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High School Graduation Requirements

Requirements for high school graduation and university admission.

In order to graduate from California public high schools, students must complete specified state and local graduation requirements. Local school districts have the authority and responsibility for establishing high school graduation requirements. These requirements vary among school districts. However, California Education Code Section 51225.3 specifies that students must pass a minimum set of required courses and an exit examination. These requirements should be viewed as minimums and support for the regulations specified by the local school boards.

High school students interested in attending a California public university after graduation must have completed the required freshman admission course requirements while in high school.

The High School Graduation Requirements - CalEdFacts page provides an additional overview.

State Minimum Course Requirements
The Education Code identifies 13 year-long courses that all students must complete to receive a California high school diploma.

California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)
Beginning with the Class of 2016, all public school students were required to pass the CAHSEE to earn a high school diploma. Senate Bill 172, signed into law effective January 1, 2016, suspended the CAHSEE diploma requirement and the administration of the CAHSEE through the 2017-18 school year.

Courses Required for University Admission (English)
Available Translations for the Courses Required for University Admission
The California State University and the University of California have established minimum freshman eligibility requirements that include completion of 15 year-long college preparatory courses.

Foreign Exchange Students
California Education Code allows local school districts to provide graduation recognition to foreign students in foreign exchange programs who complete their senior year in a California high school.

Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequently asked questions regarding high school graduation requirements.

For specific information about graduation requirements for individual schools, please contact your local school district office. You may use the California Department of Education's School Directory to find your local school district office.

The State Board of Education has the power to waive certain requirements.

Questions:   High School Innovations and Initiatives Office | 916-319-0893
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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