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Study Programs

Chadwick currently provides formal opportunities for Upper School students to pursue their academic studies in a variety of off-campus settings, both within and outside the United States. These opportunities complement Chadwick’s curriculum, offering a first-person cross-perspective experience, deepening students’ understanding of the complexities of the world, and preparing students to “contribute positively to contemporary society,” as called for in Chadwick’s mission statement.

Select the program on the right for further information. For each program, students apply during the year prior to their attendance; for example, to attend the CITYterm program in 2016-2017, interested students must apply during the 2015-2016 school year. See the specific program information for  each program's application deadline.

A limited number of tuition waivers are available each year for students accepted into an approved program. Application for waivers must be submitted (click here for an online form) by February 1, 2016. Families are responsible for notifying Chadwick Business Office of their intentions to enroll in a semester program upon applying for enrollment in that program.

Mountain School

Location: Vermont
Duration: Semester

Sponsored Milton Academy, the Mountain School is a one-semester program in Vermont in which 45 eleventh-graders, representing more than 20 public and private schools throughout the United States, spend four months on a working organic farm. The school’s academic program combines traditional coursework with applications in the maintenance of the farm and its community.

Students take five academic classes, with English and environmental science required. Other courses offered include courses in math, languages, U.S. history, physics and chemistry. Humanities and studio art are elective courses. Classes are interdisciplinary in nature and often linked directly to field work. The school models simplicity and sustainability by producing most of its vegetables, a significant portion of its fruit, and all of its meat, eggs, and maple syrup.

Fall semester students harvest the school’s three-acre vegetable garden, fence in pasture for its cows and sheep, make apple cider, plant winter crops in the greenhouses, care for the turkeys and chickens that will feed the school over the following year, and cut flowers from the frame garden for drying and wreath-making. Spring students make maple syrup, assist with lambing, harvest greens from the greenhouses, take care of the newly-arrived pigs and turkeys, and help to plant the garden that a new group of students will harvest in the fall.

Besides participating in the daily work of this farm, students are exposed to a wide range of agricultural practices. Students have invented their own potting soil mixes, planned crop rotations, sampled sheep cheeses, debated government regulation of the dairy industry, and practiced their sheep midwifery skills. They have also grappled with broader issues of agricultural policy: What does it mean to farm sustainably? What, if any, are the appropriate uses of biotechnology?

The Mountain School houses students in five dormitories, ranging in size from five to twelve students. Financial aid may be available through the Mountain School program. Applications are due February 6.

High Mountain Institute

Location: Leadville, Colorado
Duration: Semester

Based at the campus of the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Semester provides 32 eleventh- and twelfth-grade students an opportunity to study the relationship between humankind and the natural world through history, literature, math, science, and the arts. The program uses students’ experiences in the wilderness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the red rock canyons of southern Utah as an essential basis for their learning so that students develop an enhanced appreciation for the interconnectedness of life and learning, as well as the deepened self-knowledge and self-confidence gained from traveling and caring for themselves in the wild.

The core values of the Rocky Mountain Semester are: process-based learning that teaches students how to think, not what to think, and conveys a passion for learning; integration of the natural world, residential life, and academics; place- and community-based education; mentorship inside and outside of the classroom; and transference of what students learn beyond the RMS. As means to these ends, students spend approximately six weeks in the back country of the Colorado Mountains and the red rock canyons of southern Utah, and ten weeks on the Leadville campus. While on campus, students attend a regular rotation of classes that usually includes five courses and not more than six. These courses include math, foreign language, and U.S. history. The program’s core Western American Studies curriculum includes Natural Science, Literature of the Natural World, and Ethics of the Natural World. These courses, along with U.S. history, meet while students are on two-week expeditions in the back country.

The first two-week expedition in the back country teaches students the necessary skills to travel safely and comfortably in the field. Following a three-week study period on campus, the second expedition involves repairing the trails on Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, the two highest mountains in Colorado and among the most heavily visited. In the spring semester, students travel on telemark skis and live in snow shelters they build during a cold-weather expedition. The final expedition of both semesters takes students to the canyons of southern Utah.

While on campus, students live a simple lifestyle: chopping wood to provide heat for their food and warmth, baking bread, and helping to maintain the buildings in which they live.

Financial aid may be available through The Rocky Mountain Semester program. Applications are due March 1.


Location: Dobbs Ferry and New York, New York
Duration: Semester 

CITYterm is a semester-long program for 30 juniors and seniors from both public and private schools, located on the campus of The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York, just forty minutes by train outside New York City. Since the program’s inception in 1996, it has hosted more than 450 students from over 100 different schools. The goal of CITYterm is to offer its students a semester of study that uses students’ own experiences in New York City as the primary basis for their learning. While providing students with traditional academic core classes including math, foreign language, and lab sciences, CITYterm is unique in offering an Urban Core curriculum consisting of three courses - the History of New York City, the Literature of New York City, and Urban Environments. Each core course provides a lens through which students can interpret their experiences in New York City and realize that learning, at its best, combines one’s experiences and the various academic courses in an interdisciplinary manner. The Urban Core curriculum provides students with interdisciplinary courses that include elements of history, literature, art, architecture, politics, sociology, theater, economics, math, and science.

Students live in a designated dormitory with 30 students and six faculty members on the Masters School campus. Shared spaces include a kitchen, dining area, large meeting room, two seminar rooms, and a computer center. CITYterm has six full-time residential faculty members and nine part-time faculty, supplemented by an adjunct faculty of scholars, artists, activists, and policymakers who make their homes in the New York metropolitan area.

Financial aid may be available through the CITYterm program. Applications for the program are due February 15 for the next school year.

School Year Abroad

Locations: Spain, Italy, France, China
Duration: Academic Year

Founded in 1964 by Phillips Academy, and now a consortium of U.S. independent schools, School Year Abroad is the only secondary-level program that allows students to live with European or Chinese families for an entire academic year while earning U.S. graduation requirements and preparing for college admissions. Open to juniors and seniors, SYA places students with carefully selected host families representing a broad spectrum of vocations - from butchers, clerks, shopkeepers, and postal employees to doctors, lawyers, professors, and executives. Living arrangements range from city apartments to housing developments to suburban homes.

Students may study in Spain, Italy, France, or China. The only location with a language prerequisite is Spain, where students must currently be studying Spanish 2 or higher. In Italy and China all courses are taught in English except the native languages. In Spain and France only math and English are taught in English, and all other courses are in the native language of the country.

Financial aid may be available through the School Year Abroad Program. The application deadline is March 1, but early applications are advised.
School for Ethical and Global Leadership

Location: Washington, D.C.
Duration: Semester

Located in Washington, D.C., the School for Ethical and Global Leadership (SEGL) is a brand new semester-long program for eleventh-grade students interested in becoming tomorrow’s leaders in modern business, law, medicine, domestic politics, and international relations. The program’s fundamental goal is to provide an educational experience that will motivate young people to become thoughtful activists, passionate social entrepreneurs, and relentless humanitarians who will eventually change the world.

The core of this program is the Ethics and Leadership course. The course has two principal goals: to introduce students to ethical and critical thinking, using current national and international events and issues as case studies; and to develop students’ leadership skills, including public speaking, debate, constructive activism, and understanding of group dynamics. This course allows students to make information-gathering site visits, to collaborate with local leaders and institutions, and to work with the local community on service initiatives. Because recent global events and trends have shown that China and the Arab world will present important opportunities and challenges for tomorrow’s leaders, SEGL requires students to attend a weekly class in Chinese and Arabic language and culture. Students also take a full load of English, social studies, math, science, and foreign language courses. The program ends with three Capstone Projects that represent the culminating work of the semester and provide a bridge between a student’s work at the school and at home.

Students live in a dorm in two-, three-, or four-person rooms. Financial aid may be available through the School for Ethical and Global Leadership. Applications are due March 1.
Swiss Semester

Location: Zermatt, Switzerland
Duration: Semester

A fall semester program for tenth-graders, Swiss Semester brings together about 40 students from independent schools throughout the United States to the town of Zermatt in Switzerland. Students continue with most of their traditional courses while having opportunities to ski on the Swiss Alps and to take field trips to some of the most famous cultural sites in France and Italy.Chadwick students have been participating in the Swiss Semester Program for over ten years. Applications for the fall are due on January 15.

Island School

Location: Eleuthera, Bahamas
Duration: Semester 

The Island School is a semester-long program committed to the proposition that, in the future, the divisions between humanly built and natural environments must be bridged by creating intelligent systems of human design and natural production that synergistically promote health in all living systems. Located on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, the school aims to inform its students and to prepare them to make difficult decisions about sustaining the valuable resources of our planet.

Founded in 1998 by a teacher from The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, the Island School hosts roughly 40 sophomores and juniors from 250 schools across the United States, Canada, and the Bahamas. While offering academic courses, the Island School compels students to confront and solve real problems within the environment at the school, training them to think like scientists, cultural historians, and teachers. For example, students explore solutions to such challenges as preserving the indigenous marine population while still enabling local fishermen to maintain their livelihoods. English, math, environmental art, history, and marine ecology are offered, and each course focuses on the application of knowledge to real-world problems. SCUBA diving, island exploration, and two short kayaking expeditions complement daily morning exercise, while science research projects and campus work encourage each student to develop leadership and teamwork skills.

The school models sustainability by providing its own electrical power through 252 solar panels on the school’s roofs and a 100-foot-tall wind generator. Human wastewater is cycled through a wetland created in the center of the campus, providing nutrients for tropic plants while simultaneously being purified. The school’s water needs are met by collecting run-off rain from rooftops and storing it in cisterns. Waste vegetable oil from the cruise ship industry provides enough diesel fuel through a biodiesel lab to power all the school’s vehicles, boats, generators, and machinery. The school’s food garden is fertilized with compost from kitchen waste and watered with a solar-powered pump. The school’s buildings are constructed with recycled or locally-produced, sustainably-grown materials with low amounts of embodied energy (the total amount of energy required to extract, manufacture, and transport a material).

Financial aid may be available through the Island School program. Applications are due March 1.


Chad Detloff
Director of Global Programs
(310) 377-1543, ext. 4063

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Chadwick School is a private, K-12 co-educational school dedicated to developing global citizens with keen minds, exemplary character, self-knowledge and the ability to lead. Located on a 45-acre hilltop on the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula, we aim to bring out the best in our students through experiential learning, one-on-one mentoring, unparalleled global opportunities, an outstanding athletics program, highly accredited outdoor education experiences and an award-winning visual and performing arts program. We are pleased that more than 800 students from over 45 Southern California communities have chosen to call Chadwick "home."

Chadwick School / 26800 South Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA, 90274 / 310-377-1543
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