Georgia High School Diploma Options & Requirements

Learn the requirements to graduate from high school in Georgia. Find out about the credentials available upon graduation, credit requirements, and mandatory courses.

What High School Graduation Options Are There in the State of Georgia?

In Georgia, there are three possible options for secondary school credentials. The most common is a high school diploma, which indicates students met all attendance, credit, and standardized testing requirements applicable for their graduating year. The other two options are defined by a student's inability to meet the standard diploma requirements. The first is the high school certificate. This is awarded to students who completed the minimum number of credits but failed to meet other requirements, like testing standards. The second option is a special education diploma, which is available to students with significant intellectual disabilities who were not able to meet standard diploma requirements but achieved those laid out in their individualized education plan. As such, all students are, by default, trying to earn the high school diploma, which requires 23 credits minimum, including 4 English credits, 4 math credits, 4 science credits, 3 social studies credits, 3 career/foreign language/fine arts credits, 1 health and physical education credit, and 4 elective credits.

Diploma Options Standard high school diploma, high school certificate, special education diploma
Requirements 23 credits for certificate or diploma, diploma requires that any state-mandated exams are passed
English Requirements 4 credits
Math and Science Requirements 4 math credits, 4 science credits
Social Studies and Physical Education Requirements 3 social studies credits, 1 health/PE credit
Additional Credit Requirements 3 credits in either fine arts, foreign language, or career focus areas, 4 credits of electives

What English Requirements Are There to Graduate High School in the State of Georgia?

Students must receive at least 4 units of credit in English and language arts in order to meet diploma requirements. Among these must be ninth grade literature and composition and American literature and composition. The remaining two credits must be chosen from a pool of available courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Courses could be AP research in English Language Arts, British literature and composition, or advanced composition.

What Math and Science Requirements Are There to Graduate High School in the State of Georgia?

Students are required to earn at least 4 units of credit in mathematics and 4 in science. For mathematics, required courses include mathematics I/II/III, or algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra. The final credit must be chosen from available core courses, such as AP Calculus, differential equations, or pre-calculus and trigonometry. For science, required courses include biology I, and at least 1 credit from physics or physical science, and 1 credit from chemistry, earth systems, or environmental science. The fourth science credit may double as an elective credit, and can be chosen from topics like oceanography, astronomy, or forensic science. Any suitable AP or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses may also be used to meet science requirements.

What Social Studies and Physical Education Requirements Are There to Graduate High School in the State of Georgia?

At least 3 credits in social studies courses are required to graduate. These 3 credits must consist of 1 credit of world history, 1 credit of US history, half a credit of civics, and half a credit of economics. Additional social studies courses are available as electives, however, and comparable AP/IB courses may be substituted in their place. The physical education credit can be obtained through either a half credit of personal fitness and a half credit of advanced personal fitness, or through a combined health and personal fitness course. The requirement may also be met with 3 credits in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC).

What Additional Credit Requirements Are There to Graduate High School in the State of Georgia?

Of the remaining credits, 3 must be in either career, technical, and agricultural education (CTAE) courses, foreign languages, or fine arts. Students are encouraged to choose one of these areas as a focus in which to use all 3 credits. For languages, American Sign Language and Latin may meet the requirements, if available, and students who are planning to attend university must take at least 2 credits worth in the same language. Fine arts courses are also available as electives, and any taken beyond the three required will count there. Dance, theater, visual arts, film and television, and music are all options within fine arts. CTAE has a large number of options, but might include subjects like agricultural science, forestry sciences, business management, and information technologies. The final 4 credits are electives, which can be chosen from almost any of the above and a great deal more.

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