Mississippi High School Diploma Options & Graduation Requirements

Learn about Mississippi's high school graduation requirements. Find out the credits required, the courses available, and the optional endorsements that can be earned by reading below.

What Kinds of High School Diplomas Are Available in the State of Mississippi?

In Mississippi, students work towards completion of the traditional diploma program, which requires 24 credits to graduate as of 2018. Among these 24 credits are 4 credits of English, 4 credits of math, 3 credits of science, and 3.5 credits of social studies, as well as .5 credit of health and .5 credit of physical education, 1 credit of arts, 1 credit of technology or computer science, 1 credit of college or career readiness, and 5.5 credits of electives. However, for students who wish to go beyond, there are optional endorsements available, which modify these requirements. Available endorsements include a career and technical endorsement, an academic endorsement, and a distinguished academic endorsement, each of which can add extra value to your diploma. An alternate diploma for students with significant cognitive disabilities also exists, but is not recognized as equivalent to the traditional diploma and will not be accepted by universities.

Mississippi High School Diplomas Traditional diploma (24 credits), plus endorsement options (26-28 credits)
English & Social Studies Requirements 4 credits of English, must include English I and II; 3.5 credits of social studies, or 4 for distinguished academic endorsement
Math & Science Requirements 4 credits of math, must include algebra I; 3 credits of science, must include biology I; 4 science credits required for distinguished academic endorsement
Other Requirements 1 credit of arts, 1 credit of health and physical education,1 credit of technology or computer science, 1 credit of college or career readiness, remainder as electives
Endorsements Available 26-credit career and technical endorsement, 26-credit academic endorsement, 28-credit distinguished academic endorsement

What Are the English and Social Studies Requirements to Graduate with a Diploma in Mississippi?

Mississippi's traditional diploma requires 4 credits of English, of which 2 must be English I and II. From there, students typically take English III and IV, but may also choose Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature or essentials for college literacy in place of English IV if they scored below a 15 in English on the ACT exam. Other language arts courses such as journalism or creative writing may exist, but do not count as an English credit for those planning to attend university. For social studies credit requirements, all students must take 1 credit of world history, 1 credit of US history, and half a credit each for US government, Mississippi studies, and economics, for a total of 3.5 credits. The distinguished academic endorsement requires 4 credits of social studies, with the remainder from courses such as psychology, sociology, and African American studies.

What Are the Math and Science Requirements to Graduate with a Diploma in Mississippi?

4 credits are needed to meet mathematics requirements, of which 1 must be algebra I. For most students, particularly those pursuing academic or distinguished academic endorsements, this is followed by geometry and then algebra II. The final credit is commonly filled by algebra III, advanced math plus, or calculus, which is available as an AP course. Seniors who scored below 15 on the math section of the ACT must take essentials of college math as their final credit. 3 science credits are required, and of these 1 credit must be biology I. Students pursuing the academic or distinguished academic endorsements will have to take 2 credits above biology I, which commonly includes chemistry I. Other options include physical science, zoology, genetics, physics, anatomy and physiology, and marine science. The distinguished academic endorsement requires a 4th science credit, chosen from the courses listed prior or any AP courses available.

What Are the Other Requirements to Graduate with a Diploma in Mississippi?

In addition to the above, students must also obtain 1 credit of the arts, which can be chosen from dance, music, theater, or visual arts. 1 credit of computer science or technology is required and can be obtained from courses such as information and computer technology I, STEM applications, or technology foundations. Half a credit each of health and physical education are required, typically by one semester of contemporary health and one of physical education, although 2 credits of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) taken back-to-back may also meet this requirement. College or career readiness requirements can be met in a large number of ways via courses from all topics, but must be taken during junior or senior year. All remaining credits are general electives and can vary depending on the endorsements, if any, that are being pursued, but the standard amount is 5.5.

What Are the Requirements to Earn Endorsements with a High School Diploma in Mississippi?

Each of the three available endorsements have some differences from the standard traditional diploma route. Students pursuing the career and technical endorsement must take 4 credits of career/technical electives as a progressive sequence and 3.5 credits of general electives, for 26 credits total. Students after this endorsement must also have a GPA of 2.5; earn the silver level on ACT WorkKeys; and complete either a dual credit career/technical course, a work-based learning experience, or a state board of education-approved national credential in an industry. Students pursuing the academic endorsement must also obtain 26 credits total, with 7.5 credits for general electives, of which 2 must be advanced electives. Other requirements include a GPA of 2.5, ensuring all courses meet Mississippi's college prep curriculum; meeting Mississippi college readiness benchmarks on the ACT/SAT; and completing an AP course, International Baccalaureate (IB) course, or dual credit/enrollment course with a C or better. The distinguished academic endorsement requires 28 credits total, with 8 general elective credits (of which 2 must be advanced electives), 1 extra science credit, and an extra half credit of social studies. Other requirements for the distinguished academic endorsement include a GPA of 3.0, ensuring all courses meet Mississippi's college prep curriculum; meeting national college readiness benchmarks on the ACT/SAT; and completing an AP course, International Baccalaureate (IB) course, or dual credit/enrollment course with a B or better.

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