Major Courses (Rising Scholars)

NMH Summer Session students in an outdoor science class, participating in field research
Summer Session student in science class using a microscope
NMH Summer Session students in class
NMH Summer Session students in class, working in pairs

You’ll take either two half-morning major courses or one full-morning major course, which meet Monday through Saturday. Half-morning major courses meet for 75 minutes, and full-morning courses meet for three hours.


Do you fancy yourself a writer? Are you a poet in the making? Do you have a story to tell? Try your hand at many different types of writing in this class, such as essays, drama, fiction, and poetry. You’ll also read short stories, essays, and poems, and have the chance to practice free-writing, as well as work on drafts and revisions using feedback from your teacher and classmates. Meets 1st or 2nd period.

Skills in Literature

The most important goal of this course is to encourage you to enjoy reading. You will develop your skills in understanding and analyzing fiction, drama, and poetry through daily reading and writing assignments. You’ll read and discuss several works of fiction that each provide a very different style of writing. Study such fundamental elements as plot, setting, and theme, and respond to the literature by relating it to your own experiences. Vocabulary is studied on a daily basis to enhance comprehension. Meets 1st period.

The World of the Short Story

Would you like to write your own short story? By the end of this course, you’ll do just that! Learn about the pieces that make up a short story and how setting, characters, and plot all fit together. Read short stories that are realistic as well as those that stray from the real world. In class, you’ll talk about these stories and tackle writing assignments that will help you ultimately create and write your own story. Meets 2nd period.

Heroes and Villains

Answer the call to adventure! If you like stories about the epic struggle between good and evil, look no further than this course. Embark upon a hero’s journey through literature, film, legend, and history. Are villains just a hero of their own story? How can YOU be a hero in your own life? Through thoughtful discussion and consideration of heroes and villains ranging from Achilles and Agamemnon to Iron Man and Thanos, you'll get a chance to view morality in a whole new light. Prepare for your perception of heroism and villainy to be changed forever! Meets 1st period.

History in Film and Fiction

Using fiction and films about history, you’ll study how the past has been interpreted in literature and film. Examine how authors, directors, playwrights, artists, and others use the past in their work, and how contemporary culture shapes their work. You’ll gain an appreciation for how history has been used and misused and learn the basics of historical writing, including constructing a thesis, analyzing source materials, and writing a cohesive essay. Meets 1st period.

Medieval History

Sharpen your sword, don your armor, and saddle up your warhorse — the Medieval Period awaits! Learn all about knighthood, chivalry, and the art of battle. You'll also have the chance to explore castles, investigate the inner workings of the church, and step into the shoes of an average peasant! Ever heard of Joan of Arc? King Arthur of Camelot? Marco Polo? Take this class and discuss the different ways that these legendary heroes (real and mythical) continue to influence our stories and culture today. A whole world of honor, duty, and adventure is knocking at your door — open up and come on down to Medieval History! Meets 2nd period.


Whether you want take center stage or work behind the scenes, you’ll get a taste of live theatre as literature, production, and performance. Learn about acting techniques such as scene study, improvisation, vocal production, and stage movement. Perform both short scenes and monologues. Get to know the basics of stage production in set design and construction, design and use of lighting, elements of costume design, and the use and construction of props. Meets 1st period.

Studio Art

Anyone can be an artist! Try your hand at drawing in pencil, charcoal, and ink. Then, dabble with pastels, watercolors, and acrylics. You’ll even have the chance to work with linoleum-block printmaking, collage, clay, and 3-D sculpture. Open to students of all levels. Materials fee: $50. Meets 2nd period.


Gain a strong foundation in some of the most important concepts of Algebra I. You’ll study properties, solving equations using inverse operations, coordinate geometry, problem solving, connections between algebra and geometry, and applications of mathematical concepts to everyday situations. The intent of the course is to give you the skills and confidence necessary for success in Algebra I. Meets 1st or 2nd period.

Algebra I

In this class, you’ll cover the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course, including properties of mathematical systems; solution of equations and inequalities; solution of equations that involve square root and absolute value; graphs of linear equations and systems, slope and intercepts; graphs of inequalities; operations on polynomials and on rational and irrational expressions; and solution of quadratic equations by factoring and by quadratic formula. The solution of verbal problems is an integral part of the course. Meets for the full morning plus the first half of the afternoon. (Rising Scholars Program students in this course have the option of taking either a Rising Scholars minor course or a College Prep sport for the second half of the afternoon.)

Field Biology

Northfield Mount Hermon is the perfect place to take your education outdoors! In this class, you’ll explore and study habitats, plants and animals, and environmental issues on our campus, which is situated on the beautiful Connecticut River and surrounded by forests, streams, fields, and freshwater ponds. You’ll also work in the classroom and lab. Meets 1st period.

Introduction to Scientific Research

Ever wonder about the physics of roller coasters? Do you think it would be fascinating to study macro-invertebrates  — such as crayfish, snails, and dragonflies — that live in local bodies of water? Would you like to study chemical reactions? In this course, you’ll learn how to design your own testable questions and experiments to study scientific phenomenon of interest. You’ll learn how to write lab reports and present your experimental findings to others. And you might even be able to explain how roller coasters work. Meets 2nd period.

Marine Biology

Learn about living things in the ocean, how they interact with each other, and how they adapt to the various marine environments. You’ll also examine the effects of pollution in our oceans as a result of human activities. Your understanding of these topics will be enhanced by outdoor field trips, classroom observations, and group discussions. Meets 2nd period.

Social Psychology

How do people think about themselves? How do they think about others? What motivates their behavior in social situations? In this course, you’ll explore one of the most interesting and relatable aspects of the human mind: social psychology. Using literature, experiments, and group projects, you’ll learn how humans interact, communicate, and connect with others. You’ll examine the influences of others, both positive and negative, including decision making, group behavior, attraction, aggression, and factors that promote health and well-being. Throughout the course, you’ll make observations, conduct experiments, and report your findings as you seek to understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals. Meets 1st period.


Get an introduction to the principles and practices in the field of forensic science. Begin with an introduction to forensic science and crime scene investigation, including collecting and processing evidence. You’ll learn scientific tools and techniques for analyzing certain types of evidence. Pattern recognition — including fingerprint analysis, document analysis, and ballistics analysis — may be emphasized. While you’re not expected to have a background in biology or chemistry, some basic forensic biology and chemistry topics are introduced (for example, DNA analysis, hair analysis, toxicology, and materials analysis). Case studies of actual crime scenes are presented and discussed. Meets 1st period.

Beginning Chinese

This introductory Mandarin Chinese course focuses on the basic skills of language acquisition: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. You’ll be immersed in the Chinese phonetic system (Hanyu Pinyin Romanization) through basic grammar, simplified character-writing, and language drills via conversation, songs, and Chinese social media. The goals are for you to learn approximately 150 Chinese words, be able to engage in simple conversations, and gain an understanding of Chinese culture, history, philosophy, and customs. The course is designed for students with little or no previous study of the language. Meets for the full morning.

Beginning French

In this introductory course, listening, speaking, reading, and writing are all developed, with special emphasis on speaking. You’ll work on greeting and introducing people, asking and answering questions, telling time, talking about the weather and family, and ordering food. Classes include grammar exercises, vocabulary review, viewing videos, and working on projects. The cultural aspects of France are explored through the study of French artists, researching a country from the francophone world, and making crepes and madeleines in class. Meets 2nd period.

Beginning Latin

In this class, you’ll begin with the basics of Latin grammar and syntax. You’ll work on building your vocabulary, emphasizing the presence of Greek and Latin roots in English words. The class will help you gain the study skills necessary to master the forms and vocabulary of the language. Classroom instruction and independent projects will introduce you to the history and culture of the ancient Romans. Meets 2nd period.

Beginning Spanish

You’ll get an introduction to the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The alphabet, pronunciation of vowels and consonants, days, months, seasons, numbers, and many other areas are covered. Themes include greetings and farewells, daily activities, family members, foods, and telling time. You will become familiar with Hispanic countries and cultures, including the wide variety of accents throughout Latin America and Spain, with projects focusing on differences in history, language, food, and customs. Meets 2nd period.

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