Upper School

Advancing Critical Thinking

advancing critical thinking since 1878


From the moment they set foot on campus, all of our Upper School students are asked to take ownership of the learning process, accept risks and challenges and discover their academic passion.

education for an inspired life

University Liggett School graduates are well prepared for life beyond our Cook Road Campus because they take hold of opportunities and take ownership of all aspects of our programs. We have a dynamic community that expects much from its students through their engagement in classes, services to others, team commitments, leadership activities in clubs and grade level events, and performances in the arts. As scholars, athletes, artists, and public servants, they demonstrate the kind of commitment that raises the bar for all around them.


The objective of the Upper School is to assist students in developing the skills, competencies, and motivation necessary to engage in meaningful independent study culminating in a demonstration of understanding. Our academic program provides students with direct experiences designed to build this foundation.

Courses in the Upper School develop rigorous skills in disciplinary learning and inquiry, and acculturate students to Upper School systems. Students have the opportunity to pursue their passions with challenging electives like the following:

  • Digital Imaging: Photography Publications
  • Forensics and Biotechnology
  • Science Fiction and Popular Imagination
  • World War I (pay close attention to his final assessment)
  • History of Math
  • Literary Topics in Spanish

Course Selection

We offer guidance through the course selection and scheduling process to help students create the best balance of courses and extracurricular activities. For younger students, exploration of broad themes and essential questions build the foundation for later studies. We ask our older students to consider a concentration, an area of strong interest that they can use as a platform for in-depth study.

Prepared for College and Beyond


Student interests and passions are cultivated and encouraged. Through our Academic Research Program in the Upper School, learning doesn’t stop at discussion. Our students research and investigate, work with professionals and analyze and then present their knowledge in a meaningful way to the community.

Our students use research to gain a deeper understanding of topics and use technology to present their understanding of subjects.


Our Upper School students learn to think, reason and solve problems. Students reflect on their work through self-assessment and generate goals, they ask questions and make connections to the world beyond our walls.


The Department of Creative and Performing Arts at University Liggett School is dedicated to serving the mission of the school by offering a carefully curated series of creative outlets in an array of art forms. Our program is student centered and allows individuals to grow as creative artists. We do so by providing innovative teaching, excellent resources and materials, and an approach that values growth and progress as much as achievement. We scaffold and provide structures as we allow students to draw connections to the world, meaning, and a life lived in and through understandings in the arts. We cultivate and encourage engagement through relevance and depth while students explore the value of learning from old answers. We proudly present the arts as part of the core curriculum, and our successes are measured by our students ability to demonstrate ethics, excellence and engagement in a variety of arts forms.

Drama and Film

The Upper School drama program consists of introductory and advanced courses in acting, technical theater and design, as well as film studies. Students are encouraged to initiate creative solutions to artistic problems by examining the manner in which other artists have solved them in the past. Students have the opportunity to craft projects to fit their skills and talents taking them on an individual pathway through the learning. The Liggett Players present two main stage theatrical productions ranging from popular Broadway musicals to tense dramas. In addition, they produce a student-directed production each spring. The Players production company features leadership roles for our students and they are involved in every aspect of the productions, both on stage and behind the scenes. As a result of the program in the classroom and on the stage the Liggett Players have been consistently recognized at the state and national level for excellence in high school theater.


The Upper School music department at University Liggett School offers a comprehensive selection of courses to enhance students’ musical creativity and growth. Students may choose from a variety of exploration electives including music theory, music history, and music production. Students with previous musical experience may elect to refine vocal and instrumental technique through participation in band, choir, or orchestra. Upper School musicians at University Liggett School regularly receive superior ratings at festivals throughout the state and are highly sought after by the nation’s top collegiate music programs.

Visual Arts

Set in state-of-the-art studios, the Upper School visual art program offers a wide variety of courses to enhance creativity. Students have the opportunity to complete programs in four levels of studio art, darkroom and digital photography, two levels of ceramics, and design in crafts media--a class which explores craft materials including glass, textile, and jewelry making. Upper level students may elect to take Art Studio Advanced, a yearlong student-directed portfolio development course which includes the production of a major exhibition curated by the artists themselves. The Upper School visual art program emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, art criticism, history of art, and a wide variety of materials exploration. In addition to celebrating our artists’ work with shows in our professional gallery space, Liggett artists have also been honored for their achievements at local, state, and national levels.

Arts Wing and Manoogian Arts Gallery

Dedicated in 1996, the Manoogian Arts Wing is the center of the Creative and Performing Arts program at University Liggett School, housing a recital hall/band room, music rooms, art rooms, a photography studio, kilns, and faculty meeting space. It is also used for exhibited artwork, receptions, and community events. The Anderson Exhibition Center, dedicated in honor of Wendell W. Anderson, Jr., ’42 DUS, hosts the visiting artists and student art gallery. The gallery space hosts solo exhibitions of visiting artists, including opening receptions, which is open for public viewing during school hours. Student exhibitions, beginning in Kindergarten continuing through our advanced art program are also displayed in the gallery throughout the year.

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  • Brock

    Brock Dunn
    Head of Upper School

    "In the world of top-notch independent schooling a falsehood exists that academic rigor and a joyful experience cannot co-exist. I love that here at Liggett we recognize that such is hogwash. Intellectual stimulation and true growth can only happen in a place where a student feels connected and known. We are kind, compassionate, supportive, and empathetic, and thus deeply connected to our students with great purpose!"

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