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What You Need To Graduate

What You Need To Graduate

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:

  • 12 optional credits†
  • 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 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.


Mandatory Community Involvement

Effective September 1, 1999, every student who begins secondary school in Ontario is required to complete 40 hours of community involvement in order to receive a diploma. Students can begin collecting their hours in the summer following Grade 8 graduation.

The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to understand the various roles they can play in their community and to help develop a greater sense of civic responsibility and belonging within the community.


  • Students can not be paid for the event.
  • These activities must take place outside of class time (i.e. lunch hour, before/after school and weekends).
  • It must not be part of a credit course including work experiences related to credits (i.e. co-op, job shadowing, work experience).
  • All 40 hours must be completed by the end of Grade 12. 

Please print the Community Involvement Form below to track completed hours.

If you have any additional questions regarding mandatory community involvement, please contact your school.


Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

"The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) measures whether or not students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. Successful completion of the literacy test is one of the requirements to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma."
-Education Quality and Accountability Office 

The OSSLT is a standardized test that Grade 10 students across Ontario write towards the end of the school year (often toward the end of March or the beginning of April). The test is entirely based on the Ontario Curriculum and is meant to test the reading and writing skills that students have learned throughout their education (up to the end of Grade 9). Passing the test is one of the requirements for graduation.

For more information about the OSSLT, you can visit the official OSSLT website. The website also has sample test questions, tips for writing the test, commonly asked questions, and guides for parents and students. 

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