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High School Graduation Requirements

What you need to graduate

To earn a high school diploma in Ontario, students must:

  • earn 18 compulsory credits
  • earn 12 optional credits
  • pass the literacy requirement
  • complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities

18 compulsory credits

Students must earn the following compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)*
  • 3 credits in mathematics (1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in science
  • 1 credit in Canadian history
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography
  • 1 credit in the arts
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 0.5 credit in career studies
  • 0.5 credit in civics


English as a second language (ESL) and English literacy development (ELD)

Students may count a maximum of 3 credits in ESL or ELD towards the 4 compulsory credits in English.

The fourth credit must be for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.


Optional credits

Students must earn 12 optional credits by successfully completing courses offered in their school’s program and course calendar.

Optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit programs.


Literacy graduation requirement

All students must meet the secondary school literacy graduation requirement to earn their high school diploma.

For most students, this means passing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

Students who do not successfully complete the OSSLT have other opportunities to meet the literacy graduation requirement. Students can contact their school principal to find out about these options.


Community involvement hours

The community involvement requirement is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop awareness and understanding about civic responsibility. Students can actively participate in supporting and strengthening their communities. It also provides the opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and possible career opportunities.

Students can start accumulating the required 40 hours in the summer before entering Grade 9.

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