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.) --
Math units (Std.) --
Social studies units (Std.) --
Science units (Std.) --
P.E./Health units (Std.) --
Arts (Std.) --
Foreign language (Std.) --
Electives units (Std.) --
Other units (Std.) --
TOTAL # units (Std.) 200 credit hours
Other diploma options State does not offer differentiated diploma pathways. State has policy on awarding proficiency-based credit.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) All graduation requirements set at local level. However, at least 80% of the 200 hours must be core curriculum courses as defined by the state board. "One instructional unit equals 15 clock hours. Therefore, a course that meets for 50 minutes for 180 days generates 10 instructional units. (Instructional units may be generated through any configuration of days and minutes.)"
NEB. REV. STAT. § 79-729; NEB. ADMIN. CODE Tit. 92, Ch. 10, § 003.05 and § 004.04C, Tit. 92, Ch. 14, § 004.01D; "Providing Equitable Opportunities for an Essential Education for All Students in Nebraska Public School Districts: A Policy Document of the State Board of Education, December 10, 2004, Original draft approved December 5, 2003."
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) No
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. "Schools may use performance based curriculum or courses as an option ... if they have a written description of the curricula or course which includes the goals, representative instructional experiences, expected student performance for accomplishment of the goals, and the rationale for allocating instructional units for the course. The written description is approved by the local board of education and is on file in the school. Performance based curriculum provides learning opportunities for students equivalent to or greater than those [completed through minimum instructional units], but may take less than the time required ... for determining instructional units." In addition, "A district shall make provisions for students that may enter at any time during the school year. A district that enrolls a student during the school year shall give the student the opportunity to earn full credit for the courses in which the student is enrolled if the student is able to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter and/or completion of course requirements, other than attendance, at a level required for other students to receive credit who have been enrolled throughout the period for which the credit is to be granted. The district may use a review of transcripts from prior schools attended, standardized tests, assessments, and/or teacher evaluations of student competency in the subject matter to make such a determination. A school district may use the same evaluation alternatives to award or recognize credit for past course work completed elsewhere and/or through demonstrated mastery of subject matter."
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • State does not have h.s. graduation requirements
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Proficiency-based credit: NEB. ADMIN. CODE Tit. 92, Ch. 19, § 003, 004
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: NEB. ADMIN. CODE tit. 92, ch. 10, § 003, NEB. REV. STAT. § 79-729; College admissions requirements: Nebraska does not have statewide college admissions requirements

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