AUP Course Offerings

Innovative Urban Education in Downtown Los Angeles


Science education at AUP aims at integrating the classroom instruction and experiences to the rapid advancements in the field of science and technology. Students are exposed to a variety of experiences that helps them to understand scientific methods, appreciate nature, understand the ever-changing global environment and the scientific phenomenon guiding everything around us. This appreciation and understanding that students develop at AUP equips them to address issues related to their personal environment as well as their community.

Science education at AUP utilizes the vast resources that downtown LA has to offer. Being only a few miles away from world class institutions like the Jet Propulsion lab, California Science Center, and the Griffith Observatory provides students with the opportunity to explore science beyond the classroom.

AUP’s rigorous science programs use project-based learning and innovative assessment strategies. Our Integrated Science course allows students to choose their area of expertise and interest for AP level courses. The science department offers year-long lab courses in introductory and AP level courses in Chemistry, Physics, Biology.

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The AUP English program aims to develop the communication skills of its students on multiple levels — critical reading, academic and creative writing, public speaking, and collaborative listening. We focus on these skills in the context of teaching various textual genres — poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction, music, and film. English at AUP emphasizes the real-world significance and connections of ideas and texts to our students’ lives — their personal beliefs, values, and ethics. We want our graduates to be dynamic life-long learners who understand their role and purpose in a global context, and to be equipped to make well-informed decisions and communicate their thoughts effectively.

The English curriculum begins with a year-long investigation of the basics of literature and literary analysis in the context of a course emphasizing writing. Students examine, discuss, and write about poetry, plays, fiction, and nonfiction, focusing on texts from many different time periods and cultures. Exercises in vocabulary building, close reading, and literary analysis are based on the fundamental skills taught in the ninth grade. Texts and authors include The Bible, Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Matsuo Basho, Olaudah Equiano, Tolstoy, Kafka, Chinua Achebe, Khaled Hosseini, Elie Wiesel, and Sandra Cisneros, etc. A survey of American literature from the foundations of America to the Civil War, and the second semester surveys American literature from the Civil War to the present follows. Students study representative works from each major literary period in relation to corresponding social and political events and issues and build skills in reading comprehension, literary response and analysis, writing strategies and application, vocabulary development, and written and oral English language conventions.

For students who have demonstrated excellence in their English courses, we offer the AP English Language and Composition course and AP English Literature and Composition, for juniors and seniors, respectively. British literature is also offered and is intended to deliver a chronological, thematic survey of British literature starting with its foundations in Anglo-Saxon times through modern literature. Students study representative works from each major literary period in relation to corresponding social and political events and issues.

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The mission of the mathematics department at AUP is to provide a rigorous mathematics education to each student which promotes a high level of mathematical sophistication and instills a sense of wonder and curiosity about the role mathematics plays in our community, our planet, and our universe. At the core of the mathematics department is discovery-based learning where students are guided to understanding complex concepts through assignments created by our department. Learning mathematics at AUP goes beyond simply opening a textbook and doing problems. We are committed to providing a rich, value-added mathematical experience driven by a wide range of meaningful problems with emphasis on guided exploration, analysis, and mathematical modeling. Students obtain a deep understanding of the development of the mathematics they study through techniques of proof and creativity-based problem-solving skills applied to each concept through exploration of the myriad opportunities provided by emersion in a vibrant urban community. All students have the opportunity to take advanced, college-level mathematics culminating with Advanced Placement Calculus BC. Students also have the opportunity to take enriching, rigorous mathematics courses such as statistics, which is not honors-based in addition to independent study math courses that go beyond AUP’s curriculum. Ultimately, the goal for students in AUP’s mathematics program is content mastery through the excitement of discovery, active involvement in the discovery process, and the realization of the mathematical relationships prevalent in the world around us.

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Social Sciences

The Global Studies & Social Sciences program at AUP fosters students’ ability to explore the complexities of our globalizing world while reflecting on their shared human history. A culture of inquisitiveness guides our curriculum, encouraging students to reflect upon our society, how we relate to one another, and how we shape our environment. Through the Global Studies & Social Sciences program at AUP, students learn to critically reflect on themselves, use the tools of observation and research to indulge their curiosities, ask questions, and find answers to difficult questions faced by the citizens of our planet. Questions such as, “How can awareness of cultural and historical similarities and dissimilarities help us better understand our present world? Have humans and human society really changed that much over time? What are the forces of change in society and are we really capable of making a better world?” are commonly discussed bith inside and outside of Global Studies & Social Sciences classes.

We offer all students a set of rigorous courses designed to develop knowledge and skills through a four-year course of study, where students gain insight into the areas of geography, history, economics, politics, and global studies. In addition, each course emphasizes self-exploration, collaboration through projects, and technology-based learning. AUP students’ diverse backgrounds, small class sizes, and seminar style courses ensure that students are constantly engaged in learning, whether through group debates, field trips to museums and talks, or even just talking over dinner.

Knowledge of our shared human history is essential to understand the present and to build a better future. The Global Studies & Social Sciences program at AUP helps students think on a larger scale in complex terms, and outside of the classroom in order to take ownership over their education and critically engage in shaping our global community.

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Visual Arts

Arts Education at AUP is dynamic, innovative, engaging and filled with curiosity. At its core, critical thinking is quintessentially paramount. Students are challenged in every lesson, each vignette, and all of the projects with “whys” and “hows”. In the creative process, the impact and success of the art product is often emotionally inclined. It is often challenging for the artist to address reasons behind their choices. Art education at AUP encourages students to learn not only what “feels” right on an intuitive basis, but arriving at an understanding of their decision, a rationale for their aesthetics through the study of art theories and the practice of analysis.

Experiential learning is also embedded throughout the course studies. As AUP resides in the fulcrum of Los Angeles culture, students have passes to the MOCA, are within walking distance to the Broad, a short drive from LACMA and access to world renowned public art and murals in neighboring ethnic enclaves. Class schedule is carefully planned and thoughtfully laid out to accommodate visits to these hands on and personal encounters with art in the public realm. We fervently believe in the benefits of the outdoor classroom and the power of touching and seeing before doing.

Visual and verbal exhibition of their art work culminate the course studies. Presentation and analytical skills are highly cultivated. Students are tasked to account for and speak about the entire creative process, not only the end product. Journal assignments provide a means to document their design development. Students and professionals are invited to serve on panels for final project review. Explaining and defending their creative decisions, fosters and expands their critical thinking and public speaking skills.

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World Languages

At AUP, we prepare our students to be global citizens and leaders. Communication is one of the skills to enable leadership, which is emphasized in all of our courses, especially in our World language department. At AUP, we currently offer both Chinese and Spanish. Students have opportunities to investigate and explore new cultures throughout their journey at AUP. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are essential skills for learning a foreign language, however the most important aspect is to combine these abilities with culture through the entire learning process.

With our unique location in downtown Los Angeles, students have limitless opportunities to expand their learning experience. Downtown Los Angeles is a cultural hub with both Chinatown and Olvera Street just a Metro stop away from campus. These locations, along with the surrounding community, offer our students an authentic taste of both cultures.

Our classes go beyond the textbook to provide learning through a variety of materials including role- plays, songs, films, projects and field trips. We also take every opportunity to explore holidays and celebrations related to each culture. With all the opportunities our classes provide, students also gain confidence in public speaking by delivering cultural knowledge to their peers.

As a community, with a mosaic of different cultures, our curriculum allows students to immerse themselves in the global community inside and outside of the classroom. We encourage curiosity, courage and collaboration among students to expand their horizons and use their language skills to communicate with their fellow students, members of the community and people around the world.

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