Advanced Level and Alternative Courses
Advanced Level Courses for SPS High School Students
High School Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
The high school Advanced Placement program is a College Board program that allows students to access college-level curriculum. This curriculum assists and prepares students for their college or university coursework.
Students who take AP exams, which are administered annually in May, can earn college credit, depending on their score and the college they plan to attend. Read more about AP at Seattle Public Schools.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The International Baccalaureate Diploma program is a series of college preparation courses developed for juniors and seniors. The IB Diploma follows a two-year comprehensive program that incorporates the best elements of college preparation from a number of countries.
IB courses are offered at three SPS schools:
To learn more about the Seattle Public Schools International Baccalaureate program.
Running Start is a recognized course of study offered by community colleges and available to high school students who have earned sufficient credits to obtain at least 11th grade standing.
Eligible students must be enrolled in a Washington state public high school, or meet all applicable requirements for home-based instruction students, and demonstrate readiness for college level or professional/technical coursework in a college environment.
The program provides high school students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses for credit, with free or reduced tuition, while earning high school credit at the same time for up to six quarters. Students may take up to 15 credits at Running Start. The number of credits allowed is determined by the number minutes per week that the student attends at their SPS home school. In addition, if families wish to pay for additional credits, they may do so – up to 18 total credits.
To learn more about Running Start options talk with your high school counselor, the running start coordinator at your local community college and visit OSPI Running Start Program.
Many local Running Start programs have implemented a vaccine mandate for students taking in-person classes on campus. To understand the policy at your local community college, please contact the college directly.
College in the High School
A College in the High School program is a dual credit program in which a college approved eligible high school teacher offers a college course on a high school campus or in a high school environment, and in which eligible students are given the opportunity to earn high school credit to be awarded by a district, charter school, or tribal compact school and college credit awarded by the participating institution of higher education.
There are three main differences between College in the High School and Running Start.
The first is where the course is offered and who teaches the course. College in the High School is taught on a high school campus by an eligible high schoolteacher. Running Start is taught on a college campus by a college faculty member.
Finally, the second difference is funding. Running Start students may enroll tuition free up to the equivalent of a full-time student each term, and for a maximum of the equivalent of two years of full-time enrollment. College in the High School students wanting to earn the available college credit may be responsible for paying a fee to the college. The maximum fee shall not exceed $65 per college credit.
How will my college treat these credits?
Students and families should know that Colleges and Universities receiving and applying these college credits are subject to the that schools’ policies. It is best to review the transfer or dual credit policies for the college you are interested in attending for details on how they apply or treat these types of credits.
Advanced Courses Offered at SPS High Schools
A full list of advanced courses at each high school: