Upper School

Off-Campus Learning

Upper School students have many opportunities to pursue their interests beyond the regular curriculum, with a wide range of programs and exchanges available both during the academic year and over the summer. Some class trips are related to the curriculum, while others are designed to expand students’ experience of community. Many Upper School students enroll in expanded programs and advanced classes held after school elsewhere in the City or join a community service project such as Habitat for Humanity; they may also apply to participate in a school exchange or to spend a summer, a semester or a full year in a program of study, travel and/or service. Any of these activities in the wider world off campus can allow students to stretch their academic and creative capabilities as well as hone their skills in communication as a representative of the School.

Summer Programs

Through the Upper School Office students can learn about a variety of summer programs in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, Brearley offers scholarships for summer travel and study for which students apply in writing to the Head of the School in December.
  • The Jacqueline de Coppet Berthet ’52 Scholarship for Study in France
  • The MacDonald Scholarship for Study and Travel in England
  • The Andrea V. Rosenthal ’84 Scholarship for Overseas Study and Travel
  • The Kathryn Schaefler Pershan ’49 Scholarship for Study and Travel
  • Class of 2006 Fund for Travel, Study and Service
More information about these programs and scholarships is available in the Upper School Office.

Class Trips in New York

Special trips in the Upper School are designed to extend classroom learning through exploration of the world outside Brearley and through working cooperatively as a group. At the beginning of the school year, Class XII travels to a destination in the tri-state area for canoeing and hiking. In late January, Class X joins the other Interschool schools for a three-day trip to Frost Valley, New York, where they participate in outdoor activities and work in groups to solve simulated social problems. The Science and History Departments also take students on trips that are directly related to their courses in Biology (IX) and History (IX and X).

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    Through the Interschool consortium, Upper School students may participate in a variety of programs and activities with seven other Manhattan schools: Browning, Chapin, Collegiate, Dalton, Nightingale-Bamford, Spence and Trinity.

    Through this program, sophomores, juniors and seniors may take advanced science classes at Columbia University on Saturday mornings. (Students take a qualifying examination; the number of places available is limited.)

    This program offers courses in U.S. History. (Students must take a qualifying examination.)

    Juniors may attend a series of six Saturday seminars on various scientific topics. (Students are admitted by recommendation of the Science Department; the number of places available is limited.)


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    Students in Class IX may participate in Brearley’s exchange programs with the Godolphin and Latymer School and the Francis Holland School in London, England. The exchanges usually run for a week during Brearley’s Spring Break.

    Students in these classes have participated in exchanges with the Narita Kokusai High School outside of Tokyo, Japan; the Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Catherine’s School in Melbourne, Australia.

Travel Study

Since 2006, Brearley has offered rising juniors and seniors a chance to visit India on a three-week, Travel/Study program accompanied by members of the Brearley faculty. A highlight is working alongside an organization in Mumbai that offers educational programs to children living in the streets and slums. A Travel/Study program to China was launched in 2008, and in summer 2011, students participated in a new program to Vermont that emphasizes sustainable and ecologically responsible living. The trip included homestays at a co-housing community, where the girls eagerly pitched in with farming chores, and a chance also to experience larger-scale commercial farming.
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