Graduation Requirements

Graduation from Northfield Mount Hermon involves fulfilling both academic and nonacademic requirements. Effective planning of an academic program necessitates an understanding of all requirements, including the school’s credit system. To this end, students work closely with their advisors on long-range planning and specific course selection.

The Northfield Mount Hermon school year is divided into two semesters. NMH students must be in residence throughout their career at the school; exceptions will be made for students participating in programs sponsored or approved by the school. Seniors are required to be enrolled in six credits for the entire school year, even though they may have fulfilled subject graduation requirements before the spring semester.

Graduation Requirements

Credit Requirements
Subject Requirements
Cocurricular Requirement
Work Program Requirement
Grade Specific Requirements

Graduation requirements are summarized in an overview here, and the following is the official statement of the graduation requirements.


A. Credit Requirements

minimum total credits earned to graduate                   22
minimum credits passed senior year at NMH               5
credits attempted per year at NMH                               6*
credits attempted per semester at NMH                       3*

*In exceptional cases, a one-half-credit increase to the number of credits per semester may be approved by petition to the academic dean. The credit load may not exceed seven credits per year. A student may take a maximum of three and one half credits (not four) per semester. Auditioned performing arts group credit does not affect the credit totals per semester. A student may take an increase only if space permits and if the other NMH requirements can be scheduled (work program, athletics and physical education, cocurriculars, etc.). A “W” will appear on the transcript if a student withdraws from a course outside of the add/drop period.

B. Subject Requirements
It is important to distinguish between absolute graduation requirements and specific grade-level requirements. A graduation requirement (e.g., Algebra II) is one that is required of all students, regardless of how many years they are enrolled at NMH. A grade-level requirement (e.g., Humanities II) is required only of those students who are at NMH for that grade.

English  A student must earn at least four credits in English and take at least one full-credit English course per year.
English as a Second Language New students whose first language is not English attend a required orientation to academic life at NMH in the fall they enroll. During this orientation, their English language proficiency is assessed and they are placed in either ESL or English classes. Their placement in ESL or English determines which graduation requirements need to be met and when. ESL students must pass a minimum of one major course in non-ESL English at the 400 level (senior English).
Mathematics A student must pass Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.
World Languages The graduation requirement is the successful completion of a second-level course. Students whose native language is not English have fulfilled the NMH foreign language requirement provided they have successfully completed at least one year of formal study of their own language at the secondary school level. Students whose English skills require enrollment in our ESL program are exempt from the NMH foreign language requirement.
Science The graduation requirement is two credits in lab science, one of which may be biology.
History and Social Science The graduation requirement is two credits, one of which must be in US history. A ninth-grade US history course taken prior to arriving at NMH does not satisfy the US history requirement.
Religious Studies and Philosophy Students must complete requirements as follows:

  1. four-year students must earn two credits; one full-credit course is included in the required Humanities I program. The second credit can be either REL211, earned as part of the Humanities II program and taken in the sophomore year, or REL315, taken in the junior or senior year.
  2. three-year students must earn one and one-half credits; entering sophomores earn one full-credit religious studies course as part of the required Humanities II program. The remaining half-credit course must be earned as an elective during the junior or senior year.
  3. two-year students must earn one credit; students entering as juniors fulfill the prescribed credit requirement with elective courses.
  4. one-year students must earn one-half credit; entering seniors and postgraduates fulfill the prescribed credit requirement with elective courses.
  5. Religion requirement for ESL students ESL students are required to fulfill the religious studies and philosophy requirement that matches the number of full years they are NOT enrolled in ESL. For example, a four-year senior who is in ESL classes for two years and whose junior year is the first year with no ESL course must satisfy the same religious studies requirement as a student enrolled at NMH for two years.

The Arts: Art, Music, Theater, and Dance Students must complete requirements as follows:

  1. four-year students take the ninth-grade Arts Foundations course; in addition, they must take one half-credit major course or two cocurricular courses in the arts.
  2. three-year students must take two half-credit major courses or one half-credit major course plus one cocurricular course in the arts.
  3. two-year students must take one half-credit major course in the arts.
  4. one-year students must take one half-credit major course or one cocurricular course in the arts.

Physical Education and Athletics (PE/A) Students may meet the physical education and athletic requirement in two ways. Students may participate in one athletic activity during one term and take a physical education class in each of the two other terms, or a student may participate in two athletic activities over two terms with no physical education class required in the third term. Students may, of course, take three terms of athletics. To satisfy the graduation requirement, students must earn a passing grade in the physical education class or athletic activity.
Athletic activity is defined as an interscholastic team sport or participation in the NMH Outdoor Team or Dance Companies. PE classes can include dance classes and managing a sport.
The PE/A requirement may be met through managing a sports team for one term, but only after the first term of enrollment at NMH. Students who want to manage a second term also must take a physical education course that term.
Students must earn a passing grade in all but one term of participation to satisfy the graduation requirement and must pass the spring term of the senior year. Grades for PE/A classes are determined by skill, knowledge, attitude, and attendance.

C. Cocurricular Requirement
The cocurricular requirement supports student involvement beyond the challenges of their major academic courses. Most qualifying activities fall into five broad categories:

  • athletics and outdoor education
  • performing and visual arts activities
  • outreach activities
  • significant school leadership opportunities
  • activities representing the school.
Fulfilling the cocurricular requirement is linked with a student’s participation in athletics. Students may either 1) participate in one athletic activity during one term, and then a physical education class and cocurricular in each of the two remaining terms; or 2) participate in two athletic activities with no physical education class or cocurricular required in the third term. To satisfy the graduation requirement, students must earn a passing grade in the cocurricular course or activity. 

D. Work Program Requirement
Students must participate in the program and fulfill a work requirement with a passing grade each term they are in residence at NMH. Work program supervisors rely on the grading system  for the evaluation of a student’s attitude, dependability, performance, and punctuality at the job site. For example, students merit a grade of “satisfactory” when they are rarely absent or late and perform tasks adequately with minimal supervision. However, a student who receives a grade of “unsatisfactory” for any term, including spring term of the senior year, must correct this deficiency in accordance with the conditions listed in the current version of the Work Program Guidelines.

E. Grade-Specific Requirements
Students in ninth grade must complete the health seminar (HEA 009). Sophomores must complete the seminar in Diversity and Social Justice (DIV 010). Both courses are term-based, and are not included in a student’s overall credit count or GPA. They are evaluated using the same system as semester-long academic courses and appear on the transcript as non-credit graduation requirements.