Decathlon (High School)

The Academic Decathlon is a national scholastic competition designed to stimulate intellectual growth, develop critical thinkers and create lifelong learners.

2022 Curricular Theme
  • SCIENCE: The science topic will be an introduction to marine biology.
  • LITERATURE: The literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature, and selected shorter works. The long work of literature will be The Sea-Wolf by Jack London.
  • ART: The art curriculum will explore the impact of water on art, including subtopics such as ink wash painting, watercolor, water as a subject of art, and the use of water in architecture, sculpture, and environmental art.
  • MUSIC: The music curriculum will explore the many ways water has influenced music, from musical instruments that rely on water to compositions inspired by water.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science topic will be the impact of water on human history.
  • ECONOMICS: The economics curriculum will cover fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics and will include a thematic section on the economics of water.
  • MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum will cover permutations and combinations, algebra, and statistics.*

* The 2021–22 mathematics curriculum and materials will be the same as were used for the 2018–19 U.S. Academic Decathlon.

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NEW: Get College Credit

Students can earn college credit from the University of Alaska Southeast for participating in the Alaska Academic Decathlon program and coaches can earn 500-level post-baccalaureate credits from the University of Alaska Anchorage!

Earn Scholarships

High scoring students can earn scholarships!

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The Experience

There are lots of wonderful academic competitions out there.  You can go prove you’re the best writer, or the best physicist, or the best speller.

Academic Decathlon isn’t about any of that!

It’s not about demonstrating how good a student you already are. It’s about daring to push your limits, to master college-level material and to practice skills, like public speaking, that might be wholly new to you. It’s about the people you’ll meet along the way—the coaches who will mentor you, the competitors who will challenge you, and the teammates who will become your lifelong friends.

As Decathletes, you’ll learn an exciting new theme each year. You’ll explore seven subjects connected to that theme, from art and science to math and economics. You’ll learn to move an audience not just with facts and rhetoric, but with confidence. And you’ll never do any of this alone. You’ll be working with a team—a team composed of students with a wide range of grades but a single shared goal.

What Happens During the State and National Competitions

Academic Decathlon® isn’t about mastering a single event, but ten different skills and disciplines. Every Academic Decathlon competition, whether it’s a local round or the national finals, will follow the same multidisciplinary format.

You’ll deliver speeches, one on a topic of your choice and one on a topic you’ve never seen before.

You’ll write an essay demonstrating not just what you’ve learned but how powerfully you can argue an idea.

You’ll be interviewed by judges asking you thoughtful questions about your past experiences and your goals for the future.

You’ll take challenging exams in Art, Economics, Literature, Math, Music, Science, and Social Science.

And, at the exciting Super Quiz™, you and your teammates will take turns solving the most stimulating challenges of all from across every subject you’ve studied—while a virtual audience cheers you on.


Students with the highest overall scores in each category (Honors, Scholastic and Varsity) can earn up to $4,000 in scholarships which can be used at any academic institution. Academic Decathletes are also eligible to earn scholarships to the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Southeast.

Scholarships are powered by Alaska 529

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