Grades Nine and Ten
- Liberal Arts curriculum that includes English, history, science, mathematics, classical language, the arts, and physical education
- Provides students with a shared experience to support their later, more specialized learning
- Interdisciplinary approach to humanities by immersion in primary texts and an emphasis on close reading and writing
- A two-year study of Latin or ancient Greek
- Modern Language Program (optional)
- Biology (ninth grade)
- Chemistry (tenth grade)
- Mathematics (whatever level of mathematics students are prepared for, from Algebra to Multivariable Calculus at BUA and higher-level courses at BU)
- Ninth- and Tenth-Grade Seminars (fun, hands-on learning without the added pressures of grades or homework; Seminars rotate through various topics of study each year: Health & Wellness; Cultural Competency; Foundations in Language & Logic; Introduction to Research; Python & Machine Learning; and Engineering & Entrepreneurship)
Our approach to teaching the classical tradition in the humanities prompts students to understand historical perspectives, to think critically, to delve deeply, to master the use of primary texts, and to hone interpretive powers. Boston University Academy students learn how to question what they read; how to craft a well-reasoned argument; and how to appreciate the connections of literature, political theory, philosophy, religion, science, and history. Classes focus on the debate of “why” and “how.”
Grades Eleven and Twelve
- All upperclassmen continue to take courses offered in the Academy building in addition to enrolling in courses at Boston University.
- Students can pick from more than 2,000 BU courses including 20+ languages.
- Juniors typically enroll in a science and a modern language class at the University, while seniors’ selections vary widely.
- Students can select BU courses in disciplines including anthropology, sociology, economics, computer science, and more.
- All University courses are taken for credit with Boston University faculty and students.
- Most students earn as many as 48 college credits (the equivalent of 12 college courses or 1½ years) prior to graduating.
- Course credits may be transferred at the discretion of the college to which a student matriculates.
- Scientific research opportunities exist for students with an interest and aptitude in science.
- Most students graduate with proficiency in two languages, one classical and one modern.
- Seniors are required to complete a yearlong thesis project with the guidance of a professor and a BUA faculty advisor.
Curricular Updates for the 2023-2024 Academic Year
For many years, our students have been well served by our science sequence. Currently, ninth graders study physics and tenth graders study chemistry, both taught by BUA teachers in undifferentiated honors sections. Juniors go on to take science coursework at BU – typically, but not always Biology 107 and 108 – and seniors often take a science course at the University as well, choosing from a broad range of options. All current BUA students will continue on this track. Based on several years of feedback and internal conversions, we have decided to move away from the “physics-first” model beginning in the fall of 2023.
Beginning in the fall of 2023, entering ninth graders will take an exciting, newly created biology course that not only covers the fundamentals of micro- and macrobiology but also leverages the resources of the City of Boston as a living laboratory. In the tenth grade, they will continue on with chemistry at BUA. In the junior year, they will then be able to choose from various physics courses at the University, where course placement will match their math level (e.g. some courses will require calculus and some will not). Physics will not be a BUA graduation requirement moving forward, but we will continue to recommend at least three years of lab science and fully expect most BUA juniors to find a physics (or other science) course in the junior year that fits their interest and provides the appropriate level of challenge. We have already established a strong partnership with our BU colleagues in the physics department, who are excited to work with us and our students. There are several reasons we are making this change, all of which are about improving the student experience. Our ninth-graders come to us with a broad range of exposure to math topics. We believe that physics is best learned in sections where we can meet students where they are in terms of math, something that is difficult to do in undifferentiated ninth-grade sections but that we can accomplish well in the junior year at BU. We are excited about a rigorous, lab-oriented, place-based biology course as a common ninth-grade experience; imagine students conducting water sampling at the Charles River and integrating other examples of urban ecology into their studies. We also look forward to giving our juniors a broader array of choices for their science studies.