Academics

College-level Courses at Renowned Universities

All JSA Summer Programs courses are taught by real college professors with years of experience in their field. Each course is the equivalent of a one-semester college or high school course. Courses designated as “AP” (Advanced Placement) have official approval from the College Board. Courses not marked as AP are designated as “Honors” courses due to their rigor and exclusivity. Students who take AP courses may take the AP test in the following spring.

AP U.S. Government & Politics

Course Availability: Georgetown University, Stanford University & Princeton University

Through lectures, class discussions and extensive reading, this course explores the operating principles and practices that form the United States government. How do institutions exercise and compete for political power in our nation? How do individuals and lobbying groups take part? What theoretical models shed light on this process? You will evaluate democratic thought, as it is embodied in the Constitution and other government treatises, and examine the structure and function of various political institutions: the courts, interest groups, political parties, the Presidency, Congress and the bureaucracy. Case studies demonstrate the role of these players in the policymaking process, at both the state and national level.

AP Comparative Government & Politics

Course Availability: Georgetown University

This course introduces students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to study the processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of country settings . The course aims to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global political and economic changes . Comparison assists both in identifying problems and in analyzing policy making . For example, we only know that a country has a high population growth rate or serious corruption when we compare it to other countries . Careful comparison of political systems produces useful knowledge about the institutions and policies countries have employed to address problems, or, indeed, what they have done to make things worse . We can compare the effectiveness of policy approaches to poverty or overpopulation by examining how different countries solve similar problems . Furthermore, by comparing the political institutions and practices of wealthy and poor countries, we can begin to understand the political consequences of economic well-being . Finally, comparison assists explanation . Why are some countries stable democracies and not others? Why do many democracies have prime ministers instead of presidents?

AP Macroeconomics

Course Availability: Stanford University & Princeton University

Can government policies stimulate a distressed economy? What impact do interest rates have on the average consumer, lenders and the credit market? How do tariffs affect global productivity? Designed as a survey of macroeconomics, this course begins with an introduction to the definitions, concepts and tools required for analysis of economics in our society. Case studies supplement lectures and class discussion. With a focus on the current global financial crisis, major topics include mechanisms of supply and demand, inflation and unemployment, monetary and fiscal decision making, and international finance.

Honors Constitutional Law

Course Availability: Georgetown University

An introduction to one of the most fascinating areas of American jurisprudence, Constitutional Law examines the Supreme Court and its evolving interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. The course begins with background on the Court and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches. A historical overview examines the origins of the Constitution, the rise of judicial power, the Constitutional crises of the 1930s, the Court’s civil rights decisions and its recent moves to scale back the activism of the post New Deal era. While reading landmark cases, students examine the role of the law within the American political system.

This college-level course is equivalent to a one-semester honors social studies course.

Speech & Political Communication

Course Availability: Stanford University & Princeton University

Students in this course explore the relationship between public discourse and the evolving role of government in American life through a balanced study of communication theory and practice. Student readings and class discussions touch upon such diverse issues as the role of the media, Greco-Roman rhetorical theory, campaigns, political lobbying, speech writing and the impact of propaganda. An advanced course, it assumes an understanding of public speaking fundamentals and that you are ready for more advanced theory and critical analysis.

This college-level course is equivalent to a one-semester honors speech or English elective. (It is recommended for students who have experience with public speaking and/or competitive debate.)

Honors International Relations

Course Availability: Georgetown University, Stanford University & Princeton University

This course will introduce you to the major issues and actors in international relations. You will analyze the origins and evolution of the international system, the legacy of the Cold War, and the role of the state, the nation, international organizations, ethnic groups, and other non-state actors. This course goes beyond war and peace and addresses ways of dealing with terrorism, crime, the global economy and environment, and human rights. Students will engage in debates and presentations on global issues and represent other countries in Model U.N. or comparable simulations. Together, these lectures and simulations give you background and hands-on experience to make informed judgments about our global society.

This college-level course is equivalent to a one-semester honors social studies course.

Honors Media & Politics

Course Availability: Georgetown University

What role does the media play in influencing public policy? What impact do negative campaign ads, the blogosphere, and media pundits have on the attitudes and voting behavior of Americans? Media watchdogs contend that a liberal or conservative bias can distort objective reporting. Do blogs and “infotainment” shows need to meet the same journalistic standards traditional news sources attempt to achieve?

In this course, you will learn how all forms of media (TV, radio, newspapers, Internet) influence the political process and the public’s perception of reality. You will learn to evaluate media sources and to think critically about news coverage, as you visit some of Washington D.C.’s most powerful media outlets. Witness firsthand how the “fourth branch of government” helps shape our democracy.

This college-level course is equivalent to a one-semester honors social studies course.

Modern Chinese History & Government Since 1920

Course Availability: Beijing

Students will study the period of China’s history in the years immediately prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, China under Mao ZeDong, and Gaigekaifang(Reform and Opening Up). This course will introduce you to the political systems and structures in place in China today. It will provide a basis for comparison with Western democratic systems and for addressing major issues in U.S.-Chinese relations.

This is a hands-on course, with frequent field-work, including visits to historical sites and meetings with policy experts, NGOs, and government officials. This college-level course is equivalent to a one-semester honors history course.

Chinese Language & Culture

Course Availability: Beijing

Classes will be taught by Chinese faculty members in small groups to give students individualized attention with a special emphasis on day-to-day travel/survival Chinese. Students will be assigned groups based on their prior Mandarin speaking ability. In this experiential learning course, you will have opportunities to practice your new language skills in fun and encouraging ways, from buying souvenirs at the Great Wall to arranging sightseeing events with your Chinese friends. In addition to the academic coursework, students will have program-organized activities with local high school students to practice language skills and promote cross-cultural communication. You’ll also learn to understand contemporary issues and further your language abilities through service-learning opportunities at local non-profit organizations around Beijing.

This college-level course is equivalent to a one-semester language course.