Graduation Requirements for Secondary Students

Students with graduation caps on

Photo: The Fellowes High School Graduating Class of 2012 is introduced during Fellowes graduation ceremony.

To earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), students must:

Students who successfully complete a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program as part of the requirements for their OSSD will receive a diploma with an SHSM red seal.

Compulsory Credits (total of 18)

To earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), students must achieve 30 credits in total, as outlined by the Ministry of Education, including:

  • Four credits in English (one credit per grade)*
  • Three credits in mathematics (one credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • Two credits in science
  • One credit in Canadian history
  • One credit in Canadian geography
  • One credit in the arts
  • One credit in health and physical education
  • One credit in French as a second language
  • One half (0.5) credit in career studies
  • One half (0.5) credit in civics

Students must also earn one credit from each of the following groups

  • Group One: additional credit in English, or French as a second language,** or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education***
  • Group Two: additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or French as a second language,** or cooperative education***
  • Group Three: additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12), or technological education, or French as a second language,** or computer studies, or cooperative education**

*A maximum of three credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the four compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

**In groups one, two, and three, a maximum of two credits in French as a second language can count as compulsory credits, one from group one and one from either group two or group three.

***A maximum of two credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.

Optional Credits (total of 12)

In addition to the 18 compulsory credits, students must earn 12 optional credits. Students earn these credits by successfully completing selected courses that are available in their school's program and course calendar. Optional credits may include up to four credits earned through approved dual credit courses.

Provincial Literacy Requirement

Students must successfully complete the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or the Grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) if unsuccessful with the OSSLT. Students normally take the literacy test in Grade 10.

40 Hours of Community Involvement

Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of their OSSD requirements. Community involvement encourages students to develop an awareness of civic responsibility and the contributions they can make in their communities.

Although this diploma requirement applies to students in Grades 9 to 12, students in Grade 8 can begin accumulating community involvement hours in the summer before they enter Grade 9.