At CA we encourage each student to pursue his or her intellectual interests within a detailed set of department requirements.
CA’s curriculum comprises more than 230 courses in eight academic disciplines, and a cocurricular athletics program. For more information about each department — including department philosophies, requirements, courses of study, faculty bios, and frequently asked questions — please click on the links below.
It’s no secret that computers have transformed the way we live and work — yet how many of us are rooted in the languages, systems, theories, and structures of the technologies that are shaping our world? At Concord Academy, you’ll find cutting-edge technology just about everywhere on campus. But access is only the beginning.
For students who dream of developing apps, writing new programming languages, or starting their own Web design firms, CA offers deep engagement in real-life scenarios. So you’ll have the tools to create that Photoshop masterpiece, just for fun — or be well-prepared to move on to schools like MIT and a career in technology.
From theory and coding to graphic and Web design, our approach to Computer Science is interdisciplinary, hands-on, and highly collaborative. We love that CA students bring passion to projects that excite them, and we recognize that some of the most creative work happens outside of class. Our expert faculty is available to guide and support informal exploration — in the computer lab before dinner, on a pair of laptops in the library, or in collaboration with other developers online. Teachers at CA are not afraid to try new things, and that’s vital in a field that will continue to shape our shared future in the years and decades to come.
To question, consider, and debate. To read perceptively, write clearly, and argue persuasively. To experience life through the eyes of others, and articulate our own thoughts with care and nuance. These are just some of the skills Concord Academy students develop by studying English during every semester of their CA education.
Students’ ideas bring our English classrooms alive. Discussions transport us. Our ninth and tenth grades read a common set of texts drawn from ancient and modern classics of world literature, sharing in a rigorous, core reading experience. In the eleventh and twelfth grades, CA students pursue highly specialized, college-level electives. Beyond the classroom, opportunities for writing abound, in a variety of thriving writing clubs and in student-run publications.
Thanks to our location in Concord — the very town where Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Hawthorne, and Fuller transformed the American literary tradition — we offer our students unique firsthand access to the legacy of the 19th-century transcendentalists. In addition to classroom examinations of American and world literature — from the Bible to James Baldwin, Shakespeare to Ha Jin, Tolstoy to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — students spend time mastering writing as a craft, honing essays, and exploring poetry and creative prose. This firm grounding in analysis and effective expression serves our graduates well in college and in every endeavor that requires strong communication — that is, in all of life.
Where do we encounter history outside a textbook? At Concord Academy, we don’t have far to look. Sometimes it’s a canoe trip down Concord’s rivers, or a collaboration with nearby universities to analyze an archeological dig. Sometimes it’s unearthing original documents from the town’s colonial archives. Or standing on the battlefield, a stone’s throw from campus, where the shot that started the American Revolution was fired. Few schools can offer such direct access to America’s rich social, political, and intellectual history. Our home — the town of Concord, itself — is one of our most valuable learning tools.
CA’s history curriculum also extends far beyond our own location. Students can delve into the cultural traditions of Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, from the ancient world to modern economies. In every history course at CA, we read both primary and secondary texts — classics of the discipline, as well as the latest scholarship — and take advantage of a wide array of resources to bring the past into the classroom.
While coming to understand U.S. society and its institutions, as well as other cultures around the world, students develop skills in research, critical analysis, and written and oral expression. They also gain a historically informed perspective on the present, as we encourage students to be active, thoughtful, and engaged global citizens. At CA, students come to understand the significance of what’s come before — not just what happened.
What if you learned trigonometry by modeling the relative sizes of objects in a photo? Or statistics by studying the psychology of decision-making? At Concord Academy, our experienced and passionate mathematics teachers challenge students to think critically and to learn by engaging in the world around them.
Our course progression emphasizes a logical and intuitive development of mathematical techniques that opens the door to experiencing the creative aspects of mathematical thinking, as well as the power to solve everyday problems.
By providing numerous pathways through the math curriculum, we meet individual students at their levels of prior experience and interest. All students at Concord Academy learn data analysis, a crucial numeracy skill for the 21st century, and thanks to our flexible approach, most exceed departmental requirements. Older students might take college-level calculus, or use economic tools to analyze rent control. Future engineers channel their curiosity in very advanced classes, such as abstract algebra and number theory. You might find juniors together outside of class working on mathematical games and puzzles, or seniors competing at the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. At CA, we appreciate math’s foundational role in scientific study, and we approach the discipline collaboratively and creatively. We’ve found that curiosity can be one of our greatest tools.
Modern and Classical Languages
Chatting in a café in Paris or a host family’s kitchen in Madrid. Setting foot in the Roman Coliseum or Beijing’s Forbidden City. Or keeping up with a friend from Frankfurt. The world language you study at Concord Academy could take you to places that haven’t yet crossed your mind.
While schools across the U.S. are scaling back their language programs, CA remains committed to world languages as part of a 21st-century education. Our approach is practical, focused on proficiency — from speaking to reading, translating to writing, we want students not just to know the language but to use it.
We offer instruction in four of the world’s major modern languages — Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese — as well as in Latin. By making ample use of current technology in our teaching, we keep languages vibrant and meet students where they are communicating. In the classroom and through online resources and extracurricular activities, our students learn to think and engage in other languages. Many choose to spend a spring break, a semester, or a year studying abroad. In doing so, they come to understand other cultures from the inside, and find firm footing for presenting their ideas in our international society.
At Concord Academy, anyone can dance — or act, or sing, or play an instrument. With nearly 40 courses to choose from and 20 theater, dance, and music performances on campus each year, CA students can participate in the performing arts at every level of experience.
Programs in music, theater, and dance, as well as interdisciplinary courses, develop the skills necessary to progress toward greater mastery and self-expression. And our performing companies are regularly presented with opportunities for both national and international travel.
At CA, we encourage students to explore the world around them by questioning the conventional. As learning in the performing arts centers on the artistic process itself, students synthesize knowledge gained in other academic pursuits and their personal lives, build skills through rigorous training and critique, and communicate new ideas and ways of understanding.
Engagement with performing arts prepares students for success in all areas of their lives. Students learn individual expression within group pursuit, and develop skills in collaboration and communication, creative problem solving, improvising, and working within structure — gaining self confidence and finding inspiration.
For some it’s building a hovercraft. For others, it’s examining aquatic life while paddling on the Sudbury River. No matter what drives students to explore our world, there’s a way to engage deeply through the sciences here at Concord Academy. Whether we’re running a student-designed chemistry experiment in the lab or debating the findings of a journal article, we involve students in a dynamic process of questioning and investigation.
We know that science is best learned by doing. At CA, our rigorous core curriculum combines hands-on, interactive lab activities and research opportunities with innovative theoretical approaches. Building on foundational courses in biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics, students have options to delve deeper into college-level work and specialty fields from engineering design to sustainability management to electromagnetic theory. Outside the classroom, our DEMONs group (which stands for dreamers, engineers, mechanics, and overt nerds) is a creative force on campus, and our InSPIRE program allows students interested in research careers to intern at Boston’s cutting-edge labs and engineering firms.
Beginning in the fall of 2016–17, Concord Academy’s commitment to fostering creative thinking will be embodied in our new CA Labs facility. Currently under construction, this center for interdisciplinary exploration will double the science classroom space and house a dedicated fabrication lab for our 3D printer and other makerspace tools. With a green roof and sustainable design, the building itself will be a learning tool — for observation and inference, real-world analysis, and unlimited exploration. We think of it as home for our future innovators and entrepreneurs.
The click of a shutter. The white space of a canvas. The elegance of a blueprint. Whatever ignites the spark for you, Concord Academy’s visual arts teachers — all of them artists who love collaborating with students — feel it too.
They provide a structured approach to a flexible curriculum that allows students at all levels to thrive. With more than 30 studio art courses, unlimited studio access, and a state-of-the-art media lab, CA’s visual arts facilities invite exploration and inspiration.
From foundational courses in drawing and printmaking to intense studio experiences in painting and fashion design, the possibilities for studying visual arts at CA truly are as wide as you can dream. Many students initially explore a broad range of two- and three-dimensional art forms before focusing on, say, documentary filmmaking or wheel-thrown ceramics. In addition to studio instruction, most visual arts courses include lectures or screenings, group discussions, and critiques. First-level courses serve as introductions to a progressively challenging sequence of courses in subjects such as photography, architecture, digital graphic design, fiber arts, sculpture, screenwriting, art history, and film history, to name just a few.
Drawing on greater Boston’s rich cultural scene, CA supports the study of visual arts with trips to artists’ studios and in-depth, behind-the-scenes engagement at museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, and the Addison Gallery of American Art. At CA, the arts are embraced as a core component of the student experience, and students bring their creative passions to bear in nearly every class.