Florida High School Graduation Requirements

Find out about the requirements to graduate from high school in Florida. Learn about the different pathways available, the special designations offered, and more by reading below.

What Are The Graduation Requirements to Earn a High School Diploma in Florida?

In the state of Florida, there are four different pathways available to graduation, each with significant differences that make it important to know your path upon entering high school as a freshman. The most common of these is the 24-credit program, which has similar requirements to other states. An advanced curriculum, referred to as the ACCEL pathway, is also somewhat common, especially for those planning to attend university.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) are comparatively less common pathways, but also stand as options. In addition to these four pathways, there's also the option to earn special designations along with your diploma, which can reflect well on students and may be worth pursuing.

24-Credit Path 4 English credits, 4 math credits, 3 science credits, 3 social studies credits, 1 physical education, 1 arts, 8 electives
ACCEL 18-Credit Path 4 English credits, 4 math credits, 3 science credits, 3 social studies credits, 1 arts, 3 electives
IB Curriculum Path Complete Middle Years phase and Diploma Phase or Career Phase programs
AICE Path Global perspectives and research, plus seven credits total with at least 1 credit each from math and science, arts and humanities, and languages
Designations Available Scholar designation or merit designation

What Are the Requirements for the Standard 24-Credit Graduation Pathway in Florida?

The 24-credit program has requirements that must be met in each of the four primary study areas. Four English or language arts credits are required, consisting of English I to IV, with a standardized test in grade 10 that must be passed. Four math credits are also required, which must include Algebra I and geometry, with a standardized test for algebra that must be passed; while there is a standardized test in geometry, it is merely included in the final grade for the course. Three science credits are required, including biology, and two of these courses must include a lab component.

Three credits are also required for social studies, of which one is US history, one is world history, and half a credit each for economics and US government. One credit in fine arts, performing arts, practical arts, or public speaking is required, as well as one credit in physical education, for which certain substitutions, such as marching band or JROTC participation, may be available. Eight elective courses and one online course in any topic round out the requirements.

What Are the Requirements for the ACCEL Pathway to Graduation in Florida?

ACCEL, which stands for Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning, is a pathway designed for advanced students offered at every school in Florida, although many of the details are left up to individual schools and principals. ACCEL is an 18-credit program, dropping many of the elective requirements to reduce the time to completion to three years.

ACCEL still has the same requirements as the 24-credit program when it comes to math, science, English, social studies, and fine arts. However, it drops the physical education requirement and only demands three electives. The online course requirement is also waived. ACCEL students still have access to AP courses and the possibility of dual enrollment just as those on the 24-credit program do.

What Are the Requirements for the IB Pathway to Graduation in Florida?

The IB pathway is not offered universally throughout Florida, but instead is only available through particular schools. The IB curriculum is a four-year plan with a liberal arts focus split into two phases, a middle years phase for grades 9 and 10, and two options for grades 11 and 12, either career or diploma focused.

The Middle Years phase requires courses in English, social studies and humanities, in addition to foreign language instruction. It has extensive math and science requirements, including courses from Algebra I up to AP statistics, calculus, or math analysis on the math end, and biology, chemistry, and physics on the science end. Arts and physical education are also required as well as a personal project and community service.

The diploma phase requires history, additional English courses, any science or math requirements not yet met, and a special course called the theory of knowledge, which stands at the center of IB curriculum. The career-focused diploma requires a personal and professional skills course. IB course exams and an extended essay must also be completed for graduation.

What Are the Requirements for the AICE Pathway to Graduation in Florida?

The AICE pathway uses a curriculum developed by Cambridge University and is also rather limited in its availability in Florida. AICE allows for students to build a curriculum of seven credits by choosing courses from 4 different areas of study: math and science, languages, arts and humanities, and interdisciplinary subjects, with at least one credit from each of the first three categories and no more than two from the interdisciplinary category.

A core course, referred to as global perspectives and research, is also required, which has a focus on developing research, critical thinking, and reasoning ability. Math and science courses include biology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics, while languages include both English and foreign languages from Afrikaans to French to Tamil. Arts and humanities covers a wide variety of topics with subjects like accounting, divinity, food studies, music, and sociology all included.

What Designations Can be Earned with Diplomas in Florida?

Two designations exist for diplomas in Florida: the scholar designation and the merit designation. The scholar designation requires a number of courses above and beyond what is required for graduation, such as two foreign language credits in the same language, high-level math courses such as AP Statistics, and rigorous science courses such as physics. Students must pass all end-of-course standardized tests. The merit designation is for students who have obtained an industry certification while still in high school, preparing themselves to enter a career as soon as they graduate.

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