Minor Courses

These minor courses meet for the second half of the afternoon, from 3:30 to 5 pm, four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). All work is conducted in class, and there is no assigned homework.

All students participating in the Rising Scholars Program or in English for Speakers of Other Languages–RS choose minor courses from the following offerings. Certain minor courses may fill quickly, so please list three choices on your online application.

A group of NMH Summer Session students stand with a collaborative painting project
NMH Summer Session students working together on a robotics project
NMH Summer Session student at the easel, drawing.
Student points a DSLR camera at the viewer
Student flies model plane outside under a bright blue sky
Student working with clay in the ceramics studio


NMH is a wonderful location for viewing and studying stars and planets in our observatory here on campus. With very little external light "pollution" from neighboring houses and towns, this is a great setup for studying astronomy. There is an in-class component as well as two evening viewing sessions per week.


This course gives an introduction to flying. While students do not actually fly, field trips to a local airport and time on a computerized flight simulator are included. Students learn the basics of the physics of flight (lift, drag, thrust), discover how planes can fly, and are shown the detailed process of pre-flight inspection and planning. They learn to navigate from one airport to another using a sectional chart and also learn the basics of proper radio communication using prescribed vocabulary and phrases.

They then use everything they have learned to plan a trip. Flying from point A to point B is not just getting up in the air. You must plan the flight, account for weather and wind by getting a weather briefing, and file a flight plan. Once this is complete, it's "wheels up" and off to complete your flight on a simulator!

Commercial drone flying requires much of the same knowledge a private pilot needs. As part of the course, students learn drone regulations and even fly a drone!

Basic Economics

Ever wonder what the Dow Jones Industrial Index means? Or what the deficit of the federal government is? How the stock market operates? How it is that so many people accumulate large credit card debt, and how to avoid this? Through a very broad look at simple economic principles and approaches to responsible personal financial management, this course helps students with no experience or understanding of these topics get a survey of financial and economic topics that will help them throughout their lives.


The course explores a variety of building techniques: pinching, slipping and scoring, coiling, slab-building, and throwing on the wheel. Through a variety of projects, students learn about texture, form, and structure. Materials fee: $50.

Community Service

This course is designed to raise awareness of local and global needs, to offer support and work to various organizations, and to instill the values of offering one's time, energy, and other resources to those in need. Discussion and action revolve around themes such as homelessness and housing, health care, education, and children. In a typical summer, students visit a homeless shelter and a nursing home, volunteer in a children's reading program at a local library, and raise money for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts or other charities.

Computer Skills

This course is for students who want to improve their knowledge of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Google. Students learn how to make their presentations stand out; how to insert citations, tables, and an index into Word documents; and how to improve their organization using calendar apps and to-do lists.

Digital Photography

This course includes camera basics from shutter speeds and apertures to depth-of-field, use of flash, and more. The class emphasizes taking high-quality photos under varying conditions and includes landscape photography, close-ups, portraits, and sports. Students must have their own digital SLR cameras.

Renewable Energy

This course examines various forms of renewable energy and their benefits for environmental sustainability. Students learn about energy, energy transformations, and efficiency in the context of renewable energy sources through on-campus study as well as field trips to local solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy-producing facilities.


In this course, students explore acting, improvisation, and mime. They practice presenting monologues and prepare a production to be presented to the NMH community at the end of the session.

Drawing and Painting

This course is tailored to the individual interests and abilities of the students and provides an opportunity for students of all levels to develop their artistic talents in drawing and painting. Materials fee: $50.


This course explores the world of robotics through hands-on investigation, design, and problem solving. Students study the history of robotics, the basic components of a robotic system, the various methods by which robots move, the use of sensors, and programming. Students must provide their own Chromebook, Windows-based Mac, or PC laptop.

SSAT Preparation

This course, taught by Summit Educational Group's verbal and math instructors, focuses on the test-taking strategies and academic skills required to succeed on the SSAT. Summit provides students with a program of instruction customized to meet their individual needs and maximize their scoring potential. The course includes both SSAT Math and Verbal. Summit course fee: $730. (Summit will reduce this fee for students who receive financial aid from NMH Summer Session.)

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