About PGSS

PGSS Class of 1986

The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences is a summer program that crams grad-level science classes into high school brains. It is one of the most important bits of training I received as a fledgling scientist. ... [CMU Professor] Kai-Fu Lee taught me Lisp for AI at PGSS'86, and I still use the alpha-beta pruning for game-playing lectures from the class when I teach at Georgia Tech.


The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences (PGSS) was started by Governor Richard Thornburgh in 

PGSS Class of 1985

It was so enlightening to be around a bunch of people like me who were curious and interested in science. I had never seen anything like it - science is cool (I knew that already) and other people think so too (that was the new part)!
1982 to ensure Pennsylvania’s global competitiveness in science and technology. Held each summer at Carnegie Mellon University, PGSS provides the State’s highest caliber students with a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Over the course of five weeks, the students study advanced subjects, perform laboratory experiments, and conduct original research, all under the guidance of University faculty.

One of the defining aspects of PGSS is the diversity of the student body. Applications are broken down according to the 29 Intermediate Units, with applicants only compared to others from the same region. Within a region, applicants are selected solely on merit, and every student is a priori guaranteed a full scholarship. This allows students to attend, regardless of economic status, with attendees coming from every corner of the state. In a typical year, over 400 people apply for approximately 56 seats.

Throughout these pages, you'll find descriptions of the academic courses, the research projects, and the social aspects of PGSS. Please visit the following links to learn more about the hallmarks of a PGSS education:

PGSS Class of 2008

I learned to love learning for the sake of learning, to constantly push myself, and to never stop asking questions.


What is PGSS?

Life of a PGSS Student

PGSS 2003 Valedictory Speech