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

Notes/Citation: Pre-2012: "English I, II, and III, in consecutive order; and English IV or Business English." Eff. Class of 2012: Louisiana Core 4: 4th unit must be English IV. Louisiana Core: 4th unit must be English IV or Senior Applications in English.

Math units (Std.) 3
Eff. Class of 2009: 3 units, incl. 1 unit Algebra I or its equivalent
Eff. Class of 2012: 4 units
    LA Core 4: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, plus 4th unit chosen from state-approved list
    LA Core: Algebra I, geometry, plus 2 units chosen from state-approved list
Social studies units (Std.) 3
Eff. Class of 2012: 
    LA Core 4: 4 
    LA Core: 3 (see notes)
Notes/Citation: Pre-2012: Must include American History, .5 unit of Civics, .5 unit of Free Enterprise; and one of the following: World History, World Geography, or Western Civilization. Eff. Class of 2012: LA Core 4: Must include .5 unit of Civics; .5 unit of Free Enterprise; 1 unit U.S. History; 1 unit chosen from world history, world geography, western civilization, or AP European History; 1 unit selected from state-approved list. LA Core: Same as pre-2012 although AP alternatives to standard courses specified.
Science units (Std.) 3, incl. 1 unit biology
Eff. Class of 2012: 
    LA Core 4: 4 units, incl. 1 unit each biology and chemistry
    LA Core: 3 units, incl. 1 unit biology
P.E./Health units (Std.) 2

Notes/Citation: .5 unit health and 1.5 units p.e.

Arts (Std.) 0
Eff. Class of 2012: 
    LA Core 4: 1 (although student completing career/technical area of concentration may substitute industry-based certification-related course for arts unit)
    LA Core: 0
Foreign language (Std.) 0
Eff. Class of 2012: 
    LA Core 4: 2
    LA Core: 0

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2012: LA Core 4: 2 units of 1 foreign language or 2 speech courses.

Electives units (Std.) 8
Eff. Class of 2012: 
    LA Core 4: 3
    LA Core: 8
Other units (Std.) 0
TOTAL # units (Std.) 23
Eff. Class of 2012: 24
Other diploma options State offers honors/college prep and technical curriculum options and proficiency-based credit option.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) Eff. Class of 2012: All students must complete the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum, unless the student, student's parent and school counselor (or other staff member who assists in course selection) agree after the student completes two years of high school that the student should complete the Louisiana Core Curriculum instead.
LA. ADMIN CODE tit. 28, pt. CXV, § 2319, 2321, 2325
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "Prior to student scheduling each year, each middle, junior, or high school shall provide the parent/guardian/legal custodian with a listing of course offerings, the content of each, and high school graduation requirements where appropriate. 1. By the end of the eighth grade, each student shall develop, with the input of his family, a Five Year Educational Plan. Such a plan shall include a sequence of courses that is consistent with the student's stated goals for one year after graduation. 2. Each student's Five Year Educational Plan shall be reviewed annually thereafter by the student, parents, and school advisor and revised as needed. 3. Every middle, junior, or high school shall require that the parent/guardian/legal custodian sign his/her child's schedule form and the Five Year Educational Plan for students in grades 8-12."

In addition, effective with the Class of 2012, all students must be enrolled in the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum, unless, after a minimum of two years in high school, the student or student's parent requests that the student be exempted from the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum and complete the Louisiana Core Curriculum instead. The student's parent must meet with the student and the school counselor (or other staff member who helps students in course selection) to discuss what is in the student's best interest. If the parent decides to opt out of the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum, the parent must sign a written statement "acknowledging that one consequence of not completing the Louisiana Core 4 Curriculum may be ineligibility to enroll in a Louisiana four-year public college or university." The student's Five Year Plan must then be jointly revised by the student, the student's parent, and the counselor or other staff member who assists students in course selection.
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "High school credit shall be granted to a student following the student's passing of a proficiency examination for the eligible course." The student must be offered the proficiency exam on a pass/fail basis "when a school official believes that a student has mastered eligible subject matter and has reached the same or a higher degree of proficiency as that of a student who completed an equivalent course at the regular high school or college level." A November 2007 amendment allows students to take proficiency examinations in courses they have failed.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements No
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No. However, students must have "the opportunity to complete an area of concentration with an academic focus and/or a career focus."
Notes/Citation: "To complete an academic area of concentration, students shall meet the current course requirements for the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Opportunity Award plus one additional Carnegie unit in mathematics, science, or social studies. To complete a career area of concentration, students shall meet the minimum requirements for graduation, including four elective primary credits in the area of concentration and two related elective credits, including one computer/technology course." The following computer/technology courses can be used to meet this requirement: Computer/Technology Literacy; Computer Applications or Business Computer Applications; Computer Architecture; Computer Science I, II; Computer Systems and Networking I, II; Desktop Publishing; Digital Graphics and Animation; Multimedia Presentations; Web Mastering or Web Design; Independent Study in Technology Applications; Word Processing; Telecommunications; Introduction to Business Computer Applications; Technology Education Computer Applications; Advanced Technical Drafting; and Computer Electronics I, II.
Sources Learning plan: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, § CXV.901 (LAC 28:CXV.901) and CXV.2319 (LAC 28:CXV.2319); LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 17:183.2
Proficiency-based credit: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, § 2323
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, part CXV, § 2319; College admissions requirements: Louisiana Board of Regents Public University Minimum Admissions Criteria
Major: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 28, pt. CXV, § 2319; LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 17:183.1 through .4

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