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Rigorous Academics


With approximately 480 students in each class and through a competitive admissions process that selects students based upon their demonstrated aptitude and passion for studies in the scientific, mathematical, and technological fields, the TJ Admissions Office evaluates and considers prospective students' admission test scores, academic achievement, personal essays, and teacher recommendations. Applications are reviewed by independent selection committees composed of school administrators, counselors, and teachers from schools within the participating school districts.

Accelerated Curriculum

All courses are taught at the gifted, honors, AP, or post-AP level. The rigorous college preparatory curriculum provides students with the opportunity to achieve in all disciplines, with an emphasis on the sciences and the technology of applied sciences. All students are required to work toward a 26 credit "TJ Diploma" that parallels the Virginia state requirements for its Advanced Studies Diploma of 26 credits. View the Online Course Guide for details about the courses offered at TJHSST.


Since its very first graduating class in 1985, student research has played an essential role in learning at TJHSST. Requirements for the Thomas Jefferson High School Diploma include the completion of an original engineering or experimental research project in an on-campus laboratory or off-site through a Mentorship program at a government, corporate, or university research laboratory.

Jefferson's 13 science and technology research laboratories include:

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Analysis
  • Communication Systems
  • Computer Systems
  • Computer Assisted Design
  • Energy Systems
  • Microelectronics
  • Neuroscience
  • Oceanography/Geophysical Systems
  • Optics and Modern Physics
  • Prototyping and Engineering Materials

  • Selected outstanding research projects are published in TJHSST's annual student-produced research journal, TEKNOS, which has won numerous national awards.