Arizona High School Diploma Requirements

Find out what's needed to earn your high school diploma in the state of Arizona. Learn what credits are required, the courses that must be taken, how local districts can differ, and what special honors are available.

What Does Arizona Require of High School Students to Graduate with a Diploma?

The state of Arizona has laid out a 22-credit plan which high school students must meet in order to graduate. Among these 22 credits are English, math, science, history and social science, and fine arts or career and technical education (CTE), along with credits that can be locally designated as need be. It is also required that students pass a civics exam, based on the naturalized citizenship test, in order to graduate. Students who demonstrate mastery over subjects early on can earn the Grand Canyon diploma, which can allow them to either continue in high school and aim higher or begin attending community college and pick up courses for university credit. Additionally, the special honor of the Arizona seal of biliteracy can be earned by students alongside their diploma.

Arizona High School Diploma 22 credits
English, History and Social Science Requirements 4 English credits, 3 history and social science credits, civics exam passed
Math and Science Requirements 4 math credits, 3 science credits
Locally Designated Credits 7 credits up to local districts; can be electives, languages, fitness, or additional arts/CTE credits
Special Awards Grand Canyon diploma, Arizona seal of biliteracy

What English and Social Science Credits Does Arizona Require to Graduate High School with a Diploma?

Students in Arizona must earn 4 credits of English or English as a second language in order to graduate. These credits are generally English I-IV and have honors counterparts available. Advanced Placement (AP) courses and dual enrollment courses for college credit may be substituted for English IV. Students are required to earn 3 credits in history and social science, which must consist of 1 credit of American history (including Arizona), 1 credit of world history and geography, half a credit of American government to include civics and Arizona government, and half a credit of economics. Students are also required to take a 100-question civics exam and score at least 60% on it in order to graduate.

What Math and Science Credits Does Arizona Require to Graduate High School with a Diploma?

Arizona requires that students complete 4 credits of math, which must include algebra I, geometry, and algebra II, or their approved equivalents. The fourth credit is expected to contain significant math content at or above the level of algebra II, and may be more specifically designated by local school districts. Students who have completed algebra I before entering high school may be able to have that course count towards their credit requirements. 3 credits of science are required, with biology being an extremely common local requirement.

How Are Arizona's Locally Designated Credits Typically Handled?

Arizona requires 22 credits to graduate, but leaves 7 credits up to local school districts to distribute as they wish, so graduation requirements can vary quite a bit from school to school. Some school districts leave all 7 as elective credits, up to student choice. Others require 2 credits of foreign language, from half a credit to 1 full credit of health and physical education, 1 extra credit of arts or CTE, or any combination thereof, with the remainder left as electives. Be sure to check what the requirements at your particular high school are when signing up for courses. In addition to the credits listed above, all students must take 1 credit of fine arts or CTE, usually decided by what their plans after graduation are.

What Special Options Are Available for Those Graduating High School in Arizona?

Students who have completed their high school education early on are awarded the Grand Canyon diploma; this diploma is only available at schools with the 'Move On When Ready' program. To earn this, students must score satisfactorily on 5 Cambridge International examinations, including English language or literature; mathematics; a science exam from biology, chemistry, or physics; a social studies exam from world history or American history; and a fifth exam from the above. They must also meet economics and fine arts/CTE requirements. A special award known as the Arizona seal of biliteracy is also available, which requires demonstrated competence in English and a language other than English. This can be proven by completing all 4 English credits with a 2.0 or better GPA, passing all English assessments, and demonstrating competence on the second language through a state assessment or by providing a limited range of alternative evidence, in the event an assessment does not exist for the student's second language.

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