Graduation Requirements

To earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, students must:

Credits (18 compulsory and 12 optional)
Hours of community service
Ontario Secondary School Literacy requirement
Online learning credits

Please note the 34 Credit Threshold and review your credit summary​ when selecting and planning your courses.

In addition to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, the following options are also available:

The Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) will be granted, on request, to students who are leaving secondary school upon reaching the age of eighteen without having met the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, provided they have earned a minimum of 14 credits distributed as follows:

Compulsory credits (total of 7)
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

Optional credits (total of 7)
7 credits selected by the student from available courses


Students who are leaving secondary school upon reaching the age of eighteen without having met the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma or the Ontario Secondary School Certificate may be granted a Certificate of Accomplishment. The Certificate of Accomplishment may be a useful means of recognizing achievement for students who plan to take certain kinds of further training, or who plan to find employment directly after leaving school. Students who return to school to complete additional credit and non-credit courses will have their transcript updated accordingly.


Ontario Secondary School Diploma Compulsory Credits


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)

  • The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) may be used to meet either the Grade 11 or the Grade 12 English compulsory credit requirement.
  • The Grade 11 Contemporary Aboriginal Voices course may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement.
  • For English language learners the requirement may be met through earning a maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD); the fourth credit must be a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

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

2 credits in science

1 credit in Canadian history (Grade 10)

1 credit in Canadian geography (Grade 9)

1 credit in the arts

  • The Grade 9 Expressing Aboriginal Cultures course may be used to meet the compulsory credit requirement in the arts.

1 credit in health and physical education

1 credit in French as a second language

  • Students who have taken Native languages in place of French as a second language in elementary school may use a Level 1 or 2 Native language course to meet the compulsory credit requirement for 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 (including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course) or French as a second language**
  • a Native language
  • a classical or international language
  • social sciences and the humanities
  • Canadian and world studies
  • Native 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***

* A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) in 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 3

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



Substitutions for Compulsory Courses

In order to meet the needs of individual students, principals may replace up to three compulsory credit courses (or the equivalent in half courses) with courses from the remainder of those that meet the compulsory credit requirements. The principal will make the decision in consultation with the parent or adult student and appropriate school staff. Each substitution will be noted on the student's Ontario Student Transcript.


Ontario Student Transcripts

The Ontario Student Transcript (OST) provides an official record of all courses completed from Grades 9 to 12 (grade percentages and credits earned) and courses attempted in Grades 11 and 12. The OST also identifies compulsory credits completed or their substitutes, confirmation that the student has completed the 40 hours of community involvement and the provincial literacy requirement, and confirmation that a student in a Specialist High Skills Major has completed all the requirements for the SHSM Diploma. The OST includes a record of achievement for exceptional students who have alternative learning expectations in an individualized, non-credit program or a record of PLAR credit(s).


Full Disclosure

Withdrawals and failures from Grade 9 and 10 courses are not recorded on the Ontario Student Transcript.

If a student withdraws from a Grade 11 or 12 course within five (5) instructional days after the issuance of the first Provincial report card then the course will not be recorded on the transcript. If a student withdraws from a course more than five (5) days after the reporting period, a withdrawal (W) is entered in the credit column and the student’s mark at the time of withdrawal is recorded as a percentage in the achievement column of the transcript.

In addition, if a student repeats a course, each attempt and the mark will be recorded in the transcript with only one credit granted. The course with the lower mark will have an “R” entered in the credit column. Any questions concerning this regulation should be directed to a guidance counsellor.