Diploma Certificate of Concentration Programs - Vermont Commons School Skip to main content

Diploma Certificate of Concentration Programs

Vermont Commons School offers three Diploma Certificates of Concentration recognized through association with a graduate’s diploma at their graduation ceremony.  These allow our particularly dedicated students to dig deeply into their passions and explore an area of interest with faculty mentorship and independent work at a high level of scholarship over a multi-year period.

Fine Arts Certificate


The Arts Certificate is awarded to a student who exhibits a command of the arts by studying the processes in the various Vermont Commons School Arts Curricula.


This certificate recognizes a student who articulates and demonstrates a strong understanding of visual, linguistic, and creative vocabulary in the arts. This student is a committed artist who consistently invests in the creative process in and outside of the studio.

Certificate Requirements

  • Arts GPA:  Students must maintain a GPA within the Vermont Commons School Arts Programs of 87% or higher.  
  • Independent Project:  Each certificate student must design an independent project in a chosen medium to be developed with the instructor.
  • Art Exposition, Presentation, or Publication:  Upon the completion of the Independent Project, each student must publicly display or present the project, highlighting the completed work.

2014-9-VT-Commons-0173Naturalist Certificate


The Naturalist Certificate of Concentration recognizes students who have met the goals of the Vermont Commons School Science Mission Statement of producing Naturalists, students who study above and beyond the traditional science curriculum and are awarded a certificate upon graduation.


This program provides recognition and an incentive to Vermont Commons School students who are committed to the environment and take their interest in Ecology out of the classroom and laboratory and into the natural world culminating in the Naturalist Project.  Student will positively affect our local ecosystem.

Certificate Requirements

  • Sciences coursework and GPA:  Naturalists must demonstrate a mastery of the fundamental science concepts that will enable them to effect positive change in their environment.  As part of this curriculum, students will successfully complete the equivalent of high school biology, chemistry, and physics with a GPA of 87% or higher.
  • Naturalist Project:  Students will design, carry out, and communicate the results of, an independent project which demonstrates their ability to effect real change in their environment. This project could take the form of the Vermont Commons School Senior Project. If this Project is not the Vermont Commons School Senior Project, it must meet similar requirements and standards.  In late spring of the senior year, the presentation of the Naturalist Project is made to the Science Department, the Assistant Head of School, and the Head of School. It is also open to the broader Vermont Commons School community.
  • Naturalist Tour:  During the senior year spring semester, the student will design and lead a tour of the local watershed for the Vermont Commons School community, including the Science Department, Assistant Head of School, and the Head of School. Naturalists will demonstrate their knowledge, with special attention to geology, flora/fauna, and the history of humans in the Champlain Valley.  In the case of a student who has pursued lab-based work or a scientific project outside the realm of traditional naturalist study, the tour will be of the location or facility appropriate to their work and/or research.

Global Citizen Certificate

The Global Citizen Certificate of Concentration challenges and supports students to more deeply develop their capacity as engaged citizens of the world through global literacy and competency. Vermont Commons School seeks to develop global understanding and empathy, nurture an appreciation for the diversity of cultures, and challenge students to take action to address global needs.

General Requirements

  1. High-level, in-depth learning to develop a deep level of understanding of a chosen global issue.
  2. An independent project to put knowledge & understanding into action.
  3. A presentation to the school community and/or greater community, to teach about the global issue and share experience & learning.
  4. Academic Qualification:  Minimum high school GPA in Social Studies and World Languages classes (average of the two): 87%

Transcripts for all Diploma Certificates of Concentration:

This program is based upon and closely follows traditional doctoral dissertation research models. The rigorous independent project of the a Diploma Certificate can and typically does begin a year or two before senior year; however, the formal planning for culminating projects and presentations are recorded on the transcript only during the fall and spring of senior year as coursework-in-progress, specifically denoted “Diploma Certificate Research.” This designation is the equivalent of dissertation research hours used by Ph.D.-granting institutions and operates in precisely the same manner, in that it is non-graded coursework, the final evaluation of which is the successful or unsuccessful awarding of the special diploma certificate (a determination made by the diploma certificate-granting committee, consisting of the members of the relevant department/s, the Assistant Head of School, and the Head of School, upon a live defense of the project to the committee). In the truly exceptional circumstance that a student completes the certificate prior to the start of Senior year, its successful completion may be listed on the student’s transcript and sent out to colleges and universities as such (however, the announcement and public awarding of the certificate only occurs upon and at the student’s graduation ceremony at the same time the student’s diploma is awarded). As one of the highest honors a student can achieve, the awarding of a Diploma Certificate of Concentration is announced during the conferring of the Vermont Commons School diploma at graduation.

More information can be found in the Guide for Students and Families under the Resources menu.

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

Students emerge from their time at Vermont Commons School intrinsically motivated to seek out their role for improving the world, with the skills and competencies to do so.