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Upper School Curriculum

  • Interdisciplinary Studies
Independent Study
Grades: 10, 11, 12
Fall, Spring
PREREQ: Completion of Independent Study Application process. Submit part one of your application by March 28, 2024.

“What do you want to learn?” When the answer falls outside of Durham Academy’s curriculum, an independent study opportunity provides support for student exploration. The student-designed course is comparable to standard courses in rigor, daily attention and volume of time invested (5-7 hours/week). It culminates in a project or performance that is shared with the community in a form appropriate to the topic. Though they work independently, students in this program are supported by teachers and peers. They meet regularly (at least biweekly) with a teacher in a relevant academic field to select resources and check their understanding of content. They also work with the Independent Study Coordinator to develop a weekly timetable, strategize, reflect and hold themselves accountable. The application process includes an initial statement of interest, a meeting with the Independent Study Coordinator and a formal proposal. The Academic Committee evaluates all proposals and notifies students of its decisions by May 15 or December 15. 

Additional notes: 

  • Student initiative is central to independent study. Therefore the student is expected to take responsibility for scheduling meetings, showing progress, designing the culminating activity, etc.
  • Independent study lasts one semester. A student may apply for a one-semester extension through the regular proposal process. 
  • Independent study earns credit toward
  • graduation and appears on the student’s transcript. Withdrawal after four weeks will result in a “WD” notation on the transcript. 
  • Independent study may not duplicate an existing course or substitute for a required course.
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12