Standard High School Graduation Requirements

Standard High School Graduation Requirements

The information below describes state high school graduation requirements as defined by state statutes and regulations. These requirements should be understood to show minimum course requirements, in that local boards may adopt graduation requirements above and beyond those mandated by the state. Policies reflect courses to be completed and do not include exit exam requirements. This database indicates where state policy specifies courses that may or must be completed to earn subject area credit.

With the exception of Nebraska and New Jersey, required coursework is expressed in Carnegie units, with one unit reflecting one year of coursework. Units defined in Idaho and Indiana policy have been translated from half-year to full-year units to maintain consistency. Exceptions and other circumstances related to completing high school graduation course requirements are included in the "Technical Notes and Citations" field at the end of each state's report. Subject area fields with a --- indicate that the state does not set course requirements for that subject. Where the number of state-mandated units in specific subjects falls below the total number of state-mandated units, this difference is indicated in the "total units" field rather than the "electives" field to reflect local districts' option to increase unit requirements in subject areas.

This information was gathered in January to August 2005 and is updated as new policies are enacted.

Last update: March 23, 2007

This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay Zinth, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or


Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) 4
Math units (Std.) Smart Core: 4, incl. 1 unit each Algebra I, geometry and Algebra II. All students must take a math course in grades 11 or 12.

Core: 4, incl. 1 unit each algebra or equivalent and geometry or equivalent. All math units must build on the base of algebra and geometry. A 2-year algebra equivalent or 2-year geometry equivalent may each be counted as 2 of the 4-unit requirement.

Notes/Citation: Smart Core: 4th unit chosen from Transitions to College Math, pre-calculus, calculus, Ttrigonometry, statistics, computer math, Algebra III or an Advanced Placement math.

Social studies units (Std.) 3
Eff. Class of 2014: 3 (see notes)

Notes/Citation: Pre-Class of 2014: Smart Core: Must include 1 unit each civics or civics/American government, world history and American history. Pre-Class of 2014 Core: Must include 1 unit each world history, U.S. history, .5 unit civics or government. Eff. Class of 2014 (both Smart Core and Core): 3 units, incl. 1 unit each of world history and U.S. history, .5 unit civics. .5 unit economics may count either toward 3 units social studies or toward 6 career focus elective credits.
Science units (Std.) Smart Core: 3 lab units
Core: 3 units, incl. at least 1 unit each of biology or equivalent and a physical science

Notes/Citation: Smart Core: Must be chosen from physical Science, biology or applied biology/chemistry, chemistry, physics or Principles of Technology I & II or PIC Physics

P.E./Health units (Std.) 1

Notes/Citation: .5 unit each physical education and "health and safety". No more than 1 unit may be taken in p.e..

Arts (Std.) .5

Notes/Citation: .5 unit fine arts

Foreign language (Std.) 0
Electives units (Std.) 6

Notes/Citation: Students must complete 6 units in "career focus" courses.

Other units (Std.) .5

Notes/Citation: .5 unit "Oral Communications"

TOTAL # units (Std.) 22
Other diploma options State does not offer differentiated diploma pathways. State does not have policy on awarding proficiency-based credit.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) All students must complete the "Smart Core" requirements unless parent/guardian waives student's participation, in which case the student will complete the "Core" requirements.
Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. All students must complete the "Smart Core" requirements unless parent/guardian waives student's participation, in which case the student will complete the "Core" requirements.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Any student who has earned the credits required by the local school district must "be eligible to graduate from the high school without regard to the grade level the student is enrolled in at the time such credits are earned."

In addition, state board rules on days and hours of school attendance for students in grades 9-12 specify, "Nothing in these rules precludes a student who has met all graduation requirements from graduating early."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus Yes. All students must complete 6 units in a career focus. All units in the career focus requirement must be established through guidance and counseling based on students' work aspirations.
Sources Learning plan: Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0
Early graduation: ARK. CODE ANN. ยง 6-18-224; Code Ark. R. 005 19 017
Alignment: Arkansas: High school graduation requirements: Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0; College admissions requirements: Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Core for Unconditional Admission
Major: Ark. Admin. Code 005.15.2-14.0

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