Summer 2021 BDS Courses

About the Behavioral and Decision Sciences courses

The behavioral and decision sciences summer courses are designed to develop your intellectual perspective on how decisions are made and the barriers and challenges to creating sustainable behavior change.

This summer we are offering three new synchronous and asynchronous online courses:

  • Introduction to Behavioral Science and Decision Making
  • Applied Statistics for Behavioral and Decision Sciences
  • Applied Game Theory for Behavioral and Decision Sciences

These courses offer the unique perspectives of the disciplines that helped shape this field and teach you the most fundamental skills necessary to begin your journey in the behavioral sciences.

The courses are ideal for undergraduate and graduate students who are curious about the use and application of behavioral and decision sciences and who are seeking high-quality educational content with a clear emphasis on the basic concepts and methodologies used in the field. Courses are taught by renowned faculty and influenced by the core concepts of behavioral economics, psychology, and game theory.

Want more info?

Contact us to receive additional information about the behavioral and decision sciences courses.


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In the past 50 years, social scientists have increasingly used insights from psychology to explore the limitations of the standard, economic model of rational decision-making—a field now known broadly as behavioral science. This course is an introduction to the central concepts of behavioral science, touching on related research in economics, psychology, political science, and more. We also touch on various practical implications of this work for practitioners, from businesspeople to policymakers to everyday people in their day-to-day lives. The topics covered include self-control, procrastination, fairness, cooperation, reference dependence, and choice under uncertainty.

The course consists of live and asynchronous core lectures that introduce the central concepts in behavioral science to students, supplemented by a series of exciting guest lectures that bring some of the leading academic voices working in the behavioral sciences to the classroom to share their work and insights.

Course details:

  • Penn Summer Session II: July 1 - August 6, 2021
  • Tuesday and Thursday, 12 – 1:45 p.m. EST
  • Instructor: Syon Bhanot
  • Course number BDS-500-976
  • This course offers ½ c.u.*

This course is a basic primer for key concepts in statistics needed for anyone that wants to take additional classes in behavioral and decision sciences or work in a relevant field. Topics include descriptive statistics, central limit theorem, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, comparison of means, and standard deviations. This course helps serve as a prerequisite for the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences (MBDS) program. Permits offered to non-MBDS students if space is available.

Course details:

  • Penn Summer Session II: July 1 - August 6, 2021
  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m. EST
  • Instructor: Alex Shpenev
  • Course number: BDS-506-975
  • This course offers ½ c.u.*

This course covers basic concepts in game theory and applies these concepts to the social sciences. By the end of the course students know how to identify Nash equilibria and Pareto optima, understand how to diagram simultaneous and sequential games, and are able to explain how different strategies apply to single play games and repeated games. Topics include why conflict and cooperation occur among organisms with diverse goals and scarce resources and how prosocial emotions and norms can alter human behavior in ways that facilitate cooperation. This course helps serve as a prerequisite for the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences (MBDS) program. Permits offered to non-MBDS students if space is available.

Course details:

  • Penn Summer Session II: July 1 - August 6, 2021
  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1 – 2:15 p.m. EST
  • Instructor: Jonathan Anomaly
  • Course number: BDS-509-976
  • This course offers ½ c.u.*

Summer Sessions course dates

Summer Session II: July 1 - August 6, 2021

Course registration is now open.

Tuition and fees

Your tuition for courses at the University of Pennsylvania is calculated at a per course unit (c.u.)* rate based on the number of course units for which you register, unless otherwise indicated. All tuition and fee charges are subject to the approval of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and may change without notice.


$3,197 per ½ c.u.

General fee

$221 per ½ c.u.


For general questions about the new behavioral and decision sciences courses please contact

How to apply

For Penn students

Current Penn undergraduate and graduate students can register directly for these courses now through Penn InTouch

For working professionals, and visiting and Quaker Consortium students

Working professionals and students currently enrolled in institutions in the US or who are part of the Quaker Consortium (Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College) who wish to register for these courses may enroll in Penn Summer Sessions as a visiting student through our easy open admission process. Enroll by June 17, 2021. Once enrolled, contact Chris Pastore at to register for courses. 

For Penn and Quaker Consortium alumni

To register for behavioral and decision sciences courses, alumni should enroll in the Penn Alumni Program, which offers automatic acceptance and a waived application fee. Enroll by June 17, 2021.

If you are already enrolled in the Penn Alumni Program, contact Chris Pastore at to register for courses. 

For international students and international working professionals

International students who wish to register for these courses may submit an application through the Penn Summer Global Institute. Apply by June 10, 2021. Upon acceptance, contact Chris Pastore at to register for the behavioral and decision sciences courses. 

If you previously applied to one of our programs and submitted official documentation as part of your application, please email our admissions team at to have your documentation transferred to this new application.

Students taking fully online courses in the summer do not need a visa.

Learn more about applying to the Penn Summer Global Institute >

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.