Students hoping to make up for a dropped class or pursue a subject of interest outside their major can register for Notre Dame’s Summer Session beginning Wednesday.
The University will be offering 177 traditional lecture or lab courses, as well as various special study and directed reading programs, said Chuck Hurley, director of the Summer Session. Hurley said summer courses outside of general requirements vary somewhat year to year at the discretion of the different academic departments.
“We offer almost the same amount every year, it’s a pretty standard allotment,” he said. “We go through a process in September and October where the departments and deans come up with the classes. Most of the classes are the same every year — Calc I, Calc II, that sort of thing.”
Hurley said some of the Arts and Letters departments tend to offer greater course variety between the years.
“In the areas of history and sociology they’re pretty creative. For example, this year in history Scott Appleby is teaching a new class, ‘Catholics in 20th Century America,'” he said. “James Smith has a class, ‘Northern Ireland Troubles.’ There’s also a class in sociology that I know was offered two years ago, “The Sociology of Sport.’ That’s a popular class.”
Many of the students studying at Notre Dame over the summer take classes in theology, Hurley said.
“A lot of that has to do with us offering more theology courses than any other in summer, partly because they’re so popular, partly because there’s a graduate program over the summer,” he said. “Because Notre Dame is the most prestigious Catholic university in America, a lot of visiting students want to come here to take theology courses.”
Unlike classes during the regular school year, summer school courses are more flexible in accommodating a greater number of interested students, Hurley said.
“We have a few classes that fill up in the summer but it’s usually only 10 to 15 that get blocked out. The competition [for seats] isn’t as great in the summer,” he said. “We end up with well over 2,200 students in the summer — that’s a lot but it’s a far cry from the 11,500 we have during the year. We have more rooms we can move a class to if it fills up.”
Of these 2,200 summer enrollees, many are students visiting from other universities, Hurley said.
“One thing that would surprise people is that close to 1000 of them are visiting students,” he said. “Maybe they wanted to go to Notre Dame but chose somewhere else…others come for research, they might have a specific biology professor they want to come and do research with, so they come here.”
Hurley said some students from other colleges attend summer courses at the University out of convenience.
“A number of students who live in South Bend or Mishawaka who go to a wide variety of schools, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State, or others in the area take classes here,” he said. “They know if they take classes at Notre Dame, they’ll transfer back to their home institution.”
Hurley said Notre Dame students often take courses in the summer to concentrate on a particularly demanding subject.
“We see some students who want to take a specific course in the summer — maybe it’s a very challenging course in their major and they think if they take it with four other classes it will be challenging but if they concentrate on it in the summer they’ll be able to do their best,” he said. “Others want to make up a class after they were ill or were struggling with it and dropped.”
Still other students, Hurley said, choose to attend summer school in order to stay close to the campus and their friends.
“Others just want to be here for the very nature of this place, the special and sacred nature of it,” he said. “Summer is a very different time on campus. It’s quiet and more serene, but at the same time it’s a lot of fun. I lived here the summer of ‘92 with my buddies from Zahm Hall, and it was just a lot of fun to hang out with my friends for a summer.”