Course Overview

This course details the evolution of humans on the planet, their ever changing energy demands, and subsequent impact on the environment. Students will learn about the physics of energy, relationships of force, work and power, and associated units – Newtons, Joules, and Watts. Non-renewable energy versus renewable energy are examined, as well as the need to address greenhouse gases and consequent climate change.

Detailed sessions on Hydro, Solar, Geothermal and Wind systems will be presented.

Lab work includes the chemical reactions, and associated energy, of hydrogen fuel propelled vehicles. Small scale solar panels and wind turbines are similarly examined.

Potential field trips include visiting a Hydrologic power plant, a Solar Photovoltaic Farm, and a Wind farm are planned. Additional trips include visiting the energy exhibit at the Museum of Science & Technology (‘Powering the Future’).

The course begins with basic engineering fundamentals and definition of SI units. Homework problems will confirm comprehension. We assign students to work together on team building with reports on specific readings and design problems.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Course Topics

Common lectures include:

  • Fundamental Units of Engineering
  • Intellectual Property
  • Engineering Ethics

Common course components:

  • Selected Readings and presentations by student pairs
  • Teamwork practice

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 038

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2022 high school graduate. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $3,585
  • Commuter: $2,730

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

“Syracuse University Summer College – Online changed my perspective and helped me cut down my long list of interests into two options. This helped me get rid of my anxiety and stress when it came to researching universities and the programs they offered. Being a part of this course was truly a highlight of my summer.”

— Jaqueline A., Summer College – Online Student, 2021

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse Dates Class Time (Eastern Time) Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus 2-Week Session III: Sunday, July 31 – Aug. 12, 2022 MTWThF;
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Students will have approximately a one hour break each day for lunch. Course times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Required Textbooks & Supplies

  • Students should budget for the cost of required textbooks and supplies (can be purchased at the Syracuse University Campus store)

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Coming soon!

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Field Trips

Potential field trips include: OCRRA plant, Fenner Wind Farm, LaFayette Solar Farm, Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), National Grid, Phoenix Hydroelectric power station located on the Oswego River in the town of Phoenix, New York.

End Event

Our final event on the last day is visiting the Energy Exhibit at the MOST and watching a Giant Screen film in the Omni Theater on the Earth. Parents and family are welcome to attend with admission.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Peter Plumley – Research Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Peter Plumley is a Research Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Syracuse University. He is an Earth Scientist with an extensive background in computers and technology. Dr. Plumley’s research has been in the areas of plate tectonics and application of paleomagnetic techniques to regional tectonics. His most recent and active research is focused on educational issues of secondary students related to motivation and the Science of Learning. Dr. Plumley was responsible for development and implementation of K-12 outreach for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students impacted by his outreach programs number approximately 2,000 students from middle schools (4th – 8th grade) per year and 2,100 high school students (9th – 12th grade) per year. Dr. Plumley was honored with “2003 College Educator of the Year,” by the Technology Alliance of Central New York and the 2011 Post-Standard Achievement Award for years of working to excite young people in Central New York about learning science and engineering. Dr. Plumley has designed and built two payloads carried to space on NASA Sounding rockets. He is the SU coordinator for Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) for education and research.

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