Fieldston Upper Course Overview
Student Course Load
The minimum requirement for major courses is four per semester. Students typically take five academic majors or a combination of four academic majors and one arts major. As a general policy, the maximum number of major courses a student may take is five academic majors plus one arts major. Students who wish to take six academic majors may make a formal request to their Dean.
A "major" is a course that receives a letter grade and meets at least four times a week. A "half-major" course receives a letter grade and meets twice a week. A "minor" course or a major course taken on a Pass/Fail basis receives a 'credit' or 'no credit' grade.
I. The seventeen (l7) major credits required for graduation must include the following:
- 4 years of English
- 2 years of History, including the United States Survey course and a year’s credit outside the area of U.S. History or Government
- 2 years of Science, including a year of Biology and a year of physical science (Earth Science, Chemistry, or Physics);
- Three years of Mathematics
- Three years in a single Modern or Classical Language
- 2 yearlong minor courses in the Arts one of which must occur in Forms IV-VI OR one major credit in the Arts in Forms IV-VI. Two Form III one-semester courses count as one yearlong minor. Note that minor courses in the Arts do not earn major credit
II. In addition to the 17 major credits required for graduation, students must fulfill the following requirements:
- 8 semesters of Physical Education, including Form III Health Education
- Form III and Form IV Ethics. In Form V or VI students must also pass a one semester major or a year-long half-major in Ethics
- Students must contribute a total of 60 hours of community service during the school year or 120 hours during the summer
Independent study in any academic department is available primarily to seniors under the following guidelines:
- The main purpose of independent study is to allow students the opportunity to go beyond the normal curriculum
- Independent study may not be used to replace a required course
- A written proposal, signed by the teacher, department chair, and advisor, must be submitted in the spring of Form V and must be approved by the Form Dean and Director of Studies
- Credit for independent study will vary, depending on the workload and expectations; it will carry either 0.25 credit (half major) or 0.50 credit (major) per semester
- Students will receive a letter grade for independent study unless they request the Pass/Fail option
New interdisciplinary options for 2007-2008
These options allow seniors as well as juniors to put together an interdisciplinary package of courses and thereby bring more coherence to their electives. Some history and English electives have been aligned to make it easier for juniors and seniors to simultaneously take related courses in these departments. It is also possible to relate courses in foreign language, art, and science to those in English and history.
For example, a student might take the following within one semester:
African American Literature and African American History; or Drama and Fiction in Modern China, History of China and Chinese; or Birth of Modern Europe, 19th Century English Literature, and Evolution. Other suggested concentrations include Latin American Studies, Native American Studies, Urban Studies, Russian Studies, Women and Gender, War, and Global Studies.
Seniors: Interdisciplinary Independent Study (IIS)
This is an option that falls within the structure of the existing independent study program. Students who take related courses may propose an independent study that integrates the content of the related courses. The independent study would be a separate major or half-major course for the semester and would require one or more teachers from the related disciplines to conduct the study. The independent study would not affect the structure or syllabus of the related courses in any way. Students would follow the normal procedure for proposing an independent study.
Seniors and Juniors: Interdisciplinary Project
This option is available to seniors and juniors who want to connect related courses through interdisciplinary work, but not through an independent study. They may do an interdisciplinary assignment (paper or project) in place of a regular assignment in one or both of the courses if they receive approval from one or both of the teachers. Teachers of these courses will be encouraged to support this option and meet together with the student to coordinate this work. The structure and syllabus of each course would not be altered to accommodate this option and would not affect the students in these courses who are not following this option.
The Senior Projects program was established to give seniors the opportunity to design and participate in projects outside of the classroom. Senior projects should:
- Reside outside the regular curriculum
- Use an interdisciplinary approach
- Include a serious commitment of time, energy and effort
- Involve significant off-campus activity, e.g. research, service, journalism, observations, etc
- Be creative, experience-based and service-oriented, if possible
- Enable students to take risks and stretch themselves.
- Culminate in an exhibition and possibly a panel presentation