Subject Areas

Senior School chemistry class

You'll get to choose from a wide variety of courses to help you discover your interests

English

The English program is designed to instill in you a genuine love of language, literature, reading and writing so that you can communicate clearly, confidently and effectively. The texts, projects and activities are designed to empower you to become thoughtful, ethical and responsible citizens. Senior School English courses help you develop your communication and thinking skills, and personal and social competency. For example, you can participate in spoken word competitions where you memorize and perform a monologue that has significant meaning to you.

Extend Your Learning

  • Join The Jag student newspaper as a writer or editor.
  • Write and perform your own poetry at provincial competitions as a member of the VOICES Spoken Word Club.

Download the list of English courses

Math

Senior School math
Join the Math Challengers team and compete at math competitions

The math program helps you gain an appreciation of the power and beauty of math and will develop in you a high level of math literacy and skill. Senior School math classes are taught in an engaging way, so you’ll understand how to apply what you’ve learned to real-life scenarios – like personal finance planning and engineering – through problem solving and abstract thinking. For example, you will apply what you’ve learned in trigonometry to calculate angles and distances to solve a fictitious crime.

Extend Your Learning

  • Challenge yourself by participating in national and international mathematics contests, such as the Pascal, Fermat, Cayley and Euclid Contest.
  • Test your strategy and problem-solving skills as a member of the Math Challengers team while competing at regional and provincial math tournaments.

Download the list of math courses

Science

The science program promotes an understanding and appreciation of science and provides you with a variety of essential skills, including the ability to think critically and analytically, to apply the scientific method, and to approach problems in a logical and reasoned way. Classes are a mix of theory and practical application to help you better understand course content and how the sciences connect to the real world. For example, members of the RCMP's Forensic Science and Identification Services team will walk you through forensics techniques like uncovering evidence and fingerprint identification.

Extend Your Learning

  • Participate in science contests including the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair (which preceded 2015 grad Ann Makosinski’s win at the Google Science Fair in 2013), the University of Toronto’s National Biology Competition, and Sir Isaac Newton Physics competition.
  • Go on field trips to learn in a hands-on environment, like to the Marine Science Centre in Bamfield where you’ll study marine life, temperate rainforests and physical properties of the ocean.

Download the list of science courses

Computer Science

Computer science courses at the Senior School are designed to foster critical thinking and independence using technology. From robotics to app development, the computer science program will equip you with the skills to understand how and why the technology we use works the way it does, and how to use these skills creatively. For example, you’ll learn game development by planning, testing and writing programs using different programming languages.

Extend Your Learning

  • Design, build, program and operate a robot to compete against other schools in FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competitions.
  • Join the Hack Club and learn coding skills that help you learn how to build apps, games and websites.  

Download the list of computer science courses

Modern Languages

Senior School math
Travel with classmates during Spring Break on one of our language and culture trips

At SMUS, languages are important and not just for the opportunity to become multilingual. There are many benefits in cultural awareness and having a global outlook. Languages also help you develop confidence as you put your language skills into practice through public speaking. Our modern languages program – French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish – develops literacy, fluency and creativity through listening, reading, speaking and writing.

Extend Your Learning

  • Go on a language and culture trip with classmates during Spring Break. Cultural trips in recent years have brought students to Japan and Mexico, where they study local culture and visit historical sites and popular attractions.

Download the list of modern language courses

Social Studies

Social studies courses aim to help build an interest, understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the disciplines of the social sciences: geography, history, civics, law, economics, criminology, sociology and psychology. The program provides you with a range of skills, including the ability to work with other students, to express yourself effectively and to think critically and analytically, while also becoming an environmentally and socially active citizen. While studying history, for example, you’ll better understand what led to the Second World War by researching a country and engaging in mock League of Nations negotiations.

Extend Your Learning

  • Attend Model UN conferences and the Commonwealth Forum, where you’ll learn about government processes, global politics and negotiation.
  • Join the Business Club and help operate The Howard Café, a popular on-campus café in the Sun Centre. 

Download the list of social studies courses

Visual and Performing Arts

Senior School math
Students have access to a wide range of artistic classes – from strings and choir to digital art and drama

The visual and performing arts program at SMUS promotes creativity, imagination and an appreciation of all the arts. You’ll be able to take a wide range of arts courses, including music, theatre, creative writing, and visual and digital arts. There are lots of extracurricular arts opportunitities available, too. No matter which artistic pursuits interest you, you’ll develop your individual skills and confidence as an artist in a hands-on environment. You’ll have opportunities to showcase your skills, whether that’s through art shows, concerts at venues around Victoria or performances in professional theatres.

Extend Your Learning

  • Join a team of more than 200 students who take part in staging a full-scale musical at the McPherson Playhouse in downtown Victoria. You can perform onstage, work backstage, create costumes, film the performance and play in the orchestra pit. In past years, students have performed Mamma Mia!, Catch Me If You Can,Ragtime and The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Take part in a music and culture trip during Spring Break, where you’ll perform at concert halls, attend musical events and learn about the cultural and historical context of local music. Previous trips have been to Europe (Italy, England and Germany), Cuba and the United States.

Download the list of visual and performing arts courses

Outdoor Education

You’ll experience the best of Vancouver Island as part of the outdoor education program at SMUS. As a school surrounded by forests, oceans and mountains, you’ll have plenty of chances to get outside. The program provides you with outdoor skills like first aid, learning how to kayak and build a fire, as well as leadership skills like teamwork, perseverance and communication. Every year, Grade 9-11 students participate in an outdoor trip with classmates. You’ll get to choose from a variety of trips, including canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, sailing, surfing and more. In Grades 11 and 12, you can take the Outdoor Leadership 12 course and be a student leader on an outdoor trip with younger students.

Extend Your Learning

  • Join the Outdoor & Sustainability Council and help organize activities for the student body, including surfing trips to Tofino and skiing on Mount Washington.

Download the list of outdoor and physical education courses

Physical and Health Education

Students regularly enter academic competitions, such as Concours d'arts oratoire
Students get to try a variety of sports and activities in physical education, including fencing

The objectives of the physical education program are to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to support a healthy, active lifestyle. There are links between exercise, learning and emotional health, and you’ll learn how to advance your own interests, abilities and physical fitness in gym class. In addition to participating in a variety of individual and team sports – from squash to soccer, you’ll also prioritize health and wellness through activities such as yoga or strength training.

Extend Your Learning

Download the list of physical and outdoor education courses

Career and Life Education

The career and life education program is embedded in your Grades 9-12 school year and helps prepare you for life after high school. Through self-reflection, hands-on experiences and connections with experts from around Vancouver Island, you’ll explore and better understand your lifestyle and career preferences. As the program reaches Grades 11 and 12, you’ll learn about the different post-secondary paths you can take and skills that benefit you after school, like time management, personal finance and budgeting, and goal-setting.

Download the list of career and life education courses