On-Campus, School-Year Options

Field Courses
Senior Projects

Advanced Placement


Field Courses

Qualified students, who have exhausted the related course offerings in a particular discipline, may petition to add a field course as part of their program. Field courses involve advanced, and in appropriate measure, independent study in a field of special interest and competence. Such work earns one credit per term. Field courses are graded and generally meet in a regularly scheduled format. Students must obtain a petition from the chair of the academic department in which the course would be offered. The petition requires a course content proposal and a series of approval signatures from the instructor, the student's academic advisor and the department chair. Seniors should consult with their college counselors. Field courses are approved only when petitioning students have persuaded the chair that their field course promises desirable educational results that traditional instruction might not provide. A department reserves the right to approve or deny any field course proposal; staffing constraints or other considerations may override the worthiness of a particular petition. Petitions for field courses must be submitted by mid-term of the term preceding the desired course placement.

Senior Projects

The faculty affirms its belief that education takes place outside as well as within traditional classrooms. Thus seniors may design individual or joint projects of comparable value and scope to those of an academic course. If such learning replaces formal instruction, however, it requires the same kind of preparation, evaluation, support, and supervision that classes demand. For this reason, instructors will ordinarily be advisers for no more than one project per year. Seniors may take only one project during the year.

Projects are approved only when petitioning students have persuaded the faculty that their projects promise desirable educational results that traditional instruction might not provide. Although projects are student-initiated, they are not approved as a matter of right, but remain subject to the educational control of the faculty. In general, one-year seniors are not eligible.

Approval and completion of Senior Projects are governed by the following understandings:

In either the second or third term of the school year, a senior may substitute one project for one formal course.

Projects are graded on a pass/fail basis and earn one academic credit, but may not be substituted for a course required for the diploma.

Project advisers will write a comment for the student's report at the end of the term.

Students must design their own projects and present a clear statement of goals in a proposal and submit a senior project application form. Students must also secure the approval of their academic advisers and project advisers. If the project falls within the jurisdiction of an academic department, it requires the approval of the full department and the heads of academic departments; if outside, it requires the approval of the heads of academic departments and the full faculty.

Students must observe the following schedule:

Within the first three weeks of the term preceding the project term, every senior who intends to propose a project must meet with the Dean of Academic Affairs and receive a form for approval signatures.

A senior proposing a project outside of a department should see the Dean of Academic Affairs as early as possible.

By the end of the fourth week of the term preceding the project term, a senior must present electronic copies of the final written proposal, with required signatures, to the appropriate department chair and to the Dean of Academic Affairs.

At the last faculty meeting of the term, printed lists of all projects will be presented to the faculty.

Students with approved projects must meet for conferences with project advisers at least one period per week throughout the term.

Students are required to present the final results of the project in some tangible form such as written report, reflective essay, lesson plans, journals, portfolio, videotape, public performance, or exhibition. When possible, a record of the project will be included in the Academy's archives.

At the end of the term, students will make summary presentations of their work to members of the community in a public showing of Senior Projects.

Advanced Placement Program

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program of the College Entrance Examination Board certifies college-level work undertaken by students in secondary schools. The tests, three-hour examinations in 14 academic disciplines, are administered at Exeter in May. There are several advantages in taking the examinations. Students may earn college credit, exemption from college distribution requirements, and/or exemption from lower-level requirements in specific disciplines. At certain universities, students may earn immediate sophomore standing. The grade scale is from one to five; grades four and five are designated as honors scores. Usually the examinations are taken by seniors who have already been accepted by colleges, but a growing number of qualified uppers and lowers are taking the tests as they complete the required courses.

Several colleges are granting one year's credit for strong AP scores in three or more content areas. Parents and students should consult the catalogs of prospective colleges for policies regarding the Advanced Placement Program. Uppers or lowers should consider taking AP tests in disciplines in which they may be completing study before the senior year: biology, mathematics, or American history, for example. Only students with consistently superior academic performance in a specific subject should consider taking a test before the senior year or taking multiple exams during the same testing period.