Typical Course of Study for 9th Grade

Typical Course of Study for 9th Grade
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Ninth grade is an exciting time for most teens. The beginning of the high school years marks the culmination of their primary education, and the course requirements for high school students begin their preparation to enter college or the workforce after graduation. Curriculum for ninth-grade students shifts to address higher level thinking skills and autonomous study skills.

In ninth grade, language arts prepares teens for effective oral and written communication. Typical courses in science include physical science and biology, while algebra is the standard for math. Social studies usually focuses on geography, world history, or U.S. history, and electives such as art become a vital part of a student's education.

Language Arts

A typical course of study for ninth grade language arts includes grammar, vocabulary, literature, and composition. Students will also cover topics such as public speaking, literary analysis, citing sources, and writing reports. In ninth grade, students may also study myths, drama, novels, short stories, and poetry.


Algebra I is the math course that is typically covered in ninth grade, although some students may complete pre-algebra or geometry. Ninth grade students will cover topics such as real numbers, rational and irrational numbers, integers, variables, exponents and powers, scientific notation, lines, slopes, the Pythagorean Theorem, graphing, and using equations to solve problems.

They will also gain experience in reasoning skills by working through reading, writing, and solving equations, simplifying and rewriting equations to solve problems, and using graphs to solve problems.


There is a wide range of topics that 9th-grade students can study for science. Standard high school courses include biology, physical science, life science, earth science, and physics. Students may also take interest-led courses such as astronomy, botany, geology, marine biology, zoology, or equine science.

In addition to covering standard science topics, it’s essential that students gain experience with science practices such as asking questions and forming hypotheses, designing and carrying out experiments, organizing and interpreting data, and evaluating and communicating results. This experience usually results from taking science courses with labs and learning to complete lab reports after each. Most colleges and universities expect high school students to complete two or three lab sciences.  

Two of the most common science courses for ninth grade students are biology and physical science. Physical science is the study of the natural world and includes topics such as the earth’s structure, ecology, weather, climate, erosion, Newton’s laws of motion, nature, space, and astronomy. Physical science classes may also cover general science principals such as the scientific method and simple and complex machines.

Biology is the study of living organisms. Most biology courses begin with a study of the cell, the most basic component of all living things. Students will learn about cell structure, anatomy, taxonomy, genetics, human anatomy, sexual and asexual reproduction, plants, animals, and more.

Social Studies

As with science, there is a wide range of topics that students can study for ninth-grade social studies. Social studies encompass history, culture, people, places, and environments. Students need to gain experience with social studies skills such as reading maps, using timelines, critical thinking, evaluating data, problem-solving, and understanding how cultures are affected by geographic location, events, and economics. Standard high school courses for ninth-grade students include American history, world history, ancient history, and geography.

Students studying U.S. history will cover topics such as the exploration and settlement of America, Native Americans, the foundations of American democracy, the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution, taxation, citizenship, and types of government. They will also study wars such as the American Revolution and the Civil War.

Ninth graders studying world history will learn about major world regions. They will learn about the patterns of migration and settlement in each, how the human population is distributed, how people adapt to their environment, and the effects of physical geography on cultures. They will also study wars such as World War I and World War II

Geography can easily be incorporated into all history topics. Students should learn map and globe skills using a variety of map types (physical, political, topographical, etc.).


Most high school coursework now requires art credit. Colleges and universities vary on how many elective credits they expect, but six to eight is average. Art is a broad topic with ample room for interest-led, elective studies.

Art studies for ninth grade students can include visual arts such as drawing, photography, graphic design, or architecture. It can also consist of performance art such as drama, dance, or music.

Art studies should allow students to develop skills such as watching or listening and responding to art, learning the vocabulary associated with the art topic being studied, and fostering creativity.

It should also allow them to encounter topics such as art history, famous artists and works of art, and the contributions of various types of art to society and its impact on culture.

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Bales, Kris. "Typical Course of Study for 9th Grade." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/9th-grade-social-science-1828485. Bales, Kris. (2020, August 26). Typical Course of Study for 9th Grade. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/9th-grade-social-science-1828485 Bales, Kris. "Typical Course of Study for 9th Grade." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/9th-grade-social-science-1828485 (accessed June 9, 2023).