High School Graduation Requirements

All public high school students must meet minimum state graduation requirements to earn a diploma and graduate.  These graduation requirements are considered the Future-Ready Course of Study (FRC) requirements and prepare students for post-secondary success.

All students must earn at least 22 credits in the Future-Ready Course of Study to graduate from high school.  The Future-Ready Course graduation requirements ensure that a student is prepared for life and whatever pathway they choose after they graduate, workplace, colleges/university or the military.  Below are the specific course requirements.

The Occupational Course of Study is available for those students with disabilities who are specifically identified for the program and has adapted course requirements and the same credit requirements as FRC.  Below are the specific course requirements.

Although the state requires a designated number of courses and credits for students to graduate high school, local school districts and other public school units may require additional courses and credits to graduate.  Families and students are strongly encouraged to check with their high school to determine if their district and/or school have additional requirements for students to earn a high school diploma.

Future-Ready Course of Study (22 credits): Students entering Grade 9 between 2014-15 and 2019-20

Future-Ready Course of Study (22 credits): Students entering Grade 9 between 2014-15 and 2019-20

Students entering ninth grade for the first time in 2014-2015 must pass the following courses and earn at least 22 credits:

Four sequential English credits which shall be: 

  1. Starting with English I
  2. English II
  3. English III
  4. English IV

Four Mathematics credits which shall be either 

  1.  NC Math 1, 2, and 3 and a fourth mathematics course to be aligned with the student’s post high school plans
  2.  In the rare instance a principal exempts a student from the Future-Ready Core mathematics sequence, except as limited by N.C.G.S. §115C-81(b), the student will be required to pass: NC Math 1 and Math 2 plus two additional courses identified on the NC DPI Math options chart.

    Note:  Credit shall be awarded for Math I, II, III if taken prior to the 2016-17 school year.

Three Science credits which shall be: 

  1. a physical science course
  2. Biology
  3. an earth/environmental science course

Four Social Studies credits which shall be: 

Prior to 2020-21

  1. American History: Founding Principles, Civics and Economics 
    • This course must follow the NCSCOS in its entirety and may not be satisfied by an Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge International Examination (CIE) courses, dual enrollment or any other course that does not fully address the NCSCOS.
  2. American History I
  3. American History II
  4. World History

Effective 2020-21

  1. A founding principles course which shall be either:
    1. American History: Founding Principles, Civics and Economics 
    2. Founding Principles of the United States of America and North Carolina: Civic Literacy
      • Note:  These courses must follow the NCSCOS in its entirety and may not be satisfied by any other courses.
  2. American history courses which shall be either:
    1. American History I and American History II
    2. American History I or II and another Social Studies course
    3. American History and another Social Studies course
  3. World History

One Health and Physical Education credit

  1. Students are required to successfully complete CPR instruction to meet Healthful Living Essential Standards as a requirement for high school graduation.
  2. Accommodations/alternative assessments for students identified by ADA or IDEA will be provided.

Two Elective credits of any combination from either: 

  1. Career and Technical Education (CTE) or
  2. Arts Education or
  3. World Language

Note: For clarification, possible elective combinations may include 2 World Language credits; or 1 CTE credit and 1 Arts Education credit; or 2 CTE credits; or 1 Arts Education credit and 1 World Language credit; or other combinations from a, b and c.

Four Elective credits from the following (four-course concentration recommended): 

  1. Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. ROTC
  3. Arts Education (e.g., dance, music, theater arts, visual arts)
  4. Any other subject area or cross-disciplinary courses (e.g., mathematics, science, social studies, English and dual enrollment courses
Future-Ready Course of Study (22 credits): Students entering Grade 9 in 2020-2021

Future-Ready Course of Study (22 credits): Students entering Grade 9 in 2020-2021

Four sequential English credits which shall be: 

  1. Starting with English I
  2. English II
  3. English III
  4. English IV

Four Mathematics credits which shall be either 

  1.  NC Math 1, 2, and 3 and a fourth mathematics course to be aligned with the student’s post high school plans
  2.  In the rare instance a principal exempts a student from the Future-Ready Core mathematics sequence, except as limited by N.C.G.S. §115C-81(b), the student will be required to pass: NC Math 1 and Math 2 plus two additional courses identified on the NC DPI Math options chart.

    Note:  Credit shall be awarded for Math I, II, III if taken prior to the 2016-17 school year.

Three Science credits which shall be: 

  1. a physical science course
  2. Biology
  3. an earth/environmental science course

Four Social Studies credits which shall be:

  1. Founding Principles of the United States of America and North Carolina:  Civic Literacy
  2. Economics and Personal Finance
  3. American History
  4. World History

One Health and Physical Education credit

  1. Students are required to successfully complete CPR instruction to meet Healthful Living Essential Standards as a requirement for high school graduation.
  2. Accommodations/alternative assessments for students identified by ADA or IDEA will be provided.

Two Elective credits of any combination from either: 

  1. Career and Technical Education (CTE) or
  2. Arts Education or
  3. World Language

Note: For clarification, possible elective combinations may include 2 World Language credits; or 1 CTE credit and 1 Arts Education credit; or 2 CTE credits; or 1 Arts Education credit and 1 World Language credit; or other combinations from a, b and c.

Four Elective credits from the following (four-course concentration recommended): 

  1. Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. ROTC
  3. Arts Education (e.g., dance, music, theater arts, visual arts)
  4. Any other subject area or cross-disciplinary courses (e.g., mathematics, science, social studies, English and dual enrollment courses
Occupational Course of Study (22 credits)

Occupational Course of Study (22 credits)

Students following the Occupational Course of Study must pass the following 22 credits plus any local requirements:

Four English credits that shall be: 

  1. English I
  2. English II
  3. English III
  4. English IV

Three Mathematics credits that shall be: 

  1. Introduction to Mathematics
  2. NC Math I
  3. Financial Management

Two Science credits that shall be: 

  1. Applied Science
  2. Biology

Two Social Studies credits that shall be: 

  1. American History:  Founding Principles, Civics and Economics
  2. American History I or American History II

One Health and Physical Education credit 

  1. Students are required to successfully complete CPR instruction to meet Healthful Living Essential Standards as a requirement for high school graduation.
  2. Accommodations/alternative assessments for students identified by ADA or IDEA will be provided.

Six Occupational Preparation Education credits:

which shall be Occupational Preparation I, II, III, and IV (i.e, completion of 150 hours of school-based training with work activities and experiences that align with student’s post-school goals, 225 hours of community-based training, and 225 hours of paid employment or 225 hours of unpaid vocational training, unpaid internship, paid employment at community rehabilitation facilities, and volunteer and/or community services hours.

Four Career/Technical Education Elective credits

A career portfolio

Completion of the student’s IEP objectives

Related State Board of Education Policies