Core Course of Study

Today’s students need to be prepared for how to learn, not just what to learn. Most jobs now require some education after high school. Even those that don’t require expert training need people who can learn on the job. For students, this means challenging yourself now, so you have the tools to gain new knowledge in the future.

The Core Course of Study is the heart of the New Hampshire Scholars initiative. It offers a roadmap of rigorous study to prepare students for the demands of college and work. Included are minimum course requirements across key subject areas to provide a sound footing for future learning.

“The best preparation is for students to challenge themselves while they’re in high school… I would rather see somebody with a B in a very hard course than with an A in an easy course.”

—Paul LeBlanc

President, Southern New Hampshire University

Tapping into the Core

Information about the Core Course of Study goes out in 8th grade so students can plan ahead. Students in participating districts also receive information from their high school guidance counselors during course selection time.

Students receive a 4-Year-Course-Planner to review with their school counselor. They can choose to participate by signing the New Hampshire Scholars pledge, which is part of the planner. A parent or guardian also signs before students return the planner to their counselor.

In addition to the Core Course of Study outlined below, students can further challenge themselves through Academic and Career Pathways. Pathways in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), Arts, STEAM (STEM + Arts), and Careers give students extra credentials and opportunities.

Requirements for Success

Courses required for the Core are designed to prepare students for what comes after high school. This may be a 2-year or 4-year college or university, a certificate program, the military, or the workplace. The Core Courses listed below are minimal requirements to graduate as a New Hampshire Scholar. Additional courses are encouraged; note also that selective colleges may require them.

Students must complete each course for credit for it to count toward recognition as a New Hampshire Scholar. The goal is for students to challenge themselves and do as well as possible in each course.


Core Course Requirements

Following are the New Hampshire Scholars Core Course requirements in each subject area. We encourage students to prepare for the Core Course of Study while still in middle school. Completing a world language course and Algebra I will let you hit the ground running in 9th grade.


English I, English II, English III, English IV



Including 3 years of labs chosen from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.



Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and one other



Two years of the same language other than English


Social Studies/Social Sciences

Chosen from U.S. History, World History, World Geography, Economics, Government, Psychology, and others as approved by individual schools

YEARS: 3.5

Note that specific courses needed to complete the requirements are determined by individual schools or districts. See your school counseling department for more information.