The NPA Artist’s Diploma

The Artist’s Diploma program at NPA is a supervised study program intended to support serious visual, literary, and performing arts students in their individual development as artists. Currently students may choose to pursue studies in Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Plastic Arts, Film, Creative Writing, and Dance. Students may also choose to pursue an interdisciplinary Artist’s Diploma involving studies in multiple arts. Students will receive a letter grade for their work each semester. Upon graduation successful completion will be recognized on the student’s transcript and high school diploma.

Defining the Course of Study

Each student wishing to pursue an Artist’s Diploma will be assigned a supervising teacher who will work with that student individually to define a course of study on a semesterly basis. Each semester the student and supervising teacher will identify projects and material to be covered in the areas technique and performance/production. In defining the course of study equal weight should be given to each of the two areas. A proposed course of study that gives undue emphasis to performance/production at the expense of technical development will not be approved. The goal of the Artist’s Diploma program is not simply to allow students the opportunity to spend time engaged in creative activities, but rather to foster the continuous development of artistic skills.


In addition to the supervising teacher provided by NPA, each student wishing to pursue an Artist’s Diploma must arrange to work with an expert in his or her chosen art(s). The supervising teacher at NPA must approve the selection of outside teachers, as well as the course of study to be undertaken with the outside teacher. Apart from approval by the NPA supervising teacher, there are no set guidelines governing the frequency of meetings with an outside teacher or material to be covered. Although the amount of time will vary depending on individual goals, as a general rule students should plan to spend 3-6 hours of focused work each week on their chosen art.

Once the course of study for a semester has been approved, the student and supervising teacher will meet every two weeks to review the student’s progress. At the midpoint and end of each semester, the student will meet with the supervising teacher to demonstrate progress in his or her artistic skills/technical development. Each semester’s course of study will conclude with a presentation of the work completed that semester. The presentation will be assessed by the NPA supervising teacher and will constitute 50% of the student’s grade, except in the case of music composition and creative writing. The format of the end of semester presentation will depend upon the art in question and the course of study identified for that semester. In music, for example, the presentation will usually consist in a jury recital, while in visual arts it will usually consist in an exhibition of pieces completed that semester.

Students will receive credit on their transcript for each semester of successful work. In order to receive the Artist’s Diploma upon graduation, students must enroll in the program prior to junior year, and once enrolled, must remain in the program through the final semester of senior year.