PHS Program of Studies

Printable Program of Studies

Printable Listing of Electives


This catalog is a reference manual for students, parents, and school personnel actively involved in curriculum planning at Princeton High School. It is a complete guide to the possible course offerings at Princeton High School. Each department has described its specific course offerings, highlighting the chief components of each course, as well as prerequisites for enrollment.

Planning an individual student's high school program of studies demands a cooperative effort between home and school. The program of studies that a student pursues in high school should reflect his or her aspirations, achievements, and aptitudes. The courses at Princeton High School provide students with many opportunities to meet their educational needs. Beyond state, district, college and career requirements, the students are encouraged to select courses that will be academically stimulating and personally enriching. In selecting particular courses, the following criteria should be considered. Does the course:

  • Meet the high school graduation requirements?
  • Provide an outlet for interests in specific subject areas?
  • Reflect an appropriate proficiency level?
  • Provide a background for post high school plans leading to career options?
  • Meet college entrance requirements?

Please consider the following when planning your academic program: 

  •  Make good decisions about overall course load keeping the following factors in mind:
    • homework/assignment/project/independent work demands (AP and accelerated courses will have higher demands than other courses).
    • sport/extracurricular involvement and commitments after school that may take away from study/homework time
    • number of AP & accelerated courses (these courses will take up a lot of time, and therefore, students should select courses that keep their overall wellbeing in mind while maintaining a healthy balance).
  • Make sound initial choices. Low enrollment totals may lead to the cancellation of a course.
  • Choose courses, not teachers. Requests for schedule adjustments will not be honored based on the issue of personnel.
  • Discuss specific subject area choices with counselors, teachers, and/or department supervisors who can share valuable insight into the nature of specific courses.
  • Any inquiries regarding scheduling should first be directed to the student's school counselor. 

Please note: Final decisions regarding the actual offering of any particular course for the upcoming school year will depend upon enrollment and budget constraints. Therefore, not all courses listed in this catalog are guaranteed to run every school year.

Minimum Scheduling Requirements

Every Princeton High School student must be scheduled for a minimum of 30 credits per year. Semester courses can run first and/or second semester, depending upon the number of student requests for enrollment.

Grade Level Promotion Requirements

In order for a student to be promoted to the next grade level, he/she must have completed a required number of credits during the school year (September through August). These minimums, when added, equal the 120 credit minimum graduation requirement.

9th to 10th grade = 30 credits
10th to 11th grade = 60 credits
11th to 12th grade = 90 credits
12th to graduation = 120 credits

Athletic Eligibility

Any student who wishes to compete in interscholastic sports must meet the minimum credit requirements established by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association. A student must have passed 30 credits in the previous year to be eligible for participation in sports offered in the fall and/or winter. To be eligible for sports offered in the spring, a student must have passed the equivalent of 15 credits in the fall semester.

Graduation Requirements

In order for a student to receive a high school diploma from Princeton High School, each student must:

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 120 credits beginning in grade 9 and concluding in grade 12. The course work must include the following course requirements:
    • Language Arts Literacy: 20 credits (English I – IV)
    • Mathematics: 15 credits, including Algebra I and Geometry
    • Science: 15 credits of lab science, including biology, a choice between chemistry, physics, or environmental science, and a third inquiry-based lab or technical science. Students must participate in the NJBCT the year they take biology.
    • United States History: 10 credits
    • World History & Cultures: 5 credits
    • World Languages: 5 credits, however, we strongly recommend 15 credits in one language for all students
    • Physical Education & Health/Driver’s Ed: one year (4 credits) for every year of public high school enrollment in New Jersey. Option II is available for eligible students. Please refer to the PHS website for application details.
    • Visual & Performing Arts: 5 credits
    • Financial, Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy: 2.5 credits
    • 21st Century Life & Careers (Practical Arts) (Family/Consumer Science, Business Administration & Technology, Technology Education): 5 credits
    • Career Awareness/Community Service Program: 10th grade.
    • Completion of state assessment graduation requirements for grades 9, 10 and 11. (See PHS website and back of Program of Studies for class specifics).

Minimum graduation requirements should not be confused with college/university admission requirements. The general rule of thumb for most four-year colleges/universities is that applicants should have completed a minimum of 16 to 18 academic units upon graduation. Normally academic units are considered to be full year courses in college preparatory math, science, English, social studies, and world languages.

Course Levels

There are two levels of courses used to calculate a student’s weighted grade point average.


Any course not designated as an advanced placement course, an accelerated course, or a Princeton University Course.


Any course designated with an AP, ACC, ADV (World Language courses only), or PU. Grade point equivalents increase for grades earned in weighted courses. For example: Standard "B+" = 3.3, ACC "B+" = 4.3.

AP Courses

Princeton High School offers 25 AP courses in almost every department. These courses are open to all students, with basic prerequisites and course sequence requirements. The pacing and sequence of the AP courses are designed with the expectation that students will take the AP exam(s) in the spring. Students who plan to take the AP exam will be informed of the registration process in class.

Financial assistance for AP exams is available. Students should see Mrs. Siso Stentz in Guidance for information. In 5 addition, if students are seeking College Board accommodations, they must request these accommodations through their school counselor 12 weeks prior to testing. The submission process for accommodations to College Board takes time.

Important Scheduling Deadlines

1. Changing courses after the academic year has started can often be very disruptive to a student’s schedule. Thus, elective course changes will not be permitted if they interfere with academic courses already scheduled. Additionally, schedule changes will ONLY be considered after the completion of the fifth full day of school. Please note: ALL changes after the school year has started takes time. Priority is given to Seniors. Priority is also given to placement issues. Students, parents, teachers and Supervisors must all be in agreement before any and all changes are made.

2. Adding classes beyond the 5-day rule:

  • Last day to add a first semester class: September 22, 2017
  • Last day to add a second semester class: February 23, 2018
  • Last day to add a full-year class: September 22, 2017 

3. Dropping classes: (Remember, all students must maintain a minimum course load of 30 credits!)

  • Last day to drop a first semester class: September 15, 2017
  • Last day to drop a second semester class: February 2, 2018
  • Last day to drop a full-year class: October 20, 2017 

4. Please note: Students need written permission of the parent, teacher, department supervisor, director of guidance and principal when requesting to add or drop classes by using our drop/add form. Seniors will need written permission from any college/university they have applied to at the time of requesting to drop a class.

5. A student who withdraws from any course prior to the above deadlines will be removed from the class roster and no record of this withdrawal will appear on the student’s permanent record. A withdrawal after the deadline will receive a record of Withdraw Pass (WP) or Withdraw Fail (WF) on the student’s permanent transcript.

6. Advancing of a Course Level (mathematics, science, and world languages): Advancement of course level allows a student to bypass a prerequisite course by pursuing a pre-approved, organized course of study at a recognized institution outside the school day or school year. A student may advance a course level in a given sequence of courses found in mathematics, sciences (AP courses only) and world languages with the understanding that:

  • A student must be earning an average of a “B+” or better in the current course.
  • Exception: For students planning to enroll im Pre-Calc Acc before 10th grade, an A- is required in the current and all previous math courses.
  • A student takes a pre-approved 120- hour advancing credit course in the level being bypassed.
  • A student submits the Advancement of a Course Level Form to the appropriate supervisor before May 5, 2017. The form is available online.
  • A student submits a description of the anticipated coursework to the appropriate supervisor. The description must include the number of hours the course meets per week and the number of weeks of study.
  • A science course must have a lab component. For AP Science courses, the student must already have earned credit in a lab science course at PHS.
  • A language course must specify how the development of oral proficiency will occur.
  • A student submits notebooks, quizzes, tests, and lab reports compiled during the course. The supervisor reviews each student’s coursework as part of the placement process. 
  • A student will not be granted permission to move ahead to the next level unless s/he takes the PHS final exam (and possibly a mid-year exam) in the bypassed course. 
  • A student takes the exam only once and must earn a score of at least 87% to be considered for advancement.
  • In mathematics, a student must also meet the specific requirements for eligibility for each course.
  • For advancing in world languages, the exam includes a proficiency test consisting of an interview or presentation in the target language as well as reading and writing tasks.
  • A student registers with the supervisor to take the exam on either August 2 or 9, 2017. Test locations and times will be posted on the PHS website.
  • An approved course taken at other institutions for the purpose of advancing a level may be reflected on a student’s transcript, but will not be awarded credit. Please have the institution send official documentation to the PHS Guidance Office. Course grades will not be factored into the GPA.
  • Priority for placement into courses is given to those students who have enrolled in the course through the regular scheduling process.
  • Placement decisions are made at the building level by the supervisor in conjunction with the principal and are considered final.

Scheduling Timeline

Program of Studies Parent Night will be held onJanuary 18, 2017 at 7 pm in the PHS PAC. Student Program of Studies Orientation and Course Registration at John Witherspoon Middle School, Charter School, Cranbury School and Princeton High School will be held during the months of January/February 2017. Incoming 9th grade students and their parents will meet with a counselor individually to register for courses. It is important to choose courses wisely and to make solid decisions during this appointment because not all course changes later in the process will be honored.

Course Request Verifications will be mailed home during the month of April/May 2017. This is NOT a schedule, rather a verification of courses selected. If there are discrepancies, it is critical that the student and/or parent contact their counselor.

Please note: All requests for course changes will not be honored after April 7, 2017. (Before Spring Break!) Tests for approved advancement of course level will be given on August 2 or 9, 2017. Final schedules will be mailed home one week prior to the first day of school. Only schedule changes for placement adjustments will be made until the 5-day freeze period has concluded.