OHS Class


Our Stanford OHS courses engage students in advanced academic content, fostering critical reasoning and persuasive argumentation, strengthening oral and written communication skills, and promoting intellectual maturity and personal responsibility.

Our Curriculum

Sample Class

The Stanford OHS curriculum goes beyond the norm of satisfying admissions standards at top colleges and universities around the world. It prepares students to excel at those institutions and to make a smooth transition into working in those demanding academic environments while encouraging intellectual risk-taking and life-long learning.

Expert Instruction

At every course level, students and teachers delve into materials at a depth and with a rigor indicative of Stanford University—standards rarely found outside of a university setting. Designed and taught by instructors who are experts in their fields, our courses model the professional methods, skills, norms, and intellectual habits of each subject, and each academic subject culminates in post-AP and university-level courses.
Work with the central concepts of hypothesis formation, experimentation, and analysis.
Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics
Focus on problem solving and logic.
Analyze how texts create meaning at the level of the word, the phrase, the sentence, and the paragraph or verse.
Evaluate theses presented by a spectrum of scholars and formulate one of your own.
Explore culture, literature, and history in addition to the basics of vocabulary and grammar.
Develop a range of analytical and philosophical skills that can be applied broadly in both academic and public reasoning.

The Core Sequence

Our four-year interdisciplinary Core Sequence equips our students with exceptional skills in careful reading, thoughtful evaluation of data, critical thinking, and oral and written argumentation.

Methodology of Science – Biology

Using biology for context, this course introduces students to scientific reasoning, statistical analysis, and philosophical thinking.

History and Philosophy of Science

Using a historical case-study method, students examine the interplay between observations of the physical world, attempts to explain those observations, and the methods used to test the resulting explanations.

Democracy, Freedom, and the Rule of Law

Drawing on both historical and theoretical materials, students study changing conceptions of how political states should be organized.

Critical Reading and Argumentation

Students explore philosophical thinking about modes of reasoning as well as core philosophical discussions of religious concepts, the nature and limits of knowledge, the nature and content of ethics, and the mind’s relation to the world.

Graduation Requirements

students on stage in robes

Our graduation requirements demonstrate how bringing together a Core Sequence program, discipline-appropriate training, advanced coursework beyond the AP-level, high expectations, and thoughtful feedback creates an innovative, integrated curriculum.

Academic Course Requirements

Students must take an equivalent of 20 full-year courses, or 200 units, meeting the specifications below.
As part of these requirements, students must enroll in one Core class each high-school year to receive an OHS diploma.

4 years / 40 units

2 years / 20 units of the same language; 3 or more years strongly recommended

4 years / 40 units

Social Sciences: 
3 years / 30 units, including 1 year of U.S. History

Natural Sciences: 
3 years / 30 units, including at least 2 years of laboratory science

Additional Coursework:
4 years / 40 units, which may include courses from the areas noted here or from Film Studies, Music, and Art

Middle School

OHS Middle School

At the Stanford OHS Middle School, students are in the company of equally passionate peers and receive academic support to ensure a smooth transition to the high school level.

Middle School Program


A comprehensive curriculum, including advanced courses in English, Mathematics, Science, Languages (Latin and Chinese), Computer Science, History, and Core is key to the success of our Middle School. The courses are taught by the same instructors who teach our high-school courses but are targeted to serve the unique developmental needs of middle school students.
Middle School Program

Access to High School Level Courses

Middle school students are placed according to abilities, not grade, and can take higher-level courses from our high school program.
Middle School Program

Summer @ Stanford

Our Middle School Summer @ Stanford program has been a huge success since its inception in 2014. This annual 10-day program brings 40 middle school students to the Stanford University campus each August.

Malone Schools Online Network

Stanford OHS students can join peers nationwide in rigorous online courses offered through this consortium of independent schools supported by the Malone Family Foundation.

Academics FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for Academics

How do grade levels work at OHS?

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Students' grade levels are set by their graduation year, regardless of which courses they are taking.

Can students in grades 7–8 take high school courses?

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Students in grades 7–8 occasionally place into a high school level OHS course. A placement test will determine a middle school student's readiness to take a high-school level class. This is more common in mathematics than in other academic divisions, where it is rare. Please note that middle school students may not take high school Core classes.

How are laboratories carried out at OHS?

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Students complete labs at home using commonly available materials or lab kits sent to students' homes. Students can also complete an optional laboratory component to AP courses during our  summer session.

What is your AP curriculum?

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The OHS curriculum offers advanced coursework in all academic disciplines both within and outside of AP-designated courses. In many subjects, students may take alternatives to AP-designated courses that are taught at the same level or higher. For such courses, students are welcome to take the AP Exam even if they are enrolled in a different, non-AP course at a comparable level.

What if I don't place into the course I want to take?

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Our placement tests are carefully calibrated to make sure students are placed into courses in which they will thrive. If you did not place into the course you want to take, consider taking the course recommended by your academic advisor in the same subject or in a related one. If you have questions about your placement, your academic advisor can put you in contact with the relevant division head.