Graduation Requirements

Graduating from High School

What does your child need to graduate?

The Credit System

All secondary school programs in the province of Ontario are based on a credit system. Your child must earn a total of 30 credits in order to graduate from high school. One credit is equal to a 110 hour course that is successfully completed.

In order to receive a high school diploma (also known as the Ontario Secondary School Diploma – OSSD) your child must complete the following:

18 compulsory credits

Students must earn the following compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)*

3 credits in mathematics (1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)

2 credits in science

1 credit in Canadian history

1 credit in Canadian geography

1 credit in the arts

1 credit in health and physical education

1 credit in French as a second language

0.5 credit in career studies

0.5 credit in civics

Plus one credit from each of the following groups:

Group 1:

- English or French as a second language**

- a Native language

- a classical or an international language

- social sciences and the humanities

- Canadian and world studies

- guidance and career education

- cooperative education***

Group 2:

- health and physical education

- the arts

- business studies

- French as a second language**

- cooperative education***

Group 3:

- science (Grade 11 or 12)

- technological education

- French as a second language**

- computer studies

- cooperative education***

In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:

- 8 optional credits†
- 4 courses in Religion (1 course per grade)

- 40 hours of community involvement activities

- the provincial literacy requirement

*A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

**In groups 1, 2, and 3, a maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language can count as compulsory credits, one from group 1 and one from either group 2 or group 3.

***A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.

†The 8 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.


40 Hours of Community Involvement Activities

Your child must complete a minimum of 40 hours of unpaid community service activities at any time throughout the secondary program. Students will be able to choose their own community involvement activities within guidelines that are provided by our secondary schools.

This requirement is to be completed on your child's own time, outside of normal instructional classroom hours. All students are required to maintain and provide a record of their community involvement activities using the school forms that they will be provided with. Our secondary school principals will decide whether the student has met the requirements for both the Ministry of Education and the Board for these activities.

As part of the Catholic education system we believe that completing 40 hours of community service is an wonderful way to demonstrate our commitment to faith formation. Through community service our students are able to live and reflect upon the morals and values of our Catholic teachings.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

All students in Ontario are required by the provincial government to take the OSSLT in Grade 10 and must pass it in order to graduate and receive their OSSD. Students who do not complete the test successfully will receive additional help to prepare them for retesting in the following school year. Students who have been eligible to write the OSSLT at least twice and have been unsuccessful at least once are eligible to fulfill the requirement through the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course offered at our schools.

What happens if my child doesn't meet the necessary criteria to get an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)?

If your child leaves high school before earning an OSSD, we could grant him or her the Ontario Secondary School Certificate (often called a Certificate of Education). To receive a Certificate of Education, your child will need 14 credits including:
  • 7 compulsory credits
  • 7 elective credits
The 7 compulsory credits include:
  • 2 credits in English
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography or Canadian history
  • 1 credit in mathematics
  • 1 credit in science
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in the arts or technological education
If your child doesn't meet the criteria to receive the Certificate of Education,he or she may be granted a Certificate of Accomplishment. The Certificate of Accomplishment will be accompanied by the student’s Ontario Student Transcript. For those students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), a copy of the IEP may also be included.

Students who return to school to complete additional credit and non-credit courses, including courses with modified or alternative expectations in special education programs, will have their transcripts updated accordingly, but will not receive a new Certificate of Accomplishment. Instead, the OSSD will be granted when a student has fulfilled the appropriate requirements.

Both the Certificate of Education and the Certificate of Accomplishment recognize the student's achievement and can be used for those who plan to take certain vocational programs, other kinds of further training or who plan to find employment after leaving school.