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Upper School Academics

A Breck diploma indicates the successful completion of a set of specific graduation requirements and it recognizes the accomplishments made by a student towards the realization of the Breck mission statement. To that end students are expected to meet the challenges that mission presents, by taking responsibility for their own learning, by recognizing their own unique talents and abilities and those of others, by contributing to the life of the school, by being open to new ideas, by accepting a responsibility for the common good, and by helping to create a scholarly environment for all.

Graduation Requirements

In order to ensure that all Breck graduates have the courses necessary for pursuing further study in college and for living a full life, the following Upper School courses (44 semester credits) are required for graduation. (See the chart at the bottom of this webpage.)

Service Learning

The Wednesday program has all Upper School students doing off-campus community service on Wednesdays. In addition, a total of 20 hours of service to Breck is required.

May Program

Second semester final exams conclude mid-May, when students and faculty begin a two-week May Program similar to the interim focus popular at many colleges and universities. May Program opportunities include courses of intensive on-campus study in chosen subjects and student-initiated, experimental learning projects involving on- and off-campus business internships and community outreach opportunities. 


Development of sense of social responsibility is not simply a matter of personal beliefs; it requires reaching out to other people in a spirit of relationship building. Students become more aware of others’ needs and differences through community service projects integrated into the academic week. Each grade participates in a year-long, age-appropriate experience that features face-to-face contact with those being served. Upper School’s Wednesday program has all Upper Schoolers going off-campus on Wednesdays to do service at over 30 different sites in the Twin Cities community.


Twice a week, our students gather in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit for simple worship services, which are times for deepening our relationships with God and celebrating community values. We have monthly school-wide celebrations of themes such as Advent, Christmas, Passover, Easter, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, reverence for the earth, thanksgiving for our grandparents and the beginning and end of the school year. Tuesday Chapel liturgies draw their inspiration from many sources, including our own Episcopal heritage, and include prayer, music, drama, dance and listening to religious and secular speakers. Every student, during the senior year, gives a speech to the entire Upper School during one chapel period. Speeches are part of the Senior Ethics and Biblical Studies courses.

Upper School Course Guide

Details on the courses offered in our Upper School and help for students choosing their courses for the 2018-2019 school year (updated 3/7/18). Click here to access the current Upper School Course Guide.

Graduation Requirements

Students are required to take a minimum of 44 semester credits for four years during the regular academic year in addition to completing May Program each year. These 44 semester credits must satisfy the specific departmental requirements described below:

English 8 semester credits, including Grade 9 English, Grade 10 English and North American Literature. Students must be enrolled in an English course each semester.
Visual Arts and/or
Performing Arts
2 semester credits
Health and Performance Physiology 1 semester credit
History 6 semester credits, including U.S. History or AP U.S. History
Mathematics 6 semester credits, including Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II
Modern Language 6 semester credits in the same language including the third year of that language
Physical Education/Health Health (1 quarter) and Performance Physiology (1 quarter)
Religion 2 semester credits including World Religions II (1 credit) and one of the following: Ethics, Bioethics or Religious Imagery in Film (1 credit each).
Science 6 semester credits including Physics, Biology and Chemistry