Intensive Courses

Intensives are graded, three-week long courses led by Upper School faculty and students on topics not typically emphasized in the School’s core curriculum.

The program is designed to offer students and teachers the chance to explore one topic of academic merit deeply by way of projects, experiential learning, guest lectures, field trips, and community engagement. By halting the core curriculum for the 14 school days between the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks, Intensives provide unobstructed opportunities to journey off campus, collaborate with local and international experts, and develop deep and lasting bonds among a small group of students and faculty who might not otherwise share an academic experience.

The majority of Intensives are open to students in Grades 9 - 12, so each cohort is significantly diverse. Boys and girls, day and Residential Life students, students across of every grade, and teachers teaching outside their disciplines are part of what make Intensives so unique. Students engage in their Intensive from 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. during the Intensive period and can be found examining the impact of neuroscience on learning, making motorized vehicles, polishing their debate skills, engaging in local nonprofit work, and much more.

In addition to the most recent offerings, past Intensives offered have included: World Religions in Central Virginia, Wildlife Management, Hispanic Culture Through Food, Dance, and History, the Teenage Brain, the Art of Argument, Social Entrepreneurship, Photojournalism, Introduction to Filmmaking, DIY Culture, Food Science, Everything You Need to Know But Didn’t Learn in High School, Computer Graphics, Fundamentals of Songwriting, Inventeam, Food for Thought, Project Shakespeare, Creative Problem Solving, and more.

Learn more about Intensives here.


I have a passion for the community and giving back. I knew this Intensive would be hands-on and students would be more independent, which I knew fit me, but I didn’t realize how many opportunities would be available to me and how much I would be able to do. Intensives have a really different and special schedule. The trust that the teachers had in us, that we were where we were supposed to be, was really special."
- Madi Glaser ‘19, Nonprofits & Community Service Intensive

2019 Intensive Offerings

A teacher assists students with their Intensive projects