Independent offerings are decidedly collegiate in structure and rigor, providing students multiple opportunities to
- distinguish themselves by going above and beyond work offered in the core curriculum (in addition to advanced coursework)
- self-direct their learning and authorship of curricula
- expand coursework within the context of the core academic disciplines
- explore relevant, applied topics outside the scope of the core curriculum
Using a unique time structure and a combination of teaching methods, seminars provide opportunities for students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades to build and refine their approach to multidisciplinary thinking. With the aim of preparing students for the collegiate experience, seminars meet once a week, assigning a greater balance of work outside of that weekly meeting than in our typical classes. Although expectations are high, seminars are ungraded and enrolled in entirely by student choice. Varied topics allow for greater academic exploration than in our core curriculum. Each 6-week course is moderated by a faculty member or faculty pair, with guest presenters sometimes invited for particular discipline knowledge or experience.
Independent Study is an option for 11th graders in their spring trimester and 12th graders throughout the senior year. Interested students work in partnership with a faculty member to design a course of study. After detailing a 10-week plan and syllabus, each student proposes their course in front of a faculty panel. If accepted, the student, with the guidance of their faculty mentor, completes the class in the following term. To earn final credit, students must return for review of their progress and experience with another faculty panel. Independent Study allows students to extend their work beyond current EPS offerings. It is one way in which our most engaged and self-motivated students can distinguish their record.
Students may choose to pursue a Senior Thesis. The Senior Thesis is the most rigorous research opportunity in the EPS academic program, providing students time and support to build on the work of previous Independent Studies to produce a substantive research product. The thesis is designed to be both a culmination in an individual academic discipline (or an interdisciplinary domain), and preparation for intensive research as an undergraduate. Students are required to have completed two Independent Studies of exceptional quality as a prerequisite for proposing a Senior Thesis.