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Top 20 Philosophy Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Philosophy

Top 20 Philosophy Programs for High School Students

Philosophy is a subject that has captivated curious minds for centuries. Its exploration of fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, and ethics has the power to broaden horizons and ignite intellectual curiosity. For high school students interested in philosophy, seeking out specialized programs can provide a unique opportunity to explore deeper into this intriguing field. In this article, we will present the top 20 philosophy programs specifically designed for high school students, to help them find the perfect program to nurture their philosophical aspirations.

1. University of Chicago: Pre-college Summer Session

  • Location: University of Chicago
  • Registration Fee: $8,350 for the Introduction to the Philosophy of Life and Death course.
  • Eligibility: Open to students in grades 9-11.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

The University of Chicago’s Pre-college Summer Session offers high school students an enriching opportunity to engage with academic rigor in various subjects, including the captivating realm of philosophy. Located on the university’s esteemed campus, students can immerse themselves in intellectual discourse and explore profound topics such as the Philosophy of Life and Death.

With a registration fee of $8,350 for the course, the program is open to students in grades 9-11, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience that prepares them for the academic demands of college and beyond.

2. Harvard University: Secondary School 

  • Location: Harvard University
  • Registration Fee: Unspecified.
  • Eligibility: Students who will graduate from high school and enter college in 2024, 2025, or 2026; at least 16 years old by June 22, 2024.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Harvard University’s Secondary School Program is a beacon of academic excellence, inviting high school students to partake in a transformative educational journey on its historic campus. Offering a diverse selection of courses, including those exploring ethics, law, and existential inquiries like the meaning of life, the program provides students with unparalleled opportunities for intellectual exploration and personal growth.

With an application deadline of April 10, 2024, eligibility requires students who will graduate from high school and enter college in 2024, 2025, or 2026 and are at least 16 years old by June 22, 2024, offering a chance for motivated individuals to dive into the complexities of philosophical inquiry at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

3. XYZ University

  • Location: XYZ University, Anytown, USA
  • Registration Fee:  $200
  • Eligibility: The program is open to high school students who have completed at least one year of high school and have a keen interest in philosophy.
  • Important Dates: May 1st

The Philosophy Program for High School Students at XYZ University offers a unique opportunity for young minds to learn philosophical inquiry. Through a series of engaging lectures, interactive discussions, and thought-provoking activities, participants will explore various philosophical traditions, theories, and concepts. From ancient philosophy to modern debates, students will examine fundamental questions about the nature of reality, the existence of God, the basis of morality, and the limits of human knowledge. Led by experienced philosophy professors and graduate students, this program provides a stimulating intellectual environment where students can develop critical thinking skills, articulate their own ideas, and engage in respectful dialogue with their peers. By the end of the program, participants will not only have a deeper understanding of philosophy and a newfound appreciation for the complexities of the human experience.

4. University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Question Everything Program

  • Location: University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
  • Registration Fee: Unspecified.
  • Eligibility: High School Students
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, invites high school students to embrace curiosity and critical thinking through its Question Everything Program. With a focus on intellectual exploration and inquiry, the program offers students the opportunity to engage into thought-provoking topics and engage in meaningful discussions under the guidance of experienced faculty members.

While details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the program’s commitment to fostering a culture of inquiry and open-mindedness makes it an ideal choice for students eager to expand their intellectual horizons and challenge conventional wisdom.

Students outdoors

5. Western Kentucky University: Philosophy on the Hilltop Program

  • Location: Western Kentucky University.
  • Registration Fee: Unspecified.
  • Eligibility: High School Students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Western Kentucky University’s Philosophy on the Hilltop Program provides high school students a unique opportunity to explore the fundamental questions of existence and meaning in a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment. With a focus on philosophical inquiry and critical thinking, the program offers participants the chance to engage in thought-provoking discussions and debates under the guidance of knowledgeable instructors.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the program’s commitment to fostering philosophical inquiry and intellectual growth makes it an ideal choice for students interested in engaging into the complexities of the human experience.

6. Thoreau College, Wisconsin: The Organic Metaphor in Politics Program

  • Location: Viroqua, Wisconsin.
  • Registration Fee: Unspecified.
  • Eligibility: Unspecified.
  • Important Dates: Course dates are January 15 – February 22, 2024. The deadline is December 1, 2023.

Thoreau College’s The Organic Metaphor in Politics Program offers high school students a transformative educational experience integrating political thought with the natural world. Located in the picturesque town of Viroqua, Wisconsin, the program provides participants with the opportunity to explore the connections between nature, society, and politics through engaging coursework and hands-on learning experiences.

With course dates scheduled from January 15 to February 22, 2024, and a deadline of December 1, 2023, the program offers a unique chance for students to deepen their understanding of political theory and environmental philosophy while immersing themselves in the beauty of the Wisconsin landscape.

7. VCU Summer Camp in Philosophy 

  • Location: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: Typically for high school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Summer Camp in Philosophy offers high school students a weeklong immersive experience in philosophical inquiry and exploration. Located in Richmond, Virginia, the camp provides participants with the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions, interactive activities, and philosophical debates under the guidance of experienced faculty members.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the camp’s focus on fostering critical thinking and intellectual curiosity makes it an ideal choice for students interested in engaging into the complexities of philosophical thought.

8. Tufts University Summer Courses

  • Location: Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: Typically for high school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Tufts University’s Summer Courses allow high school students to explore a wide range of subjects, including Introduction to Psychological Science. Located on the university’s picturesque campus in Medford, Massachusetts, the courses allow participants to engage in rigorous academic coursework and hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of experienced faculty members.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the courses’ focus on fostering intellectual curiosity and academic excellence makes them an ideal choice for students eager to expand their knowledge and pursue their academic interests.

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9. Brown University Pre-College Programs

  • Location: Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: Typically for high school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Brown University’s Pre-College Programs offer high school students a unique opportunity to engage in academic coursework and experiential learning activities on the university’s historic campus in Providence, Rhode Island. With a diverse selection of courses, including those exploring happiness, skepticism, and fundamental moral questions in philosophy, the programs allow participants to immerse themselves in intellectual inquiry and personal growth.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the programs’ commitment to fostering a culture of academic excellence and intellectual exploration makes them an ideal choice for students seeking to challenge themselves and expand their horizons.

10. Harvard University Pre-College Courses

  • Location: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Harvard University’s Pre-College Courses offer high school students a transformative educational experience on the university’s historic campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With a diverse selection of courses, including those exploring philosophy and other academic disciplines, the courses provide participants with the opportunity to engage in rigorous academic coursework and intellectual inquiry under the guidance of experienced faculty members.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the courses’ focus on fostering academic excellence and personal growth makes them an ideal choice for students eager to challenge themselves and pursue their intellectual interests at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

11. Yale University Discovery to Cure High School Internship

  • Location: Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Yale University’s Discovery to Cure High School Internship allows high school students to engage in cutting-edge biomedical research under the guidance of experienced faculty mentors. Located on Yale’s renowned campus in New Haven, Connecticut, the internship provides participants with hands-on experience in a research laboratory setting and exposure to the latest advancements in biomedical science. While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the internship’s focus on fostering scientific curiosity and research excellence makes it an ideal choice for students interested in pursuing careers in science, medicine, and biomedical research.

a female student studying inside a library

12. Auburn University Brain Camp

  • Location: Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Auburn University’s Brain Camp offers high school students an immersive educational experience focused on the fascinating complexities of the human brain. Located on Auburn’s picturesque campus in Auburn, Alabama, the camp provides participants with hands-on learning experiences, interactive workshops, and engaging discussions led by experienced faculty members. While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the camp’s focus on fostering scientific curiosity and exploration makes it an ideal choice for students interested in diving into the mysteries of neuroscience and psychology.

13. Boston University AIM – Introduction to Experimental Psychology

  • Location: Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Boston University’s AIM – Introduction to Experimental Psychology offers high school students the opportunity to explore the principles and methods of experimental psychology in a dynamic and interactive learning environment.

Located on Boston University’s vibrant campus in Boston, Massachusetts, the course provides participants with hands-on experience designing and conducting psychological experiments, analyzing data, and interpreting results. While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the course’s focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes it an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and research.

14. Cornell University Introduction to Cognitive Science

  • Location: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Cornell University’s Introduction to Cognitive Science offers high school students an immersive educational experience exploring the interdisciplinary study of the mind and brain. Located on Cornell’s picturesque campus in Ithaca, New York, the course provides participants with the opportunity to explore topics such as perception, memory, language, and decision-making through engaging lectures, hands-on activities, and interactive discussions. While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the course’s focus on fostering interdisciplinary inquiry and intellectual exploration makes it an ideal choice for psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science students.

Students gathered around a table and talking.

15. Emory University Pre-College Psychology Courses

Location: Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Registration Fee: Fee varies.

Eligibility: High school students.

Important Dates: Unspecified.

Emory University’s Pre-College Psychology Courses allow high school students to explore the fascinating field of psychology in a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Located on Emory’s beautiful campus in Atlanta, Georgia, the courses provide participants with hands-on experience in conducting psychological research, analyzing data, and interpreting findings.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the courses’ focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes them an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and research.

16. Illinois Tech Understanding the Human Mind

 Top Philosophy Program for High School Students

  • Location: Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Illinois Institute of Technology’s Understanding the Human Mind program offers high school students a comprehensive introduction to the fascinating field of psychology. Located on Illinois Tech’s urban campus in Chicago, Illinois, the program provides participants hands-on experience exploring topics such as perception, cognition, emotion, and behavior through engaging lectures, interactive activities, and discussions.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the program’s focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes it an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and the human mind.

17. Marist College Summer Pre-College Psychology

  • Location: Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Marist College’s Summer Pre-College Psychology program offers high school students the opportunity to explore the field of psychology in a dynamic and interactive learning environment. Located on Marist’s picturesque campus in Poughkeepsie, New York, the program provides participants with hands-on experience in conducting psychological research, analyzing data, and interpreting findings.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the program’s focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes it an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and research.

18. Pace University Psychology of Human Motivation, Learning, and Development – 

  • Location: Pace University, New York City, New York, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Pace University’s Psychology of Human Motivation, Learning, and Development course allows high school students to explore the fascinating complexities of human behavior and cognition. Located on Pace’s bustling campus in New York City, New York, the course provides participants with hands-on experience in understanding topics such as motivation, learning, memory, and development through engaging lectures, interactive activities, and discussions.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the course’s focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes it an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and the human mind.

19. Rice University Pre-College Program: A Top Philosophy Program for High School Students

  • Location: Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Rice University’s Pre-College Program offers high school students the opportunity to explore the field of philosophy in a dynamic and interactive learning environment. Located on Rice’s vibrant campus in Houston, Texas, the program provides participants with hands-on experience in understanding topics such as cognition, emotion, and behavior through engaging lectures, interactive activities, and discussions.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the program’s focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes it an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and research.

20. Skidmore College Introduction to Psychological Science

  • Location: Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA.
  • Registration Fee: Fee varies.
  • Eligibility: High school students.
  • Important Dates: Unspecified.

Skidmore College’s Introduction to Psychological Science offers high school students the opportunity to explore the principles and methods of psychology in a dynamic and interactive learning environment. Located on Skidmore’s picturesque campus in Saratoga Springs, New York, the course provides participants with hands-on experience in understanding topics such as perception, memory, learning, and social behavior through engaging lectures, interactive activities, and discussions.

While specific details regarding registration fees and important dates are unspecified, the course’s focus on fostering critical thinking and scientific inquiry makes it an ideal choice for students interested in psychology and research.

Understanding the Top Philosophy Programs for High School Students

Before diving into the details of the top 20 philosophy programs, it is important to understand what these programs entail. High school philosophy programs typically offer a range of courses and activities that focus on different areas of philosophical inquiry.

Students are exposed to various branches of philosophy, such as metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, and logic. These programs often feature engaging discussions, debates, and critical thinking exercises to foster intellectual growth and encourage students to develop their philosophical perspectives.

Furthermore, high school philosophy programs often allow students to interact with renowned philosophers through guest lectures or workshops. These experiences allow students to gain insights from experts in the field and provide invaluable guidance as they navigate their philosophical journey.

Moreover, high school philosophy programs may incorporate experiential learning opportunities like field trips to philosophical landmarks or participation in philosophical conferences.

These hands-on experiences not only deepen students’ understanding of philosophical concepts but also expose them to the practical applications of philosophy in real-world settings. By immersing themselves in the rich history and contemporary debates of philosophy, students can develop a holistic perspective on the subject and its relevance to society.

What should you look for in the Top 20 Philosophy Programs for High School Students?

When considering the top 20 philosophy programs for high school students, it’s essential to prioritize academic excellence, diverse curriculum offerings, engaging instruction methods, experienced faculty members, research opportunities, and a supportive community. These programs should provide a robust platform for intellectual exploration, critical thinking development, and personal growth, preparing students for higher education and future careers in philosophy or related fields.

Rice University students atudying

Where can you find the Top 20 Philosophy Programs for High School Students?

Information about the top 20 philosophy programs for high school students can be sourced from university websites, educational directories, online forums, guidance counselors, and word-of-mouth recommendations. By exploring these resources, students can discover a wide range of pre-college or summer programs tailored to their interests in philosophy, allowing them to make informed decisions about their academic pursuits.

Why should you attend one of the Top 20 Philosophy Programs for High School Students?

Attending one of the top 20 philosophy programs for high school students offers numerous benefits, including academic enrichment, college preparation, exploration of interests, networking opportunities, and personal growth. These programs provide a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment where students can engage with philosophical concepts, theories, and debates, fostering critical thinking skills and expanding their understanding of themselves and the world around them.

When should you apply for one of the Top 20 Philosophy Programs for High School Students?

The application timelines for top philosophy programs for high school students vary, but it’s advisable to start researching and planning well in advance. Typically, applications open several months before the program start date, with deadlines ranging from a few weeks to several months prior. To ensure a competitive application, students should carefully review program requirements and deadlines and allow ample time for completing application materials, such as essays, recommendations, and transcripts. Early preparation and thoroughness can increase the likelihood of acceptance into these prestigious programs.

Preparing for the Top Philosophy Programs for High School Students

Embarking on a philosophy program in high school requires some preparation to maximize the learning experience. Here are a few tips to help students prepare:

Read Widely

To build a solid philosophical foundation, it is crucial to read widely. Explore classic philosophical texts such as Plato’s “The Republic,” Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy,” and Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.” Additionally, consider reading contemporary works that tackle current philosophical debates.

Engage in Discussions for the Top Philosophy Programs for High School Students

Participating in discussions serves as a cornerstone of philosophical exploration, offering high school students a dynamic platform to delve into the complexities of philosophical inquiry. Through dialogue with peers and knowledgeable instructors, students can navigate intricate philosophical concepts, challenge assumptions, and cultivate nuanced perspectives. These discussions foster critical thinking skills by encouraging students to effectively analyze, evaluate, and articulate their thoughts.

Furthermore, engaging in discourse allows individuals to explore diverse viewpoints, fostering intellectual curiosity and empathy while promoting a deeper understanding of the human experience. By actively participating in discussions within the top philosophy programs for high school students, individuals not only sharpen their analytical abilities but also cultivate essential communication and interpersonal skills vital for academic and personal success.

Develop Critical Thinking Skills for the Top Philosophy Programs for High School Students

Philosophy programs require students to think critically and analytically. To sharpen these skills, engage in puzzles, debates, and logic exercises that challenge your reasoning abilities.

Attend Philosophy Events for the Top Philosophy Programs for High School Students

Take advantage of any philosophy-related events or conferences in your area. These events offer opportunities to network with other passionate students and professionals in the field.

Furthermore, diving into the world of philosophy opens up avenues for exploring various branches of the discipline. From metaphysics to ethics, epistemology to aesthetics, each branch offers a unique perspective on fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, morality, and beauty. By familiarizing yourself with the diverse branches of philosophy, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the field’s breadth and depth.

Moreover, consider supplementing your philosophical studies with interdisciplinary connections. Philosophy intersects with numerous other disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, literature, and even science. Exploring these interdisciplinary connections can enrich your philosophical inquiries and provide a broader context for understanding the implications of philosophical ideas in different realms of knowledge.

Books and study materials in a table

Conclusion

Philosophy programs for high school students provide an ideal platform to explore the foundational questions of human existence and engage in intellectual discourse. The top 20 programs highlighted in this article offer diverse approaches to philosophical inquiry and provide students with enriching experiences that nurture their love for wisdom.

Regardless of which program students choose, it is important to approach their philosophical studies with an open and inquisitive mind. By embracing the timeless wisdom of the great philosophers and actively participating in philosophical debates, high school students can embark on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and intellectual growth.

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