Academic Program

Academic Program

Khan Lab School uses a mastery-based learning model, creating the time and space for what matters most. Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of all competencies and skills identified in a course before moving on, thereby filling any potential “gaps” in their education. While the time it takes a student

to finish a course may vary, the depth of mastery remains constant. Khan Lab School creates space within the academic day for students to explore their passions. In this space, they further develop their skills and apply their learning within contexts that are meaningful to them—and frequently develop expertise at a far younger age than many would expect. Wellness, caring, and creative expression are also central to community life. 

2021 /2022 Curriculum Guide

A Mastery-Based

Students earn two types of credits as part of their Khan Lab School School experience: Foundational credit and Advanced credit.

Foundational credit is earned when a student has mastered core course content and skills. To graduate, a student earns Foundational credit in 15 core courses, a Capstone project, and 6 electives. These courses appear on a student’s mastery transcript.

At Khan Lab School, the academic experience extends beyond the high course expectations encountered in courses. In addition to courses, students also have the opportunity to earn Advanced credit, for student-driven and proposed projects. In these projects, students must demonstrate that they can apply their learning. Examples of Advanced credit opportunities include (but are not limited to) internships, teaching, competitions, research, community service, and various passion projects. Applied learning is often transdisciplinary and requires students to be responsible, independent, collaborative, creative, and entrepreneurial problem-solvers.

Foundational Credit

  • Earned by meeting the UC’s 15 required subject requirements.
  • Successful completion of a year-long Senior Capstone project.
  • Six courses of their choice. Can be dual enrolment.
  • Teacher-Driven.

Advanced Credit

  • No minimum number of advanced credits a student can earn.
  • Most students earn 5-6 Advanced Credits prior to Graduation.
  • Student-driven.
In my view, no subject is ever finished. No concept is sealed off from other concepts. Knowledge is continuous; ideas flow.” - Salman Khan, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined

Independent Study

Students who have completed the required courses in a particular discipline may request that a faculty member support an independent study course. Independent study courses may be offered to an individual or small group of students studying an advanced topic.  These courses are most frequently undertaken by seniors in computer science, art, music, and math.  

Graduation Requirements

Students must earn a total of 22 Foundational Credits in core courses in order to graduate from Khan Lab School. These credits are earned by meeting the 15 college-preparatory ‘A-G’ courses to be eligible for admission to the University of California, as well as successful completion of a year-long senior capstone course and 6 elective courses.


 In their final year, students are required to undertake a year-long capstone project and present their findings to a committee. The purpose of this is twofold: first, to design and execute a project that demonstrates the skills and knowledge students have gained through their time in high school; second, to learn about and engage with issues pertinent to the local community in a deep and meaningful way. As such, each Capstone project will requires students to a) research the history, society, politics, economics, technology, and culture of the Bay Area; b) choose an organization with which to intern/volunteer/collaborate throughout the academic year; and c) produce a product (broadly defined) either through or based on their interaction with that organization. Students can fulfill this requirement through professional internships, college-level research, or high-level community engagement.


Our calendar is based on three traditional 12-week terms (that are aligned with the Foothill College calendar) and an optional summer session. We set aside four weeks in the summer (from July 11-Aug 5 in 2021) for students to take just one class or focus on a project of their own design. Third and fourth year students also participate in internships during the summer. Short term courses may also involve off-campus travel.