Online College Courses for High School Students: Course Overviews

Sep 29, 2019

Taking courses online can be an excellent way for high school students to earn college credit or simply gain college-level experience in the classroom. Explore the available online college courses for high school students, offered by several well-regarded postsecondary institutions in the U.S.

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Online College Courses for High School Students - Essential Information

Some colleges and universities offer classes for high school students online, providing them with the opportunity to get a feel for postsecondary academic coursework. Although free online college courses for high school students could be a challenge to find, the following examples of courses with connected tuition and fees are quite extensive. Students can find classes in a wide range of subjects, such as English, math, history, chemistry, engineering, art, health, business administration and science. These courses are usually open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Enrollment requirements can vary from one school to another.

Pre-College Online Courses

Brown University

Brown University offers a competitive pre-college program that gives high school students the opportunity to experience college-level coursework and find out what subjects interest them. These courses were available in the summer and might be offered at other times of the year.

Pre-college courses offered through Brown University online include:

  • DNA Science: Forensics, Food, and Medicine
  • Egyptology 101
  • Biomedical Engineering: The Smart Design of Medical Implants and Devices
  • Materials Science and Engineering: Designing for Society's Needs
  • Renewable Energy Engineering: Wind and Solar Power
  • Creative Coding: Reading and Writing Web-based Literature Online
  • Reading, Writing, Traveling: An Exploration in Creative Nonfiction
  • Becoming You: Human Development Across the Lifespan

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania offers online college courses to high school students through Penn Summer Online. This summer program is available to highly motivated students who are currently in the ninth, tenth or 11th grades. Successful completion of Penn Summer Online courses may lead to academic credit that can be applied toward an undergraduate degree.

Students may enroll in up to two classes per summer. Available courses include:

  • Human Anatomy: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
  • Professional Communication and Academic Writing
  • Introduction to Experimental Psychology
  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Russian History in Film
  • History of Sexuality
  • Greek and Roman Mythology

Oregon State University

High school students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 can earn college credits online through Oregon State University's (OSU) extended campus. These are regular OSU courses, so your online classmates will include adult college students; standard tuition and fees do apply.

More than 40 courses are available to high school students through OSU online, including:

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Economics
  • French
  • Business Administration
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Anthropology

University of California

University of California allows high schools students of a strong academic background to earn transferable college credits online. Registrants must e-mail the university with a Statement of Support signed by an educator at their high school (a teacher, guidance counselor, vice principal, or principal).

These courses are taught by the UC faculty, and can not only be transferred to any UC campus, but may transferable to other universities and colleges as well.

UC Online offers a generous range of courses, including:

  • Basic Economics for Managers I
  • Art, Science and Technology
  • Calculus for Science, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Fresh Water Processes and Policies
  • Introduction to Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers
  • Research in Education: Inequality and Possibility
  • World History: Twentieth Century
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