The Academy Science Department provides students with the opportunity to learn to use the scientific process to acquire, assimilate, extend, refine and apply scientific knowledge. Students learn to identify problems, ask questions, analyze data, think clearly and logically and draw appropriate conclusions. Students have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the basic concepts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics in our inquiry-based college-preparatory program.

While two full-year courses are required of all students for graduation, the Science Department strongly recommends students take three years. To meet the wide range of abilities and interests of Punahou students, the department offers Advanced Placement courses and fundamental courses.

The rich variety of elective courses includes single-semester inquiries in areas of physical and biological sciences. Elective courses originate from student interest and/or teacher’s initiative. The Science Department encourages students to take as many elective courses as time allows.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete two full years of laboratory courses in science to graduate. One of those two years must be taken in the tenth grade or beyond; only one of the two courses may be taken in Summer School. Of these two years, the Science Department recommends one year be in the physical sciences and the other in the biological sciences. The Science Department strongly suggests each student take a third year in science.

Course Progression

Physics Courses

Electives Offered

Science electives may be taken after the freshman year.

  • Advanced Statistics in Research
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Major Systems
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Minor Systems
  • Anthropology
  • Astronomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Culinary Chemistry
  • Energy Projects: Production, Storage, Distribution and Efficiency
  • Engineering and Robotics I
  • Engineering and Robotics II
  • Environmental Problem Solving
  • Ka Hālāwai Hou – Hawaiian Voyaging
  • Marine Biology
  • Medical Problem Solving+
  • Oceanography
  • Independent Research

Bold typeface = lab based
+ Offered in Summer School


All science courses, except Biology and Biology Honors and Robotics, require prerequisites. Please refer to the course description before enrolling in any course.