Upper School

Choices and Challenges

Upper School provides a rigorous academic experience in a fully supportive atmosphere.

English electives include topics that would make challenging undergraduate seminars: Modern Voices of Minority Experience, Shakespeare, American Expatriates and the 1920s.

For mathematics and computer studies, two courses are offered beyond the two-year sequence in calculus.

The history department offers courses in art history, economics, geography, government, history, philosophy, and religion, a diverse offering ensuring that students develop a global outlook.

Language students are able to reach a level of fluency that allows them to study literature in French, Latin, Chinese or Spanish.

In the sciences, sophisticated instruments and software allow lab teams to focus on analysis and understanding. In fact, Princeton Day School students often perform experiments presented only as instructor demonstrations at many colleges.

Along with these challenges come choices—in electives, extracurricular activities, even advisors—allowing each PDS student to shape a unique educational experience.

And when it's time to move on, students can rely on college counselors for help finding opportunities matching their interests, aptitudes, goals and personality. We are proud of the ability and diversity of PDS graduates.

The Arts

Visual Arts, Woodworking, & Design: We offer a rich array of studio courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, video and media arts, ceramics, and photography. These include options for students who have a general interest and for those who want to make a serious commitment, exhibiting work, entering competitions, or preparing college portfolios.

: With a selection of more than a half-dozen elective courses, students have the chance to explore concepts in depth and to create ambitious original works, all in a dedicated space that emulates a professional architectural design studio.

Theater: Widely recognized for its excellence, the theater program offers students the chance to take several courses, from the introductory to the advanced level, and to take part in one or more of its main stage productions each year, either as a performer or a member of the technical theater crew. The annual Performing Arts Festival provides another chance for all members of the school community to get involved.

: Our music program is varied and rich, and offers opportunities for student musicians of all levels of experience and expertise. Courses include Music Theory at the introductory and AP levels, Band, Orchestra, and Chorus. Numerous formal and informal concerts and gatherings throughout the year showcase student achievement. Private instruction in voice and instruments is available through arrangement with our adjunct music faculty before, during, or after school. Extracurricular options include the Madrigal Singers, Chamber Music ensembles, and student-led A Cappella groups. (please see Music Opportunities)

Dance: The dance program offers classes for students of all levels of ability. Using technical skills culled from ballet, jazz and modern dance styles, dancing with healthy body alignment and embodying the rudiments of Western dance styles is a focus for all levels. Annual performances highlighting student work as well as field trips to NYC round out an exciting year of dance.


The history department courses and teaching reflect the continuity and change of social, political, and religious organizations and the interrelated nature of global communities and cultures. The curriculum achieves this through the lens of the major participants, events, and beliefs that have shaped conflict and collaboration over time.

There are courses in art history, economics, geography, government, history, philosophy and religion. We require that each student take at least three classes in the department

A distinctive element of a Princeton Day School education is our commitment to exposing students to religion through an academic, global and historical lens. Therefore, as one of the three required departmental courses, all students must take a religion course. All incoming freshmen will take The Search for Self: World Religions in History. Students may also take Asian Studies or Philosophy.

All courses incorporate our desire to produce students who appreciate the past and its impact on the present. In grades 9 and 10, our emphasis is on nurturing a love for history while teaching the skills required to master the study of the subject. Students develop their ability to identify cause and effect, to organize their ideas when explaining and analyzing evidence, and to discern more important and reliable information from the less so. We encourage them to express a point of view and consider multiple perspectives while producing analytical or interpretative compositions.

In 10th grade, all students must take American History. In grades 11 and 12, we continue to teach skills but place an even greater emphasis on content. We do so by giving students the ability to study history across time, space and academic discipline. Students choose one or more issues, eras, or topics each year that especially resonate with them. They then apply the skills they have developed earlier in their high school careers, use case studies, and conduct a sophisticated level of analysis to deepen their expertise on the particular subject they have chosen to study.

Finally, every student must take at least one Junior/Senior elective. Students are welcome to take more than four courses from the department, and we encourage a variety of global and disciplinary perspectives. Admission to all AP courses requires department approval.



Warmth and Welcome
“I chose PDS because of the academic rigor and the strong sense of community. I was overwhelmed by how well everyone treats each other. From the start, I felt so welcome and included.”

—Rebecca Golden '10

Focused Yet Informal
“This is a real place of learning. Everyone is here because they want to be here and they want to do well. Everyone helps each other. You see an informality in the way people dress and a relaxed atmosphere, but PDS kids are serious students.”

—Brendan Clune '12

Finding Your Niche
“I play basketball, soccer, and golf. I’m in the Athletic Association, the Debate Club, and the Gay-Straight Alliance. I also helped start a hip-hop appreciation group. PDS offers you so many opportunities to get involved, to make friends, and to balance your school work with something fun after 3:15.”

—Christopher Bonnaig '11


“One of the great things about sports at PDS is the chance to play. You should know that you have the opportunity to show your stuff and play varsity if you’re ready to."
-- Brooks Herr '10, three-sport varsity athlete

Our 106-acre campus features extensive natural turf playing fields, eight tennis courts, two artificial turf fields and an ice rink. Two performance gymnasiums are complimented by a dedicated fencing room, a multi-purpose gym and an expansive fitness facility that is staffed by a dedicated performance coach who focuses on strength and conditioning athletes of all sports.

Princeton Day School is a member of the New Jersey Independent School Athletic Association and plays an independent schedule for all sports featuring premier independent and public schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. PDS regularly competes for NJISAA State Championships in the B division and has garnered nine in various sports from 2013-2015.

For more details on individual teams please visit our Athletics webpage.

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