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

My goal for every student is for them to know how to ask great questions – for them to figure out the question they most need to ask in order to move down the line to find the answer themselves.

Renee Frederickson

Upper School Chemistry Teacher

Where Our Grads Go

Northwest School 2015 grads are continuing their education at 55 institutions, including:

  • Bard College Berlin
  • Barnard College
  • Bates College
  • Bennington College
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Boston University
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colby College
  • Colorado COllege
  • Colorado State University
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Fordham University
  • Harvard University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • Indiana University at Bloomington
  • Kenyon College
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola University New Orleans
  • Lynn University
  • Macalester College
  • Middlebury College
  • Montana State University, Bozeman
  • New York University
  • Oberlin College
  • Pitzer College
  • Princeton University
  • Reed College
  • Santa Clara University
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Scripps College
  • Seattle Central College
  • Seattle University
  • Skidmore College
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Syracuse University
  • The New School - Eugene Lang College
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Denver
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Washington
  • University of Washington, Bothell
  • Wake Forest University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Western Washington University
  • Whitman College
  • Willamette University


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.