The Upper School's academic concentrations allow students to meaningfully explore and dive deeper into an area of academic interest through specialized curricula, enhanced learning opportunities, and intentional experiences.
Inside and outside the traditional classroom, students pursuing a concentration develop critical skills necessary for their academic fields, cultivate personal agency, and engage more broadly with the local and global community, providing a valuable opportunity for students who are motivated to passionately pursue their areas of interest and reimagine authentic learning opportunities.
The EL Program creates independent and creative thinkers while inculcating team-driven problem-solving skills in a learning environment wherein students feel encouraged to fall forward, learn to pivot, and build the resilience essential to launching a venture of their own and becoming the job creators of tomorrow.
Students are equipped with the ability to:
- Map out a business idea,
- Assay target markets,
- Validate product/service need,
- Create marketing plans,
- Construct high-fidelity prototypes,
- Chart economically sound paths to the marketplace, and
- Confidently communicate all of the above to an informed audience.
Concentration Requirements: 3.0 Academic Credits
- Speech (.5 credit, part of Freshman Year Seminar Class)
- Economics of Business (.5 credit)
- Applied Models of Economics Honors (1 credit)* - Offered in 12th grade
- Elective Courses (must choose 2)
- Business Communication (.5 credit)
- Fabrication and Design Methods (.5 credit)
- Leadership for Entrepreneurs (.5 credit)
- Marketing for Entrepreneurs (.5 credit)
- Managerial Finance (.5 credit)
- Microeconomics (.5 credit)
- Macroeconomics (.5 credit)
*2.0 credit hours must be achieved prior to enrollment in Applied Models of Economics in the 12th grade year.
The STEM concentration helps students solidify observation and analytical thinking skills through an interdisciplinary approach centered on real-world experience and applications.
Students are equipped with the ability to:
- Generate answerable questions,
- Analyze and visualize data sets,
- Approach problem solving from diverse perspectives,
- Understand the complexity and interconnectedness of STEM fields,
- Connect with individuals working in STEM careers,
- Communicate in various modalities,
- Work independently on a capstone project/ experience.
Concentration Requirements: 2.5 Academic Credits*
- Physics (1 credit) - Students choose between Conceptual Physics, Physics Honors or AP Physics to meet this requirement.
- Senior STEM Capstone (.5 credit) - Offered in spring semester of 12th grade
- Capstone Project Options
- Research Opportunities
- Independent study of advanced coursework not offered at BGA
- Students may complete the bulk of their Capstone project prior to enrolling in the Capstone course, but they are still required to enroll in this class to earn the STEM distinction.
- Capstone Project Options
Elective Courses (Must complete 2.0 credits from at least 3 STEM areas)
- Anatomy & Physiology I (.5 credit)
- Anatomy & Physiology II (.5 credit)
- Forensics (.5 credit)
- Marine Biology (.5 credit)
- Molecular Biology of Disease I (.5 credit)
- Molecular Biology of Disease II (.5 credit)
- Scientific Data (.5 credit)
- AP Chemistry (1 credit)
- AP Biology (1 credit)
- AP Physics - if 2nd Physics class (1 credit)
- Programming I (.5 credit)
- Intro to Computer Science (.5 credit)
- AP Computer Science Principles (1 credit)
- AP Computer Science A (1 credit)
- Conceptual Engineering (.5 credit)
- Fabrication & Design Methods (.5 credit)
- Robotics (.5 credit)
- Managerial Finance (.5 credit)
- Problem Solving (.5 credit)
- Statistics - in addition to Calculus/ AP Calculus (1 credit)
- AP Statistics - in addition to Calculus/ AP Calculus (1 credit)
*These credits are beyond the math and science credits required for graduation.
Students must complete 2.0 credits from a minimum of 3 STEM areas prior to the spring semester, Senior STEM Capstone.
The Global Studies concentration fosters an ethos of global citizenship by examining the intersections between what a student is learning in the classroom and with the broader global society.
- Promotes “Glocal” thinking: the interconnection between global and local, empowering students to be agents of change in their local communities and in the broader world.
- Develops a cultural competency to nurture empathy and respect for cultural diversity.
- Encourages an expedition mentality where students approach the world with curiosity and a sense of adventure and apply it to their own lives.
- Research and discuss global issues relating each topic to a local connection.
- Develop a journalistic approach to writing and research, including data collection, geographic understanding, and cultural analysis.
- Expand conversation skills through critical thinking, intellectual discourse, and civil discourse to foster a deeper understanding and meaning.
- Present research and write in-depth on a topic of global interest in the form of a research paper or assembly-style presentation.
- Sophomore Year:
- Perspectives in Global Thinking (.5 credit)
- World Language (1.0 additional credit beyond graduation requirements)
- The additional credit can be in the same world language as previous credits OR in a a new world language.
- Junior Year: Global Seminar Class (.5 credit)
- Senior Year: Capstone Class (.5 credit)
Elective Courses (.5 credit):
Students would choose at least .5 credit from several international/global electives. Examples include: AP Human Geography, Borders & People: Immigration History in the United States, Micro/Macroeconomics, Modern Middle East History, French Culture and Film, Modern Chinese History.
The .5 credit can be taken at any point in the student’s high school experience; it does not need to be completed prior to senior year.
Other Global Concentration Requirements:
- Immersive Travel
- Sophomore Year Travel: 10-day Global/Local Experience
Frequently Asked Questions
Is public speaking part of the curriculum/syllabus?
BGA has an excellent tradition preparing all students to speak publicly with opportunities embedded throughout a student’s experience. The new Freshman Seminar aims to continue and strengthen that tradition, thus providing all students with the skills and confidence to speak in front of an audience.
Is it possible to concentrate in both the STEM and EL concentrations?
No, we are placing a premium on depth of study rather than the breadth that typically defines a high school experience.
Is it possible to do one of these concentrations AND continue an arts elective (i.e., Choir) through each year of high school?
Yes, with intentional planning, students can be involved with a concentration and continue arts electives throughout their high school experience. However, there may be difficult choices that students will have to make from year to year depending on their interests. It won’t be abnormal for highly driven students to have a semester without a study hall depending on the rest of their courses and what graduation requirements they have fulfilled.
Concentrations & College Process
What’s better for college admission – taking Advanced Placement classes or pursuing a concentration? If a student can’t fit everything they want in their schedule, what is the best approach?
What is more impressive to colleges - pursuing the STEM concentration or taking four years of a world language?
How do colleges know a student is in a concentration? Is there a designation on the transcript? Should students share it in their applications?
How do the Academic Concentrations prepare students for their college experience? Are there STEM and Entrepreneurial Leadership opportunities outside of school for students to participate in?
How does the EL Concentration help students towards college and their future? Are there opportunities outside of school for the students?
Students that participate in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program will learn to be independent and creative thinkers while inculcating team-driven problem-solving skills. This learning environment will encourage students to fall forward, pivot, and build resilience as they prepare to be job creators of tomorrow. The learning is in the doing; student curiosity and sense of urgency drives the learning curve in this concentration. Students will have the opportunity following their junior year to participate in an internship program organized through the EL program along with the EL Advisory Board.
How many classes must a student complete in order to take Applied Models of Economics? When will my student take Applied Models of Economics, the EL Capstone course?
A total of four semester-long elective courses must be completed, including the required Economics of Business course, prior to applying for admission to the EL Capstone course.
What kind of experiences will students have in the Capstone course?This class is unique in that students will be working directly with real entrepreneurs who will present them with critical problems to solve on their behalf. Students are responsible for inventorying and leveraging the distinct skill sets of team members while organizing timelines and presenting deliverables on time. Internet research, in-market surveys, and in-person interviews will be the primary forms of data capture. The instructor will regularly bring in subject matter experts to illuminate business concepts directly tied to project work. The apex of this course is the final project, wherein students use what they have learned during the school year to launch their startups. Students will refine their problem-solving and decision-making skills as they transform ideas into working business models. Students will develop strong communication skills and hone their ability to lead and contribute meaningfully to an entrepreneurial team. Prioritizing and discernment skills will crystallize through the progression of project work. This class is a vehicle to further develop BGA’s shared principles of integrity, inclusivity, intellectual curiosity, and innovation.
How many classes in each letter of STEM does a student have to take?
Students need to take 1 class from 3 of the letters in STEM. Some students may choose to take a semester course (0.5 credit) from each of the 4 letters to earn the 2.0 total credits required.
Does AP Physics count towards a credit in STEM as a senior after taking Physics Honors as a junior?
Does AP Statistics count towards a STEM credit?
When will my student take the STEM Capstone course? When will they do their internship/research/project? How will they make connections for their experiential piece?
Students will take the STEM Capstone course in the spring semester of senior year. Students can begin their experiential component as early as the spring of junior year and will work with the Concentration Director to solidify their plans. The Concentration Director can help make connections (internships and research opportunities) or strengthen relationships students already have to assist in their experiential learning piece.
What are the requirements for the STEM project ahead of the capstone class? What kind of opportunities count toward this project and how much of a time commitment is involved?
What types of experiences will students have in the Capstone course?
Students will have opportunities to engage with professionals in the field of STEM and to work collaboratively to solve problems. Students will have arrived at the Capstone class via varied coursework and experiences, and they will need to leverage their knowledge to solve cross-curricular problems. An emphasis will also be placed on becoming better communicators and the ability to tailor their content to their audience's level of background information. Time will also be provided for students to perfect their presentation of their experiential learning component.
Sondra Morris & Robert N. Moore, Jr. '52 Center for Arts and Entrepreneurship
Home to our Entrepreneurial Leadership & STEM Concentrations