STMA offers students in grades 10-12 a popular program of semester-long electives each academic year across all areas of the Upper School curriculum. In 2021-22 students are required to take three (3) electives over the course of the year, but may take four (4) if desired. Elective study periods are also available.

Spring Term 2022

Animation Art. Description forthcoming 12/6.

Astronomy. Students will study stars, galaxies, comets, asteroids, the solar system,  the origin of the universe and more. Some classes will be laboratory work. A sky viewing evening will also be scheduled.

Decision Processes and Complex Problems. This course introduces students to complex systems and the tools and processes that should guide decision-making in these contexts. Examples will include contemporary problems, e.g., climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Engineering Structures. Students will be introduced to the basics of structural engineering with a study of funicular structures (cables and arches) and trusses.  We will study the history of these key structures and basics of analysis and design.  Students should have a solid understanding of basic trigonometry (Geometry level) and a general enjoyment of math and physics (completion of physics is not required). The course will include a semester-long building project. There is a $20 class materials fee. 

Hagiography. We will approach the lives of selected Catholic saints through a close, critical reading of accounts and legends. Despite the range of settings—including the Syrian desert, medieval Europe, and the coasts of Ireland—we can trace many similarities of spirit in the lives we will study. Along the way, we will confront the challenges of portraying sanctity.

Japanese Cuisine. We will explore Japanese culture through its food and learn valuable culinary skills in the process. We will practice chopping, rolling, simmering, sizzling, and arranging a variety of Japanese dishes. There is a $30 class fee.

1942. This course is a deep dive into the history of a critical period in the Second World War. The study starts with Pearl Harbor and ends with the Soviet victory at Stalingrad. Students will travel hard and widely in intellect and imagination, considering many moments that continue to influence us and our world 80 years later, including the inauguration of the Manhattan Project and the inception of the Holocaust. (Two sections.)

Pre-Columbian America. Description forthcoming 12/6.

Sport Psychology. This elective offers an introduction to the discipline and practice of Sport Psychology, including application of its principles.


Fall Term 2021

Advanced Topics in Agriculture. This elective will explore gratitude and stewardship through an in-depth agricultural study of traditional Thanksgiving. You’ll learn interesting food history, work in the garden, and help to plan and implement STMA’s annual Friendsgiving celebration.

Anatomy and First Aid. This course will cover the systems of the human body and the basic treatment of associated illnesses and injuries. A $40 fee is required for this course to cover lab supplies and Red Cross certification.

Behavioral Economics. Behavioral economics is a relatively new discipline that applies insights and approaches from psychology to the study of economics. Topics include the systematic and predictable errors people make, cognitive biases, bounded rationality and decision theory, among others. Students will participate in many in-class psychology experiments to test and illustrate various concepts.

The Camping Life. Limited enrollment. Prior outdoor elective experience (especially Wilderness Skills and Survival) is helpful. There will be a book purchase and a number of nights throughout the semester spent camping - even on weeknights.

Dean's Seminar: The Mayflower Generation. Limited enrollment. This course studies the complicated history of the Mayflower Generation on the 400th anniversary of their first season in North America.

Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking. This course will take students through a process to conceptualize/ define a new product, service, or start up business. The course starts with an ideation process involving customer definition, customer interviewing, and customer-based solution definitions. It works through  the mechanics to determine if one can build a profitable solution/business.All students will target a final business case and present their business idea.

Introduction to Engineering. This course will explore the engineering profession. Information on the different disciplines in engineering will be presented. Professional and ethical aspects of engineering will be covered. Students will be introduced to problem solving and the engineering design process through research and hands-on projects.

Practical Agriculture. This course studies various fields of modern agriculture including horticulture, animal science, floriculture, agriscience, and agribusiness. We will cultivate our own garden plots and work directly with the school’s livestock.

The Socratic Question. This elective reflects on the large (and obviously important!) question of "how one should live" (Plato: Republic, 352d) and on the roles that classical humanities play in our efforts to answer it. This course is open to requests only from students in grade 10.

Sports Nutrition. This elective introduces young adults and athletes to the benefits of proper nutrition to maximize performance in the classroom and on and off the field. Whether you want to improve in competitive sports or in your general health habits, the road to becoming a champion begins with good eating! We'll also learn how to cook healthier and tastier versions of some traditional full-calorie meals.

St. John Henry Newman’s Life and Thought. Theologian, classicist, philosopher, poet, novelist, historian, violinist, horseback-rider, priest, teacher, convert, Cardinal: just a few of St. John Henry Newman’s accomplishments across the “Long” 19th century. This course emphasizes Newman’s responses to big modern questions about Church, society, truth, reason, faith, science, conscience and authority.