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.

Two year-long courses are required to meet Punahou’s graduation requirements. However, the Science Department strongly recommends students take a minimum of three years, in part to meet minimum course requirements for college admission. To meet the wide range of abilities and interests of Punahou students, the department offers Advanced Placement courses, Honors level courses and fundamental courses.

The rich variety of elective courses includes single semester inquiries in areas of physical and biological sciences. The Science Department encourages students to explore the many diverse electives offered.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete two yearlong 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.

Course Progression

Physics Courses

Electives Offered

Science electives may be taken after the freshman year.

  • Anatomy and Physiology: Major Systems
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Minor Systems
  • Anthropology
  • Astronomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Neuroscience of Learning
  • Culinary Chemistry
  • Energy Projects: Production, Storage, Distribution and Efficiency
  • Environmental Problem Solving
  • Marine Biology
  • Medical Problem Solving+
  • Oceanography
  • Independent Research

Bold typeface = lab based for most college admissions

+ = Offered in Summer School


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