PK-12 Student Programs

Please read the information for the programs you are interested in prior to completing the application. Course descriptions are not repeated on the application itself. The link to the application is at the bottom of this page.

Application Deadlines are as follows:

  • May 8: Leadership I, Leadership II, Young Gifted Studies, and Summer in the Middle
  • June 12: Leadership III, SPATY, Summer Gifted Studies

Some partial, need-based scholarships are available for our residential programs. Scholarship Application Deadlines are different and are provided when you indicate your interest in applying for a need-based scholarship in the general application.

Residential Programs:

Leadership Studies Program

Leadership Banquet Student Presenters with Teachers and Counselors, and Dr. Houston

Important Information About the Leadership Studies Program:

Offered annually, this residential program invites students to assess their own leadership potential, gain individualized instruction on growing in that potential, and provides each student the opportunity to develop a platform for community development.  Three Levels of courses are available in this program and must be taken in order. Students may take each course in one summer, or choose to return over the course of several years to complete their Leadership journey. Community investors provide mentorship and guidance during afternoon sessions and cheer students on during our Annual Leadership Banquet.   During the Banquet students present their platforms, impassioned speeches, or research on past leaders of their choosing to numerous community leaders.  Students in recent years have raised more than $5000.00 for their various causes once they have returned home to execute their plans.  Recreation, room, and board are included. Additional growth and mentorship opportunities are available as an optional second week during Leadership III. 

Dates and costs:
  • Leadership I, II, and III will be offered during the week of July 12-17
  • Cost is $700.00

Course Offerings for Leadership Studies 2021

Leadership I

Learn your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Build basic skills such as public speaking, team leadership, and idea generation.

Leadership II

Delve Further into teams with an understanding of situational and transitional leadership. Help your team work together and know when to instruct and when to let them be creative.

Leadership III

Grow your ideas and skills while you dive into the world of entrepreneurship. Learn the very basics of philanthropy and compare the various characteristics of for-profit and not-for-profit structure and management.

Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth

Biology Studies Conduct Porcine Kidney Dissection

Important Information About the SPATY Program:

Offered in July, this one-week residential program brings together the talents of engaging professors and instructors from across the Southern Miss Campus and Community with highly able students who desire to try their hand at accelerated course work.  Students spend two weeks diving into courses designed to give them the experience of studying at their own rapid pace and gaining a sense of the world of the university.  Students have opportunities to visit the USM arm of the Mississippi Crime Lab, Polymer Science Labs, Nursing Simulation Labs,  Art Galleries, Musical performances, Rock Wall Climbing, and personalized time with the Honors College Admissions team.  Recreation, room, and board are included.

Dates and costs
  • July 12-17 $700.00

Course Offerings for SPATY 2021


A longstanding SPATY tradition, this class explores the ins and outs of competitive debate in a variety of forms.  Be prepared to think and write quickly as you learn how to listen to your opponent and use appropriate strategies to step into the lead.

Judicial Triforce

As long as there has been civilization, there has been law. But have you ever wondered just how much the concepts of law affect our lives? In this class, you will take an intensive, hands on look at the importance of the law and legal concepts in the areas of literature, society, and the environment in which we live. We will not only analyze famous works, newspaper articles, personal accounts, court documents and the like, but we will also hold debates, design works of art, produce original poetry, and conduct simple experiments in order to further understand the means in which the concept of law holds together the world we know today.

Summer Gifted Studies Program

The Summer Gifted Studies Program is now in its forty-forth year and is the one that started it all! With the success of the very first summer program, the University agreed that the Center for Gifted Studies should be established the following year. This one week intensive program offers students in grades four through eight the opportunity to explore interesting topics through an integrated unit of study. This program introduces our upper elementary and middle grades students to residential life and rigorous study. Students enjoy fascinating courses during the day and experience ample recreation and social activities in the afternoons and evenings.

Dates and Costs
  • July 12-17 $700.00

Course offerings for SGS 2021

Podcaster’s Point

Everyone has an opinion these days!  From Twitter to Tic-Tok people are chiming in to share their stories, but have we forgotten how to listen?  Join us in this class to examine some of the great discussion based podcasts and their hosts.  We’ll learn journalistic strategies for interviewing guests and helping everyone come to a common understanding.  By the end of the class, you’ll build your own podcast to share. You may even be invited keep podcasting with the Center throughout the next year.

Red Rover!

Visit the Red Planet with a little help from the Mars Rover, Curiosity.  We will explore Mars and find out why it’s exploration is so important to those of us on Earth.  We will explore the history of vehicles on Mars and satellites in its orbit. Once we know what they found, we will also create some basic rovers of our own to fill in the missing pieces. New vehicles are heading to Mars right now! Do you think Martians take selfies with Curiosity or is that just a myth? Do you have what it takes to be one of the next inhabitants? Red Rover, Red Rover, send this kid right over!

Day Programs

Saturday Gifted Studies Program – Registration has Closed for These Programs for 2021

1st Graders Experimenting During Saturday Program

Offered each January/February, this five-week program is thoughtfully designed to provide your child with the most innovative content and engaging learning methods available in gifted education today. Students in elementary grades participate in one math/science based course and one humanities based course throughout the program.  Students in Middle Grades choose from a variety of offerings and dive deeply into topics of interest.  Campus mentors often visit classes or welcome students into their labs to see a variety of future opportunities.

Young Gifted Students – Registration has Closed for this program for 2021

Designed to serve the youngest of our students, the Young Gifted Students program is a one-week, half-day program offered in the summer each year. Students explore their own strengths and weaknesses as learners while they discover the joy of accelerated curriculum. Vocabulary development and broad exploration of integrated topics make this a program your young child will talk about for a long time.

Dates and Costs
  • May 31- June 4 $200.00

Course Offerings for Summer 2021 Include:

PK&K: Under the Sea

Come explore the world of undersea animals and plants.  How deep is the ocean? And, what is bioluminescence anyway?  Learn all about what’s under the waves as we dive deep into a beginner’s study of the ocean habitat.

Grades 1: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Let’s look at frequencies and balance as we explore the inner workings of your ears!  Did you know there are stirrups in there?  We will learn how doctors know what you can and can’t hear and what some of the most amazing discoveries have been about hearing.  Sing, whisper, or shout and we will let your voice be heard this summer.

Grade 2: Time-traveler’s Video Log

Put on your travel gear AND your thinking caps!  In this class we will use basic journalistic techniques like descriptive writing and deductive reasoning to figure out the answers to some of the most intriguing mysteries of all time! You will record our journey along the way as you produce your own video log of your discoveries.

Summer in the Middle – Registration has closed for this program for 2021.

Designed with our middle grades students in mind, this new program offers a format similar to our other popular day programs. While taking on ever more creative and dynamic exploration of topics they will love, students can still embrace the flexibility afforded by a half-day program. Middle grades are wonderful years of growth and discovery and during this time there are wide differences in individual development. This program may meet your family’s needs to serve as an extended transition to our residential programs.

dates and costs
  • June 7-11 $200.00

Course Offerings for 2021 SIM Program Include


What happens when great plans go terribly wrong?  Or when you just don’t understand the consequences?  We’ll look at several decisions that had major impact – in the worst way. From Dunkin’ Donuts Deforestation to Booming Bananas, we will try to examine how you can make better decisions for the future of the world.

Around the World in 80 Milliseconds

Explore the world in virtual style.  You’ll discover virtual and AI field trips and explorations that take you to some of the world’s most amazing places.  Use what you discover to create an interactive board game that has players exploring the globe and learning little-known facts to cross the International Date Line and make it back to home base before the clock chimes.

Click Here to Access Applications to All Programs