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Upper School History

At Seven Hills, students do the work of real historians, reconstructing the past through a deep investigation of primary and secondary sources.

Linking the Modern and Historical

The Upper School history curriculum is designed to offer students an understanding of the historical context of the complex, globalized world they live in. With an emphasis on analyzing sources, critical thinking, and writing, these classes not only give students the tools they need to be engaged, informed citizens; they also equip them with the skills to navigate and evaluate the mass of information and opinions they are exposed to. Through hands-on experiences that put them in the shoes of people from different cultures and eras, students come to understand the human experience as it has been lived in a multitude of places, times, and contexts.


World History 1 is an introductory level college preparatory course. This course studies the world’s major societies from the dawn of civilization to the 14th century. Students will focus on the development of world religions, economic networks, social systems, and political structures in the ancient and medieval world. This course also stresses the development of the analytical, and reading and writing skills necessary for the successful study of history. 

This course continues the history of civilizations from the medieval to the modern era. Course content focuses on global political, economic, social, and intellectual developments through the 21st century.

In this course, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in world history from 1200 to the present, with an emphasis on historical interpretation and cross-civilizational comparison. Students will focus on employing historical reasoning skills and working deeply in primary and secondary sources to build an understanding of the major forces shaping the modern world. This course prepares students for the AP World History examination as well as further high level history study throughout the Upper School and in college.

Taking a thematic approach to American history and government from the colonial period to contemporary times, this course asks big questions about the American past in order to better understand the roots of today’s American society. The course stresses the development of the reading and writing skills necessary for the analysis, criticism, synthesis, and interpretation of material related to the nation’s past. Successful completion of several research-based projects is a course requirement.

This course is a detailed survey of American history with additional focus on historical interpretation. This course also assists students in preparing for the Advanced Placement U.S. History examination.

Open to seniors with departmental approval. This college-level course examines the history of the world since the second world war. We will study major developments in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America with an eye toward understanding international relations in today’s world. We will also look at major themes in recent world history like terrorism, globalization, and gender relations. Students should expect to read a variety of texts, write analytical essays, and participate in round-table discussions.

Students in this course discuss timely topics such as supply and demand, markets, taxation, gross domestic product, the stock market, and monetary and fiscal policy, as well as the fundamental concept of economics and how these apply to both individuals and the larger society. They also explore the role of competition, market forces, and the governing distribution of income.

Students in this course use the lenses of race, gender, religion, and socioeconomics to examine economic policies, increasing political divisions, the recent growth of technology, and changing demographics in American history. The class will also address the tumult of the 1960s, the resurgence of the Republican Party in the 1980s, American military involvement in the Middle East, the events of 9/11, and the growing role of social media.

This course is designed to be an interdisciplinary investigation into crucial environmental issues, combining the study of science, history, and culture. It is designed to be as hands-on and exploratory as possible, with a number of projects and field trips into the community.

In this course, students may:

  • Learn about how people think about the environment and have interacted with it throughout history
  • Learn how science informs the ways in which we interact with the environment
  • Learn the major environmental issues facing society today

This course examines the Cold War in Europe from 1945-1990. Topics covered include: post-World War II reconstruction, everyday life and politics in Eastern and Western Europe, the European Union, and the end of Communism in Europe. The course also introduces the concept and practice of public history. Students will examine a range of sources, including archives, monuments, and historical films. They will engage in debate and discussion, write short papers, and complete a public history project at our school or in the community. 

This course examines Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in Europe from 1930-1950. Topics covered include: the end of democracy in Germany and the rise of the Nazi Party, Nazi culture and policy, Germany’s role in WWII, and the Holocaust and its aftermath. Students will examine a wide variety of historical sources and will gain a better grasp of our era’s challenges in regard to democracy’s threats, discrimination, and genocide. They will engage in debate and discussion, write short papers, and complete a final multimedia project.

Students in this course will examine key topics in feminist theory and scholarly ideas of gender. Students will apply these concepts toward studying modern popular culture and media, such as television, movies, music, and social media. The course explores how ideas of gender have been integrated in the creation of national laws, politics, and culture into the modern day. The course will conclude with a final media analysis and class project. 

Students in this course will examine the economic, political, and social histories of African American people in the United States since Reconstruction using the lenses of gender, class, and religion. Some themes and topics will include: the rise of Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, urbanization and migration, African American experiences with education, housing, and the justice system, and key social movements such as the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power.