Minor Courses

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
These minor courses meet for the second half of the afternoon, from 3:30 to 5:00 pm, four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). All work is conducted in class, and there is no assigned homework.

NOTE: Algebra I has additional class sessions from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, four days per week. For the second half of the afternoon, Rising Scholars Program students in Algebra I may choose either a Rising Scholars minor course or a College Prep sport.

All other students participating in the Rising Scholars Program choose minor courses from the following offerings. Certain minor courses may fill quickly, so please list three choices on your online application.


NMH is a wonderful location for providing an opportunity to view and study 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.

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 in 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; 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 camera.


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.

Journalism: Read All About It!

Students are introduced to the field of journalism, learning about ethics, interviewing techniques, newspaper writing, and the various media forms used today. For example, as part of the section on sports journalism, the class visits the press box of a local baseball team and has a question-and-answer session with one of the team's writers, and then the students write their own report of the game.

Music Appreciation

This course is the study of Western music, including western and eastern Europe, Russia,  and the U.S.; classical traditions in South America; and modern concert and film music. After the fall of Rome in 476AD, for the next 1000 years, the Medieval period, music from the Christian church dominated the scene in the form of Gregorian chant and began the development of harmony. The Baroque era saw the rise of the orchestra. The Classical era gave birth to the symphony, string quartet, concerto. Emotion and descriptive music came to the fore in the 1800's, the Romantic era. 20th century music began a time of great experimentation. Electronic music began its rise in the 1960's, and film music became an integral part of the concert scene. Many composers from South America, Russia, and the U.S. came to the conservatories in Europe, spreading these traditions throughout the world.

Renewable Energy

This course examines various forms of renewable energy and their positive 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.


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 or Windows-based Mac 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: $850. (Summit will reduce this fee for students who receive financial aid from NMH Summer Session.)

The New York Times visited NMH Summer Session


Summer Session Viewbook