Academic Curriculum

Courses

We offer more than 300 of them. They are small (average class size: 13) and intensely interactive. They fall into roughly these categories: the arts, English, world languages, history and social science, lab science, math (including statistics and computer science), and philosophy and religious studies. (Most students take courses in all of these fields.) Some are interdisciplinary. Some are college level. All of them are designed to inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Never complacent, we are always asking our students how Andover can enhance their academic experience. Along with creating opportunities to explore topics more deeply, we make sure students have the time to reflect on—and savor—their intellectual growth. 

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Important! We call 9th-graders "juniors," 10th-graders "lowers," 11th-graders "uppers," and 12th-graders "seniors." 

Learning happens inside and outside the classroom at Andover. Sometimes classes just happen outside, like at the Jean St. Pierre Memorial classroom behind Bulfinch Hall.

“Every class is a new opportunity.”

Alexis Senior, Clover, SC

Physics Chair and Instructor Caroline Odden, along with her Astronomy Research class, recently discovered that asteroid 4296 van Woerkom is actually binary, meaning that it has a large moon with a diameter that is about 30% of the diameter of the primary asteroid.
A Quick Sampling From Our Course of Study
Design For Living: Innovate and Fabricate

Students explore product design by developing a concept and prototype using 3-D printing, laser-cutting, sewing, and a range of hand modeling techniques.

Gothic Literature: Living in The Tomb

Trace trends of gothic forms from the dark castles of Europe to the aridity of the contemporary American landscape.

Comparative Government

An introduction to the world’s diverse political structures and practices. Students may choose to write an in-depth paper in lieu of a final exam.

Languages of the Web

Learn to program and manage your own website using HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Film Scoring: Influencing audiences Through Sound and Silence

Compose music for film scenes from different genres, manage an imaginary budget and compete with classmates to score “jobs.” 

Environmental Science: Global Climate Change

Examine the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change along with an overview of atmospheric composition, biogeochemical cycles, and the greenhouse effect.

Choreographic Elements

Exercises, explorations, and examinations of work by Dorris Humphrey, Mark Morris, and more. Final project: Present an original composition.

Chinatowns and the Asian American Immigrant Experience

Co-taught by instructors from both the Chinese and English departments. Includes research trip to New York City’s Chinatown.   

What To Expect

Intro to Andover

Each trimester a junior takes either five or six courses, some of which are required for all juniors and others of which he/she places into based on ability. English 100 and History 100 are standard courses for juniors.

Students are placed into math, science, foreign language, and music courses based on “demonstrated ability.” In other words, juniors who have a particular aptitude for math, foreign language, or music and who wish to move ahead in one (or more) of those areas may do so by means of a placement test.

Additionally, ninth graders typically take a combination of art, music, and physical education as their sixth course. Because Andover operates on a trimester system, this sixth “slot” in their schedules can change from term to term. 

English 100

An introduction to the study of language and literature. “Every good writer was a good reader first.” – Helen Vendler

Visual Studies | Art 225

Students use a range of media (drawing, collage, photography, video, clay) to expand their perceptual, conceptual, and technical skills.

Foundations | EBI09

Empathy, balance, and inclusion seminar covering topics of communication, healthy relationships, self-care, and decision making.

Choose Your Path

Each term a lower may take five or six courses. All new students will take a year long English class (English 200) coupled with a trimester each of History (usually History 200), Religion and Philosophy, Physical Education, and Personal and Community Education (PACE). In addition, the majority of lowers will also take a term each of art and music.

Incoming lowers come from a variety of different school settings and experiences and thus have very different levels of experience in math, science, and world languages. Each student has the chance to place into the appropriate level in these courses and work forward from there.

World History | History 201

The world from 1400–1800. Study economies of silver, the Atlantic slave trade, gunpowder empires, and religious reform and transformation.

Physical Education | PHD 200

Designed to teach lifetime wellness. An emphasis on self-improvement and personal challenges. Tackle an indoor ropes course.

Endeavors | EBI10

Empathy, balance and inclusion seminar covering topics of communication, healthy relationships, self-care, and decision making.

Push Yourself

During the Upper and Senior years, a student must accumulate a minimum of 27 credits. Each term an Upper must take five courses. Language and math placement depend on each student’s demonstrated ability, which we assess through departmental placement exams. Science placement is determined by previous coursework and math level.

Third-Level German | GER300A/B, INT300

A year-long focus on conversation, building vocabulary, advanced grammar, and interdisciplinary study of Berlin culture and history.

Justice and Globalization | PHR510

What does the search to understand and promote justice entail in our increasingly interconnected world?

The Final Year

Seniors are expected to take five courses each term. A student must accumulate a minimum of 27 credits. A credit equals one course taken for one term. A Senior must earn a minimum of 12 graded term credits during the senior year. Seniors must have passing term grades for all courses taken during their spring term in order to graduate. 

Molecular and Cellular Biology: Laboratory Research | BIO600

Learn techniques through work with model organisms and experimental systems such as bacteria, mammalian cell culture, and C. elegans.

Honors Computer Science Seminar | CSC630

Go beyond the College Board’s AP curriculum. Push yourself on such topics as data visualization, open source software, and algorithms.

Department Chairs

Meet the leaders of our academic disciplines.

Stephanie Curci

English Department Chair. Interests include Post-Colonial literature, Haitian history and culture, Shakespeare, and the graphic novel.

Chris Jones

History & Social Sciences Department Chair. A civil war historian; recently moderated a forum on Andover's history in the battle.

Christina Landolt ’02

Music Department Chair. "Before coming back to Andover as a teacher, I spent time working in a pit crew for a race car."

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Brian Faulk ’00

Chemistry Department Chair and Golf Coach

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Elizabeth Meyer

Head, Division of World Languages

Leon Modeste

Physical Education Department Chair. Coach Mo also prowls the sidelines for Big Blue Football.

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Therese Zemlin

Art Department Chair. "In addition to the time I spend teaching, I find that it is crucial for me to spend time making art."

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Karin Knudson

Department Chair for Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Vic Svec

Russian Department Chair. "I did an undergraduate degree in Russian in a year and a half. Once I got started, I was obsessed."

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Caroline Odden

Natural Sciences and Physics Department Chair. Caroline Odden's Astronomy Research class discovered a rare binary asteroid in 2016.

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Lilia Cai-Hurteau

Lilia is the Chinese Department Chair and this year’s Brace Center Faculty Fellow.

Joshua Mann ’96

Classics Department Chair

Leon Holley

Biology Department Chair