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.


South Carolina

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) 4
Math units (Std.) 4
Social studies units (Std.) 3

Notes/Citation: 1 unit U.S. History and Constitution; .5 unit each of economics and U.S. government; 1 unit "other social studies."

Science units (Std.) 3
P.E./Health units (Std.) 1

Notes/Citation: 1 unit P.E. or Junior ROTC.

Arts (Std.) 0
Foreign language (Std.) See notes

Notes/Citation: 1 unit either foreign language or "career and technology education." Students in a college preparatory program must complete a unit of foreign language; students in a technology preparation program must complete a unit of Career and Technology Education.

Electives units (Std.) 7
Other units (Std.) See notes
Notes/Citation: 1 unit computer science (including keyboarding) and 1 unit either foreign language or "career and technology education." Students in a college preparatory program must complete a unit of foreign language; students in a technology preparation program must complete a unit of Career and Technology Education.
TOTAL # units (Std.) 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.) Students "must demonstate computer literacy before graduation."
S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-39-100, 59-30-10, 59-29-160, 59-26-70; 43 S.C. CODE ANN. REGS. § 259, 262
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes, effective with eighth-graders in 2006-2007 school year (Class of 2011). "Before the end of the second semester of the eighth grade, eighth grade students in consultation with their parents, guardians, or individuals appointed by the parents or guardians to serve as their designee shall select a preferred cluster of study and develop an individual graduation plan..." "An individual graduation plan is a student specific educational plan detailing the courses necessary for the student to prepare for graduation and to successfully transition into the workforce or postsecondary education. An individual graduation plan must: (1) align career goals and a student's course of study; (2) be based on the student's selected cluster of study and an academic focus within that cluster; (3) include core academic subjects, which must include, but are not limited to, English, math, science, and social studies to ensure that requirements for graduation will be met; (4) include experience-based, career-oriented learning experiences including, but not limited to, internships, apprenticeships, mentoring, co-op education, and service learning; (5) be flexible to allow change in the course of study but be sufficiently structured to meet graduation requirements and admission to postsecondary education; (6) incorporate provisions of a student's individual education plan, when appropriate; and (7) be approved by a certified school guidance counselor and the student's parents, guardians, or individuals appointed by the parents or guardians to serve as their designee." After the 2007-2008 school year, certified school guidance counselors and career specialists must counsel students in grades 9 and 10 "to further define their career cluster goals and individual graduation plans... Throughout high school, students must be provided guidance activities and career awareness programs that combine counseling on career options and experiential learning with academic planning to assist students in fulfilling their individual graduation plans." "Beginning with students in the sixth grade and continuing through high school, schools must schedule annual parent counseling conferences to assist parents, guardians, or individuals appointed by the parents or guardians and their children in making career choices and creating individual graduation plans. These conferences must include, but are not limited to, assisting the student in identifying career interests and goals, selecting a cluster of study and an academic focus, and developing an individual graduation plan."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. Every high school must "provide an accelerated program of study whereby any student who demonstrates sufficient ability shall, upon approval of the administrative head of such school" and the student's parent/guardian, "be allowed to undertake such courses of study as will enable the student to graduate" at the end of grade 11.
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 Yes, eff. Class of 2010. "During the 2007-08 school year, each public high school shall implement a career guidance program model or prototype as developed or approved by the State Department of Education. At least annually after that, certified school guidance counselors and career specialists, under their supervision, shall counsel students during the ninth and tenth grades to further define their career cluster goals and individual graduation plans, and before the end of the second semester of the tenth grade, tenth grade students shall have declared an area of academic focus within a cluster of study. Throughout high school, students must be provided guidance activities and career awareness programs that combine counseling on career options and experiential learning with academic planning to assist students in fulfilling their individual graduation plans. In order to maximize the number of clusters offered, a school district is to ensure that each high school within the district offers a variety of clusters. A student may transfer to a high school offering that student's career cluster if not offered by the high school in his attendance zone."
Sources Learning plan: S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-59-90, 59-59-110, 59-59-140, 59-59-160
Early graduation: S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-39-110
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 43 S.C. CODE ANN. REGS. 259; College admissions requirements: South Carolina Commission on Higher Education College Preparatory Course Prerequisite Requirements
Major: S.C. CODE ANN. § 59-59-110

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