STEM IA High School

High School Courses

Our high school programming is structured to meet the high standards of Alberta’s curriculum while allowing students flexibility to explore unique and innovative STEM courses. Our program prepares students for post-secondary studies through our exemplary programming and teaching, and helps students make informed choices about their education path beyond grade 12.

Course Catalogue

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Core Courses delivered according to the Alberta curriculum in preparation for graduation

Options Courses that provide numerous options to explore innovative STEM programming across a broad range of leading-edge topics

These courses are supported by Alberta’s first MIT Fab Lab – a digital fabrication facility providing formal links to 1750 labs in over 100 countries.

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Alberta Curriculum

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Core Courses

We follow Alberta Education’s Program of Studies for all our courses. We have high academic standards in our courses, and believe a well-rounded education is important for all students. Please note the streams of courses we offer follow previous teachers recommendations for courses so success can be found in the course chosen.

10 Level (Grade 10)
20 Level (Grade 11)
30 Level (Grade 12)
English Language Arts 10-1
English Language Arts 20-1
English Language Arts 30-1
Social Studies 10-1
Social Studies 20-1
Social Studies 30-1
Math 10C
Math 20-1
Math 30-1
Math 30-2
Honours Math 30-1/31
Science 10
Biology 20
Chemistry 20
Physics 20
Biology 30
Chemistry 30
Physics 30
Physical Education 10
Physical Education 20
Physical Education 30
Career and Life Managment (CALM)

Ideal for students passionate about the language of mathematics and its broad and deep applications to the entirety of STEM, this intensive course covers subject matter in greater depth, requiring more sophisticated problem-solving. The course offers students a comprehensive treatment of the demanding calculus concepts covered in Math 30-1 and Math 31, while also introducing an array of concepts and techniques essential in engineering, the experimental sciences and the social sciences. The material is presented with a dual purpose: to equip students with the necessary knowledge to explore STEM disciplines in post-secondary, while also celebrating mathematics as a deep and rewarding subject in and of itself.

Students also explore other advanced topics, including probability, statistics, methods in data analysis and linear algebra. Students will be prepared to take the diploma exam in January and continue to explore calculus and other topics in the second semester.

An advisory board consisting of mathematicians and statisticians will play an active role in course curriculum and delivery, with both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta represented on the committee

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Options & Specializations

At STEM Innovation Academy, options courses are organized and delivered in strands. Within each strand, courses build the knowledge and skills of that discipline in partnership with industry and post-secondary experts. Courses provide a scope and sequence of learning experiences that build foundational STEM skills, while using the design process to create innovative solutions to unique problems.

Students will choose courses from the different strands to develop a diverse set of knowledge, skills and experiences while developing and practicing interpersonal skills integral to success in the ever-evolving workforce.

Successful completion of an option and specialization course will result in either 5 credits or 3 credits. Please note the credit allocation in each course. 5-credit courses are one full semester in length. 3-credit courses are one term (half a semester) in length.

All course offerings are dependent on minimum enrollment.

Engineering and Design

Courses in the Engineering and Design strand focus on utilizing the design process to create innovative solutions to real-world problems. Students learn a variety of hands-on and digital skills and gain valuable prototyping and fabrication experience in our MIT Fab Lab, which connects students to their global peers via a network of 1750 labs in over 100 countries.

Computational Thinking

In today’s digital age, computational thinking is an essential skill.  It is a systematic approach to solving complex problems by breaking them down into a series of distinct steps.  Solutions are presented in a form that can be effectively carried out by people or computers. Courses in the Computational Thinking strand involve students undertaking hands-on learning in computer programming and electronics to create ‘smart’ design solutions.

New Media

Innovative ideas are spread by creative, effective, and engaging communication. Courses in the Media strand leverage digital technologies and the art of communication to connect with authentic audiences using persuasive storytelling.


STEM Innovation Academy Specialization courses allow students to pursue areas of interest related to STEM by providing students with focused and in-depth learning experiences in specific fields of study. These courses range from 3 to 5 credits and can be taken in either grade 11 or 12.

Global Online Academy (GOA)

GOA is an international consortium of public, independent, charter, and international member schools offering online learning. STEM Innovation Academy is the only public-school member in Canada. Global Online Academy courses have low student to teacher ratios and are expert led. GOA offers high school students the opportunity to learn in an interactive, global learning community, building the skills they’ll need for college, career, and life. Learning is both synchronous and asynchronous however the course must be completed in the semester chosen.

Please note students will need to go through an application process to be considered for an online course. If the applicant is successful, they will need to pay a fee to enroll with Global Online Academy.

Program Enhancements (Grade 10-12)

Students will explore leading-edge technologies and disruptive innovations. These unique sessions are delivered by industry experts and post-secondary guest speakers. Students will deepen their understanding of STEM fields and consider the potential economic, social, political and ethical impacts of these developments. Potential topics include: artificial intelligence and machine learning, medical technologies, cleantech, blockchain, building systems, agriculture technologies, and quantum computing.

Design & Engineering

Sparkade (5 credits)

Ever wondered what it would be like to build an interactive digital experience?
In this hands-on course students will build physical devices that will interact and manipulate digital content. Whether students are new to coding or have prior experience they will choose an appropriate language (Scratch, Python, C# etc.) to write code to control events and behaviors for the digital content they create. In addition to programming, the course will build both technical and creative skills as students solve problems to create a physical device to interact with their digital content.
Students will prototype and develop a final product using a variety of technologies, including sensors, 3D printing, laser cutting and 3D modelling (TinkerCAD and Fusion360). Projects may include interactive storytelling experiences, digital immersion experiences, sporting experiences, educational or community interactive products, interactive game experiences (dance mats or whack a mole) or even a traditional arcade machine, the choice is yours!
Prerequisites: none

Design & Engineering

Innovative Engineering 25 (5 credits)

Innovative Engineering 25 course is designed to inspire students to think creatively and develop inventive solutions to complex problems. Through a combination of theoretical instruction and hands-on projects, students will explore the basic principles of physics, mathematics, and design thinking, and apply these concepts to real-world engineering challenges. Innovative engineering is divided into two major learning arcs.
First, students will explore civil engineering and how it relates to structural design. To achieve this, students will use Fusion 360 (CAD software) to complete static stress analysis and generative design. Using rapid prototyping techniques such as laser cutting, students create physical models that will be stress-tested using a hydraulic press and data-logging equipment.
Next, students explore mechanical engineering by designing, fabricating, and optimizing a high-performance model race car using CNC technology. Their designs will be tested in an F1 in Schools type challenge, leveraging Computer Aided Modelling (CAM) and design for manufacturing for milling. This course explores cutting-edge technologies, interdisciplinary approaches, and systems thinking applied to problem-solving and design.
Prerequisites: Sparkade 15

Design & Engineering

Innovative Engineering 35 (5 credits)

Innovative Engineering 35 is a higher-level course that builds on the fundamental engineering practices developed in Innovative Engineering 25. This advanced course will consist of two parts. Part one of the semester looks at where the worlds of engineering and architecture collide.
Students will explore unique design and architecture challenges facing society today digging deep into social, economic and environmental issues by using a systems thinking approach. Students will use professional software development tools and methodologies, such as GIS (Geographic Information Systems), CAD (Computer-Aided Design Software), BIM (Building Information Modelling), specifically Autodesk Revit.
In the second part of the semester, students will be given the choice to engage in either an architecture design, industrial design, interior design, landscape design or engineering design capstone project to create a real-world solution to a community problem. In addition, students may explore additional topics such as sustainable system engineering, energy innovation, and clean technologies.
Prerequisites: Innovative Engineering 25

Design & Engineering

STEM Pathway Project (variable credits)

The STEM Pathways course is an independent study aimed at self-motivated students interested in STEM subjects. In this course, students identify and engineer solutions to solve real-world problems of global significance. These multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects provide opportunities for deeper learning. Together with a mentor, students navigate the messiness of the creative process from inception to completion by prototyping and testing. The course itself is designed to provide students with opportunities for experiential, personalized and integrated learning.
Prerequisites: Sparkade 10

Computational Thinking

Mechatronics 15 (5 credits)

Students learn to design and build robots, to program autonomous behaviours, and to use sensors to improve the robot’s ability to navigate and interact with its environment. The course covers both technical and practical skills, providing hands-on experience with programming logic and the essentials of designing and building a robust robot. In addition to working with the VEX V5 robotics platform, students will also learn the basics of electro-assembly through the construction of their own electronic devices and robotic applications. In the final module, students will use robotics to create a unique final product that automates an aspect of their own lives or the lives of others in their community.
Prerequisites: None

Computational Thinking

Mechatronics 25 (5 credits)

Mechatronics engineering is the design of computer-controlled electromechanical systems. In this intermediate-level course, students will integrate the concepts of automation, robotics, control systems, electronics systems, and computer programming.
Students will tackle increasingly complex challenges that require design and programming ingenuity. Students expand their understanding of higher-level spatial awareness, mechanical advantage, and control algorithms. They will work with a variety of sensors, integrated with self-fabricated microprocessors and microcontrollers, such as Arduino. They also gain exposure to robotics in manufacturing applications, including how process control impacts quality and efficiency.
As students progress through the course, they are expected to complete more advanced projects with greater autonomy using project applications in mechanical advantage, feedback control, and automation. Sample projects include robotic arm, storage solutions, smart home applications, smart agriculture, and IoT applications.
Prerequisites: Mechatronics 15

Computational Thinking

Mechatronics 35 (5 credits)

In this higher-level course, students explore the mechatronics realm of embedded systems, combining hardware and software, as the course dives into the tiny integrated circuits that make up electronic devices. Students will learn about digital logic to design and print their own Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for a digital circuit application of their choice, such as creating an amplifier, timer alarm, or musical toy. The course also explores expert systems, merging the worlds of computer-control and multimedia interactive applications with a focus on robotic vision systems, through the design of a robot that draws its surroundings, and a webcam-controlled rover.
Prerequisites: Mechatronics 25

Computational Thinking

Programming Our Physical and
Digital World 15 (5 credits)

From wearable technologies to smart homes, digital technology is ubiquitous in our daily lives and in the world around us. Throughout the course, students will learn the basics of algorithmic thinking and learn about variables, functions, conditional statements and loops as they design and code their own programming projects with Circuit Playground Express, Arduino microcontrollers and Raspberry Pi microcomputers.
Prerequisites: none

Computational Thinking

Programming Our Physical and
Digital World 25 (5 credits)

More than a typical computer science course, students continue to build their technical skills in this higher-level computing course, increasing their fluency in structured and procedural programming. Throughout the course, students can access different text-based languages.
This more advanced course offers students the opportunity to apply software engineering principles and will cover more advanced data structures (e.g., lists, stacks, queues, trees), along with efficiency and complex algorithms for searching and sorting.
Students will also use professional software development tools and methodologies – such as APIs, libraries, IDEs, and collaboration tools – in their own projects. In addition to programming, students will explore additional topics in computer science, learning about embedded computing systems, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and the societal impacts of technological change. Students also investigate nascent technology areas, such as artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality.

Prerequisites: Programming Our Physical and Digital World 15

Computational Thinking

Programming Our Physical and
Digital World 35 (5 credits)

Programming our Physical and Digital Worlds 35 explores the fundamentals of physical computing with the principles of iterative algorithms, object-oriented programming, and recursive algorithms. It is designed to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between hardware and software systems, with a focus on developing sophisticated computational solutions for real-world problems.
Throughout the course, students will engage in hands-on projects, experiments, and theoretical exercises, fostering a deep understanding of both the theoretical underpinnings and practical applications of the course topics.
Prerequisites: Programming Our Physical and Digital World 25

New Media

New Media Essentials (5 credits)

New Media Essentials provides students with the fundamental skills and knowledge to progress into either Videography 25 or Graphics and Animation 25. The course will introduce students to a wide range of media tools and techniques to create digital media content. Starting with graphic design, students will create a range of digital content that they will later bring to life with animation software.
Furthermore, students will explore photography essentials and expand their post-production digital processing skills. Building on these skills students will create audio/visual content to communicate their ideas. To create media content students will use software from Adobe Creative Cloud such as Illustrator, Animate, After Effects, Lightroom and Premier.
Prerequisites: None

New Media

Graphics and Animation 25 (5 credits)

Building on the core skills developed in New Media Essentials students will continue their journey in digital storytelling and character development by creating complex 2D vector graphics content that will be brought to life using animation software such as Adobe Animate, Character Animate and After Effects for a variety of audiences. Furthermore, students will integrate their digital content in virtual and augmented reality using Adobe Aero to explore various applications in industry.
Throughout the course, students will continue to develop their photography skills such as composition, exposure, basic lighting, camera operation, image processing and proofing to communicate a message or tell a story. Students will continually refine their presentation skills and develop and author interactive multimedia presentations using advanced presentation software tools and techniques.
Prerequisites: New Media Essentials 15

New Media

Graphics and Animation 35 (5 credits)

In this advanced Graphics and Animation course students explore advanced techniques and methodologies in the field of digital graphics, photography, and animation. Through a series of projects, students will be challenged to apply their knowledge and skills to create sophisticated digital content which may include animated shorts, visual effects sequences, photography exhibitions and immersive virtual environments.
In addition, students will also be given a choice to deep dive into an area of photography they want to pursue such as photojournalism or advanced lighting techniques. Furthermore, students will explore emerging trends and innovations in the fields of graphics, photography and animation. This may include applications using virtual reality, augmented reality, and real-time rendering. Students will experiment with these technologies and gain practical experience in creating interactive and immersive digital experiences.
Prerequisites: Graphics and Animation 25

New Media

Videography 25 (5 credits)

Videography 25 is a comprehensive course designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and techniques of video production. Through a hands-on approach using high-end equipment, students will learn the basics of capturing, editing and producing high-quality video content. In this course, students will engage with real-world clients to apply the principles and practices of client services.
This course aims to develop students’ understanding of visual storytelling and technical proficiency in videography. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of pre-production planning, script development, storyboarding, and post-production editing to achieve professional-level video content. This will be achieved by using Industry software such as DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premier, and Adobe After Effects.
Prerequisites: New Media Essentials 15

New Media

Videography 35 (5 credits)

The Advanced Videography 35 course is designed for students who have a strong foundational knowledge of videography and are looking to further enhance their skills and expertise in the field of video production by producing a high-end video of their choice. The choice is open-ended ranging from documentaries to short narratives, it is time to put your skills to the test and create something you are passionate about.
This course delves deeper into advanced techniques and strategies used in professional video production, focusing on advanced video editing techniques, colour grading, special/visual effects, and sound engineering. To achieve high-end professional results, students will further develop their production competency by using Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve and Ableton Live.
Prerequisites: Videography 25


Biomedical Science 25 (5 credits)

In Biomedical Studies 25 students will investigate and evaluate an array of biomedical science topics using hands-on, real-world problem-solving approach to learning. Students will be introduced to forensic sciences, microbiology with a focus on infectious diseases, nutritional studies including a study of metabolic disorders, and an introduction to oncology with a study of cancerous cells characteristics and growth patterns.
Throughout the course, students will have many opportunities to use advanced and current biomedical tools and tests to perform various experiments used in hospitals and medical labs. Students will also develop skills in medical documentation to represent and communicate experimental findings and solutions to problems. This newly developed course is a one of a kind offering for students interested in health-related careers.
Prerequisites: Science 10


Biomedical Science 35 (5 credits)

In Biomedical Studies 35 students apply their knowledge and skills to answer questions or solve problems related to biomedical sciences. Students will continue with forensics science and be introduced to pharmacology, comparative anatomy of both humans and animals and biomedical engineering.
Students will design innovative solutions for the health challenges of the 21st century as they work through progressively challenging open-ended problems. They will have the opportunity to work on an independent project and may work with a mentor or advisor from a university, hospital, physician’s office, or industry. Students may present their work to an audience that may include representatives from the local business and healthcare community.
Prerequisite: Biomedical Science 25


ART 10: Fundamentals and Tech (5 credits)

From painting with a physical paintbrush to using a digital paintbrush, sculpting with clay to digital sculpting, ART: Fundamentals and Tech is a course that connects the world of traditional art and explores its transition into the digital age. In this fundamental art course, students explore a diverse range of 2-D visual arts media and techniques whilst developing their creative thinking skills.
The course will emphasize the importance of observation, composition, form, colour theory, and perspective, fostering a deeper understanding of the elements and principles of art. Students will explore a variety of artistic mediums, including drawing, painting, and sculpture, to develop a strong foundation in artistic expression. Furthermore, students will consider innovations and technologies that are used in the creative process as they transfer their skills from the physical world to digital platforms.
Prerequisites: None


Sport Science 25 (3 credits)

To complement the Physical Education 20 course, the Sport Sciences course consists of necessary components to develop, achieve, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The focus in this course is on wellness, sport, nutrition, and injury prevention/management. There is a strong emphasis in some modules on anatomy and physiology.
Corequisite: Phys. Ed. 20


Sport Science 35 (3 credits)

To complement the Physical Education 30 course, the Sport Sciences course consists of a focus on the prevention, assessment, and management of injuries, with a specific emphasis on bone, joint, and soft-tissue injuries that may arise during sporting events and activities. They delve into the interplay between anatomy, joint function, and stability, enabling them to analyze injury mechanisms and predict potential injuries.

Students explore the physiology of pain and its profound impact on the body’s systems and individual health and wellness. They also acquire foundational knowledge and skills concerning the assessment and management of pain, while understanding the critical role of these strategies in enhancing health and well-being within personal and healthcare contexts.

Prerequisite: Sport Science 25


Artificial Intelligence 15 (5 credits)

Aspects of artificial intelligence permeate our lives and the algorithms power your favorite apps. How much do you really know about how AI works or how it is changing the world around us? This course will explore the history of research into artificial general intelligence and the subsequent focus on the subfields of narrow AI: Neural networks, Machine Learning and Expert Systems, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Vision and Facial Recognition. Students will learn how AI training datasets cause bias and focus on the ethics and principles of responsible AI: fairness, transparency and explainability, human-centeredness, and privacy and security.
Prerequisite: Student must complete Grade 10


Space Science - Astronomy 25 (3 credits)

Space Science Astronomy course is designed to introduce students to the fascinating world of celestial bodies, space exploration, and the fundamental principles of astrophysics. Students will analyze, assess, and refine connections among celestial observations and explore the current innovation and technological advancements related to Space Science. By embracing historical human curiosity pertaining to the sky above, students can further critically examine their perspective within the solar system and universe.
Through a combination of theoretical learning, practical observations, and interactive activities, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of astronomical phenomena, the structure of the universe, and the tools and techniques used in modern astronomy.
Prerequisites: Science 10


Entrepreneurship and Innovation 25 (5 credits)

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation course aims to equip students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and mindset to identify, evaluate, and capitalize on business opportunities while fostering a culture of innovation associated with starting and managing a business venture. Students will be given a choice out of a range of products to manufacture and create their own business.
They will be given a startup budget and a space in the school store to market and sell their product. Students will be challenged to grow and manage their business ventures by engaging in various e-commerce strategies. Furthermore, students will diversify their product lines by researching and developing other products using technology and resources in the school fabrication lab.
In addition, students will explore entrepreneurship law to consider the challenges faced when starting a business and take an in-depth look at key areas of disruption to gain a deeper understanding of the potential impact of these changes. Possible topics include fintech (including blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFTs); artificial intelligence and machine learning; data analytics; advanced manufacturing; intellectual property; and case studies in entrepreneurship.
Prerequisites: None


Personal Psychology 20 (3 credits)

The Personal Psychology course provides students with an understanding of the principles and theories that underlie human behaviour and mental processes. The course is structured around the major themes: personality, behaviour, intelligence, heredity and the environment, biological influences of behaviour and perception. Through interactive discussions, self-reflective exercises, and case studies, students will gain insights into their own behaviour and learn practical strategies for personal growth and psychological well-being.
Prerequisites: None


Experimental Psychology 30 (3 credits)

The Experimental Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental principles and methodologies of psychological research. It focuses on developing an understanding of experimental design, data collection, and analysis within the field of psychology. Students will learn to critically evaluate research studies, design their own experiments, conduct statistical analyses and interpret empirical findings. Through hands-on experiments and theoretical discussions, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the scientific methods used in psychological research.
Prerequisites: None


Scientific Research 35 (3 credits)

The Scientific Research course is an independent study aimed at self-motivated students interested in applying the scientific process to answer a research question of their choice. The course is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge and practical skills and the opportunity to apply the scientific method by conducting their own hands-on research projects, experiments and investigations in a high-end laboratory.
Together with a mentor, students will be guided through the process from defining a research question to communicating their findings to an authentic audience. Students will leave the course with a deeper appreciation for the complexity and significance of scientific research and its role in addressing real-world challenges.
Prerequisites: Biology 20, Chemistry 20 or Physics 20.

Global Online Academy

Cybersecurity 15 (5 credits)

Cybercriminals leverage technology and human behaviour to attack our online security. This course explores the fundamentals of and vulnerabilities in the design of computers, networks, and the internet. Course content includes the basics of computer components, connectivity, virtualization, and hardening.
Students learn about network design, Domain Name Services, and TCP/IP. They will understand switching, routing, and access control for internet devices, and how denial of service, spoofing, and flood attacks work. Basic programming introduced in the course will inform hashing strategies, while an introduction to ciphers and cryptography will show how shared-key encryption works for HTTPS and TLS traffic.
Students also explore the fundamentals of data forensics and incident response protocols. The course includes analysis of current threats and best-practice modelling for cyber defence, including password complexity, security, management, breach analysis, and hash cracking. Computational thinking and programming skills developed in this course will help students solve a variety of cybersecurity issues.
There is no computer science prerequisite for this course, though students with some background will certainly find avenues to flex their knowledge.
Available to Grade 11 & 12 students only

Global Online Academy

Business Problem Solving 15 (5 credits)

How could climate change disrupt your production and supply chains or impact your consumer markets? Will tariffs help or hurt your business? How embedded is social media in your marketing plan? Is your company vulnerable to cybercrime? What 21st-century skills are you cultivating in your leadership team? Students in this course tackle real-world problems facing businesses, large and small, in today’s fast-changing global marketplace where radical reinvention is on the minds of many business leaders.
Students work collaboratively and independently on case studies, exploring business issues through varied lenses including operations, marketing, human capital, finance, and risk management as well as sustainability. As they are introduced to the concepts and practices of business, students identify, analyze, and propose solutions to business problems, engaging in research focused on traditional and emerging industries, from established multinationals to startups.

Available to Grade 11 & 12 students only

Global Online Academy

Game Design and Development 15 (5 credits)

In this course, students practice designing and developing games through hands-on work. Through the creation of games, the course asks students to solve problems and create content, building the design and technical skills necessary to build their own games.
Throughout the course, students come to understand game design through game designer Jesse Schell’s “lenses:” different ways of looking at the same problem and answering questions that provide direction and refinement of a game’s theme and structure. During this time, students also learn how to use Godot, the professional game development tool they use throughout the class. They become familiar with the methodologies of constructing a game using such assets as graphics, sounds, and effects and controlling events and behaviour within the game using the GDScript programming language, which is modelled after Python.
In the last two modules of the course, students work in teams to brainstorm and develop new games in response to a theme or challenge. Students will develop their skills in communication, project- and time-management, and creative problem-solving while focusing on different aspects of asset creation, design, and coding.
Prerequisites: Programming our Physical and Digital World 10

Global Online Academy

Neuropsychology 15 (5 credits)

Neuropsychology is the exploration of the neurological basis of behaviour. Within this course, students will learn about basic brain anatomy and function as well as cognitive and behavioural disorders from a neurobiological perspective. They will do an in-depth analysis of neural communication with an emphasis on how environmental factors such as smartphones affect nervous system function, their own behaviours, and the behaviours of those around them. Students will also have the opportunity to choose topics in neuropsychology to explore independently including Addiction, Personality Disorders, Sleep, and Neuroplasticity, and share their understanding with their peers in a variety of formats. The course concludes with a study of contemporary neuropsychological research.
Available to Grade 11 & 12 students only