Course Descriptions


The Choral Music curriculum will focus on the exploration of traditional vocal techniques as well as modern technological developments and their application to choral and vocal art forms.  Vocalists will have the opportunity to perform and record music from classic and contemporary repertoires, and students will be exposed to cutting-edge software to develop compositions and recordings.


Development Engineering

Development Engineering has also been referred to as “humanitarian engineering” or “engineering for change.”  It focuses on creating technology for developing communities with resource needs.  In this class, students will identify a community at need and pursue engineering projects to help them fill those needs.  For example, students might develop small houses from recycled materials for communities recovering from hurricanes or solar generators to power classroom computers for communities not connected to a power grid.



Drama is one of our oldest art forms, yet it continually evolves in order to meet the needs of our changing society.  Students will learn to analyze, create, and perform dramatic works that speak to the audiences of today.  They will study classic dramatic texts, practice performance skills, write scripts and gain exposure to wide variety of roles in theatre-making, including acting, directing, playwriting, and set design.  Students will also have the opportunity to experiment with digital film, audio, and editing and examine the differences between performance for traditional stage and screen and performance for new hand-held devices like smart phones and tablets.


English/Language Arts

English/Language Arts will offer students opportunities to explore the art of rhetoric as writers and readers of classic literature, and as consumers of film and digital communication.  Students will balance reading and discussing published works with composing their own writing in order to make their voices heard.  Students will examine and compose in traditional genres such as poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.  They will also explore creative writing in areas related to new media, such as television writing, screenplay writing, social media writing, and writing for video games.


Instrumental Music

The Instrumental Music curriculum will focus on traditional and modern composition, performance, and recording techniques.  Instrumentalists will have the opportunity to perform individually and in groups, and gain exposure to new technologies used to enhance musics from a wide variety of style periods and genres.  



Students in Mathematics will explore mathematical ideas and applications in a variety of areas such as biological science, cryptography, aerospace engineering, and complex numbers.  Students will consider the theoretical and philosophical implications of mathematical science and math’s fundamental impact on the broad array of modern technologies.  They will also be exposed to the aesthetics of math through the study of things like Julia sets, Mandelbrot sets, conformal maps, and the Koch Snowflake.


Natural Science

Students will study a wide range of recent breakthroughs in the natural sciences.  They will conduct experiments and have opportunities for hands-on experiences in fields such as physics, chemistry, geology, genetics, medicine, wildlife management etc.  They will also discuss the ethical and social implications of the latest technological breakthroughs in the sciences.


Social Science

Students in the social sciences will examine what it is to be human through the study of anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, history and other fields.  They will learn how the long and broad arcs of technological development have affected the way people communicate, evolve culturally, and resolve conflict.  They will also learn how the latest technologies and methodologies have changed the way the social scientists pursue their craft. 


Visual Arts

The Visual Arts program of the Arkansas Governor’s School will give students an opportunity to inform and expand their creative vision while exploring new techniques. The goal of the program is to blend traditional fine art media and craft with emerging technology.  Students will investigate correlations between the physical art object or process and the digital world.  For example, students might combine traditional sculpture techniques with 3D printing and motion capture to create and animate characters. Students will participate in discussion, critique their own work and that of their peers, and examine the art world in the larger historical and cultural context.


Area II Nature of Knowledge

All students attend Area II courses.  Area II focuses on the nature of knowledge and epistemology.  It covers time-tested Governor’s School discussions, including the Allegory of the Cave, Reality Checklist, Logical Fallacies, Lifeboat Ethics, and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.  It also develops student critical thinking skills and delves into subjects introduced by our weekly impact speakers.  Area II also helps students confront how networked and digital technology have augmented human knowledge and changed the ways people understand the contemporary world and questions of ethics, politics, history, and philosophy.


Area III Personal and Social Growth

All students attend Area III courses.  Area III focuses on personal and social development.  Area III activities include individual personality assessments and reflections as well as group projects that address real-world contemporary social challenges.  Area III also includes discussions of weekly impact movies.  Throughout, students will learn through experiential coursework and civic engagement to foster a sense of personal responsibility and responsibility to others, ultimately developing group projects that help resolve problems specific to Arkansas communities.