Academics

Graduation Requirements

Emma Willard School honors each girl’s personal academic journey. Our graduation requirements provide a blueprint, while allowing each girl plenty of opportunity to tailor her schedule to her interests.

A personalized approach

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  • Arts

    Tap into your creativity in Emma’s expansive Arts program. We offer courses for all levels, from the budding musician to the advanced artist.

    For entering 9th graders, successful completion of two units of arts electives; one unit must be completed by the end of 10th grade; at least one course must be performing, and at least one course must be a visual arts course.

    For entering 10th graders, successful completion of one unit of arts electives; at least one course must be performing, and at least one course must be a visual arts course.

    For entering 11th graders, successful completion of one unit of arts courses with no distribution required among the arts.
  • Athletics & Physical Education

    All Emma Girls take physical education or its equivalent in team sports or dance all year during 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. We offer JV and Varsity sports, yoga, Zumba, and more. All students must complete a swimming and water safety proficiency test.
  • English

    During 9th, 10th, and 11th grades you will take full-year English courses. In 12th grade you may choose two English electives, one per semester. Example electives include Gothic Literature, Literature of Fairy Tales, and Poetry Workshop.
  • History & Social Sciences

    Girls in 9th and 10th grades complete a two-year sequence in world history consisting of four semester-long courses. A United States history course is taken in 11th or 12th grade, and a variety of challenging electives are available to enrich the history buff’s soul.
  • Language

    Emma offers French, Spanish, Latin, and Chinese—after an initial placement test. Girls are required to complete the third (300) level of a single foreign language, and many take advantage of advanced language courses and travel abroad to enhance their learning. This requirement does not apply to students for whom English is a second language.
  • Mathematics

    Completion of Algebra I, Algebraic Geometry, and either Algebra II and Trigonometry or Algebra II and Trigonometry with Non-Routine Problems are a must but many girls don’t stop there. Advanced math courses through multi-variable calculus are offered to upper-level math students.
  • Science

    Emma’s science sequence begins with Physics of Matter and Motion, one year of chemistry, and one year of biology. Students entering 10th or 11th grade must complete two units of laboratory science during their high school career: one year of physical science and one year of life science, determined on an individual basis. AP courses fulfill the chemistry and biology requirements.
  • Electives

    Explore new interests or refine your skills with one of our many electives. Courses such as Neuroscience, Astrobiology, Advanced Photography and Film, and World Religions and Literature allow you to think outside of the traditional curriculum.

What does a typical Emma Girl's school year look like?

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  • 9th

    Two arts courses
    English I
    Classical Mediterranean History
    Regional history course
    Language*
    Mathematics*
    Physics of Matter and Motion
    Physical education, team sport, or dance

    *A placement test will guide mathematics and language courses for new students.

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  • 10th

    Two arts courses
    English II
    Regional history course
    Contemporary World History
    Language*
    Mathematics*
    Chemistry
    Health
    Elective(s)
    Physical education, team sport, or dance

    *A placement test will guide mathematics and language courses for new students.

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  • 11th

    Two arts courses
    English III
    United States history
    Language*
    Mathematics*
    Biology
    Elective(s)
    Physical education, team sport, or dance
    Practicum

    *A placement test will guide mathematics and language courses for new students.

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  • 12th

    Two English electives
    History electives
    Advanced mathematics and/or science
    Physical education, team sport, or dance
    Any remaining requirements
    Signature
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