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.) 4.5
Math units (Std.) 2
Eff. Class of 2012: 3, incl. Algebra I, geometry, and either Algebra II or advanced math beyond geometry
Eff. Class of 2013: 4 (see notes)
Notes/Citation: Pre-2012: May be fulfilled by "Applied Mathematics, Business Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Fundamentals of Calculus, Probability and Statistics, Discrete Mathematics, and courses in mathematical problem solving and reasoning." Eff. Class of 2012: A waiver is available for the Algebra II/advanced math beyond geometry requirement. A student receiving a waiver must take a substitute unit to complete the 3-unit math requirement.Eff. Class of 2013: Same courses as Class of 2012 plus 1 other unit math.
Social studies units (Std.) 2.5

Notes/Citation: Must include 1 unit government, 1 unit U.S. history and .5 unit economics.

Science units (Std.) 2, including 1 unit lab science
Eff. Class of 2012: 3, including 2 lab science
P.E./Health units (Std.) .5 (see notes)

Notes/Citation: .5 unit course "focusing on positive health habits."

Arts (Std.) See notes

Notes/Citation: 1 unit required in either "interdisciplinary humanities, visual and performing arts, or foreign language."

Foreign language (Std.) See notes

Notes/Citation: 1 unit required in "interdisciplinary humanities, visual and performing arts, or foreign language."

Electives units (Std.) 0
Other units (Std.) See notes

Notes/Citation: 1 unit required in "interdisciplinary humanities, visual and performing arts, or foreign language.

TOTAL # units (Std.) 21
Eff. Class of 2012: 23

Notes/Citation: Pre-2012: 12.5 state-determined units and 8.5 district-determined requirements or electives. Eff. Class of 2012: 15.5 state-determined units and 7.5 district-determined requirements.

Other diploma options State does does not offer differentiated diploma pathways. State does not have policy on awarding proficiency-based credit.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) Eff. Class of 2012: Students must complete a senior project that includes a research paper and oral presentation.
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "Students will maintain a parent-approved student learning plan for their high school and post-high school options. The learning plan will be developed by students and parents or guardians with advice and recommendation from school personnel. It will be reviewed annually and may be revised at any time. The purpose of a parent-approved student learning plan is to outline a course of study and learning activities for students to become contributing members of society. A student learning plan describes, at a minimum, the list of courses and learning activities in which the student will engage while working toward meeting the district’s graduation standards. The school district will have met its obligation for parental involvement if it makes a good faith effort to notify the parent or guardian of the responsibility for the development and approval of the learning plan. A learning plan will not be required if the parent or guardian requests, in writing, that no learning plan be developed."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "Any high school student who completes the number of credits and exiting standards required by both the state and the school district prior to completing 8 semesters of high school work may petition the local superintendent and board of trustees to graduate 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 No
Sources Learning plan: IDAPA
Early graduation: IDAPA 08.02.350
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: IDAPA 08.02.03, § 105; College admissions requirements: University of Idaho Web site (same requirements to enter Boise State University, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College or the University of Idaho)

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