For students entering Grade 9 after September, 1999, the following 18 courses are compulsory:

Graduation Requirements

  • 4 English (1 in each grade)
  • 3 Math (1 at grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 Science
  • 1 French
  • 1 Canadian Geography
  • 1 Canadian History
  • 1 Physical & Health Education
  • 1 Arts
  • 0.5 credit in Careers
  • 0.5 credit in Civics

PLUS one credit from each of the following groups:

  • Group 1
  • 1 additional credit in English, or French as a second language, or a Native language, or a Classical or an International Language, or Social Sciences and the Humanities, or Canadian and World Studies, or Guidance and Career Education, or Cooperative Education**.
  • Group 2
  • 1 additional credit in Health and Physical Education, or the Arts, or Business Studies, or Cooperative Education**.
  • Group 3
  • 1 additional credit in Science, or Technological Education, or Cooperative Education**.
  • In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:
  • 12 optional credits***
  • 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • the provincial literacy requirement

*a maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English Literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

** A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.

***May include up to four credits achieved through approved Dual Credit Courses.


Students entering secondary school are required to successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test based on language and communications expectations of the curriculum up to and including Grade 9. This test has been designed by the provincial Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). Successful achievement of this test will be recorded on the Ontario Student Transcript. Students will be able to retake the test (or take the Ontario Literacy Course) if they are unsuccessful.


As part of the diploma requirements, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. These activities may be completed at any time during their years in the secondary school program. The community involvement requirement is designed to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play in supporting and strengthening their communities.

Community involvement activities may take place in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions (including hospitals), and informal settings. Students may not fulfil the requirement through activities that are counted towards a credit (cooperative education and work experience, for example), through paid work, or by assuming duties normally performed by a paid employee. The requirement is to be completed outside students’ normal instructional hours – that is, the activities are to take place in students’ designated lunch hours, after school, on weekends, or during school holidays.

Students will maintain and provide a record of their community involvement activities. Completion of the required 40 hours must be confirmed by the organizations or persons supervising the activities. Documentation attesting to the completion of each activity must be submitted to the principal by the student. This documentation must include for each activity the name of the person or organization receiving the service, the activity performed, the dates and hours, the signatures of the student and his or her parents, and a signed acknowledgement by the person (or a representative of the organization) involved. The principal will decide whether the student has met the requirements of both the ministry and the board for these activities.

The Board’s List of eligible activities include:

  • help the elderly, sick, isolated, disabled or disadvantaged in organized settings or on an individualized basis
  • work for non-profit organizations
  • serve as a youth leader
  • work for service clubs, community organizations, church groups
  • tutor/mentor
  • provide child care
  • work in the public sector (hospitals, schools, libraries)
  • community development and beautification
  • environmental concerns
  • ambassadorship
  • work for political parties/causes
  • coach, referee, score keep

For students entering Grade 9 prior to September, 1999, contact your local AETC for further information. You may qualify for maturity credits. Graduation may be closer than you think!