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 2017 grads are continuing their education at 60 institutions, including:

  • American University
  • Amherst College
  • Barnard College
  • Bellevue College
  • Beloit College
  • Boston College
  • Carleton College
  • Cornell College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Fordham University
  • Goucher College
  • Haverford College
  • Lehigh University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Macalester College
  • Muhlenberg College
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • Oberline College of Arts and Sciences
  • Occidental College
  • Oregon State University
  • Pacific Northwest College of Art
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • Pratt Institute
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • School of Visual Arts
  • Seattle University
  • Skidmore College
  • Smith College
  • Sophia University
  • The Evergreen State College
  • The University of Arizona
  • Tulane University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Denver
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Redlands
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Washington
  • University of Washington, Bothell
  • Vassar College
  • Washington State University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Western Washington University
  • Whitman 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.