Curriculum

The Gilman Upper School employs a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that emphasizes the value of a strong work ethic, critical thinking skills, effective written and oral communication, and lifelong enjoyment of intellectual, artistic, and physical wellness pursuits.

Standard Course Loads

Grade 9: Six Credits

Freshmen take six courses that meet in the first three periods. Every freshman must take English, Mathematics, World Cultures, Physics, and Modern or Classical Language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Greek, Latin, Russian, or Spanish). (Freshmen who have taken the Gilman Summer Physics course will be placed in Academic Lab during their free period.) For their sixth credit, students choose from Science (Robotics), History (American Government), Mathematics (Baseball & Statistics), Art (Drawing/Painting I, Advanced Photography, Pinhole to Digital, or Sculpture), or a second language. Freshmen also take mandatory (non-credit) Health & Guidance and Freshman Fifth courses that meet during the afternoon.
 

Grade 10: Six Credits

Sophomores also take the equivalent of six courses that meet in the first three periods. In addition to continuing with Mathematics and Modern or Classical Language, most sophomores take the three-credit Humanities sequence, with parallel courses in English, European Civilization, Art History and Music History. Those students who elect to take a second language or to continue their work in the visual arts are exempted from the Art/Music History requirement. Sophomores generally complete their Science requirement by taking Chemistry or Honors Chemistry. Sophomores also take a mandatory (non-credit) Sophomore Seminar that meets during the afternoon.
 

Grade 11: Five Credits

The standard load for juniors is five major courses. The College Counseling Office advises, “When considering a sixth class, on top of the core five, students and parents need to be mindful that academic success is a very potent factor in the admission process. If taking on the additional work necessary by another class will dilute the energy and success of the junior year on the whole, then adding an additional class will not be an asset within the admission process.” All juniors continue with English, Mathematics, and Modern or Classical Language, and they all take United States History. Most juniors can expect that they will take either English or History at BMS or RPCS. Most juniors choose to continue with Science (usually either Biology or Honors Biology). Juniors may also select from a wide array of on-campus elec-tive courses or a course at Global Online Academy.
 

Grade 12: Five Credits

Seniors must take five courses that meet in the first three periods each semester. Seniors must take an English elective each semester. Seniors have many options available for arranging a rich program from a wide variety of tri-school electives. They may also take a course at Global Online Academy. Their advisor and the College Counselors will help guide them toward wise selections. Schedules that do not include courses from the five major academic disciplines (English, Math, Science, Modern and Classical Language, and History) will receive special scrutiny. With special permission, a senior may do independent study with a Gilman teacher, or he might take an approved course at a college. Courses taken at educational institutions other than Gilman, Bryn Mawr, and Roland Park must be paid for independently and thus represent costs beyond the Gilman tuition.


In each of his first two years at Gilman, a student must carry the equivalent of six full-credits from courses that meet in the first three periods of the day. (Freshmen who have taken the Gilman Summer Physics course will be placed in Academic Lab during their free period.) For his junior and senior years, he must carry a minimum of five full-credits from these courses. One credit is awarded for the completion of four years of athletics. Thus Gilman students who follow the standard curriculum will have acquired a minimum of 23 credits by the end of their senior year.
 

Graduation Requirements

  • English: must be completed during each semester of high school
  • History: World Cultures in 9th grade; European Civiliza-tion in 10th grade; US History in 11th grade
  • Modern or Classical Language: must complete Level III; three consecutive high school years of the same language 
  • Athletics: must be enrolled for four years; seniors may take a season off
  • Art History/Music History: a required course for sopho-mores unless waived (see below)
  • Mathematics: must complete Pre-Calculus
  • Science: Physics or Physics (Honors) and an additional lab science course (Chemistry or Biology)
  • In addition, students must complete a total of six credits in Mathematics and Science
     

Students may choose from a wide variety of courses to complete their required courses of study.

Additionally,  Gilman is a member of Global Online Academy (GOA). Juniors may register for a sixth course with Global Online Academy. Seniors may register for a fifth (or sixth) course. A GOA course may not be used to satisfy the graduation require-ment in English. Please see Mr. Heubeck for details.

In addition to Gilman’s requirements, the State of Mary-land requires a student to take 21 academic credits for graduation.

Fifty hours of Community Service must be completed at one location within any 12-month period prior to the start of senior year.