Louisiana High School Diploma Requirements

Learn about the requirements to earn a high school diploma in Louisiana. Explore the different pathways that exist, the credits needed, and the options available for filling those credits.

What Requirements Must be Met to Earn High School Diploma in Louisiana?

The state of Louisiana offers two pathways to graduation - a career-focused diploma referred to as the TOPS Tech Diploma pathway and one for college-bound students referred to as the TOPS University Diploma pathway. The tech pathway requires 23 units to graduate, while the university pathway requires 24. Additionally, the breakdown of required courses for the two graduation pathways are different.

For the tech pathway, students are required to take 4 units of English, 4 units of math, 2 units of science, 2 units of social studies, 2 units of health and physical education, and 9 units from the ''jump start'' sequence, which can include workplace experience or other approved credentials, with at least 1 credential based in a particular industry. The university pathway requires 4 units of English, 4 units of math, 4 units of science, 4 units of social studies, 2 units of the same foreign language, 1 unit of arts, 2 units of health and physical education, and 3 electives.

The two pathways do not diverge until after the completion of the 10th grade year, at which point a student must decide which path to graduation they wish to take, and it is possible to choose both.

Louisiana High School Diplomas 23-unit TOPS Tech Pathway or 24-unit TOPS University Pathway
English Requirements 4 units required for all. Must include English I and II.
Math Requirements 4 units required for all. Must include Algebra I or Integrated Math I.
Science Requirements 2 units for tech pathway, 4 for university pathway. Must include Biology.
Social Studies Requirements 2 units for tech pathway, 4 for university pathway. Must include US History and Civics/Government.
Other Requirements 2 units of health and physical education required for all. 9 units of career/technical education for tech pathway. 2 units of same foreign language, 1 unit of arts, and 3 electives required for university pathway.

What English Requirements Must Be Met to Graduate in Louisiana?

All students in Louisiana must take English I and II in their 9th and 10th grade years. From there, students on the university path will take English III and IV, although there are several versions of these courses available, including Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) versions. Students on the tech path may take English III and IV or substitute courses in Business English and/or Technical Writing in their place.

What Math Requirements Must Be Met to Graduate in Louisiana?

While both pathways to graduation require 4 units of math, there are two basic progression sequences available. Students pursuing the university pathway must complete Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II or Integrated Mathematics I, II, and III. Only Algebra I is required for the tech pathway, and options for the remaining units include Business Math, Math Essentials, and Financial Literacy. Other courses for the final unit on the university pathway include Pre-calculus, Algebra III, Advanced Functions and Statistics, and Calculus, which has AP and IB options available.

What Science Requirements Must Be Met to Graduate in Louisiana?

All students in Louisiana must take Biology I in order to graduate. For the tech pathway, the remaining unit of science can be selected from courses such as Chemistry I, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physical Science, or Agriscience. For students on the university pathway, it is required to take some variation of Chemistry I as well as 2 units from any of the options above. Some of the other available courses include Anatomy and Physiology and Principles of Engineering. AP, IB, Honors, or other alternate versions of these courses are also an option.

What Social Studies Requirements Must Be Met to Graduate in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, all students must take 1 unit of US History and 1 unit of Civics or Government. These 2 units meet the requirements for the tech pathway, while students on the university pathway will have 2 remaining units required. These students may choose from courses such as Western Civilization, European History, World History, Geography, Economics, or Psychology. Any AP, IB, Honors, or other versions that may be available will also fulfill these requirements.

What Other Course Requirements Must Be Met to Graduate in Louisiana?

Two units of health and physical education are required of all students, although a number of alternatives, such as participation in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), marching band, cheerleading, or other extracurricular sports, can partially meet these requirements. Students on the university pathway must also complete 2 units of the same foreign language, with courses available in Arabic, American Sign Language, German, and Latin, as well as a dozen others, although not all languages are available at all schools. The university path also has an arts requirement, which can be filled with a large number of options, including Visual Arts, Music, Dance, and Theater. The 3 electives can also draw from these, should a student wish to continue. On the tech pathway, career and technical courses available can vary significantly from school to school, so be sure to consult an adviser or counselor to learn what options there are to fulfill the final 9 units.

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