Northwood's academic schedule is divided into trimesters. During each trimester, students' schedules are comprised of offerings from within our Core Curriculum while allowing time and space within their schedules to choose options from our Signature Academic Programs.
Most students will take 5 or 6 courses each trimester. Some courses will run for the entire academic year, while others are offered for individual trimesters. The trimester model allows Northwood students to explore the depths of our offerings and creates opportunities for choice within an academic program starting in the 9th grade.
Academic schedules for newly enrolled students are created by Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul, in consultation with newly enrolled students and their respective class dean. The course selection process for our returning students is done by students and their advisors with guidance provided by the Dean of Academic Affairs and College Counseling Office.
The minimum number of full-year courses (or equivalent trimester electives) required for graduation includes:
- 4 Years of English (including a year of senior-level English*)
- 3 Years of Social Science (including a year of US History)
- 3 Years of Laboratory Science
- 3 Years of Mathematics
- 2 Years of Foreign Language*
- 1 Year of Fine Arts
- 1 Trimester of Health
*International students whose first language is not English may be excused from the foreign language and senior-level English course requirement.
Honors and Advanced Placement Courses
In order to qualify to take an AP or Honors-level courses, students must have earned a minimum grade of a B+ and have Good or Excellent effort grades in the prerequisite course. Teacher recommendations are also required for placement. Exceptions to these guidelines will only be made for special circumstances and after consultation by the current teacher, the Department Chair, and the Dean of Academics.
All students taking AP courses must take the National AP exam for that course. All AP Exam scores are printed on Northwood School’s final transcript. If a student fails to take an AP exam, he/she may not have the AP name placed on his/her transcript at the end of the year.
Independent Study Projects
Students who have demonstrated the ability to work at an advanced level with in an area of interest may arrange to pursue an independent study project. Independent study proposals must be completed and returned to the Director of College Counseling or the Dean of Academics no later than the second week of classes in the trimester in which the project occurs. The student must also find a faculty sponsor who is willing to oversee the project. Once the request for an independent study is received, the Dean of Academics will consult with the faculty sponsor to consider the proposal.