The curriculum at Cardinal Newman Academy consists of six core courses in the fields of English, History, Mathematics, Theology, Foreign Language, and Science, with additional courses in Fine Arts and Physical Education.

Every course at CNA encourages the exploration of truths about God, humanity, and our natural world, and fosters an inquisitiveness that seeks answers to important questions across academic disciplines.

Academic Schedule

The academic schedule at Cardinal Newman Academy consists of four meeting periods per week in each core discipline, with one of the meetings being a double period. The schedule prioritizes discussion and exploration of course material across disciplines.

In addition to the academic time, the schedule includes periods for spiritual development, Mass attendance, and access to the Sacraments.

Our vision for the education of the whole person inspires wonder and joy through the teaching and practice of the beautiful truths of the Catholic faith.

Our curriculum prepares our students for college, career, and human flourishing.


The study of theology at Cardinal Newman Academy gives each student a thorough and deep knowledge of the Catholic faith, love for the truth, and an understanding of the complementarity of faith and reason.

The primary purpose and final goal of theological inquiry is, however, the development of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a consequent commitment to love and serve one’s neighbor.

Cardinal Newman Academy recognizes the importance of the Sacraments and personal prayer for the integration of faith and life.

The theology curriculum follows the guidelines established by the Diocese of Richmond and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Newman Academy requires four years of theology.

Catechesis and Doctrine

Guided by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this course will cover the foundational tenets of the Faith, and ensure that students gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be Catholic.


This course will cover the structure and contents of Sacred Scripture; Scripture as God’s revelation of himself; introduction to the history of Scriptural study, commentary, and Biblical exegesis.

Moral Teaching and Social Teaching

This course will cover fundamental concepts and principles of morality. The students study the Theology of the Body, Catholic Teaching on Marriage and the Role of the Family in Society, Medical Ethics, and Catholic Social Doctrine. This course will introduce the concept and vocabulary of natural law.

Apologetics and the Church

This course will cover topics of doctrine, dogma, and ecclesiology that are questioned or misunderstood so that students can intelligently discuss and defend the teachings and structure of the Catholic Church.


The course of study in history begins with the examination of the foundations of Western Civilization as built on Judeo-Christian tradition, with the Incarnation as the central event in human history.

Upper-level history classes will concentrate on United States history as well as non-Western cultures.

The history curriculum teaches critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis through the examination of primary and secondary sources and the study of historiography.

Cardinal Newman Academy requires four years of History.

Ancient Civilizations

This course will survey the great civilizations of the ancient world from the Bronze Age to the middle ages. Students will assess the leadership and political systems as well as the art, religions, philosophies, and literature of these societies.

This broad comparative history course develops research and analytic skills that are invaluable for critical examination of any multicultural society.

Medieval Europe to the Industrial Revolution

This course will cover Europe from the 6th century to the 18th century.  Topics that will receive special attention include the Crusades, Reformation and Counter Reformation, Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, and the Enlightenment.

American History

This course will build on the focus given to the topics specific to North America covered in the tenth grade unit on the Age of Discovery and cover the political, social, and cultural history of the United States from colonial times through the end of World War II.

The Modern World

This course will begin with World War I, and study the geo-politics of the twentieth century. While there will be emphasis on the role of the United States particularly, the course will look at the development of organizations such as the UN and NATO, the effects of key treaties, and the social and cultural forces that influence geo-politics.


As Cardinal Newman states, literature is the “manifestation of human nature in human language”: it portrays the relations, actions, emotions, and passions of human beings.

Great literature is beautiful, and this beauty has a powerful formative influence on youth. Through their engagement with great literature, students learn self-reflection and creativity through the writing process; develop the skills necessary for insightful literary analysis; and reflect on the value of character and virtue that are integral to the school’s mission.

Finally, literature provides students with models of clear, precise, and beautiful English and teaches them to write well.

Cardinal Newman Academy requires four years of Literature.

English Literature and Composition

This course introduces students to great literary works, and develops the students’ ability to read, write, listen, speak, analyze and critique.

Reading great works of literature should elevate students’ minds and provoke thoughtfulness in both discussion and written work.

English Literature and Composition II

In this course, students will read and discuss English literature that centers on the theme of human self-awareness, self-examination, and self-definition.

Works to be read this year include Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; Walter Ciszek, SJ, With God in Russia; Georges Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest; Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

English Literature and Composition III

In this course, students will explore English literature that centers on the theme of the humanity’s encounter with other people, their consideration of their place in society, and a critical examination of societal structure and social conventions.

Works to be read this year include Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop; Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Jane Austen, Mansfield Park; Jonathan Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci; Arthur Miller, The Crucible.

English Literature and Composition IV

In this course, students will explore English literature that centers on the theme of human encounter with the Divine, and the development of the relationship between humanity and the Creator.

Works to be read this year include St. Augustine, Confessions; Thomas Merton, Seven Storey Mountain; Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich; Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.


The sciences ask the student to look at the created universe and ask great questions, express wonder in its complexity and delicacy, and come to better know the Creator through his creation.

The study of science demands that the student use the senses to observe the natural world, the intellect to derive insights and formulate questions about those perceptions, and finally, the conscience to apply reflection and judgment to the observations and conclusions.

Cardinal Newman Academy requires four years of Science.

Natural History and Environmental Biology

The hallmark of natural history is individual, direct contact with and observation of the natural world. Extensive fieldwork will teach students how to use scientific methods to answer questions, how to design and document experiments, and how to document observations.

In addition, the course will discuss the historical formation of the modern scientific method and examine the epistemological assumptions underpinning it. This course will teach students techniques and skills necessary for the study of environmental biology.

The main areas of study will be evolutionary biology, ecology, and conservation biology.


The tenth grade year, students will study biology, which will build on the foundation set in the ninth grade Natural History and Environmental Biology course. The course will study the structures of organisms, and understand the key biological processes of organisms.

Students will examine interactions of ecosystems and the dynamics of the groups and organisms contained in ecosystems. Students will study the role of DNA, chromosomes and genes, and heredity and genetic variation, as well as biological evolution and unity and diversity within organisms.


In this course students will study the structure and properties of matter, classify matter based on its characteristics, study the electrical and intermolecular forces and their importance to the structure of matter, study the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.

Students will learn to understand chemical reactions – be able to predict the outcomes of simple chemical reactions and explain these at a molecular level, be able to model or use mathematical representations to show the absorption or release of energy and the conservation of matter in a chemical reaction; identify factors that change or affect the process of a chemical reaction.


This course will cover forces – gravitational, electric, and magnetic – and interactions, Newton’s second law of motion, energy and the conservation of energy. Students will also learn about simple machines and how to develop design solutions using principles learned.

The course will cover waves and electromagnetic radiation, and students will learn how to use mathematical models to represent the principles governing frequency, wavelength, and speed.


The Mathematics curriculum at Cardinal Newman Academy seeks to impart students with aptitude in mathematical reasoning rather than merely teaching mathematical procedures.

Mathematics courses will emphasize creative as well as logical thinking skills, include discussion sessions that foster creative applications of mathematical knowledge and deepen conceptual understanding, and challenge students to apply mathematical concepts to other disciplines.

Cardinal Newman Academy requires three years, and will offer four years, of Mathematics.

Algebra I & II, Geometry, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, & Calculus

Cardinal Newman Academy will offer Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus. Students will be placed in the appropriate mathematics course based on assessment and examination.

Most students will be placed in either Algebra I or Geometry.

Mathematics courses will emphasize creative as well as logical thinking skills, include discussion sessions that foster creative applications of mathematical knowledge and deepen conceptual understanding, and challenge students to apply mathematical concepts to other disciplines.

Foreign Language

Latin I

All 9th graders will take Latin. The study of classical languages provides students with an invaluable understanding of the structure of language, or how definitions are formed, and how and what words signify.

Latin I will be taught with two primary goals: (1) to develop a foundational Latin vocabulary for future reading and study of the language; and (2) to emphasize concepts, terms, and grammatical principles. The course will include translation and spoken Latin components.

Students will be required to take at least three years of the same foreign language. 10th grade students may opt to continue their study of Latin to comply with this requirement, or may switch to Spanish.

Additional Required Courses

Fine Arts

Cardinal Newman Academy requires two credits of fine arts. This provides students a background in the materials, techniques and discipline necessary for advanced study in music, visual arts, and performing arts.

Visual and performing arts emphasize creativity, experimentation, and wonder, while music “gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything” (Plato).

Cardinal Newman Academy recognizes the importance of the arts in society and exploits the breadth of artistic educational opportunities in Richmond, Virginia.

Particular attention is paid to the rich musical, architectural, and artistic heritage of the Roman Catholic Church.  


Through philosophy, students at Cardinal Newman Academy study the most universal human questions: the immortality of the soul; the human good; the existence of God; what nature, time, and place are; the different types of political rule.

Cardinal Newman describes philosophy as “something which grasps what it perceives through the senses, . . . reasons upon what it sees [and] invests it with an idea.”  Through this study, the students come to recognize “that there is a Knowledge, which is desirable, though nothing come of it, as being of itself a treasure.”

Cardinal Newman Academy requires one year of philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy, to be taken in the 11th grade.

U.S. Government

This required 12th grade course is designed to provide students with a historical understanding of our nation’s governing structure.

Students will study: the political philosophies that influenced the Founding Fathers; the origin and structure of the Constitution and Bill of Rights; the branches of government; and the role of citizens in our democratic process.

Physical Education

Cardinal Newman Academy requires 2 credits of physical education.

Interested in learning more about our growing academic and faith community?


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North Chesterfield, VA 23235

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