Major Courses

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


In this course, students explore various types of writing, including fiction, essays, drama, and poetry. They study vocabulary, mechanics, and techniques of writing style. Through free-writing, drafts, and revisions, they develop the skills needed to communicate their thoughts more effectively on the page. They also read short stories, essays, and poems, which provide models for writing as well as topics for writing and discussion. The class offers group work and individual instruction based on the needs of the students, as well as teacher and peer editing throughout the course. Meets first or second period.

Skills in Literature

The most important goal of this course is to encourage students to enjoy reading. The more concrete goals involve developing their skills in understanding and analyzing fiction, drama, and poetry through daily reading and writing assignments. Students read and discuss several works of fiction that each provide a very different style of writing. They study such fundamental elements as plot, setting, and theme, and respond to the literature by relating it to their own experiences. Vocabulary is studied on a daily basis to enhance comprehension. Meets first period.

The World of the Short Story

In this course, students are given the opportunity to discuss and analyze the elements of what makes a short story. Discussions and written assignments come about from reading short stories that are realistic and also those that stray from the real world. Students consider how setting, characters, and plot can be incorporated into the shorter setting rather than a more traditional novel. Combined with reading many short stories by a variety of authors, they also explore how to create and write their own short fictional stories. Meets second period.

Heroes and Villains

History has been full of heroes and villains. This course is an opportunity to study these characters, from all their goodness to all their nastiness, and to see what motivated them and the impact they had, both positive and negative, in their own land and on the world as a whole. Why was Athena's birth such a headache for Zeus? Does Odysseus qualify as a hero? And did someone just try to say that Darth Vader is NOT a villain? This course traces the roots of the hero narrative from The Iliad to the Harry Potter series, from Beowulf to Luke Skywalker. Along the way, students investigate myths, fables, legends, and historical figures, asking themselves how the ideas about heroes and villains that they find in literature and history reflect the evolution of society through the ages. Meets first period.

History in Film and Fiction

This course uses fictional literary works and films on history as the framework and studies the ways that the past has been interpreted in literature and film. It examines how authors, directors, playwrights, artists, and others use the past in their work and how that usage is determined by contemporary culture and helps shape that culture. Students gain an appreciation for how history has been used and misused, as well as develop the fundamentals of historical writing, including construction of a thesis, analysis of source materials, and writing a cohesive essay. Meets first period.

Medieval History

What was the medieval period? It happened so long ago, should we even care? Of course we should, because the future ahead of us will be shaped by the historical moments of the past. The Dark Ages, the bubonic plague, the First Crusade, the expansion of Islam, and Marco Polo are just some of the things that the medieval period experienced, and so can you. During this class, you have the chance to become a knight or a lady-in-waiting, a lord or a serf. You learn how to lay siege to a castle and visit the dungeons. You are able to delve into the medieval past across Europe and see how you can help shape the world's future because, as you know, history has a reputation for repeating itself. Meets second period.


This course introduces students to all the elements of live theatre as literature, production, and performance. Class activities include instruction in acting techniques such as scene study, improvisation, vocal production, and stage movement. Monologues and short scenes are performed as part of the course. Students study 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 first period.

Studio Art

This course provides an opportunity for students of all levels to develop their artistic talents in various media. The class begins with drawing in pencil, charcoal, and ink, and progresses to use of pastels, watercolors, and acrylics. Students also engage in linoleum-block print making and collage. Special projects are introduced to expose them to a variety of materials and may include clay or 3-D sculpture. Materials fee: $50. Meets second period.


The goal of this course is to provide a strong foundation in some of the most important concepts of Algebra I. Among the topics studied are 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 students the skills and confidence necessary for success in Algebra I. Meets first or second period.

Algebra I

This class covers the work of a full-year, college-preparatory course, including the following topics: 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; 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

The Northfield Mount Hermon campus is ideally situated for a summer course in field biology because of its location on the Connecticut River, surrounded by forests, streams, fields, and freshwater ponds. Students develop an understanding of the techniques of field biology, observe and sample local ecological habitats, observe and collect biological specimens, and discuss environmental issues. They learn the basic principles of ecology and environmental science through classroom activities, field study, and laboratory projects. Meets first period.

Introduction to Scientific Research

Do you love science and want to explore fascinating questions about the world? In this course, students are armed with the tools of critical thinking and practice scientific literacy and logic skills in order to separate science from pseudoscience. They learn to use scientific equipment and technology while studying a variety of topics, including macro-invertebrate sampling of local bodies of water, the physics of the roller coaster, and various chemical reactions. Working both independently and in small groups, students learn to design their own testable questions and experiments to study scientific phenomenon of interest, ultimately writing lab reports and presenting their experimental findings to their peers. Meets second period.

Marine Biology

This is an introductory course about living things in the ocean, how they interact with each other, and how they adapt to the various marine environments. The effects of pollution in our oceans as a result of human activities are also examined. Outdoor field trips, classroom observations, and group discussions facilitate the students' understanding of the topics covered in the course. Meets second period.


This course is an introduction to the principles and practices in the field of forensic science. It begins with an introduction to forensic science and crime scene investigation, including the collection and processing of evidence. Students learn the scientific tools and techniques for analyzing certain types of evidence. Pattern recognition, including fingerprint analysis, document analysis, and ballistics analysis, may be emphasized. While students are 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 first 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, students are introduced to one of the most interesting and relatable aspects of the human mind: social psychology. Using literature, experiments, and group projects, the class focuses on how humans interact, communicate, and connect with others. Students 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, they learn to make observations, conduct experiments, and report their findings as they seek to understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals.  Meets first period.

Beginning Chinese

This introductory Mandarin Chinese course focuses on the basic skills of language acquisition: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Students are immersed in the Chinese phonetic system (Hanyu Pinyin Romanization). The class includes simple grammatical structures and simplified writing characters, as well as daily conversations through drills, songs, and Chinese social media. The goals are for students to learn approximately 150 Chinese words, including self-introductions and greetings; to be able to engage in simple conversations; and to understand more about 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. Students 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 second period.

Beginning Latin

This course begins with the basics of Latin grammar and syntax. A section of the course includes work on vocabulary building, emphasizing the presence of Greek and Latin roots in English words. The acquisition of study skills necessary to master the forms and vocabulary of the language is emphasized. Classroom instruction and independent projects introduce students to the history and culture of the ancient Romans. Meets second period.

Beginning Spanish

This course introduces students 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 included are greetings and farewells, daily activities, family members, foods, and telling time. Students 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 second period.

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