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The Urban School
of San Francisco
1563 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415 626 2919


Urban’s Science Department aims to provide a balanced, rigorous and inspirational introduction to the key concepts and skills needed to understand phenomena in the natural world. Urban sciences embrace a teaching philosophy in which students participate firsthand in meaningful, active, hands-on investigations. Labs, field trips and projects often form the principle organizing structure for an academic unit or for an entire course. Over time, students take more active roles in designing experiments and independently solving challenging problems. In doing so, students gain the ability to evaluate scientific claims critically, both in high school and beyond.

Urban’s science curriculum balances essential skills and content with freedom for students to pursue their own interests at an appropriate level. All students take the same core integrated 9th and 10th grade classes. During Junior and Senior years, students may choose from a wide variety of electives based on their interests, abilities and desire for challenge.

Urban’s range of science electives is broad. Field-based classes like Geology and Marine Biology explore the natural world through hands-on work outside the classroom. Urban Advanced Studies (UAS) courses, such as UAS Physics, UAS Infectious Disease, UAS Genetics and UAS Chemistry feature a rigorous approach to concepts and draw on published research. Project-based courses like Applied Physics: Motion & Machines and Applied Physics: Electronics and Robotics offer students opportunities to direct their own learning and engineer their own creations.

See science courses for 2017-18.


The Urban School curriculum provides an exceptionally strong foundation in college preparatory subjects. Many of our classes have distinctive features that set them apart as particularly challenging and comparable to college level work. These classes, designated as UAS (Urban Advanced Studies), are developed by the Urban faculty and comprise the school's most rigorous coursework. UAS classes are offered in every subject area and most are recognized by colleges (including the University of California) as honors level courses. Many Urban students choose to take Advanced Placement subject exams after taking these courses.

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