Pre-College Summer Academy













Villanova University's Pre-College Summer Academy is an innovative, engaging pre-college academic experience for high school students, 100% online. Designed and taught by Villanova faculty, this program is open to students age 13 and above - typically rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders who will be applying to college in the next couple of years. Each course has the benefit of a current Villanova Student Fellow, who helps lead academic and community-building activities. Upon completion of the course(s), students will earn a certificate.


Offered in two-week sessions, each fully online course will allow students to:

  • Experience the prestige, tradition, and strong community of Villanova
  • Explore future academic and career pathways through college-level coursework 
  • Build a students’ resume with a unique collegiate experience
  • Develop relationships with current Villanova students, faculty, and staff 
  • Engage in professional and personal development opportunities through interactive workshops delivered by individuals from across Villanova.



Tuition Information and Early Bird Discount!

$1,200 per course
Payment in full is due at time of enrollment

Students who are registered on or before June 1, 2021 will receive $100 off the cost of their first course!


Students are permitted to enroll in one course per week-long session, and may enroll in both sessions.


July 12-16

Socially responsible leaders have well-defined values and a high level of integrity. Their work incorporates their personal values, integrity, and ethics, and shapes how they contribute to the community in any field, including business, medicine, technology, law, or education. As a high school student, learn how to develop the skills and process to be a socially responsible leader, so you can have a greater impact on your community in high school, at your future college, and in the workplace. Developing the emotional intelligence to understand and articulate values and ethical concerns is an important first step in shaping a socially responsible leader’s mindset. Value-centered work increases an individual’s commitment to the work, making it more significant and meaningful. Connecting values and ethics to a mission and vision is the next step. This motivates leaders to advocate and inspires others to participate.

In this course, you will learn and articulate your key values, apply ethical approaches, and identity models of socially responsible leaders. You will analyze the needs in your immediate community, including your participation on teams, in classes, and in organizations, to identify opportunities to develop more fully as a socially responsible leader. You will develop a mission and vision that supports your values, and you will craft a compelling story as a leader. By contributing to the development of your classmates’ leadership missions, visions, and narratives, you will learn how to become an effective and helpful classmate and colleague by helping them grow and develop in their ideas. You’ll gain a real understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader today, how essential motivation is to leadership, and how you can impact others by developing your values-centered leadership goals.

This course will provide a unique opportunity to develop skills and knowledge from ethics, leadership, and management studies as well as English and communications, including both the analysis of personal essays and professional writing. The goal of the course is to identify and articulate your values into a mission and vision that you will apply in your community as a socially responsible leader.



Karen Graziano, J.D., MA

Professor Karen Graziano is a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law with a Juris Doctor, New England College with a Master of Arts in Professional Writing, and Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication. She has taught for the English Department since 2001 in a variety of courses including Law & Modern Literature, Legal Writing, Leaders & Managers in Literature, Advanced Business Writing, Technical Editing, and English Majors as Leaders. Since 2015, she has taught MBA students in Team Leadership & Group Dynamics for the Management Department in Villanova’s School of Business, and she currently teaches Ethical Business Practices. In addition to teaching, Professor Graziano contributed to Villanova’s community by founding the Law School Advising Program, Leadership & Professional Development Program, student leadership BRIDGE Society, and 1-credit series of Professional Development courses for Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and by serving as the Internship Director and a Faculty Advisor. In addition, she was the Pre-Law Advisor at Princeton University and previously served as the President of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors (NAPLA). She is a member of the Communications Committee of the Pennsylvania Association of College Admission Counseling (PACAC) where she contributes to the “Everyday Professional Excellence” column for The Pacer. Her teaching and professional development work focuses on helping students and professionals identify their unique talents and potential and then craft their personal and professional journeys.

This class will consider controversies about free speech in schools following on the Supreme Court’s view that neither students nor teachers shed their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate. After introducing the basic Supreme Court case law, we will examine classic theories of freedom of expression. We will then consider the applications of these theories to the school setting by exploring social media, hate speech, extra-curricular activities, and the politics of education. 



Michael Moreland, JD, PhD

Professor of Law and Religion, Director of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy

Dr. Moreland joined the Villanova faculty in 2006 and served as Vice Dean from 2012 to 2015. At Villanova, he has taught Torts, Evidence, Bioethics and the Law, Advanced Torts, Constitutional Law II (First Amendment and Equal Protection), Justice and Rights (1L elective), and seminars in law and religion.

A renowned scholar of constitutional law, torts, bioethics and religious freedom, Dr. Moreland is frequently sought for commentary at national and international conferences, in the media, and before Congress. He has published articles in leading legal, public policy and medical journals, including Notre Dame Law Review, Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy and Law and Contemporary Problems. His chapters on law, ethics and religion have been featured in numerous books, including titles published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

Dr. Moreland received his BA in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, his MA and PhD in theological ethics from Boston College, and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School. Following law school, Professor Moreland clerked for the Honorable Paul J. Kelly Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and was an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, DC, where he represented clients in First Amendment, professional liability, and products liability matters. Before coming to Villanova, he served as Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush, where he worked on a range of legal policy issues, including criminal justice, immigration, civil rights, and liability reform.


July 19-23

Cryptology, or more colloquially, mathematics and codes, is the study of creating encrypted messages or codes (“encoding”) and translating encrypted codes back to their native language (“decoding” or “hacking”). One of the first examples we know is Cesar’s cipher, used by Roman general Julius Cesar for military purposes. Throughout history, more sophisticated encoding and decoding schemes have been created such as substitution codes, Vigenère codes, RSA, as well as more modern techniques. We will study their history, how they work, and their significance. In addition, we will discuss ethical concerns present in the field.

The course will be conducted in a highly interactive manner. Participants will have the opportunity to create their own codes, brainstorm ways to decode encrypted messages, and propose new methods of encryption.



Dr. Alexander Diaz-Lopez
Assistant Professor in the
Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Alexander Diaz-Lopez grew up in the small town of San Lorenzo in the archipelago Puerto Rico. While numbers and games always intrigued him, it wasn’t until college that Alexander started envisioning a career as a mathematics teacher and researcher. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Alexander moved to South Bend, IN to pursue a PhD at the University of Notre Dame, which he later obtained in 2016. His research areas are combinatorics and Coxeter group theory.

After spending one year as a faculty at Swarthmore College, Alexander joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Villanova University in 2017. Alexander has been involved in some national initiatives such as Lathisms and Math SWAGGER, and local ones such as Villanova’s DREAMS program, Co-MaStER program, and InDLG. Through it all his goal remains to create programs and spaces where all members are welcomed, heard, and supported, giving everyone an opportunity to thrive.

Students will learn the history and practice of the calligraphy and decorative work found in the masterworks of early medieval Ireland. From the earliest known manuscript Usserianus Primus to its culmination in the tour de force Book of Kells students will learn the insular script and how the word and image became one in a unique Irish expression. A hands-on art course, students will make pages which will be bound into a small book of their own design using the letterforms and decorative devices of early Ireland as they developed in five of the notable manuscripts of the period. Students will submit, to an online platform, photographs of practice for critique and photographs of finished work for mini exhibits and group chat.

Materials kits will be assembled and sold through Merion Art and Repro in Ardmore – the supplier for all Villanova art courses.



Susan vonMedicus

Studio Art Faculty

Ms. vonMedicus is an artist, specializing in the sacred arts.  Her work is in private and public collections internationally.  Ms. vonMedicus teaches studio art at Villanova University and private workshops for the Prosopon School of Iconology.

Awarded the 2018 Tolle Lege Medal for excellence in teaching, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova University


2013 Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughn Ireland
2015 Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco

photo of Irish manuscript





  • This program is open to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors

Technology Requirements

Students will need access to the following in order to participate:

  • Computer
  • Internet 
  • Webcam and microphone

Application Requirements

  • Unofficial high school transcript 
  • Letter of permission from parent
  • Application deadlines:  
    • Session 1 - July 5
    • Session 2 - July 12

Schedule: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (EST)

9:00 - 9:30 am

Wake Up and Get Energized with your VU Student Fellow

9:30 - 11:00 am

Academic Session #1 (Virtual, live class time with professor and VU Undergraduate Fellow)

11:00 - 11:30 am


11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Academic Session #2 (Virtual, live class time with professor and VU Undergraduate Fellow)

12:30 - 1:30 pm

Lunch Break

1:30 - 3:00 pm

Academic Session #3 (Led by VU Undergraduate Fellow; Group project work; individual activities and assignments; discussion session)

3:00 - 3:30 pm


3:30 - 4:30 pm

* "Villanova Views" Sessions (These sessions will introduce you to Villanova and to college life in general... all the while having fun and connecting with your fellow students and current Villanova undergraduates!)

* Joint sessions held with both classes together
Grading is as outlined in the Professional Education Catalog.

Participants in this program are expected to abide by all University policies (found in The Student Handbook). Any violation of University policy will likely result in immediate dismissal from the program without refund.

For withdrawal and refund information, please visit our Tuition & Fees page



Enhance your resume.

Summer Academy courses provide new skills to add to your resume or college application, while exploring future academic pathways.


Expand your network.

Communicating and building relationships with classmates and faculty scholars can open new doors for your future.


Learn from distinguished faculty.

All programs are taught by experienced Villanova faculty who are dedicated teacher-scholars and among the most distinguished in their fields.