Typical Course of Study for 11th Grade

A high school student observes a model of the solar system while studying over a textbook

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As they enter their junior year of high school, many students are starting to think about life after graduation. If they are college-bound, 11th graders will begin taking college entrance exams and focus on getting academically and emotionally prepared for college. If they are following a different path, such as entrepreneurship or entering the workforce, students may begin to refine their elective studies to prepare for their specific field of interest. 

Language Arts

A typical course of study for 11th-grade language arts will focus on developing higher level skills in the areas of literature, grammar, composition, and vocabulary. Students will refine and build on the skills they have previously learned. 

Colleges expect students to have earned four language arts credits. In 11th grade, students will likely study American, British, or World literature, completing whichever course they did not complete in 9th or 10th grade. 

Homeschooling families may wish to combine literature and history, so an 11th-grade student taking world history would choose world literature titles.  Families who don't want to tie literature into their history studies should work with their student to select a robust and well-rounded reading list.

Students should continue to gain writing practice in a wide variety of composition types such as how-to, persuasive, and narrative essays and research papers. Grammar is not typically taught separately in 11th grade but is incorporated in the writing and self-editing process. 


A typical course of study for 11th-grade math usually means geometry or Algebra II, depending on what the student has previously completed. High school math is traditionally taught in the order Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II to ensure that students have a solid understanding of geometry for college entrance exams. 

However, some homeschool curriculum follows Algebra I with Algebra II before introducing geometry. Students who completed pre-algebra in 9th grade may follow a different schedule, as will those who completed Algebra I in 8th grade. 

For students who are strong in math, 11th-grade options may include pre-Calculus, trigonometry, or statistics. Students who are not planning on going into a science- or math-related field may take courses such as business or consumer math.


Most students will study chemistry in 11th grade after having successfully completed the math courses necessary for understanding how to balance chemical equations. Alternative science courses include physics, meteorology, ecology, equine studies, marine biology, or any dual-enrollment college science course.

Common topics for 11th-grade chemistry include matter and its behavior; formulas and chemical equations; acids, bases, and salts; atomic theory; periodic law; molecular theory; ionization and ionic solutions; colloids, suspensions, and emulsions; electrochemistry; energy; and nuclear reactions and radioactivity.

Social Studies

Most colleges expect a student to have three credits for social studies, so many 11th grade students will be completing their final social studies course. For homeschooled students following a classical education model, 11th-grade students will study the Renaissance. Other students may be studying American or world history. 

Common topics for 11th grade social studies include the Age of Exploration and Discovery; the colonization and development of America; sectionalism; the American Civil War and Reconstruction; World Wars; the Great Depression; the Cold War and the nuclear era; and civil rights. Other acceptable courses of study for 11th-grade social studies include geography, psychology, sociology, anthropology, civics, economics, and dual enrollment college social studies courses.


Most colleges expect to see at least six elective credits. Even if a student is not college-bound, electives are an ideal way to explore areas of interest that may lead to a future career or a lifelong hobby. A student can study just about anything for elective credit.

Most colleges expect a student to have completed two years of the same foreign language, so many 11th graders will be finishing their second year. Many colleges also like to see at least one credit in the visual or performing arts. Students can earn this credit with courses such as drama, music, dance, art history, or a visual arts class like painting, drawing, or photography.

Other examples of elective credit options include digital media, computer technology, creative writing, journalism, speech, debate, auto mechanics, or woodworking. Students can also earn credit for test prep courses, which can be useful in helping them meet their elective credit requirements and approaching entrance exams with more confidence. 

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Bales, Kris. "Typical Course of Study for 11th Grade." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/11th-grade-social-studies-1828432. Bales, Kris. (2020, August 27). Typical Course of Study for 11th Grade. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/11th-grade-social-studies-1828432 Bales, Kris. "Typical Course of Study for 11th Grade." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/11th-grade-social-studies-1828432 (accessed June 4, 2023).