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Curriculum and Requirements

Two students and faculty member Justine O'Connell engaged in conversation in language arts.

Mercersburg’s curriculum offers 145 courses from its eight academic departments. Students may also pursue their passion through individualized projects.

Our faculty recognizes that the best demonstrations of learning aren’t in what students can repeat back to the teacher, but in students’ abilities to apply their learning and skills. Undoubtedly, learning and doing are not mutually exclusive, so we prioritize opportunities for students to use what they learn by building upon knowledge, then applying it.

9th- and 10th-Grade Focus

9th and 10th grades focus on skill development so that students establish a significant foundation in all disciplines, preparing them for more independent and in-depth work in 11th and 12th grade. We limit the amount of homework for 9th and 10th graders each night, because research shows that more homework does not result in better performance by students.

11th- and 12th-Grade Focus

In the 11th and 12th grades, students do more independent, in-depth, project-based, and experiential work. With most graduation requirements finished by the end of the 11th-grade year, students can explore their interests and passions during their senior year; and all students must successfully complete one of Mercersburg’s two capstone experiences for upper-class students: MAPS or Springboard.

Departments and Course Guide

When building our courses, we practice the concept of “backward design”—keeping the end goals of each student in mind. Whether the subject is chemistry, history, Spanish, or multivariable calculus, planning begins with an essential question: what are the ideas and concepts students should understand and master after successfully completing a course? We start from there and build a flexible strategy that will maximize learning.


For more than a century, the arts department has offered studio-oriented academic and co-curricular opportunities as well as intellectual and creative enrichment for the campus and region

Read More about Arts

With a commitment to the best poems, plays, and fiction of the past and a keen eye on the literature of the present, the Mercersburg English department instills in its students skills in reading texts closely and critically.

Read More about English

The ultimate goal of the history curriculum at Mercersburg is to teach students “to become their own historians.”

Read More about History

Mercersburg’s language department offers courses of study in Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, Latin, and Ancient Greek.

Read More about Language

The goal of the math department is to give students the mathematical skills, quantitative information, problem-solving techniques, and analytical skills necessary to function in today's society.

Read More about Mathematics
Physical Education

Mercersburg, with a strong athletics program and Olympian alumni, has long valued the conditioning of the body as well as the mind.

Read More about Physical Education

The religion department provides students with an academic examination of various world religions.

Read More about Religion

In a world of increasing technological complexity, it is our responsibility to develop in our students a strong sense of scientific literacy.

Read More about Science

Graduation Requirements

Each student must carry a minimum annual course load of 17 credits of academic work in 9th and 10th grades and 15 credits of academic work in 11th and 12th grades.

Senior Year Requirements
Students must participate in all senior activities. This includes participation in all required senior activities and programs through the end of the year, including the senior trip. Seniors must pass all spring term work in order to graduate. 

Diploma requirements for a student are determined by entry grade.

Have questions?

Contact Dean of Academics Jennifer Miller Smith ’97 at