The purpose of the Middlesex academic program is to instill a love of learning and develop the skills that are essential to education in the liberal arts, the fine arts, and the sciences. By and large, the process for developing these skills is collaborative. Learning requires a meeting of faculty and student minds. With small classes, students have the opportunity — indeed, the obligation — to participate actively in the learning process.  A Middlesex education depends on each student’s presence and good citizenship in class as bedrock elements of the academic program.  While at times participation may entail simply listening attentively, more often participation calls for thoughtful class preparation and active involvement in class discussion or class presentations. In such circumstances teachers are best able to guide students in developing their strengths and strengthening their weaknesses. Students also share responsibility for monitoring their own progress and are expected to seek extra help whenever they find themselves confused or in need of further support. Toward this end, the School provides its students with small classes; a talented, dedicated, and accessible faculty; and the rich and varied curriculum described in the pages that follow.


Middlesex School encourages its students to think carefully about course selection and to create each year a course of study consistent with their interests, strengths, and background.

Each year, students will be invited to review the Curriculum and receive instructions from the Academic Office for creating a course of study.

In planning their program for the coming academic year, current students must meet with their advisors to submit electronically their course requests. Entering students receive information from the Academic Office regarding appropriate course requests and placement.

Department heads play an active role in the course selection process. In some departments, such as Mathematics, Science and in each of the languages, the department heads place students in the appropriate courses and levels each semester.

Courses at Middlesex are scheduled by time blocks, lettered A through H, and L (these blocks are subject to change as students’ schedules are configured). Each block represents a number of class periods a week. Some courses may include an extra period; others may meet only three periods a week.

The Curriculum provides the essential minimum of information necessary to request academic courses. For a full description of academic policies, refer to the Handbook. The course descriptions in this book are accurate at the time of publication. However, the information listed is subject to revision and change at the discretion of the School and updated course descriptions are available on the School’s website. Although we hope to offer the courses described in this catalogue, courses that do not directly fulfill a diploma requirement will not be taught if enrollment is insufficient. It is the hope of the School to schedule each student into the courses he or she has requested. However, for a variety of reasons it is not always possible to schedule each particular student into every course requested.


A course listed as Year must be taken both semesters in succession. Only in an extraordinary circumstance may a student drop a yearlong course at the end of the first semester with the permission of the Department and the Academic Office. A course listed as either Fall or Spring may be elected only in that semester. A course listed as Fall, Spring may be taken in either, but not both, semesters.


Courses at the School are offered by academic departments, such as English and Mathematics, and the departments are in turn grouped into divisions: Humanities; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Social Sciences; and Arts. Students are expected to meet requirements set by the departments and within the four divisions.

All students are expected to take a minimum of five-and-a-half courses each semester during their Class IV (Grade 9) and Class III (Grade 10) years, and five courses each semester during their Class II (Grade 11) and Class I (Grade 12) years, unless the faculty has made a special exception. Students in Classes I and II should elect their five courses within the limits set by the distributional requirements. In extraordinary circumstances, exceptions to the distributional requirements may be granted by the Academic Office.

After his or her first semester at Middlesex, a student may elect to take an additional half-credit or full-credit course with the permission of his or her advisor and the Academic Office and the approval of the Studies Committee. If a student taking an extra course fails one of the courses in his or her program, that student owes the School a credit to be made up in summer school. No student will be allowed to add for credit or audit a second extra course.

At an absolute minimum, Middlesex requires a student to attend 80% of the scheduled classes per course to be eligible to receive credit for the course based on the student’s graded performance. If attendance is below 80%, a vote of the faculty is required for course credit.  Please see the Handbook for further information.

A student may not advance to the next school year without successfully acquiring the minimum credits required for the previous academic year. No more than two-course credits may be made up through summer work.

To graduate from Middlesex, a student must fulfill the School’s academic requirements, as outlined by grade, department, and number and distribution of credits, in the Curriculum; carve a plaque that is acceptable to the faculty member overseeing the plaques; and meet all other School obligations, such as class attendance and athletic and arts requirements. Given our commitment to senior leadership and presence in the community, graduation also requires on-campus completion of the year in which the student is enrolled as a member of Class I.

Students who fulfill these requirements are eligible for a diploma. All Middlesex diplomas are awarded by a vote of the Middlesex faculty, with academic honors acknowledged as outlined in the Handbook. Middlesex does not grant diplomas to students who have already graduated from a secondary school or the international equivalent; such students may be eligible for a certificate of attendance, which is also awarded by vote of the faculty.


In addition to the departmental requirements, students are expected to meet distributional requirements during their Class II and Class I years. These are designed to provide students with a balanced exposure to the Humanities; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); Social Sciences; and Arts. Students are expected to elect courses among the four divisions in the following ratio of semester-length courses:


In extraordinary circumstances, exceptions to these requirements may be granted by the Academic Office, although no more than one credit will be waived. The Arts requirement will not be waived. This requirement may be fulfilled through arts courses or active participation in music lessons, chorus, or drama. Students having questions about the suitability of a particular course in meeting these requirements should seek advice from the Academic Office.


All four years of a student’s academic program are important.  The School advises that all students take four years of mathematics, four years of foreign language, and three years of laboratory science.

In planning an academic program, the following curricular models for each class will be useful:

Class IV (Grade 9)

English 10 and 11; Mathematics (the level will be determined by the Department); a foreign language (the level will be determined by the Department); one course each semester from Elements of Style (Art 11, 12M or 12E, 13, or 14); a course in Mindfulness (fall); Dialogues (spring); and any two other full-credit courses each semester offered to Class IV in History, Biology, Chemistry, or Computer Science. A student in Class IV may take a second foreign language only if he or she has reached Middlesex’s second year of study in one of the languages.

Class III (Grade 10)

English 20 and 21 and the Writing Workshop; Mathematics (the level will be determined by the Department); a foreign language (the level will be determined by the Department); Early Modern World History in the first semester and Modern World History in the second semester. Returning members of Class III must complete the requirements in Elements of Style (Art 11, 12M or 12E, 13, or 14). Entering members of Class III must take Art 11 during one semester and Art 12M or 12E, 13, or 14 during the other semester; and a course in Mindfulness (fall) and Dialogues (spring). In addition, all students in Class III must elect an additional full-credit course each semester offered in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Computer Science to complete their schedule. A student in Class III may take a second foreign language only if he or she has reached Middlesex’s second year of study in one of the languages.

Class II (Grade 11)

English 30 and 31; Mathematics at the appropriate level; United States History (History 30 or History 41); a foreign language; and one additional full-credit course each semester from those open to members of Class II. Juniors are strongly encouraged to elect Physics, or if Biology, Chemistry and Physics have been completed, an Applied Science or Advanced Placement science course. In determining the suitability of a particular course or courses, students are required to consult with their advisors and are encouraged to seek advice from Department Heads, the College Counselors, and the Academic Office. Students should be aware of distributional requirements for Class II and Class I when planning their schedules and should consider their program for their Class II year in light of a possible program for their Class I year.

Class I (Grade 12)

A senior English course (English 40s in the fall and 50s in the spring) each semester. In addition, each student must take four more full-credit courses each semester. It is strongly recommended that students continue mathematics through their Class I year. In choosing all of their courses, students are responsible for fulfilling both the departmental and the distributional requirements of the School for graduation. Once again, students are required to consult with their advisors and are encouraged to seek advice from Department Heads, the College Counselors, and the Academic Office.


Preparation for Advanced Placement examinations is offered in more than 20 subject areas. The requirements for admission to AP courses vary from department to department. For instance, admission to AP Economics is based on performance in both United States History and previous courses in mathematics; and admission to AP Art History is based on performance in Art 11, United States History and English 30 and 31. Admission to all Advanced Placement courses depends on demonstrated mastery of the subject in preceding courses as well as permission of the specific Department. Students will not be allowed to audit Advanced Placement courses. Any exception to this rule must be approved by the Academic Office.


Any student wishing to pursue a course of study not specifically offered in this course book may petition the Academic Office for permission to undertake a semester-length independent study option.

The Independent Study Program includes both Independent Courses and Independent Projects. In any semester, a student may only have one Independent Course or Independent Project as part of his or her academic program. Applications may be obtained from the Academic Office and must be submitted by the announced deadline; late applications will not normally be considered. Since the Independent Study Program is intended to allow a student to engage in study that is independent, the School will not normally allow more than two students to participate in a given Independent Course or Independent Project. (A member of the faculty may only sponsor one Independent Course or Independent Project in a semester). A student applying to the Independent Study Program must provide a written plan that clearly indicates a) how he or she will spend his or her time, b) a clear objective for the Program, and c) an explanation of what will be produced during the Program (journals, papers, reports, presentations, etc.). This plan must demonstrate that the amount of time invested in the Program is the equivalent to the amount of time spent in the class (es) dropped. In consultation with advisors and the Academic Office, the Studies Committee will evaluate and approve all petitions to the Independent Study Program.

An Independent Course is a course of study not specifically offered in this curriculum book and sponsored by teaching members of the Middlesex faculty. In addition to independent work, a student is expected to meet no fewer than two academic periods per week with his or her faculty sponsor and to produce regular papers, reports or other suitable academic materials.  Independent Courses confer academic credit.

For the spring semester, a member of Class I may pursue a part-time or full-time Independent Project, on or off campus. Independent Projects, unlike Independent Courses, do not confer academic credit, even though they may involve academic or intellectual activity, and they do not receive a grade. An Independent Project may stand in lieu of one or more courses. Independent Projects may serve in lieu of distributional requirements, but not departmental ones.


Any student may audit an academic course, but only with the permission of the instructor and a properly completed and approved audit form. Course audit forms are available in the Academic Office. A student may not audit any course that is fully enrolled, and students wishing to take a course for credit will be enrolled prior to students planning to audit. Regular attendance and completion of a minimum of 80% of the work is required before the School will note the audit on a student’s transcript. The student must join the class during the drop/add period at the beginning of the semester and continue through the end of the semester in order to be granted formal recognition of the audit. A student enrolled in an extra course may not audit an additional course. The student or instructor may end the audit at any point during the semester by instructing the Academic Office to remove the course from the student’s transcript. A student who audits a course for the complete semester will be included on class lists and will receive written quarterly comments and a notation of “audit” on his or her transcript. A student may not request an audit after completion of a course, nor use an audit to fulfill a department or distribution requirement, nor receive a grade or credit for the course.


Middlesex expects honesty of all its students at all times. It is assumed that each Middlesex student will be responsible for his or her own work in accordance with the principles teachers establish for each course. Students must understand that, should they hand in work that is for any reason not substantially their own, they may be accused of academic dishonesty.

Any Middlesex student who is guilty of academic dishonesty (that is, plagiarism or cheating) places his or her Middlesex career in jeopardy and may be dismissed.