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Maryland Graduation Requirements

Graduation Policy

(See Policy 8030 for entire policy.)

A Maryland High School Diploma is awarded to students who fulfill minimum enrollment, credit, and competency requirements, including four years of approved study beyond Grade 8.

High School Credit Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 21 credits. The specified core of credits must be earned as part of the 21-credit requirement.

3 credits – Mathematics*

State-Assessed Course: Algebra I

  • 1 credit in Algebra I
  • 1 credit in Geometry

4 credits – English

State-Assessed Course: English 10

  • 1 credit in English 9
  • 1 credit in English 10
  • 1 credit in English 11
  • 1 credit in English 12

3 credits – Science

State-Assessed Course: Biology

  • one in Biology
  • two additional credits including laboratory experience, in any or all of the following areas: Earth Science, Environmental Science, Life Science, Physical Science

3 credits – Social Studies

State-Assessed Course: American Government****

  • one in U.S. History
  • one in Local, State and National Government
  • one in World History

Fine Arts – 1 credit

Physical Education – 1/2 credit, including: Lifetime Fitness

Health – 1/2 credit including: health education or current health issues

Technology Education – 1 credit

2-4 credits – Program Choice:

  • Two credits in World Language** OR American Sign Language*** OR two credits in an approved Advanced Technology Program OR four credits in a Career Academy (state-approved Career and Technology Education Completer program).

1-3 credits – Electives to include courses beyond requirements.

Total 21

* Beginning with students entering Grade 9 in the 2014–2015 school year, students are required to enroll in four math classes. Students who successfully completed high school level mathematics in middle school still need to earn three credits in mathematics, preferably in higher level courses. The University System of Maryland has changed its admission policy to require four consecutive years of high school math for students who entered Grade 9 in fall 2011 or later. Check with each of your prospective colleges or universities for their specific entrance requirements.

** Students who received credit for Spanish I or French I based on work in middle school still need to earn at least two credits in World Language for this program choice option.

*** Students must complete both ASL I and II to meet the requirement. These courses may not meet all college entrance requirements.

**** This exam will count as a graduation requirement for students who enter Grade 9 in school year 2013–2014 and beyond.

Credit for High School Courses Taken in Middle School

High school courses which are offered at the middle school level are eligible for high school credit.

Beginning with courses completed in the 2015–16 school year:

  1. The student’s passed course will count toward the 21 credits for graduation requirement.
  2. The student’s course grade will be recorded on the high school transcript.
  3. The student’s grade will not be calculated into the high school grade point average.
    • If a student re-takes one of the high-school courses taken in middle school for which credit was earned:
      1. The high school grade will be calculated into the GPA, and
      2. Only one credit will be awarded.
  4. For high school world language courses, one credit will be awarded at the completion of a course in grade 8.

Additional Considerations

Four-year enrollment may be waived if a student is admitted to a college or another approved post-secondary program and has received prior approval from the principal.

In addition to the Maryland High School Diploma, a student may earn a Certificate of Merit by completing a specified core of credits. For more information, please consult the current Catalog of Approved High School Courses and Policy 8030. Students must also satisfy: