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high school science classes

Complete List of High School Science Classes

Though each high school has a different curriculum and class options, below are the most common high school science classes you will see in your curriculum.

Science plays a vital role in the high school curriculum, and as a high school student, you will be able to take a variety of science subjects because they are required classes for graduation. Learning science will increase the breadth and depth of the subjects you’re interested in and expand your horizon related to the understanding of your surroundings. Science may seem vague to you at first, but it’s everywhere around us, from the air you breathe to the food you buy in the supermarket.   

We’re excited to provide the complete list of high school science classes, keep reading!  

High School Science Classes

Biology is typically the first high school science class among the three typical Biology, Chemistry, and Physics core classes. High school students are required to take Biology for graduation qualifications. In biology class, students will learn about molecules and substances important to cell structure and function, then expand to genetics and organismal biology, finally evolution and ecology. 


Chemistry is typically taken next and involves participation in-class lab exercises. Students in chemistry classes will examine topics such as atomic structure, periodicity, and bonding, reactions of chemical substances, kinetic theory, and more.    


Students may choose to take physics as a part of their science requirements for high school. Physics is generally broken into two classes: the first covering mechanics and the second covering the concepts of electricity and magnetism. Many high school students only take the physics class covering mechanics. Physics allows you to study matter and energy, and the principles that govern their interaction in space and time as well as electrostatics, electrical circuits with capacitors, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism. 

Environmental Science

Environmental Science explores the systems that govern Earth’s natural process, and the relationships humans have with these systems. You usually can take Environmental Science if you have a prerequisite in Biology or equivalent. The prerequisite requires you to have a foundation in natural science and use that knowledge to understand the social science and humanities approach to people’s relationship with the natural world.   

Forensic Science

Forensic science is a more advanced class utilizing both biology and chemistry. Students will use background knowledge in those areas to study forensic biology topics like DNA and hair analysis, or forensic chemistry topics like toxicology and drug analysis. 


Astronomy class provides you with knowledge about the traditional sky and constellations, the solar system, stars, and stellar evolution, black holes, galaxies, and more. If you’re interested in astronomy, this will be the perfect class for you!  


Besides the popular science class offerings in high school, there are several class options for students to choose from, like Zoology, Oceanography, or Engineering. Zoology is the study of animal life, interactions between organisms and their environment, and fossils. Students will survey life forms throughout times and in various ecological systems.  


Oceanography is another popular offering in high school. Tabor Academy, for example, offers a Marine Science program because of its unique location and facilities. Oceanography is a branch of Earth Science, focusing on ocean, water systems, coastlines, and marine life.  


Engineering classes can vary from electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, etc. Overall, at the high school level, engineering classes are considered to be science electives. Engineering classes require a strong foundation in scientific principles like physics, chemistry, and math.   

AP Science

Students can choose AP classes based on class availability and their own interests. Taking core classes and moving up to AP/Honors/other Advanced classes will allow you to advance your knowledge in the science field and help you make your college application stand out with admission officers. Available Science AP classes are below:   

  • AP Biology: Study the core scientific principles, theories, and processes that govern living organisms and biological systems. 
  • AP Chemistry: Learn about the fundamental concepts of chemistry including structure and states of matter, intermolecular forces, and reactions. 
  • AP Environmental Science: Explore and investigate the interrelationships of the natural world and analyze environmental problems, both natural and human-made 
  • AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based: Learn about the foundational principles of physics as you explore Newtonian mechanics; work, energy, and power; mechanical waves and sound; and introductory, simple circuits. 
  • AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based: Explore topics such as fluids; thermodynamics; electric force, field, and potential; electric circuits; magnetism and electromagnetic induction; geometric and physical optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. 
  • AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism: Explore concepts such as electrostatics, conductors, capacitors and dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism 
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics: Explore concepts such as kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy, and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; rotation; oscillations; and gravitation. 

Take your Science interest further...

Science is a broad curriculum with different subjects to explore. If you’re interested in Science and want to discover ways to advance your knowledge, consider four ways to be involved and improve:   

Do an independent project, for example, a research project  

The best way to learn is to apply. If you’re interested in a subject within Science, taking Physics, for example, consider starting an independent project. It may sound overwhelming and new at first, but an independent project offers you the opportunity to actively learn about a new topic on a profound and broad level, with the support and guidance of a teacher. The outcome of an independent project is typically a research paper. The research paper, along with your initiative to advance your study will help you create a great impression with the college admission board.  

Therefore, if you are interested in science, don’t be afraid and reach out to a Science teacher at school to express your interest and ask for mentorship in the independent study of your choosing.  

Participate in Science Competitions

High school competitions are a great way to stand out in the application pool, because it shows your attitude towards learning, and displays your achievement through those competitions. There are numerous competitions across the United States and around the world every year. Students should take a look at each competition and consider which one will best fit their needs and goals. For the full list of competitions for the 2021 school year, you can check out our newly published Infographic: High school competition to boost your profile. 

Participate in a Science Summer Pre-College Program

Another way to be involved in Science is to participate in a Pre-College Science Program during the summer. These programs allow students to further advance their science knowledge and participate in various kinds of scientific research with award-winning professors in college. For example, Tufts has a Summer Research Experience every year with a list of lab programs that students can participate in. Students will learn everything from research methods, laboratory techniques, data collection, and analysis under active mentorship by Tufts’ world-class researchers and their teams. We have an article about the top 18 Pre-College Summer Program in America and discuss the unique points of the top 4 science programs that students should definitely take a look at.  

Take an Online Class

Online courses are available anywhere and anytime on different platforms. At Aralia, we offer various signature, academic, and test prep programs covering different parts of the high school science curriculum. From academic tutoring, research program guidance to test prep, our philosophy is and will always be to focus on you, your improvement and your success. Aralia’s science tutors are inspired teachers and professors who are committed to student success. They are recognized in their field or are currently teaching at top high schools and colleges/universities in the US. 

biology aralia education
Biology Foundation Course

The course will cover biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology. Students will apply basic principles to understanding human biology, including the structure and regulation of genes, the structure and synthesis of proteins, and multicellular systems.


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