High School Graduation Requirements

I cannot go into detail about state requirements because states vary, and in your homeschool, it is your responsibility to research your state's requirements. You can ask a friend who has homeschooled and graduated her children, but high school requirements change too often to risk not checking this yourself, so please do.

arrowCheck state requirements and college requirements for courses and credits.

Get the information from your state homeschool cover school or group, otherwise, go to your preferred search engine and type these search terms:

Or visit this page: Homeschool: Graduation Requirements State Links

High School Requirements Examples

In your search for your state's high school graduation requirements, you should look for something like the lists below. You might see that some lists have "minimum" requirements and some will have lists suggested for students headed for college. If you look at college web sites, you might find that they have their own requirements that might be more than your state's minimum. For my children, I used the college requirements (college route).

Two Examples


Category / Subject Required Credits
English 3
Math 3
Science 2
Social Studies 2.5
Health/PE 2
Electives Electives to total # required credits

College Route

Category / Subject Required Credits
English 4
Math 4
Science 3+
Social Studies 3+
Foreign Language 2+
Fine Arts 1+
Health/PE 2
Electives Electives to total # required credits

Number of Required Credits

States vary on the number of required credits. The amount is generally between 19-26 credits. While looking for graduation requirements, take note of how many credits or units your state requires.

Carnegie Units "Credits" - A Rule of Thumb

"Generally" one credit is earned during a *two-semester course (*a full school year) and 1/2 credit is earned during a one-semester course. Some states determine credits differently. A sure sign that your state does this differently is by looking at the total number of required credits. If your state requires a lot of credits, say, over 30, then they are probably determining credits differently. Please, check your state requirements regarding credits.

Category / Subject Content Options

While looking at your state requirements, be certain to look for subject content. What I mean by subject content is illustrated in the following examples using the subjects Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies:

The Subject of Mathematics: (4 Carnegie Units (a.k.a. credit hour))
The Content Options: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and any one other Carnegie Unit of comparable rigor and content (e.g., Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, Discrete Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, or AP Statistics).

The Subject of Science 3 credits
The Content Options: 1 credit in Biology, 2 credits must include laboratory experience in any or all of the following areas: earth science, life science, physical science

The Subject of Social Studies 3 credits
The Content Options: 1 credit of U.S. history, 1 credit of world history/civilization/geography, 0.5 credit in government, 0.5 credit in economics

PE Exception

Check how your state counts PE. One year of PE might be considered 1/2 credit by some states, so in such a state that requires one credit in PE - that is two years of PE.

Fitting In the Courses

When making your child's course of study for grades 9-12, first slot the required courses. After the required courses are slotted, add enough electives to meet the credit requirements. See course of study and planning for more help and forms for charting the four-year plan.

Donna Young

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You are at DonnaYoung.org, online since 1998. Thank you for visiting my website. Donna Young

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