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 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, but the following is the official statement of the graduation requirements.

A. Credit Requirements

minimum total credits earned 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 reduction or increase to the number of credits per semester may be approved by petition to the Dean of Faculty. The credit load may not be less than 5.5 credits nor exceed 7 credits per year. A student may take a maximum of 3.5 credits (not 4) per semester. Auditioned music group credit does not affect the credit totals per semester. The Dean of Faculty will consult the appropriate persons before making a decision on each petition. A student may take an overload only if space permits and if the other NMH requirements are schedulable (work program, athletics and physical education, co-curriculars, 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.

1. English A student must earn at least four credits in English and take at least one full-credit English course per year.
2. 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).
3. Mathematics A student must pass Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Most NMH students take courses beyond this minimal requirement.
4. 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.
5. Science The graduation requirement is one credit in biology and two credits in lab science (one of which may be biology). Most NMH students take courses beyond this minimal requirement.
6. History and Social Science The graduation requirement is two credits, one of which must be in US history; one-half credit may be in social science. Most NMH students take courses beyond this minimal requirement. A ninth-grade US history course taken prior to arriving at NMH does not satisfy the US history requirement.
7. Religious Studies Students must complete requirements as follows:
     a. four-year students must earn two credits; one full-credit course is included in the required Humanities I program. Students may earn the additional credit either in the sophomore year through the Humanities II program or take the additional required credit (REL 315: Traditions in Transition) in either junior or senior year.
     b. 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.
     c. two-year students must earn one credit; students entering as juniors fulfill the prescribed credit requirement with elective courses.
     d. one-year students must earn one-half credit; entering seniors and postgraduates fulfill the prescribed credit requirement with elective courses.
     e. Religion requirement for ESL students: ESL students are required to fulfill the religious studies 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.
8. The Arts: Art, Music, Theater, and Dance Students must complete requirements as follows:
     a. 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.
     b. three-year students must take two half-credit major courses or one half-credit major course plus one cocurricular course in the arts.
     c. two-year students must take one half-credit major course in the arts.
     d. one-year students must take one half-credit major course or one cocurricular course in the arts.
9. Physical Education and Athletics (PE/A) Ninth- and tenth-grade students participate in at least one athletic activity each year. Any term that a ninth or tenth grader is not in an athletic activity, he or she will take a physical education class. Juniors, seniors, and postgraduate students participate in one athletic activity and take two physical education classes in the other two terms or participate in two athletic activities with no physical education class required the third term. Students must earn a passing grade in all but one term of participation and must pass the spring term of the senior year. Grades for PE/A classes are determined by skill, knowledge, attitude, and attendance. Students who are members of a performing dance company or who take dance classes fulfill their physical education obligation for the terms during which they are enrolled in those programs. Participation in the outdoor education program also satisfies the physical education requirement the term in which a student is enrolled.

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 which represent the school.
Participation requirements are specific to the student’s grade level, as described below. Students can meet the requirement in a term either by taking one full cocurricular activity or two half cocurricular activities. Students may opt to participate in more activities as their interests and schedules allow.

For ninth- and tenth-grade students: In each of the three terms students will meet the cocurricular requirement, choosing an athletic team commitment in at least one of the three terms.

For 11th-grade, 12th-grade, and postgraduate students: In two out of the three terms, students will meet the cocurricular requirement, choosing an athletic team commitment in at least one of the two terms.

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 a 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 semester, including spring semester of the senior year, must correct this deficiency in accordance with the conditions listed in a current version of the Work Program Guidelines.

E. Grade Specific Requirements

Students in ninth grade must complete the health seminar (HEA009). Sophomores must complete the seminar in Diversity and Social Justice (DIV010).