The Spence diploma requires four years of Upper School. Students in Grades 9-12 take five or six full-credit homework-bearing courses per semester, plus physical education. In addition, students take required and elective courses in visual arts, performing arts, health education and computer science. The normal course load for seniors is five full-credit homework-bearing courses, plus physical education. Advanced Art Portfolio counts as one of the five courses. In special circumstances, a senior may be granted permission to take a sixth homework-bearing course.

The diploma is awarded to seniors with four years of high school attendance who have met the School’s academic standards and fulfilled the course requirements listed below. To remain eligible for a Spence diploma, a student may choose to attend no more than one foreign or domestic study program during her Upper School years at Spence. In most cases, Spence does not grant diplomas to students who leave the School after junior year.

In order to receive a diploma from The Spence School, Upper School students must successfully complete:

Diploma Requirements

List of 10 items.

  • English and World Literature

    Through Grade 12:
    English 9: Home and Away
    English 10: American Literature
    Electives, including one required in world study, in Grades 11 and 12
  • History

    Through Grade 11:
    Global History II in Grade 9
    United States History in Grade 10
    Full year of electives in Grade 11
  • Mathematics

    Through Grade 11:
    Integrated Math 9
    Integrated Math 10
    Integrated Math 11
  • Science

    Through Grade 11:
    Physics in Grade 9
    Chemistry in Grade 10
    Biology in Grade 11
  • Modern and Classical Languages

    Three consecutive years of Chinese, French, Latin or Spanish in Upper School, beginning in Grade 9 or Grade 10
  • Visual Arts

    Three semesters: Students complete a distribution requirement, selecting one course from three required groups.
  • Performing Arts

    Two semesters: Distribution must be in two of the three disciplines: Dance, Drama and Music.

    Each discipline can be met by a performance or nonperformance course.
  • Health Education

    Dimensions of Interactional Health (semester) in Grade 9 or Grade 10

    Health Education topics are also included throughout the Upper School program.
  • Computer Science

    Any Computer Science course
  • Physical Education

    Through Grade 12:
    An elective each semester