Upper School Curriculum

The development of intellectual independence, personal responsibility, and leadership skills is an important piece of the four-year Upper School sequence. In 9th-12th grade, students pursue a challenging and interdisciplinary program of studies, consisting of an integrated Humanities program, hands-on laboratory science, applied mathematics, foreign language, visual and performing arts experiences and physical education.

UpperSchool chemistry

“My math and chemistry classes at Northwest covered sophisticated concepts. What I realized when I got to Harvey Mudd was that I got to cruise through my freshman and sophomore years. I’d already learned what I needed to know.”

Tyler Marklyn '11
Math and Computer Science major, Harvey Mudd College

UpperSchool writing

“At Northwest, we grappled with how you balance competing interests and views. Being an attorney has an ethical dimension – it involves a principled combat of sorts. I learned how to do that at Northwest.”

David Kauffman '95
Civil Legal Aid Attorney

UpperSchool teacher

“It starts with the teachers. They create an expectation that students should do their best and every student contributes. I really learned how to collaborate at Northwest. The community gives you space to find out who you are.”

Mesa Schumacher '04
M.A. in Art as Applied to Medicine
Medical and Biological Illustration Johns Hopkins University

At Northwest, we’re challenged on a daily basis to question the world around us, to look past the surface and find the hidden truths. Because of all that critical thinking and analysis, I have a stronger sense of my own voice and my own values.

Northwest School 12th Grader, 2017

Upper School Curriculum Guide

Where Our Grads Go

Northwest School 2018 grads are continuing their education at 51 institutions, including:

  • Barnard College
  • Bellevue College
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Carleton College
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colorado College
  • Columbia University
  • The George Washington University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Grinnell College
  • Haverford College
  • Kenyon College
  • Lehigh University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Macalester College
  • McGill University
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • Occidental College
  • Pacific University
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • Pratt Institute
  • Rutgers University-New Brunswick
  • Saint Mary's College of California
  • Santa Clara University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • School of Visual Arts
  • Scripps College
  • Seattle University
  • Smith College
  • Syracuse University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • The University of Arizona
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Redlands
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Washington
  • Wesleyan University
  • Western Washington University
  • Whitman College
  • Willamette University
  • Williams College


The Northwest School requires the following minimum course of study in the Upper School:

  • Math: 3-4 years *
  • Science: 3-4 years *
  • Humanities: 4 years (English & History)
  • Foreign Language: 3-4 years *
  • Visual and Performing Arts: 4 years
  • Physical Education: 2 years
  • Environment: 4 years

* Seniors must take a minimum of a fourth year of study in any two of the language, math and science departments.