an established part of the curriculum, they may well substitute for departmental requirements, accelerate students subject-specific progress, and allow students to take advantage of electives not offered during the standard academic year.

What are the dates students are expected to be on campus for the course? How are the days structured?

Four-week courses - Agroecology and *Civil War - will require students to arrive on Sunday, June 28, and the last day of class will be Saturday, July 25 (students are welcome to spend Saturday night, and all students are asked to be off campus by noon on Sunday the 26). 

Exercise Science and Strength Training will run as two separate two-week sessions. Students will arrive for the first session on Sunday, June 28, and the last day of class will be Saturday, July 11. The second session will run from July 12 through July 25. Students may stay the Saturday night of the day their session ends, but must be off campus the next day, Sunday. 

Classes will meet Monday - Friday from approximately 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. with an hour and fifteen minutes for lunch. Classes also meet from approximately 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Saturdays. Various afternoon and evening activities, some related to their courses, will comprise the remainder of each day. Weekend activity trips and free time to enjoy our beautiful summer setting are scheduled as well. 

*The Civil War course will travel to Gettysburg and stay on site for four days and three nights during the final week of the session. Exact dates are TBD. Students will return to campus for the completion of the course. 

What is the cost of a summer for-credit course?

Tuition (inclusive of room, board, materials and travel) for 4-week courses, Agroecology and The American Civil War, is $7,400. Tuition for Exercise Science and Strength Training, a two-week course, is $3,500. Summer financial aid funds are available to students who receive financial aid during the standard academic year.

How does the for-credit aspect affect future tuition – in particular, will future tuition requirements be lessened if a student lessens his/her future academic load by the equivalent credit?

Since Hotchkiss does not charge tuition according to number of course credits earned, we do not anticipate summer credit equivalencies to substitute for a percentage of a future tuition payment.

With whom should we speak for more information about financial aid?

Financial aid funds are available through the Summer Programs office. Jackson Marvel and Paul Oberto are the primary point people for financial aid questions.


Summer Credit Courses

½ Credit Laboratory Science
Instructor: Jennifer Rinehart, Hotchkiss instructor in environmental science and biology

Agroecology is an innovative Environmental Science lab course that will inspire students to understand agriculture as an ecosystem, governed by natural processes as well as by human hands. Taught by Jenn Rinehart, Agroecology will offer students a chance to experience learning at Hotchkiss in an entirely new way: spending four intensive weeks employing the language of natural sciences as well as social sciences, exploring all facets of a farm, and developing as systems thinkers.
Using Fairfield Farms as our lab during July—the four weeks during the season when Fairfield is most actively evolving—students will immerse themselves in learning how to analyze the environmental, social, and economic interconnections of agricultural systems while also developing a deeper sense of this place called Hotchkiss.
A combination of on- and off-site presentations and group discussions will be organized around curated readings, robust field experiences and hands-on laboratory activities. In addition, students will explore alternative agroecosystems through field trips to research facilities and farms that specialize in direct food production or related industries (i.e., animal husbandry, permaculture, aquaculture, etc.).

The American Civil War, 1861 - 1865
½ Credit Humanities and Social Sciences

Instructor: David A. Ward, retired Hotchkiss library director and humanities and social sciences instructor. Mr. Ward is a nationally recognized Civil War historian. Read more about Mr. Ward at

This course will cover selected topics of the Civil War from the Secession Crisis to the surrender at Appomattox Court House.  Major themes will be the election of 1860, the Secession crisis, the Fort Sumter crisis, citizen-soldiers mobilizing for war, military turning points, and the impact of the war upon American society.  In addition to these topics, the class will examine the presidencies of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln – both as commanders-in-chief and the architects of political policy.  The class will also examine the issues of slavery, emancipation and reunification as significant social and political challenges. Finally, the class will dissect key military engagements with emphasis on understanding the operations and battles in the context of the evolution of 19th century warfare.  Through engagement with primary source documents, local civil war sites and historical artifacts, students will learn that a collective, historical knowledge base, coupled with links from the 19th century to the modern era, will enable them to look forward rather than merely backward at important moments in history.

The course culminates in a four-day, three-night tour of Gettysburg and Antietam led by Mr. Ward. Visiting the battlefields will afford students the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the soldiers, touch history and explore the issues of the Civil War beyond the classroom.

Exercise Science and Strength Training
¼ Credit Human Development 

Instructor: Brodie Quinn '10, Hotchkiss director of athletic performance and fitness

Exercise Science provides a comprehensive understanding of advanced strength and conditioning methods through the lenses of exercise physiology, biomechanics, physics, and human development. Each day begins with round table discussions and peer instruction followed by lab experimentation held in the weight room and fitness center. An applied training session focused on cutting edge methodologies such Velocity-Based Training - recently featured in the Wall Street Journal as a key to LSU Football’s success - is incorporated into the daily schedule as well. Recovery will also take on new meaning as live Heart Rate Variability readings will coach our students through recovery strategies. Scaffolded daily training protocols allow students to progress from theory to practice and provide an immersive learning experience. Students will leave the course with the ability to write and carry out their own month long training plan.