Academy Course Listing

The following 2019 – 2020 course information will assist you in understanding course selection procedures and requirements for graduation. Punahou awards a diploma to each student who earns at least 22 credits during four years of high school and who meets the course requirements described in this catalog. It is the responsibility of each student to take all required courses needed to meet graduation requirements.

Graduation Requirements

Credits and Grades

It is the responsibility of each student to take all required courses and to be accountable for meeting graduation requirements.

Four credits

Two credits from two consecutive levels of a single language

Three credits

Physical Education
Two credits

Two credits of laboratory courses

Social Studies
Three and one-half credits

Visual and Performing Arts
Two credits

Other Courses
Three and one-half credits

Any course exceeding departmental requirements for graduation or those courses identified as not meeting departmental requirements for graduation.

A full-time student in the Punahou Academy (grades 9 through 12) must be enrolled in at least five half-credit courses per semester (excluding PE and JROTC), four of which must be taken for a letter grade.

All semester grades, with the exception of Credit/No Credit courses, are weighted equally to compute Grade Point Average (GPA). With the exception of School Year Abroad (SYA) and Global Online Academy (GOA) courses, only graded courses taken at Punahou are reflected in Punahou’s GPA. Each course earns one-half credit per semester except JROTC, which earns one-half credit per year; ASPE, which earns one-quarter credit per quarter; Marching Band, which earns one-quarter credit per year; Sophomore Literary Seminar, which earns one-quarter credit; and College Guidance, SURF I and II, which are required and no credits are earned.

Credit/No Credit Option Courses (CR/NC)

Students are permitted to enroll in specified courses on a Credit/No Credit option basis. The objective of this privilege is to encourage students to extend their academic horizons in courses of interest, which will benefit their general education, without the pressure of letter grades.

Students may elect Credit/No Credit status in any course if graduation requirements have been met in the subject area for which they wish to declare CR/NC. In order to earn a credit (CR), students must meet the teacher’s expectations, which shall be no less than a C (2.00) grade, unless otherwise announced. Advanced Placement courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Some independent study and teaching assistant courses must be taken CR/NC, and count toward the credit requirement for graduation. In addition, all PE courses may be taken CR/NC.

In any semester, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of five or a maximum of six half-credit courses, excluding PE, Learning Strategies, Study Hall, Guidance, ROTC, SURF I and II and College Guidance. Four courses must be taken on a graded basis. Declaration of CR/NC status by students must be made by the deadline stated in the Academy Daily Bulletin each semester.


At grade level assemblies, the deans brief students about graduation requirements and course offerings.

In February, deans meet with students individually to enroll them in courses. At the end of the third quarter, a list of the selected courses is made available. From that point, changes will depend on course availability as some courses will be closed and changes will not be possible.

Although students may choose from many courses, they must choose carefully. With as few exceptions as possible, Punahou programs, schedules and staffs courses according to demand. This accommodation rarely happens in other schools, and it requires course request counts be accurate.

Course offerings depend upon sufficient enrollment and available staff. Some combinations of courses may result in scheduling conflicts and in some cases students may have to alter their course selections.

Global Online Academy

Registration for online courses offered through GOA is done during general course registration with the deans. Students may enroll in only one GOA course per semester and, due to limited class size, selection may be by lottery if necessary. Preference is given to juniors and seniors.

Travel and Study Abroad

In order to make the necessary travel arrangements, the application deadlines for these programs vary. Please read the Travel and Study Abroad section in this catalog for specifics. Students may contact their deans or Wo International Center, depending on the program, for more information and an application.

Students must also register for the related Summer School course as described for each program in the relevant academic department section. This is done during course programming with deans.

Summer School

Students may register for a total of one credit during the summer as long as class times do not conflict. For example, they make take a 1/2 credit course in Art or PE along with an English or Social Studies course. The exception is they may not register for both an English course and a Social Studies course. If they enroll in a one credit Math or Science course, including Ka Hālāwai Hou – Hawaiian Voyaging, they may not sign up for an additional Summer School course.

Summer School registration for credit-bearing courses takes place during course programming with the deans in February. Registration for non-credit courses, including SAT Prep, Music School and Dance School courses, is completed through the Summer School Office.

Summer School courses may sometimes be overenrolled and, because of limited space, students are not guaranteed their first choice in course selection. In such cases, priority is given to seniors first, then juniors and so on. All things being equal, a lottery may be held to determine which students are placed in a particular course.

All course offerings are subject to sufficient enrollment. Please check the Summer School section in this catalog for the dates and times courses will be offered.