Alternate Study for Seniors

Many seniors find the intellectual challenge of taking new electives in the spring to be an exciting way of completing their Deerfield careers. Others find an Alternate Study Project the most satisfying way to finish up their time at Deerfield.

Plans must be made early if the project is to succeed, and proposals must be submitted by mid-January. Submitted proposals must be approved by your faculty advisor, college advisor, and project sponsor. Because a project may involve extra costs to your parents or guardians, it is vital that you discuss it with them prior to submitting the proposal.

Off-campus projects take place entirely off campus. On-campus projects may take place off-campus during part of the school day, but you would continue to reside at Deerfield and take 3 or 4 academic courses.

Eligibility & Requirements

  • Seniors in good academic standing are eligible for both on-campus and off-campus alternate study projects.
  • One-year seniors or postgraduates, seniors with a prior commitment to the Big Brother/Big Sister program, and potential Division I or II college athletes cannot undertake off-campus projects.
  • Your term- or course-end grades must be 75% or above in all of your courses at the end of the winter term. (Final proposals will not be accepted in January if you have any mid-winter grades below 75%.)
  • You must not be on restrictions due to excess accountability points at the end of the term.


  • Alternate study projects are graded Pass/Fail.
  • You cannot raise money, earn money, or put yourself in risky situations without adult supervision.
  • All costs of the program must be borne by you, including transportation.
  • Generally, all three-term courses must be completed. Only rarely can other arrangements be made, and you should take this into account when putting together your intended project.
  • On-campus projects take place during class periods each day. Course periods are made available for Alternate Study Projects according to the following sequence:
    1. All two-term courses that end in the winter term
    2. Three- and four-year seniors may elect not to take a spring term English elective, though athletes planning to play Division I or Division II athletics at college must take English in spring term
    3. To create a block of available time during a specific part of the day, students occasionally are permitted to switch sections of the same subject. This option is suggested and orchestrated by the Director of Studies only
  • The Alternate Study Committee is the final arbiter in the process. Any questions you may have should be directed to one of the Committee members.

Submit a Proposal

Students may submit an Alternate Study Proposal online.

Some examples of on-campus Alternate Study projects include:

  • internship with local orthopedic surgeon
  • internship at Bement or Eaglebrook Schools
  • write a short story
  • publish a magazine

Some examples of off-campus Alternative Study projects include:

  • internship with the American Red Cross
  • congressional internship in Washington, DC
  • television internship