NHS Program of Studies: Honors & Advanced Placement Courses

Honors and Advanced Placement courses available at Niskayuna High School are listed toward the end of this page.


Honors courses are offered for students of superior promise in English, social studies, world language, mathematics, science, art and music. Honors study in one or more of these areas is based upon a consideration of the student’s ability to engage in a program that is both accelerated and enriched.

Advanced Placement

Preparation for AP exams in English, social studies, computer science, world language, mathematics, music, art, physics, chemistry and biology are offered at this time. Students interested in electing any one of these college-level courses should consult with their teachers and school counselor. Colleges may give credit and/or advanced course placement to those students who take the AP examination and demonstrate mastery of the material presented in the course. Students and parents should contact colleges directly for full information about their AP credit policies. Not every AP course is offered every year; this is noted in course descriptions.

Recommendations for Honors/Advanced Placement Programs

The purpose of the following guidelines is to clearly define the criteria used in recommending student placement. Honors and Advanced Placement programs are designed for students who demonstrate a high level of interest, aptitude and prior success in the subject matter.

Criteria for recommendations

The student:

  • Works well independently; seeks help only when necessary; does not require detailed or repeated directions from teacher in order to proceed.
  • Is creative; can think of methods to try; or use original methods when faced with a problem or situation.
  • Readily applies learned principles to new situations; can solve novel problems; responds well to guided discovery.
  • Responds positively to challenging situations; shows persistence in searching for solutions; finds satisfaction in independently solving a problem rather than accepting another person’s solution or help.
  • Likes to analyze, generalize, derive, prove, abstract; to investigate relationships and alternative solutions.
  • Has a strong intuitive sense for the subject matter. Sorts out key relationships quickly.
  • Shows a high degree of interest and motivation; is intellectually curious and a critical thinker.
  • Has experienced high achievement in past courses without undue stress; has not depended heavily on rote learning or tutoring.
  • Shows above average ability in oral and written expression.
  • Ability to demonstrate long-term planning skills.
    (Adopted by the 2005-2006 Shared Decision Making Team from the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics List Serv.)

Open Enrollment (Self Selection for Honors  and AP courses)

Students who have not been recommended by the teacher or department for an Honors or AP course they wish to take may enroll in the course. Teachers, directors and counselors are available to discuss questions regarding the course expectations and recommended preparation. It is important to note, however, that the final decision regarding placement rests with the student and his/her parent.

Students and parents should be advised that once a student has signed up for an Honors/AP course, there is no assurance that a request for a level change can be accommodated. All requests will be subject to availability and enrollment in the corresponding Regents level course. In addition, it is important to note that requesting a level change for a particular course might result in an undesirable disruption to the student’s original schedule and therefore may not be possible to honor. Students are urged to make use of advanced planning and exploration strategies when self selecting for an Honors or AP course.

Those courses designated as honors or advanced placement are:

  • English 9 Honors
  • English 10 Honors
  • AP English 11 Honors
  • SUPA English 12 Honors
  • AP English 12 Honors
  • Global History & Geography I Honors
  • Global History & Geography II Honors
  • U.S. History & Government Honors
  • AP United States History
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Government and Politics: United States
  • AP World History
  • Introduction to Political Science Honors
  • AP Human Geography
  • Biology Honors
  • Chemistry Honors
  • Earth Science Honors
  • Physics Honors
  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics
  • Geometry Accelerated
  • Algebra 2 Honors
  • Precalculus Honors
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Computer Science AB
  • French II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, V Honors
  • German Accelerated I/II, II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, V Honors
  • Latin Accelerated I/II, IV Honors, Latin VH
  • Spanish II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, V Honors
  • Advanced Art Studio
  • Advanced Jewelry
  • Advanced Sculpture
  • Advanced Ceramics
  • Advanced Studio in Film
  • Advanced Studio in Computer Arts
  • Advanced Digital Photography
  • Advanced Studio in Graphic Design
  • Symphonic Band
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Concert Chorale
  • Music Theory II
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Chamber Strings
  • Studio Singers
  • Bel Canto Voices
  • Orchestra Winds
    (With the exception of Music Theory II, which requires a prerequisite, entrance into these performing ensemble classes is by open auditions and may not be self-selected.)