SIG at : Courses

Once you have chosen your campus, it is time to select your courses and customize your SIG experience. SIG is committed to fostering the recognition of each student’s unique abilities as well as providing opportunities to explore new interests. We encourage students to choose a course schedule that includes areas of passion and strength, but also allows for the exploration of new interests. Students take four classes in the four-period day. All campus courses are ninety minutes long and run for 15 sessions during the three-week program.

Tips on Choosing Courses and Making Your Schedule:

The most important thing to consider when choosing courses is to create a schedule that helps the student develop individual passions and also to pursue topics of interest. We suggest that parents with any academic questions or concerns contact the SIG office. Here are guidelines we have found helpful to students:

  • Choose two courses within an area of strength, such as science or humanities.
  • Try a course in a new area of interest!
  • Choose a course from the arts or fitness offerings.

Please Note: Personal computers are required for all M and S level students (ages 13-17), and are highly recommended for all students. Some younger age level courses require that the students have a personal computer, as noted in the course descriptions.

Students can change courses on the second academic day only if an appropriate course alternate is available.

Evening Study/Tutorial Period

SIG provides a nightly Study Period for residential and extended commuter students. This self-directed study period allows additional time to conduct research, to work on individual and group projects, and to receive academic coaching as needed.

Please Note: Not all courses run at all campuses. Students must choose alternative courses in case a selected class is at capacity or is not offered due to under-enrollment. We also encourage students to apply early to increase their chances of getting their first-choice courses. Our final schedule of courses is reflective of the preferences of students enrolled at that campus. Course schedule adjustments by campus occur in April. Students may transfer to another campus if there is space on the alternate campus.

M40Period - 1New 2019!Investigative Journalism: Uncovering the Truth

Do you want to change the world by simply asking why? Then investigative journalism is the path for you! Explore the process of researching and telling a story, usually one that someone is trying to hide, by diving into the principles of journalism, guidelines of the law, writing, ethics, and advanced research techniques to develop your skill as an investigative writer. Do you want to uncover corruption or draw attention to social, economic, or political issues of public interest? Learn how to discern the accuracy of evidence or story tips, develop hypotheses, decide on relevant questions, and implement a plan of investigation to uncover significant insights that are otherwise hidden. Could a Pulitzer Prize be in your future for your investigative reporting?

M41Period - 2Supreme Court Decisions: From Justice to Politics

What is it like to make legal decisions that affect millions of people? Consider the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court and its profound impact upon our nation and world. Learn about the current and most influential Supreme Court decisions, and the processes created to ensure legal fairness and compliance. What does it take to become a Supreme Court Justice? Who have been some of the great Supremes throughout history, and why do we consider them so? What role does politics play in their selection? What counterparts exist in legal systems in other countries? How would you change the Supreme Court if you could? Come, judge, and get your own wheels of justice turning!

M42Period - 3The Psychology of Fear

Fear is often a response to perceived physical and emotional danger. Often, fear drives decision-making and behaviors in personal, societal, economic, and political spheres of influence. Analyze the psychology behind fears and phobias to understand how they can affect your life. Take a global view at how the factor of fear has driven or controlled the course of human history. Become fearless as you examine different techniques and methods of overcoming fear to bring about changes in yourself and the world.

M43Period - 2New 2019!Statistics: Dynamic Data!

How does a police officer know which intersections have the highest accident rate or sports recruiters know which athlete will be the best draft for the team? Statistics! Explore how to create and interpret scatterplots, display data distributions, understand study designs through samples and surveys, dabble with probability rules to account for permutations, combinations, and random occurrences with independent or dependent events. Learn how statistics impacts weather forecasts, predicting disease, medical studies, political campaigns, quality testing, the stock market, and many more aspects of our world. Apply your knowledge to research-based data sets and use mathematical analyses and predictions to forecast key information that can illuminate solutions for the future. Student must bring a standard calculator (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient).

M44Period - 3New 2019!Aerospace Engineering: Sustainable Solutions

What lies in the future of aerospace engineering? Will we see flying cars, massive jets, sleek new fighters, or Mars-bound rockets? The truth is that the future lies in creating sustainable designs that protect our planet, from hybrid planes that use electricity to new winglet designs for fuel efficiency. The engineering is in the details! Come learn about new technologies that help reduce fuel consumption and automate production. Investigate the impact of advancements with aerospace technology in defense systems, commercial flight, and aeronautics. Take your creative ideas to develop faster, safer solutions for the world of flight and beyond!

M45Period - 1Medical Microbiology

The human body could be considered one of the last frontiers. This course is an introduction to human biology and the science of medicine that surrounds it. Medical microbiology is the branch of both medicine and microbiology, which deals with the study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, all of which can cause diseases in humans. You'll examine the essential biochemical reactions that occur within the human body. Then, delve into the imbalances and resulting diseases that inevitably occur, as well as their treatments. Come see if you think trailblazing this fascinating frontier is for you!

M46Period - 2DNA Diagnostics

Genomics is a relatively new field of study, beginning in the past century. Genomics evolved from a series of experimental advances that allowed researchers to decipher the DNA sequence of whole genomes from virtually any organism. In this class, you will explore genetics and develop an understanding of animal genomes. With this tool, you will examine the most recent trends in genetic engineering in areas such as foods, agriculture, and human cell research. "Diagnose" the extent to which genomics will affect your life as well as the lives of others.

M47Period - 4Theories of Time Travel: Spacetime Physics and Wormholes

If we could unify quantum gravity, quantum mechanics, and general relativity into one theory, physicists argue that time travel would be possible.  Journey with us through a study of black holes, negative energy, and cosmic strings as we research current theories of time travel.  Study the experiments of physicists around the world and what they have revealed about paradoxes and mutable timelines. Create your own theory of time travel based on your research.

M48Period - 3New 2019!AI: Apocalypse or Utopia?

Twenty years ago, the digital world we can't live without was the perfect story for science fiction. In two decades from now, what will our world look like and how will we get there? Artificial intelligence (AI) is the commodity of the future. From Siri to self-driving cars, AI will help us do more with our most valuable resource--time. Explore the world of machine learning that uses algorithms to detect cancer or suggest who should be released from jail or interviewed for a job. Forecast the future with AI in the medical, engineering, computer programming fields and work with hands-on experiences that have societal implications. Be an innovator for the future and design ways that allow AI to work with humans as a co-worker, collaborator, and trusted advisor!

M49Period - 4New 2019!Cryptography: The Mathematician's Game

Did you know that encryption is closely intertwined into every part of our technological world? When you make a mobile phone call, purchase an item with a credit card, or draw out cash from an ATM, you are using an encrypted process. At its simplest form, encryption is transforming intelligible messages into a stream of ciphers, or coded text. Come learn how mathematical concepts from number theory to algorithms can help users encrypt and decrypt messages. Explore different types of encryption such as symmetric encryption, public-key cryptography, end-to-end encryption, and hybrid processes to develop keys to unscramble data. Create your very own cipher for real-world applications today! Prerequisite: Algebra I. Student must bring a standard calculator (calculator feature on a mobile device is sufficient).

M50Period - 4New 2019!Generation Z: Aspire to Inspire

Are you a force to be reckoned with? That's what social scientists have forecasted for a new generation of truly global citizens who are independent, innovative, technologically savvy, and emotionally intelligent—Generation Z! Do you want to add value to something bigger than yourself? Come use creative thinking processes to uncover new solutions to problems that concern the future of Generation Z. Mental health, rising unemployment rates, climate change, environmental degradation, a decline of natural resources, and much more are a sampling of challenges that this generation will face. Rewrite your future and join your peers as your use the spirit of innovation and cooperation to invent solutions using human ingenuity.

M51Period - 1Social Entrepreneurship: It's Your Business!

Does it take millions of dollars to change the world? It doesn't! Act on your ethical and moral concerns by becoming a social entrepreneur. Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to our world's most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. As a social entrepreneur, you will employ business, nonprofit, and hybrids models to create new streams of funding and development for issues close to your heart. How can you woo well-known philanthropists in your area to partner with your cause? You'll analyze social problems and their sources and determine how you can best strategize to address them. Develop your business acumen by gaining practice in creating proposals, business plans, letters, and memos. Learn more about ingenious and effective non-profits started by teens and others. Don't wait until you're an adult to make a difference in the world!

Visual and Performing Arts
A36Period - 2New 2019!Mime is a Terrible Thing to Waste(ages 9-14 at Fairfield residential only)

Mime, one of the earliest forms of communication, uses the human body to express itself without using words. Throughout time, humans have used mime to express myths and traditions. Today you can use mime to gain confidence, increase self-awareness, develop expressive movement, and stimulate your imagination. Challenge yourself as you graduate from occupational mimes, to character mimes, to emotional mimes. Learn to mime solo, as well as part of a team, in dramatic and humorous ways. Offered only at the residential program at Fairfield University.

A37Period - 3New 2019!Fanciful and Fun: Whimsical Art(ages 9-14 at Fairfield residential only)

Bring your carefree and youthful influence into the playful style of whimsical art. Think bright colors and imaginary worlds. Draw whimsical characters like fairies, elves, gnomes, trolls, or aliens. Examine the work of your favorite whimsical artists for inspiration. Create your own whimsical art in paintings, note cards, posters, stickers, or other products that will uplift sick people, illustrate fantasy fiction, cheer sad people, enhance personal communications, or any other goal that you have. Enjoy trying your hand at an art form that makes people happy! Offered only at the residential program at Fairfield University.

A68Period - 1Producing a Short Film: Less Time, More Punch!(ages 9-14 at Fairfield residential only)

Long before Star Wars, George Lucas directed a sci-fiction short film (1967), Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB, about a group of people living in an underground dystopia. Lucas' short film eventually served as the catalyst for his next two popular motion picture productions, American Graffiti and Star Wars.  A short film, whether animated or live action, is shorter than 40 minutes long, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Analyze the various features of short films and evaluate the entertainment value of a short, compared to a feature length film. Come learn the trade of award-winning directors like Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson, and film your own SIG short film. (Technology Fee: $50) Student must enroll by April 1, 2019 and bring a laptop with software installation permissions to participate in this course. Minimum laptop requirements: (1) a Windows 7 or later or Mac OS Yosemite 10.10; Chromebook or tablet computers are not compatible. For more information, please email Admissions at

R39Period - 4New 2019!Teamwork is the Goal!(ages 9-14 at Fairfield residential only)

Are you looking for a fun outlet that helps you build confidence, good sportsmanship, and provides the exercise you need to be healthy? Look no further. Team games and activities can provide all these benefits and more. Use strategy and teamwork to make recreation enjoyable. Participate in your own field day events such as jump rope relays and obstacle courses, as well as various teambuilding activities. Enjoy working together with your peers, stimulate your mind and body in tackling the team challenge of the day. The ability to work well as a team can lead to success in business and personal aspects of life, so join in! Offered only at the residential program at Fairfield University.This class is open to ages 9-14.

* Final schedule of course offerings may vary by campus. All courses in this catalog, unless otherwise stated, are the property of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented. Copyright and other intellectual property laws protect these materials. Reproduction or retransmission of the materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder, is a violation of copyright law.

Academic Performance / Evaluations

Parents receive a final Student Performance Review (SPR) that assesses personal accomplishments and attainment of goals. This report is available online shortly after the program ends and can be sent to the student’s school, with parental permission. A letter indicating successful student participation in, and completion of, the Summer Institute for the Gifted program also can be sent to the student’s school, if parents so indicate.

SIG Programs Provide...

Dynamic and innovative approaches for supplementing the education of our world’s most gifted and talented students, ensuring that they receive the individual attention they require.

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