Course of Study
Students enter the (MS)² program the summer following their ninth grade year and, for three successive summers, they spend five weeks taking courses in mathematics, science and English or college counseling at Phillips Academy. (MS)² courses consist of topics not usually covered in secondary school or they examine topics in considerably greater depth than might normally be expected during the academic year. The pace is fast. The homework assignments are substantial and the selectivity of the program assures that both students and faculty have high expectations for the work to be accomplished in every course. The (MS)² curriculum challenges the students to develop a strong work ethic and time management skills.
Because (MS)² is an intensive program, four of the six days of class each week are very full. Below is the schedule for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There is a modified schedule on Wednesday and Saturday.
|7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.
8:20 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.
10:20 a.m. - 12:10 a.m.
12:10 a.m. - 1:10 p.m.
1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
6:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
8:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.
10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m.
Math or science
Math or science
Evening Help Session
Evening Help Session
Presence required in dorm
Courses and Curriculum
All first-year students are placed in the appropriate sections based on materials received prior to the student's arrival and the results of an online math assessment developed by the (MS)² faculty. In the second- and third-year mathematics courses, placement is based on the previous summer's performance.
First Year: Algebra or Pre-calculus
The (MS)² program offers three sections of mathematics for first-year students. Sections A and B study algebra; Section C studies pre-calculus. The topics covered in algebra include: solving linear equations; problem-solving strategies; graphing linear equations; matrix operations; functions and transformations; recursion; probability and statistics. Students use graphing calculators where appropriate.
Second Year: Pre-calculus or Calculus
The (MS)² program offers three sections of mathematics for second-year students. Sections A and B study pre-calculus; Section C studies Calculus. The topics covered include: mathematical modeling with linear and quadratic equations; functions and transformations; descriptive statistics; curve fitting and modeling; recursion and iteration. Students work with TI-83/84 graphing calculators extensively in order to study functions that would be very difficult to graph by hand.
For those scholars who successfully completed the pre-calculus program in their first year, they take Calculus AB. They study limits, derivatives, applications of derivatives, definite and indefinite integrals.
Third Year: Calculus AB, BC or Multivariable
The (MS)² program offers three sections of mathematics for third-year students. Section A studies Calculus AB; Section B studies Calculus BC; Section C studies Multivariable Calculus.
First Year: Biology
The (MS)² biology course features an intensive examination of topics that are frequently left out of conventional high school biology courses due to lack of time and to shortage of laboratory space. Students gain an appreciation of the importance of biology and practice writing in both a descriptive and in an investigative manner. Each class spends a significant amount of time in the lab.
Special Topics in Chemistry (STIC)
This course covers the mole concept, solutions, bonding and structure, electron configurations and Lewis structures, periodicity, and thermodynamics-equilibrium as they apply to acid and base chemistry. In five weeks, the students cover material that is equivalent to a little more than two thirds of what is covered in a typical honors chemistry course. Students also go into the lab about twice a week. Thus, it is the exceptional student who is invited to take this course.
Second Year: Chemistry
This course is a general overview of stoichiometry, thermochemistry, gas laws, electron configuration, solutions, equilibrium, acids and bases, and oxidation-reduction reactions. One section of this course is designed for students who have had little or no chemistry. Students gain skills and confidence in the laboratory and become proficient at writing succinct laboratory reports.
Special Topics in Physics (STIP)
Special Topics in Physics (STIP) is a rigorous introduction to classical Newtonian mechanics. This course is designed for students who have satisfactorily completed the rigorous Special Topics In Chemistry (STIC) course. The topics covered include velocity, acceleration, projectile motion, circular motion, conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and fluid mechanics. Students learn to solve complicated multi-step problems and are able to gain significant exposure in a laboratory environment.
Third Year: Physics
Physics is treated as an introduction to Newtonian mechanics without calculus so that students may develop an appreciation of the power of a small number of physics principles. A special emphasis is placed on the development of the mathematical tools necessary to solve quantitative problems and the importance of careful writing in presenting lab results and a term paper on a physics-related topic.
Special Topics in Electricity and Magnetism (STEM)
This course concentrates on electric and magnetic forces and fields, circuit analysis, and electromagnetic induction, providing students with a working understanding of a handful of powerful Physics principles. Through extensive laboratory work, students become confident attacking problems that involve real analysis and synthesis rather than merely plugging numbers into a formula. Labs range from a simple verification of Ohm’s Law to elegant measurements of the mass of the electron, the Earth’s magnetic field, and the magnetic permeability constant. A special emphasis is placed on the importance of careful writing, both in the presentation of laboratory results and in a short (5-8 page) term paper on a Physics-related topic.
First and Second Year: English
The English component of the (MS)² program is a two-year sequence which emphasizes expository writing to ensure that the (MS)² scholars’ achievements in mathematics and science are complemented by the writing skills which are vitally important to students in all fields of study. These skills may have even more significance to students in fields which are not readily associated with facility in writing, but which, in fact, depend daily on expository writing.
The first-year course focuses primarily on strengthening basic writing skills through a review of elemental grammar and an introduction to the fundamental rules of writing. Students also read selected essays and short stories as models of good writing. Class discussions of writing strategies and the ideas expressed in the readings assist students in developing their analytical skills as well as further enhancing their writing abilities.
The second-year course builds on the writing skills developed during the first-year English by focusing more on essay writing. After a brief review of elemental grammar and the rules of writing, students concentrate on strengthening their essay-writing skills. Selected readings of essays and longer texts serve as a catalyst for class discussion as well as a source of paper topics. In the second half of the course, students explore various modes of essay writing, including narration, persuasion, and exposition.
Representative textual materials: The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros, Vintage Books, 1989; Lakota Woman, Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes, Harper Perennial, 1990; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou, Bantam Books, 1969; Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel, Doubleday Books, 1992; A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Michael Dorris, Warner Books, 1987; Gorilla, My Love, Toni Cade Bandera, Vintage Books, 1992; Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, Ballantine Books, 1959; The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, Harper and Row, 1970; Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, Penguin Books, 1937; Tracks, Louise Erdrich, Harper and Row, 1988; To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Warner Books, 1960; Way Past Cool, Jess Mowry, Harper Perennial, 1992.
Third Year: College Counseling
This course covers the admissions process from the information-gathering stage to the decision stage for the third-year students. Topics covered include visiting colleges, interviewing, writing the essay, financial aid, how admission committees work, and how to proceed towards making the right match. The colleges which are typically visited are: Bates College, Bowdoin College, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Northeastern, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Connecticut, and Yale University. Students also participate in the annual college fair, organized by the Summer Session, with representatives present from 85 colleges and universities.