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.


Texas

Standard Diploma
English units (Std.) Recommended program: 4
Minimum program: 4
Math units (Std.) Recommended program: 3, incl. Algebra I and II and geometry
Recommended program, eff. Class of 2011: 4, incl. Algebra I and II and geometry. Fourth credit must selected from specified math courses higher than Algebra II.
Minimum program (Pre- and eff. 2011): 3, incl. Algebra I and geometry
Social studies units (Std.) Recommended program: 4
Minimum program: 3
Notes/Citation: Recommended: Must include 1 unit World History Studies, 1 unit World Geography Studies, 1 unit U.S. History Studies Since Reconstruction, and .5 unit each of economics and U.S. Government. Minimum: Same as recommended but students choose between 1 unit World History Studies or World Geography Studies
Science units (Std.) Recommended program: 3, incl. biology. Two add'l credits must be chosen from the areas of 
    (i) integrated physics and chemistry; 
    (ii) chemistry; and 
    (iii) physics or Principles of Technology I.
Recommended program, eff. Class of 2011: 4, incl. biology. Two add'l credits must be chosen from 
    (i) integrated physics and chemistry; 
    (ii) chemistry; and 
    (iii) physics or Principles of Technology I. Fourth unit to be chosen from state-approved lab science courses.
Recommended program, eff. Class of 2016: 4 units, with 3 selected from one of each category: (i) biology; (ii) chemistry; (iii) physics or Principles of Technology I. Fourth unit to be chosen from state-approved lab science courses.
Minimum program (pre- and eff. 2011): 2, incl. biology and Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC) Notes/Citation: Recommended: Biology credit must be taken in biology, Advanced Placement Biology or International Baccalaureate Biology. The other two units must be chosen from (a) Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC); (b) Chemistry, AP Chemistry or IB Chemistry; and (c) Physics, Principles of Technology I, AP Physics or IB Physics.
P.E./Health units (Std.) Recommended and Minimum programs: 2

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

Arts (Std.) Recommended program: 1
Minimum program: 0
Foreign language (Std.) Recommended program: 2
Minimum program: 0

Notes/Citation: 2 units in 1 foreign language

Electives units (Std.) Recommended program: 3.5
Minimum program: 6.5
Notes/Citation: Recommended: "All students who wish to complete the Recommended High School Program are encouraged to study each of the four foundation curriculum areas (English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) every year in high school." Minimum: Must include 5.5 general electives and 1 unit "academic elective" chosen from World History Studies, World Geography Studies or any state board-approved science course.
Other units (Std.) Recommended and Minimum program: 1.5

Notes/Citation: Both: Must include .5 unit speech credit ("Communication Applications") and 1 unit technology applications.

TOTAL # units (Std.) Recommended program: 24
Recommended program, eff. Class of 2011: 26
Minimum program: 22
Other diploma options State offers honors/college prep curriculum option and proficiency-based credit option. State does not offer technical diploma pathway.
Technical notes and citations (Std.) All students must complete the recommended or distinguished program unless the student, student's parent and school counselor or administrator agree the student should complete the minimum program. Recommended program: "All students who wish to complete the Recommended High School Program are encouraged to study each of the four foundation curriculum areas (English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies) every year in high school."
19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.26, 74.41 through 74.43, 74.51 through 74.53, 74.61 through 74.63
Planning and Counseling Requirement
State requires student to adopt learning plan (not including career pathway requirements) Yes. All students must complete the "recommended" or "advanced" diploma requirements unless the student, student's parent and a school counselor or administrator "agree that the student should be permitted to take courses under the minimum high school program."
Additional Coursework Options and Requirements
State has policy on early graduation Yes. "A parent is entitled to: ... request, with the expectation that the request will not be unreasonably denied; ... that the parent's child be permitted to graduate from high school earlier than the child would normally graduate, if the child completes each course required for graduation; and ... have a child who graduates early ... participate in graduation ceremonies at the time the child graduates." In addition, districts may offer courses for grades 9-12 in earlier grade levels.
State has policy allowing students to meet coursework requirements through proficiency Yes. A student in grades 6-12 must be awarded credit for a subject in which the student has not had prior instruction if the student scores 90% or higher on a criterion-referenced test for the course. Awarding of credit by exam must be noted on the student's transcript. "In accordance with local school district policy, a student in any of Grades 6-12 may be given credit for an academic subject in which he or she had some prior instruction, if the student scores 70% on a criterion-referenced test for the applicable course." "A course must be considered completed and credit must be awarded if the student has demonstrated achievement by meeting the standard requirements of the course, including demonstrated proficiency in the subject matter, regardless of the time the student has received instruction in the course or the grade level at which proficiency was attained."
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: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 28.025
Early graduation: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 26.003; 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.26
Proficiency-based credit: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 28.023; 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.24, 74.26
Alignment: High school graduation requirements: 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 74.42 through .44, § 74.52 through .54, § 74.61 through .64; College admissions requirements: TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN. § 51.803-51.805

© 2018 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). All rights reserved. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. 700 Broadway #810, Denver, CO 80203-3442

To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please contact the Education Commission of the States’ Communications Department at 303.299.3609 or askinner@ecs.org.

Your Education Policy Team  www.ecs.org