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 jdounay@ecs.org.


New Mexico

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) 4 (see notes)

Notes/Citation: In addition to 4 units in English, Students must complete 1 unit "in communication skills or business education...."

Math units (Std.) 3, incl. 1 unit Algebra I
Eff. Class of 2013: 4, incl. 1 unit Algebra II or higher

Notes/Citation: Pre-2013: At least 1 unit must be equivalent to Algebra I or higher. Eff. Class of 2013: If the parent submits written permission for the student to do so, the unit of Algebra II or higher math may be replaced by a lower-level math unit.

Social studies units (Std.) 3
Eff. Class of 2009: 3.5

Notes/Citation: Must include U.S. "history and geography, world history and geography and government and economics" Eff. Class of 2009: Existing requirements, plus .5 unit New Mexico history.

Science units (Std.) 2, incl. 1 unit lab
Eff. Class of 2009: 3, incl. 1 unit lab
Eff. Class of 2013: 3, incl. 2 units lab
P.E./Health units (Std.) 1

Notes/Citation: 1 unit p.e.

Arts (Std.) 0
Foreign language (Std.) 0 (see notes)
Notes/Citation: No units of foreign language explicitly required, but students must complete 1 unit "in communication skills or business education, with a major emphasis on writing and speaking and that may include a language other than English." Eff. Class of 2013: Eff. Class of 2013: Students must complete 1 unit in a career cluster course, workplace readiness or language other than English.
Electives units (Std.) 9
Eff. Class of 2009: 7.5

Notes/Citation: Eff. Class of 2013: Student service learning must be offered as an elective.

Other units (Std.) See notes
Notes/Citation: Pre-2013: Students must complete 1 unit "in communication skills or business education, with a major emphasis on writing and speaking and that may include a language other than English." Eff. Class of 2013: Students must complete 1 unit in a career cluster course, workplace readiness or language other than English. Student service learning must be offered as an elective.
TOTAL # units (Std.) 23
Eff. Class of 2013: 24
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.) Eff. Class of 2013, at least one of the units required for graduation must be completed through a distance learning course, Advanced Placement or honors course, or dual-credit course offered in cooperation with an institution of higher education. The default diploma eff. Class of 2013 is the New Mexico diploma of excellence.
N.M. STAT. ANN. § 22-13-1.1; N.M. ADMIN. CODE tit. 6, § 30.2
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. "At the end of grades 8 through 11, each student shall prepare an interim next-step plan that sets forth the coursework for the grades remaining until high school graduation. Each year's plan shall explain any differences from the previous interim next-step plans, shall be filed with the principal ... and shall be signed by the student, the student's parent and the student's guidance counselor or other school official charged with coursework planning for the student." Each interim next-step plan must specify "post-high-school goals" and "the coursework that will allow the student to achieve those goals." "Each student must complete a final next-step plan during the senior year and prior to graduation" to be filed with the principal and signed by the same individuals listed above. The final next-step plan must show "that the student has committed or intends to commit in the near future to" a four- or two-year postsecondary institution, "a trade or vocational program, an internship or apprenticeship, military service or a job." Students must develop all next-step plans in consultation with their "parent or guardian and school counselor or other school official charged with coursework planning for the student." Local boards must "ensure that each high school student has the opportunity to develop a next-step plan and is reasonably informed about: (1) curricular and course options; (2) opportunities available that lead to different post-high-school options; and (3) alternative opportunities available if the student does not finish a planned curriculum."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation No
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency No
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 Learning plan: N.M. STAT. ANN. § 22-13-1.1
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: N.M. STAT. ANN. § 22-13-1.1; College admissions requirements: ECS Postsecondary Governance Structures Database

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