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

New Hampshire

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) 4
Math units (Std.) 2
Social studies units (Std.) 2.5

Notes/Citation: 1 unit U.S. and NH history and government, 1 unit "social studies elective" and .5 unit "basic business and economic education."

Science units (Std.) 2

Notes/Citation: 1 unit each of physical sciences and biological sciences.

P.E./Health units (Std.) 1.25

Notes/Citation: 1 unit p.e. and .25 unit "health education."

Arts (Std.) .5
Foreign language (Std.) 0
Electives units (Std.) 7
Other units (Std.) 0.5

Notes/Citation: .5 unit computer education.

TOTAL # units (Std.) 19.75
Other diploma options State does not offer differentiated diploma pathways. State has policy on awarding proficiency-based credit.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23, 306.27
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 Yes. Local boards may adopt policies allowing for early graduation for students who have completed all course requirements. Early graduation requests must "be related to the career and/or educational plans of the student."
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. Regulation allows local boards to offer "extended learning opportunities," which permits students to earn credit through participation in such activities as "independent study, private instruction, team sports, performing groups, interships, community service and work study[.]" Credits must be awarded "based on a student's demonstration of competencies, as approved by certified educators" and must be made available to all students.

In addition, by the 2008-2009 school year, local boards must allow high school credit to be earned by demonstrating mastery of required competencies for the course, as approved by certified school personnel, and must have in place competency assessments for all courses offered through the high school. Until the 2008-2009 school year, the local board must require that high school credit may be earned either through seat time or by demonstration of competency through a competency assessment, if one is in place.
Required coursework aligned with college entrance requirements
  • No
  • State does not have statewide college entrance requirements
All high school students are required to declare a major/career pathway/career focus No
Sources Early graduation: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23
Proficiency-based credit: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23, 306.27
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. ED 306.23; College admissions requirements: New Hampshire does not have statewide college admissions requirements

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