Grades 6-12; Boarding 8-12


Course Catalog 2024-25

To see course offerings by department, please use the department links in the lower left column.


The academic program in the Upper School is designed to prepare students for college and offers students in Grades 9 through 12 a traditional curriculum in all major academic subjects. Students who demonstrate academic excellence are encouraged to pursue Honors and Advanced Placement courses, which are available in all academic disciplines.

Students at Pennington are expected to take six academic classes: five core subjects and one elective. With permission from the Dean of Academic Affairs and a proven record of academic achievement, students may take more than six classes. Students in the Upper School receive two to three hours of homework each day. We ask students to make purposeful progress not only toward a common set of graduation requirements but also toward a higher level of personal excellence in all areas.


In every academic term students at The Pennington School are permitted to take one study hall period. One (1) credit represents a year’s successful study in one subject. In order to graduate, a student must accumulate a minimum of 20 credits. Students in Grades 9 through 11 are not permitted to have more than one study hall. With permission of the Dean of Academic Affairs, students in Grade 12 may request an additional study hall, provided that all graduation and college entrance requirements are satisfied.

Required credits are distributed among the following disciplines:

English, 4 credits
History and Social Studies, 3 credits (including United States History)
Science, 3 credits (including Biology and Chemistry)
Mathematics, 3 credits (including Algebra II)
World Languages, 2 credits (in the same language)
Religion, 1 credit (including Religion and Ethics)
Arts, 1 credit
Public Speaking, .25 credit
Grade 9 Seminar, .5 credit
Grade 10 Seminar, .5 credit

Typical Course of Study


Students in Grades 9, 10, and 11 meet with their parents and advisor for an Advisory Conference each spring. During this conference, the Upper School Course Catalog is reviewed, and the advisor takes initial requests for courses. These requests may be adjusted at any time before May 1. Parents may submit changes through their child’s advisor.

To guide this process, this Course Catalog should be used as a reference providing graduation requirements for each academic department, course descriptions, and prerequisites and co-requisites for many courses. All course placements are subject to the approval of The Pennington School and availability of the course in the daily schedule. Final course offerings may be modified based on student interest and faculty availability. A student schedule for the full school year will be sent home over the summer.

Through the study of a variety of disciplines and the careful guidance of instructors, each student learns skills essential to success in college. The full program of study for each student is prepared in consultation with the advisor, Class Dean, department chairs, Dean of Academic Affairs, and, in the later years, the college counselors.

While Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses are often requested to enhance the apparent rigor of a transcript, the School will determine whether placement in such challenging courses is appropriate. In addition to grades from previous years, work ethic, expressive skills, academic habits, placement tests, standardized test scores, and demonstrated commitment to learning guide the School in making course-placement decisions. Student accounts will be billed in September for the $95 AP exam fee charged by the College Board for each AP course taken each year.