Our Programs



Upper School Course Descriptions

    • Upper School Curriculum

With guidance from their advisors, students are encouraged to take a comprehensive program of courses. In most cases, students are required to be enrolled in at least four major courses at all times; most students enroll in five. Any junior or senior who wants to take a sixth major course, for credit or as an audited class, in one or more of the semesters must petition and receive approval from the relevant department, then the grade team, and finally from the full upper school faculty before the beginning of the year or semester. Students in 9th and 10th grade may not take a sixth major for credit as they are focusing on all the graduation requirements and participating in clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities. Except for enrollment in the School Year Abroad program, recipients of the WFS diploma must be full-time students at Wilmington Friends in their senior year of high school. Advanced work is available either through specifically designed courses or through individually prescribed work in a regular class. Modified course work is available on a limited basis. Independent study is available for those students who have exhausted the limits of course work in a particular discipline or when special need (e.g. scheduling) or interest dictates. Arrangements for independent study are made on an individual basis, require a faculty sponsor, and must be approved by the academic department  and the upper school faculty. Students with five majors may apply for an additional MSON semester course; those with six majors may not. The Wilmington Friends transcript is the official record of a student’s academic coursework while in upper school. All course changes made after the “add/drop” period early in the year (or semester for a half-year class) will be recorded on the school transcript. No course can be added after the add/drop deadline without the approval of the department and the division head. Students may not withdraw from a full year course in the second semester.
General Planning Advice
Since a good education provides a broad foundation and opportunities for exploration, we require students to include in their four-year plan courses from all departments as well as participation in sports. We advise students to join committees, activities, and clubs, and to take advantage of volunteer and other school and community opportunities. For most students, a balanced program will leave some school time for work in study halls.
World Language
Through level 3 of one language, and at least two years of one language
Including one credit in American History and one credit in Global Peace and Justice
Including two laboratory science courses
Performing Arts   
Visual Arts          
1 and 1/2
Including 1/2 credit in performing arts; 1/2 credit in visual arts;
1/2 credit to be distributed as the student desires (from performing arts, visual arts).

The required 1/2 credit in the performing arts
must be obtained through participation in an ensemble or elective class. The 1/2 credit in the visual arts will be obtained through the required Visual Arts Foundation course in either ninth or tenth grade.
Semester course in Quakerism in tenth grade
Each student is required to complete 50 hours of service in an approved program.
One sport each year (minimum)
Human Dynamics & Development
Ninth and tenth graders are required to take one semester of Human Dynamics and Development each year.
Individual requests to modify or waive requirements will be considered by the department and the upper school faculty. Recommendations will be given to the Head of Upper School.

Please note that only major courses are included in the GPA calculation (i.e., English, World Language, Math, Science, History/Social Science, Music Major, Art Major, IB Theory of Knowledge, etc.). IB TOK is included in the GPA calculation for a ½ point, but it is not weighted. Electives are not included in the calculation.

93-100  A
90-92 A-
87-89 B+
83-86 B
80-82 B-
77-79 C+
73-76 C
70-72 C-
67-69 D+
63-66 D
60-62 D-
59 and below E

.5 weighting:
Advanced 20th Century History
IB/SL Chinese, year 1
IB/SL Computer Science
IB/SL English
IB/SL French
IB/SL Spanish
IB/SL History (co-seated with Advanced 20th Century and HL History Europe year 2)
Music Major
Visual Arts Major

1.0 weighting
Advanced Biology 2
Advanced Chemistry 2
Advanced Physics 2
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
All IB/HL courses 
IB Chinese SL, year 2
IB/SL Biology
IB/SL Physics 
IB/SL Chemistry 
IB/SL Music

Beyond the Wilmington Friends School diploma, students interested in obtaining an IB diploma have additional requirements. One additional course that all IB Diploma candidates must take is Theory of Knowledge, both in the junior and senior year. They also complete a Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) requirement of engaging ongoing co-curricular experiences. IB diploma candidates must complete an extended essay that contains about 4,000 words. Students must sit for their final IB exams for course completion and IB credit; not taking an IB exam will be noted on the WFS transcript. Students decide in their sophomore year if they wish to pursue an IB diploma and work closely with their families and advisors as well as the IB Coordinator to determine whether or not the program is a good match. IB exams and external assessments are scored on a 1-7 point scale (7 being the highest) by IB examiners around the world. WFS grades are determined independently of the IB external grading process.

Wilmington Friends School recognizes the meaningful educational benefits gained by students engaged in full-year living/studying abroad programs. The school also recognizes that the courses offered in study abroad programs are not the same as those offered by WFS. In determining whether a study abroad course receives WFS credit, the following factors will be considered:
  1. School Year Abroad: As a School Year Abroad consortium school, WFS grants credits for successful completion of any SYA course. Because individual SYA schools vary in the courses they offer and some may not offer courses required by WFS, certain WFS requirements may be waived for students enrolled in the SYA program.
  2. AFS Intercultural Programs (formerly the American Field Service), Rotary, and other similar programs which include a student’s enrollment in a local school in the host country: A student considering a year abroad in one of these programs must meet with the upper school head in advance in order to make necessary and appropriate course plans in accord with requirements for the WFS diploma.