Our Science Department combines scientific inquiry and critical thinking to help students discover their relationship to the world we live in.

Small class size means faculty provide individualized instruction, meeting students where they are and providing the right blend of challenge and support to move them forward. Faculty are committed to connecting the scientific concepts explored in class and the lab to their real world ramifications and applications. This provides students with the problem-solving skills and passion for active discovery that are necessary to be lifelong learners, from high school to college and well beyond.

Coursework and Requirements

Students are required to take physics their freshman year and chemistry their sophomore year; many students go on to study more than 4 years of science during their time at Thacher by taking more than one science course during their junior and senior years. Our offerings emphasize collaborative group work, regular hands-on lab work, and rigorous analytical thinking that takes students well beyond traditional rote memorization of concepts.

Unique Offerings

Thacher’s Horse Program and rugged location nestled in the foothills of the Los Padres National Forest provide opportunities here that students won’t find anywhere else. Our veterinary medicine class benefits from working with our own horses and pigs right here on site, and our environmental science and other courses utilize outdoor classrooms throughout our 427-acre campus, from creek beds to beehives to solar fields to school composting facilities.

The dark night skies in Ojai also provide excellent opportunities for hands-on learning in our astronomy courses. The Thacher Observatory, which underwent a major renovation during the Fall of 2016, is now a state-of-the-art research-grade facility. It offers students in astronomy and data science courses significant opportunities for applied learning and represents one of the best such facilities at any high school in the nation. The Observatory also currently supports NASA-funded research on eclipsing binaries and transiting exoplanets, which is led by one of our own faculty members in partnership with Harvard and Boston University.  You can learn more about our astronomy program—and the ways that it intersects with and complements our robotics and computer programming offerings—here.

- Leo

In Advanced Topics in Environmental Science, Mr. Pidduck made sure the things we learned in the classroom were grounded in our interactions with the surrounding environment. I came away a changed person, both more aware of my natural surroundings and passionate about protecting them.”

East Hampton, New York

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