Open to anyone who wants to learn, our personal enrichment programs offer a wide selection of courses, workshops, and lecture series delivered by the top-notch JHU faculty and community experts. Odyssey doesn’t have grades or exams—just learning for the sake of learning in a fun, creative environment. Explore our extensive course listings from science to art, writing to photography—choose course subjects across these areas:

  • Odyssey on the Go: single session programs
  • Perspectives: multi-speaker lecture series
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Music, Cinema, and the Performing Arts
  • Science and Nature
  • Medicine, Health, and Humanities
  • Certificate on Aging
  • Writing and Communications
  • Photography, Film, and Digital Arts

Odyssey Summer 2020 Catalog

All in-person Odyssey courses have been cancelled as of March 11th, 2020 until at least June 30, 2020. All summer courses will be offered through online instruction only. Updates will be posted on our website and communicated through email.

Our new Summer 2020 courses will be offered exclusively through Zoom’s online platform. During our spring semester, we successfully transitioned many of our courses to this online format and received positive feedback from our students. Zoom links will be sent to registered participants on the day of their scheduled course.

4 Sessions plus 1 Bonus Session: June 1, 3, 15, 17 & 19, 1-3 PM

Instructor: George Scheper

Tuition: $190.00


We explore the art, history, and cultures of the American Southwest, from ancient Native American homeland to contemporary cultural mosaic. We begin with the Ancestral Pueblo people (the “Anasazi”), visiting major archaeological sites as Chaco Canyon, and Mesa Verde. We then turn to the historical communities of the Hopi, Zuni and other Pueblos, along with their Navajo neighbors. We conclude with the coming of the Spanish, and the influx of Anglo Easterners, generating today’s multicultural Southwest.

4 Sessions: June 9, 11, 23, 25, 3-5 PM

Instructor: Dianne Scheper

Tuition: $140.00


Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge won the hearts of readers in 2008, won the Pulitzer Prize a year later, and became an award-winning TV miniseries (starring Frances McDormand) in 2014.  In Olive, Again, published just last year, Strout’s treasured character is back, now in her 80’s but scrappy as ever – still crotchety, still stubborn, and still able to win our affections. Join us to explore Strout’s profound insights into the lives of Olive and her fellow townspeople as they cope with the changing currents of our times.

3 Sessions: June 16, 17, 18, 6:30-8:30 PM

Instructor: Melissa Hilbish

Tuition: $105.00


Film Noir is defined through the narrative structure and characters of the hardboiled detective novel fused with a distinctive look drawn from German Expressionism. Adapted from James M. Cain’s shocking novel, directed by Billy Wilder, and with a screenplay co-written by Wilder and crime novelist Raymond Chandler, Double Indemnity circumvented Hollywood’s strict production code to craft this grim story of murder, lust, revenge, and a classic Femme Fatale. This course will examine the origins of Film Noir and move into the motifs of Noir found in the visual style of the film. We will screen the film within the class with stops to “look” at the film, but you are encouraged to stream it in advance of class.

2 Sessions: June 22, 24, 6:30-8:30 PM

Instructor: Melissa Hilbish

Tuition: $70.00


George Orwell’s masterpiece was written in 1949. A novel about language, oppression, and power, Orwell’s work is hardly original in that he drew heavily from two previous works of literature: Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924) and his own Brave New World (1932). This course will focus on the construction of a political dystopia within the context of the forces of the 20th century, and will consider the ongoing influence of the novel on what will come. How did Orwell use the previous two books to construct 1984? Students are encouraged to read Nineteen Eighty-Four in advance of this class.

2 Sessions: Fri., June 26 – 9 AM-12:30 PM

2 Sessions: Sat., June 27 – 9 AM-12:30 PM

Moderator: Mark Croatti

Instructors: Alireza Jafarzadeh, M.S., Ernest Tucker, Ph.D., (Fri.), Sourabh Gupta, M.A., Ricardo Barrios, M.A., (Sat.)

Tuition: $120.00


Iranian attempts to enrich uranium; the Islamic State’s deadly presence in Afghanistan; the proliferation of Chinese military bases in disputed waters, and Spring human rights abuses by Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela; represent merely a sample of the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. Can the United States prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon? In Afghanistan, as the “endless war” continues, how will the Islamic State’s influence affect communities such as Hazara, where minority Shiites live? What are China’s worldwide ambitions? And how long will the Maduro regime in Venezuela cling to power? Join us as our speakers explain not only what the United States is up against in these specific regions, but also what the international community should do about these emerging concerns.

Four Tues., July 7-28, 1:00-3:00 PM

Tuition: $140 (8 hours) 4 sessions via Zoom

Instructor: Daniel E. Weiser


As Oscar Wilde famously wrote about Chopin’s music: “After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed and mourning over tragedies that were not my own.” Professor Daniel Weiser will take this Zoom journey from Poland to Paris, performing many of Chopin’s most beloved works, including his Waltzes, Impromptus, Preludes, Nocturnes, and Ballades. He will tell the story of this rather sickly man (Berlioz said, “He was dying all his life.”) who mesmerized audiences with his poetic piano playing and opened up whole new sonic worlds. Though he only lived 39 years, the power and depth of his music assures him a place in the pantheon of the great composers.

Wed., July 8, 1:00-3:00 PM

$35 (2 hours) 1 session via Zoom

Instructor: Rex Rehfeld


2020 is the 70th Anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War on June 25, 1950. The War is often called the Forgotten War, but perhaps more appropriately it should be called the ignored war. Called a “police action” to avoid Congress, it exacerbated the Cold War, delayed recognition of the Peoples Republic of China, ended segregation in the Armed Forces of the United States, and saved the U.S. Marine Corps. It was also a very bloody war. This two-hour lecture covers the background to the war, the defeat of North Korea, intervention by forces of the Peoples Republic of China, turnaround under General Matthew B. Ridgway, relief of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, and the peace talks.

Four Wed., July 8-29, 7:00-8:30 PM

$105 (6 hours) 4 sessions via Zoom

Instructor: José López-González


Foundational knowledge of economics is a must. In our ever-changing world, nothing screams louder than economics – from direct costs to potential opportunities, it’s the fabric of our lives. Using humankind’s biggest challenges like the climate crisis and technological innovation as a backdrop, this course will take a step back to critically analyze the history of capitalism, the intersection of technology and production, the rise of globalization, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the role of government and governance on the economy and its various systems. Readings will include Ha-JoonChang’s Economics: The User’s Guide (Bloomsbury Press, 2014).

Three Thurs., July 9-23, 7:00-9:00 PM

$105 (6 hours) 3 sessions via Zoom

Instructor: Karen Klinedinst


In this 3-session class, learn the basics of getting the most out of your iPhone’s camera. Through in-class demos and exercises, you will discover image capture techniques specific to the iPhone’s native camera, and learn how to organize and share your photos with family and friends. You’ll also learn simple photo editing techniques to bring out the best in your photos. This course is ideal for the casual photographer interested in an introduction to iPhone Photography.

Three Thurs., July 9-23, 7:00-8:00 PM

$53 (3 hours) 3 sessions via Zoom

Instructor: John Hessler


The unification of quantum mechanics and field theory, with Einstein’s General Relativity, is the most important research program in current theoretical physics. Composed of beautiful mathematics and deep physical insights this short course will introduce students to the concepts and philosophical underpinnings of this unification and to the geometric structure of quantum gravity. No advanced mathematics is required.

Mon. & Wed., July 13 & 15; 20 & 22, 7:00-8:30 PM

$105 (6 hours) 4 sessions via Zoom

Instructor: Pat Fosarelli


“The Act You’ve Known for All These Years”: The Beatles were one of the premier cultural phenomena of the 20th century. Even though the group broke up in 1970, their influence continues, 50 years later. In four sessions we will explore the Beatles and their roots, and how they influenced society (then and now) in the areas of music and entertainment, and the larger culture, with a particular focus on youth culture; politics, spirituality, and religion.

Wed., July 15, 1:00-3:00 PM

$35 (2 hours) 1 session via Zoom

Instructor: Rex Rehfeld


What is called the “Dust Bowl” started in 1931 with the beginning of a drought which only ended with the coming of the rains in 1939. It is both a location and an event and ranks as one of the worst man-made ecological blunders in history. But the real story of the dust bowl starts with the opening of the plains to settlement in 1854, and the over-plowing and overgrazing of those lands. Then came the drought and storms, the worst of which carried more than 300,000 tons of Great Plains topsoil, twice as much dirt as was dug out of the earth to create the Panama Canal.


Access our online registration system to search courses by category, access your student account, and get help with registration.

JHU Tuition Remission and Discounts

If you are a candidate for tuition remission, please do not register online. To receive JHU Tuition Remission Benefits, JHU Alumni Discounts, or Osher at JHU member discounts for Odyssey courses, please call 410-516-8516 and leave a message with your email address. We will return all inquiries through email.

Certificate on Aging

Built upon the solid tradition of excellence, Johns Hopkins University offers a Certificate on Aging and now an Advanced Certificate on Aging. The non-credit certificate is designed for those who work with aging adults and their families.

Contact Information

Johns Hopkins Odyssey Program

3400 N. Charles Street
Wyman Park Building, Suite S-740
Baltimore, MD 21218

Audience Menu