Michigan High School Diploma Requirements

Discover the path to a high school diploma in Michigan. Learn about the credits required, the courses that you'll have to take, and the other requirements that exist by reading below.

What Are the Minimum Credit Requirements to Graduate with a High School Diploma in Michigan?

The state of Michigan requires a minimum of 18 credits to graduate from high school, under what is known as the Michigan Merit Curriculum. These credits include English language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, arts, and foreign languages. An online course or other form of distance learning is also a requirement, although it could overlap with any of the credit requirements. Credits in Michigan are defined somewhat differently than in other states, with credits being awarded according to demonstration of the skills acquired in the course rather than by classroom time. Credits can also be earned by testing out of courses, performing independent study as guided by a teacher, through completion of major projects, and by integrated content within other courses, such as receiving math credit for math content in career and technical education (CTE) courses.

Michigan High School Diploma 18 credits required, at least 1 online course
English and Social Studies Requirements 4 credits of English, 3 credits of social studies
Math and Science Requirements 4 credits of math, 3 credits of science
Other Requirements1 credit of health and physical education, 1 credit of arts, 2 credits of world languages

What Are the English Language Arts and Social Studies Credit Requirements in Michigan?

The requirements for English language arts in Michigan is 4 credits. These 4 credits do not have to be in any particular courses, and can be fulfilled by any course which contains suitable reading and writing content and lines up with Michigan's standards for English. Local school districts can be more specific as to what courses are needed, if they choose. Social studies requires 3 credits, with 1 credit of US history and geography, 1 credit of world history and geography, half a credit of civics and government, and half a credit of economics.

What Are the Math and Science Credit Requirements in Michigan?

Michigan requires 4 credits of mathematics education to graduate, and a math course needs to be taken in a student's senior year. While specific courses are not strictly required, all students must take courses that involve content equivalent to algebra I, geometry, and algebra II, and most students will accomplish that by taking those classes, although integrated math equivalents do exist. The fourth credit can be fulfilled by taking additional classes with math content, such as accounting, math classes like pre-calculus, or by taking algebra II over the course of two years for 1.5 credits total, if that is deemed appropriate in the student's case. A full course sequence of CTE courses can also fulfill this requirement. Science requires 3 credits, of which 1 credit must be in biology; 1 credit chosen from chemistry, physics, anatomy, or agricultural science; and 1 credit of any available science course, including computer science or science-based CTE courses. A fourth science credit is also encouraged in other sciences such as astronomy, geology, or microbiology, but is not required.

What Other Requirements Are There to Graduate from High School in Michigan?

Students in Michigan are also required to complete 1 credit of health and physical education, which can be taken as a single credit course covering both topics, or 2 half credit courses, with one dedicated to health and one to physical education. Whether extracurricular sports or other activities can meet this credit requirement varies from district to district. 1 credit of visual, performing, or applied arts is required. 2 credits of world languages are required, although it is possible for some students to exchange 1 credit of world language for an additional credit of arts. World language credits are considered from grades K-12 rather than just high school, however, and many students earn at least 1 credit of a foreign language before finishing grade 6, and credits can be fulfilled with online course work. American Sign Language (ASL) can also count as a foreign language. While Michigan does not have any elective requirements, electives are available to students under most schedules.

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