Oregon High School Diploma Requirements

Find out what is required to graduate high school with a diploma in the state of Oregon. Learn about credit requirements, essential skills that must be demonstrated, and more.

How Do I Earn a Diploma in Oregon?

To graduate from high school with a diploma in the state of Oregon, students must earn 24 credits in academic study, including courses in English language arts, math, science, social sciences, physical education, and health. Students must also choose between classes in career/technical education (CTE), foreign language, or the arts, and they must complete several electives. Students may also earn credits by demonstrating their existing proficiency with a topic, rather than taking a course, using either classroom work or documentation of study beyond school. Oregon further requires an assessment of essential skills. These skills include the ability to read texts on a variety of topics, to write with clarity, and an understanding of how to apply mathematics in life. While these are generally demonstrated through success in classes, competency must be confirmed in order to graduate.

Requirements 24 credits required for standard diploma; competency in essential skills
English & Social Science 4 credits required for English; 3 credits for social sciences
Math & Science 3 credits required for math, including Algebra I or above; 3 credits required for science, including 2 courses with lab work
Other Subjects 1 credit of physical education; 1 credit of health; 3 credits chosen from CTE, foreign language, or arts; 6 credits of electives
Graduation Options Modified diploma available for students with difficulties; extended diploma for special education students; honors seal available to exceptional students

What English and Social Science Credits Do I Need?

Oregon requires 4 credits of English language arts, which generally means a course each year, designated by grade number, such as English 9, English 10, etc. Honors versions are available, and Advanced Placement courses may be substituted for grades 11 and 12. English courses are primarily designed to fulfill the reading and writing essential skills requirements. For social sciences, 3 credits are required, which consist of 1 credit of world history in grade 9, 1 credit of US history or AP US history in grade 10, and the last credit up to student choice. This can be in topics such as the American Civil War, Middle East studies, psychology, and more.

What Math and Science Credits Do I Need?

The state of Oregon requires that all students complete 3 credits of math, including algebra I or higher. Algebra I is typically followed by geometry, and then advanced algebra. Other options, such as pre-calculus, trigonometry, and discrete math, are available, as well as AP courses such as AP calculus or AP statistics. For science requirements, 3 credits are needed, including at least 2 courses with labwork. Biology is commonly the first science credit, while chemistry and physics are also available. AP courses such as AP physics, AP environmental science, and AP chemistry are frequently offered, and other courses like astronomy, anatomy and physiology, and oceanography may be available.

What Other Credits are Necessary?

In addition to those core subjects, credits must also be earned in other areas. One credit of physical education is required, as is 1 credit of health, which are generally obtained by courses bearing those names. Three credits are required to be chosen from the categories of CTE, foreign languages, or the arts; while students can meet these by taking 3 from any one category or mixing and matching, it is recommended that students planning to attend university take 2 credits in the same foreign language and 1 credit of arts. The remaining 6 credits are electives, and can be chosen from any category, although local school districts may have additional requirements beyond the state's minimum that may reduce the number of elective credits available further.

What Graduation Options Exist in Oregon?

In Oregon, most students begin by pursuing the standard Oregon diploma, which is described above. Students deemed to have significant cognitive impairments are placed on the extended diploma (ED) track. This diploma requires 12 credits. Students with less severe impairments but who have a history of difficulty maintaining grade average performance can earn the 24 credit modified diploma (MD). This diploma may not be accepted by universities, but may be deemed acceptable by community colleges. Additionally, for students with exceptional performance, the honors seal is available, provided the student has a high school career GPA of 3.5 or higher in their seventh semester.

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