Course of Study

Detailed Course Lists:  Junior High • Senior High

The St. Ambrose curriculum is designed to provide an outstanding foundation in the critical academic disciplines of math, science, history, literature, logic, rhetoric, composition and Latin–all crowned by regular study of and growth in the Catholic Faith.

St. Ambrose Academy features six core subject areas:

  •  English
  • History
  • Latin
  • Math
  • Religion
  • Science

Students at St. Ambrose enroll in courses based on grade level, placement testing and mastery of prerequisites. Certain courses may have prerequisites, such as an acceptable grade in the preceding course. Junior High students who take Senior High courses may be eligible for Senior High credits, at the discretion of the instructor and principal.

Junior High Curriculum

books2The junior high school curriculum reviews American, World and Church History over a three-year course of study. Studies focus on original works of literature and historical documents from particular historical eras.

The St. Ambrose curriculum provides an opportunity–for many students the first opportunity– to really grapple with the great ideas of our civilization. Rather than plodding through dry summaries in textbooks, students are inspired and excited by primary sources–like the first-person accounts of Frederick Douglass describing his life as a slave or of Lewis and Clark encountering their first grizzly bear!

Students enjoy the interesting subject matter as well as the discussion-based classroom experience that goes with it. All the while, they begin to develop comprehension of the grammatical structures of language, composition and the basic framework of the Catholic Faith.

Senior High

The high school curriculum examines core subject areas while taking a chronological journey through Western history. Each year of high school is devoted to one of the following time periods:

  •  3100 B.C. – 400 A.D. Ancient Greece and Rome
  • 400 A.D. – 1650 A.D. Medieval / Renaissance Europe
  • 1500 A.D. – Present. America / Government
  • 1700 A.D.-Present. Enlightenment / The Modern World

By walking through these historical periods, our students observe the rise and fall of the civilizations that played vital roles in the development of Western Civilization.

  • Literature: Several major literary works form the core of the literary curriculum: The Iliad by Homer, The Aeneid by Virgil, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri and the works of Shakespeare. The story of the twentieth century is told by such works as Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. From the beauty and dignity of human life to its social, political and philosophical difficulties, these works help students begin to understand the human condition.
  • Religion: Religion course material is also organized according to an historical framework and prominently features Scripture, the writings of the Saints, and the history and content of dogmas. Religion classes also include studies in logic.
  • History: The History curriculum introduces the student to the great historical works, including the writings of Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Livy, Tacitus, and medieval chroniclers. The last two historical cycles feature an in-depth study of the formation and function of the American government and the events of modern times.
  • Math: In Math, Senior High students test into the level that is most appropriate for them. We recommend Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus for most students. Advanced math students may take Calculus. All students are required to take at least three years of math.
  • Science: Senior High students take Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. All students are required to take at least three years of science. Teachers may provide additional instruction to help students prepare for Advanced Placement (AP) and other advanced science exams.
  • Language: Latin is emphasized in Language studies at St. Ambrose Academy because it lays a grammatical foundation for the study of any language.
  • Knowledge of Latin: aids in the study of the Romance languages; enhances a student’s ability to  express himself well in English; hones logical and organizational thinking skills; and assists students who continue in science, medicine and the humanities and come will across Latin terminology.

All students are required to complete two years of Latin. Senior High English courses study rhetoric.

Given the opportunity to read, understand, and discuss the great works, the high school graduate is fully prepared to enter the work force or attend any college or university throughout the world.

Advanced Placement

St. Ambrose Academy does not offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses. However, we recognize the value of these courses and will endeavor to offer preparatory guidance for certain AP exams for students who receive permission from the principal. This guidance will depend on student interest, faculty availability and other factors. It may take the form of extra weekly meetings, independent study with a teacher or online courses. Depending on these factors, extra course credit may be granted. St. Ambrose Academy will also work each year with the Madison School District and interested families to ensure timely registration for AP exams.

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