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Scheduling Guidelines

  1. You must select the equivalent of eight courses per term.  Only in rare cases will a student have a lighter course load.
  2. Give thoughtful attention to your course selections.  Get advice from your teachers, counselor, and parents. See Course Drop Policy below.
  3. Select courses beginning with those required, followed by electives.  List electives in order of priority.  If you are electing term courses, be sure to select a combination to equal a full year of credit.
  4. IB/Honors courses are for two groups of students: (1) those seeking greater challenge and achievement and/or (2) those pursuing some aspect of the IB program.  Mercyhurst Prep offers these courses for students who desire advanced academic challenges.  There are certain prerequisites and criteria for each honors course.  These are listed before the course description.  In general, students desiring to take honors level courses should have a genuine desire to learn at a faster pace and study material in more depth.  General criteria would be:
    • Knowledge:Any student wishing to enroll in an honors course who is currently in:
      • a college prep course must have a yearlong grade of A
      • an honors course must have a yearlong grade of B.
    • Skills: Proficiency in basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, research, and technology
    • Work Ethic: Self-motivated to learn.  The student’s attitude is superior in regard to cooperation, participation, and attendance.
    • Performance: Ability to apply knowledge, skills, and work ethic in various performance-based activities.  This ability may be measured in the manner of an audition, essay, portfolio, interview, or teacher recommendation. 

      The primary determinant for placement will be teacher/department recommendation.  Administrative decisions are final.

  5. Your guidance counselor will review your course registration form before you are scheduled.  If there are any problems, a meeting will be scheduled with you.
  6. Classes with fewer than ten students will not be taught, unless required by the state or IB.
  7. A copy of this booklet is available on line at  Go to Students/Scheduling/Course Descriptions.
  8. Mercyhurst Prep reserves the right to place students in course levels appropriate to their ability and/or academic performance.
  9. Heritage Learners: Heritage learners are those students who have been exposed to another language in addition to English in their homes or communities from a young age.  As a consequence of that early exposure, they can understand and/or speak the language and have a personal connection to it. It is the goal of the World Language Department to expose each student to a new language experience; therefore, heritage learners are required to choose from one of the other year long departmental offerings in order to fulfill their language requirement at MPS. If the student is interested in studying the heritage language as a means of perfecting grammar and writing skills, the heritage language may be taken as an elective.  A test will be administered to ensure placement at the appropriate level.
  10. PIA students: PIA students who have studied English for at least 2 years on the high school level will be exempt from the MPS World Language requirement.  If they choose to study another world language it may taken as an elective.

Course Drop Policy

The MPS Master Schedule is built during the summer months based on the spring requests of students.  It is important that much thought go in to those requests made in March.  Parent signatures are required on request forms to ensure that necessary discussion regarding course selection has taken place between student and parent. It is extremely difficult to make changes to a student’s schedule once the master schedule is finalized in late July. 

In addition, students are discouraged from dropping classes because we believe that it is in the student’s best educational interest to develop skills to succeed in challenging classes in order to attain the skill level required to succeed in college and in the work world.

In the event of an extreme circumstance, schedule changes will be considered only if the following conditions are met:

    • The student has demonstrated the effort necessary to succeed, including regular attendance at help sessions with the teacher and/or in or out of school tutoring.
    • The student is not missing any assignments/tasks; all work has been completed to the best of his/her ability and he/she has demonstrated true effort.
    • With input from the teacher and counselor, the academic dean has determined that the student will likely not meet with success.
    • After dropping the class, the student still has six yearlong courses.

If there is a change in a student schedule, for any reason, the work already completed will be shown on the transcript as WP (withdrew passing) or as WF (withdrew failing).

Students and parents should be aware that in some cases, even if the above conditions are met, a student may be unable to drop a class if the requisite schedule change is not possible or if the replacement course is closed due to high numbers in the class. 

Students should select courses carefully, paying close attention to course prerequisites and descriptions.

4 years  
4 years
4 years
4 years
3 years
4 years
3 years
4 years
Social Studies 
4 years
4 years
World Language
2 years
3-4 years
Creative Arts
1 year (3 terms)
2 years (6 terms)
Physical Education
4 years (1 term each year)
4 years (1 term each year)
1 year (3 terms)
1 year (3 terms)
Information Technology
2 terms
3 terms
Freshman Communications (1 term) 
Freshman Communications (1 term)


  • A minimum of twenty-five hours of community service is required each year, earning ¼ credit for the student each year. 
  • One full credit in community service is required for graduation.
  • A summer reading program is required for grades 9-12.