Senior School - Grades 10 to 12


The Halifax Grammar School is recognized as the leading International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Atlantic Canada, offering the full IB Diploma Program. Our curriculum meets and exceeds the requirements of the Nova Scotia Department of Education. While other Nova Scotia schools offer the IB Program, Grammar secures the largest number of IB diplomas and registers the best academic results at university. The graduating class of 2016 received more than $800,000 in university scholarship offers. A complete list of Senior School course descriptions can be found online.

Arts (Visual Arts, Media Arts, Music, and Drama)

Opportunities for creative expression are available as part of the curriculum, and outside of the classroom. Students can study visual art as part of the IB Program and, each year, produce incredible projects ranging from sculpture to painting, photography, metalwork and fashion design. A school-wide art show is held each spring, featuring pieces from students at all grade levels.
In media arts, students have the opportunity to study experimental filmmaking, documentary filmmaking, narrative fictional filmmaking and webpage design. An annual film gala and awards night is held each year.
Instrumental band is available to students up to Grade 12, as a classroom elective and extra-curricular opportunity. Students perform in our concert bands, jazz bands, and smaller ensembles, and as part of the Senior School musical.
Each year, the Senior School produces a Broadway-style musical. Recent favourites include GreaseGuys and Dolls, and Anything Goes.


The physical education program combines physical education classes with a wide variety of competitive sports. Grammar competes in the Nova Scotia public school league, as well as with other independent schools.


All Senior School students participate in community service, consistent with IB Diploma requirements - in the areas of creativity, action, and service. Students also have opportunities to be involved in altruism outside of Canada, such as the recent service trip to Thailand, and the Habitat for Humanity trip to Guatemala.

Who to Contact

List of 1 members.

  • Mr. Matthew Moffatt 

    Head of Senior School, Senior Mathematics

Senior School Course Selection FAQ

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • What happens if a student does not earn his or her IB Diploma?

    On rare occasions a student does not earn his or her IB Diploma (the HGS IB Diploma success rate is over 95%). While this can be disappointing, this does not mean a student cannot graduate from HGS and continue on to university.  To graduate from HGS, students must complete the requirements of the IB Diploma, meaning they must submit all required pieces of internal assessment and complete examinations in six academic subjects.  Should a student fulfill this requirement, and pass all required HGS courses, an HGS graduation diploma will be awarded.  Our transcripts provide universities with two sets of marks: the HGS percentage grade, and the IB anticipated grades (1-7).  With very few exceptions, universities will admit a student based upon the best set of marks.  Should the IB marks not be the student's best set of marks, the university will consider their HGS percentage grades for admission.  As well, should a student be accepted to a university based upon IB grades, and then final IB grades are not what was anticipated, the university will offer admission based upon the student’s HGS final grades.  Students will also receive certificates for all courses and may still earn recognition from universities based upon their individual subject results.
  • What is the best way to choose which courses to take in the Senior School?

    HGS has an extensive course selection process that includes small group meetings with students, a general parent session, and individual conferences between parents and student and their Academic Advisor.  Through this process, we work with students to help them identify the courses they will take in high school.  
    When selecting courses in the senior school, it is important for students to consider their academic strengths and interests, as well as their future goals.  Typically students will match their HL choices with their academic strengths. For example, if a student is strong in English, then it makes sense that they select HL English as one of their three higher level options.  While a student’s university career is still years away, it is important to be cognizant of university pre-requisites when selecting courses.  For example, should a student want to pursue a degree in Engineering, they will need to have high school physics, chemistry, mathematics and English.  Most Engineering schools do not dictate the level at which the course must be taken. 

  • How is IB recognized by Canadian universities?

    Without exception all Canadian universities have IB recognition policies.  While each university has a slightly different recognition policy, the most general form of recognition is advanced credit or advanced placement for students who have earned a 5 or higher in their HL subjects.  
    Canadian universities recognize that students who have completed the requirements of IB Diploma are thoroughly prepared for the challenges of post-secondary education.  
    The value of the IB Diploma lies in its cohesive and broad-based academic curriculum that includes first language and literature, second language, social science / humanities, natural / physical sciences, and mathematics.  As well, the Extended Essay prepares students for post-secondary writing and research requirements, while the Theory of Knowledge program ensures that students develop critical thinking skills and understand the interdisciplinary nature of learning.  Diploma students have developed essential time management, goal setting, and other organizational skills that allow them to thrive in a university environment.  The CAS program outcomes ensure that students are well rounded and global citizens, the very characteristics that scholarship committees seek. 
    For specific details on Canadian university IB recognition policies, go to: