The Experience > What You'll Learn

What You'll Learn

You’ll always learn something different. Each year, the Academic Decathlon® selects a new theme for teams all over the country to explore. The theme shapes an entire course of studies—and brings it all together. The more years you participate in Academic Decathlon®, the more themes you’ll master. And, since our curriculum team develops these themes with special attention to national content standards, you’ll find you’re becoming not just a more knowledgeable Academic Decathlete, but a stronger all-around student.

The theme for the 2016-2017 Academic Decathlon® is World War II.

In 2016-2017, the United States Academic Decathlon® theme is World War II. Following is some general information on the topics in each of the subject areas.

  • SCIENCE: The science topic will be an introduction to atomic and nuclear physics and will include a section on the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb.
  • LITERATUREThe literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature, and selected shorter works. The long work of literature will be the novel Transit by Anna Seghers.
  • ART: The art curriculum will include a section on art fundamentals and will largely focus on the art of the World War II era.
  • MUSIC: The music curriculum will include basic elements of music theory and will focus on the music of the World War II era.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science curriculum will cover World War II.
  • ECONOMICS: The economics curriculum will cover fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics and will also include a thematic section on the economic origins and impact of World War II.
  • MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum will cover algebra and trigonometry.


Please see the full subject area outlines for more details. You can also order study materials through our program brochure. Our team prepares approachable resource guides and helpful practice tests and other tools that you can use with your team to do your best on competition day.