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High School Graduation Requirements - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

High School Graduation Requirements

To receive a high school diploma, students must fulfill state and district graduation requirements. State-mandated graduation course requirements (the state minimums) follow:

  • Three years of English
  • Two years of mathematics (including Algebra I)
  • Three years of social science (including U.S. history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; one semester of American government; and one semester of economics)
  • Two years of science (including biology and physical science)
  • Two years of physical education
  • One year of foreign language or visual and performing arts or commencing with the 2012–13 school year, career technical education. For purpose of satisfying the minimum course requirement, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in foreign language

Students who successfully complete Algebra I in middle school must still complete a minimum of two years of mathematics in high school. Recognizing that these 13 courses of preparation are state minimum requirements, local school boards often set local graduation requirements that exceed the state-mandated requirements. (Please refer to the Testing section for information on two methods of earning a high school diploma or its equivalent: the California High School Proficiency Examination and the General Educational Development test.)

Questions:   High School Innovations and Initiatives Office | | 916-319-0893
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 27, 2021