Departments and Requirements

Departmental requirements consist of specific courses which aim to develop in all students such fundamental skills as insightful reading, critical thinking, coherent writing, probing research and accurate calculating – skills that will enable students to do sophisticated work at Middlesex and beyond. Because Middlesex promotes both breadth and depth of study, a student in their Class IV, Class III, or Class II year will not normally be permitted to suspend study in one department in order to take two courses in another.

In many cases, students are given credit for departmental requirements if they have previously taken courses at the high school level which are the equivalent of these requirements. For example, an entering member of Class III would not be required to take Math 22 if the student had completed geometry before coming to Middlesex.


All students must take an English course each semester. Students in Class IV must take English 10 and 11, students in Class III, English 20 and 21 and the Writing Workshop, and students in Class II, English 30 and 31. Students in Class I must select one course offered by the English Department each semester.


All students must take math through the level of Math 32 (Pre-calculus: Trigonometry) and they are expected to continue the study of mathematics through their Class I year.  Students entering Middlesex during their Class II year may be waived from completing Math 32, but must study math during each semester at Middlesex.


All students must take at least two full years of laboratory science and they are strongly advised to take three years of laboratory science. For the purpose of this requirement, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Environmental Science are considered laboratory sciences.  Students hoping to take particular AP sciences during their time at Middlesex must pay careful attention to the prerequisites paired with each course and plan their science sequence accordingly.

Foreign Languages

All students must study a single foreign language through Middlesex’s third-year level or continue the study of a single foreign language through the conclusion of their Class I year. Students may not satisfy this requirement by completing two years in one language and an additional year in another. Students admitted during their Class II year who have successfully completed three years of one foreign language in high school are encouraged, but not required, to continue the study of a foreign language. The School will support the efforts of native and heritage speakers to take appropriate national standardized tests. Middlesex will not allow a member of Class III or IV who enrolls with skills sufficient to take the AP test in a language to meet the School’s language requirement in that language. Students are encouraged to continue their language study through the Class I year. A student may study two foreign languages simultaneously only if the student has reached Middlesex’s second year of study in one of the languages.


All students must take at least four semesters of high school history (any course designated as History).  It is recommended that students in Class IV take Foundations of the East (History 10) and Foundations of the West (History 11). It is strongly recommended that students in Class III take Early Modern World History (History 20) and Modern World History (History 21). Students who wish to take the Advanced Placement examination in World History should enroll in both History 20 and History 21 and attend the exam preparation workshop offered by the Department during the spring semester. All students in Class II are required to complete a full-year course in United States History. Students may only request Advanced Placement United States History (History 41) if they have completed both Early Modern World History (History 20) and Modern World History (History 21).


All students entering Class IV must take four Elements of Style courses (Art 11, 12M or 12E, 13, and 14), one each semester. New students entering Class III must take two Elements of Style courses, one each semester. Returning students in Class III will take those Elements of Style courses not covered the preceding year.