High School Graduation Requirements
Minnesota students are required to complete three kinds of requirements by the time they graduate. Students must:
- Satisfactorily complete the state course credit requirements under Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.024.
- Satisfactorily complete all state academic standards or local academic standards where state standards do not apply.
- Meet graduation assessment requirements.
Students complete the academic standards by taking a core course of study that equips them with the knowledge and skills they need for success in postsecondary education, highly skilled work, and civic life. In order to graduate, your child’s high school coursework must include at least the minimum state course credit requirements. A course credit is equivalent to a student successfully completing an academic year of study or mastering the subject matter, as determined by the local school district. Students must complete a minimum of 21.5 course credits as follows:
- 4 credits of language arts
- 3 credits of mathematics, including algebra, geometry, statistics and probability sufficient to satisfy the standards. Students in the graduating class of 2015 and beyond must complete an algebra II credit or its equivalent as part of the 3-credit requirement. In addition to the high school credits, students in the graduating class of 2015 and beyond must also complete an algebra I credit by the end of eighth grade.
- 3 credits of science, including a biology credit. In addition, students in the graduating class of 2015 and beyond must complete a chemistry, physics, or Career and Technical Education (CTE) credit as part of the 3-credit requirement. (The CTE credit must meet the standards underlying the chemistry or physics credit.)
- 3½ credits of social studies, including U.S. history, geography, government and citizenship, world history and economics.
- 1 credit in the arts
- 7 elective credits
An agriculture course may fulfill a general science credit requirement. A CTE course may fulfill a general science, mathematics, or arts credit requirement. School districts may require additional course credits or other requirements for graduation beyond the minimum required by the state.
Districts must provide students the opportunity to participate in a college entrance exam on a school day, but individual students are not required to participate. Only the ACT (The ACT and The ACT Plus Writing) and SAT are considered nationally recognized college entrance exams. If districts choose The ACT, MDE expects districts to administer The ACT Plus Writing. Even if the district already offers one of the assessments on a national test date, the assessment must be offered to all students on a school day.