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The Challenge Program :: Courses and Syllabi

"Skeptics doubt whether Challenge courses truly deserve to be thought of as college courses. They do. I've worked with many teachers over the years, and there's little doubt in my mind that they are teaching the course we teach on campus. If anything, students in the Challenge Program tend to be better writers than many of our students on campus."

- Duncan Carter, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, long-time Challenge English Faculty Partner, and Academic Director of the Challenge Program


Below is the current selection of courses offered through Challenge. All courses are catalog-listed general requirements that earn four credits except where noted. As such, they exceed high school graduation learning outcomes. Syllabi are from various PSU classes and serve as a guide for our high school instructors.

School districts partner with us to select courses based on individual high school needs and teacher qualifications. This means that different high schools will offer one or some of our courses (to see what is offered at a particular high school, please see School-Specific Information).

Typically 2-sequenced courses map to the high school semester; 3-sequenced courses follow the PSU term calendar. If the high school is on the semester system, the terms will be superimposed onto the semesters. In some cases we will map a quarter course onto the entire academic year. Deciding on what works best depends on both the school’s needs and the department’s preference.


  • Intro to Programming and Problem Solving (CS 161) (syllabus forthcoming)
  • Intro to Computer Science (CS 162) Syllabus Data Structures (CS 163) (syllabus forthcoming)


  • World Literature (ENG 107, 108) 
    • ENG 107 (syllabus forthcoming
    • ENG 108 (syllabus forthcoming)
  • Survey of English Literature (ENG 204, 205) 
    • ENG 204 (syllabus forthcoming
    • ENG 205 syllabus 
  • ENG 253 Survey of American Literature 
    • Eng 253 (syllabus forthcoming
  • College Writing (WR 121) (syllabus forthcoming)
  • Writing Research Papers (WR 222) (syllabus forthcoming)


  • History of Western Civilization (HST 101, 102, 103) (syllabus forthcoming)
  • World History (HST 104, 105, 106) syllabi 
  • History of the United States (HST 201, 202) syllabi 
  • History of the United States (HST 201, 202) 
    • 201 (syllabus forthcoming)
    • 202 (syllabus forthcoming

MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS (NOTE: in some schools, where there are enough advanced students to warrant a class, we may offer more rigorous courses than what is listed below)

  • Intro to Probability and Statistics (MTH 243/244) (syllabus forthcoming
  • Calculus I and II (MTH 251, 252) (syllabus forthcoming)  

WORLD LANGUAGES & LITERATURES (NOTE: as of 2013, these classes are closed to new programming)

  • 2nd Year College French (FR 201/202/203) (syllabus forthcoming)  
  • 2nd Year College Spanish (SPAN 201/202/203) (syllabus forthcoming