Graduation Requirements

High School Graduation Requirements

Proud SDUSD graduate.

The mission of the San Diego Unified School District is to ensure that all students will graduate with the skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience to succeed in their choice of college and career in order to lead and participate in the society of tomorrow.

In order to graduate from a San Diego Unified high school, all students must meet all of the following requirements:


All students in grades 9-12 must attend eight semesters for six periods daily.

If it is in best interest of a student, an alternative plan may be created, with an accelerated program or shortened-day schedule. The plan requires counselor involvement as well as approval from the school principal and the student's parent/guardian.

Grade-Point Average

Students must maintain a cumulative weighted grade-point average (WGPA) of 2.0 or higher, computed on the basis of A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0. The WGPA for graduation is computed from courses completed in grades 9-12. Students should talk to their school counselors about the effects of repeating courses on computing GPAs.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses, certain International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and designated Honors courses earn credit on a weighted or five-point scale: A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 1, F = 0.


Students must maintain a record of responsible citizenship. To participate in graduation ceremonies, students must meet a minimum standard of a 2.0 average in citizenship during the senior year. The citizenship GPA is computed on a scale of E (excellent) = 4, G (good) = 3, S (satisfactory) = 2, N (needs improvement) = 1, U (unsatisfactory) = 0.

Diplomas and Certificates

The district issues diplomas and certificates based on the following criteria:

  • Diploma: Awarded to students who complete all general and course requirements with at least a 2.0 grade point average and pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).

  • Diploma with Academic Distinction: Awarded to students who complete all general requirements for a diploma with a weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher in grades 10, 11, and the first semester of grade 12 or to students who in grades 10 through 12 complete 14 semester credits in designated, academically rigorous coursework specified in Administrative Procedure 4772. Note: This procedure will be revised for the Class of 2016 and beyond.

  • Certificates of Completion are presented to non-diploma-bound students receiving special education services who meet all the goals and objectives specified in their Individualized Education Programs (IEP). A Certificate of Completion is issued at the completion of the student’s prescribed educational program. Students receiving Certificates of Completion are eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies. See Administrative Procedure 4770


Students must complete a minimum of 44 semester credits, as specified below. Students are expected to meet California standards in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, fine and practical arts, and physical education, as well as the UC/CSU "A-G" course requirements.

Students and parents can log into the district's Naviance high-school graduation system to find complete course lists.

  • See the Course of Study for specific classes that meet these requirements.
  • History/Social Science: Six semester credits (3 years) required in UC-approved courses in the 'a' subject area: two credits in world history; two credits in U.S. history or an advanced alternative; one credit in government and one credit in economics, or two credits in an advanced alternative as specified in the Course of Study.

  • English: Eight semester credits (4 years) required: two credits in grade 9; two credits in grade 10; and four credits in grades 11 and 12, including one credit in a course that emphasizes American literature and three credits from a prescribed list of English courses. English credit is not granted for theater, public speaking or journalism courses. Theater earns visual and performing arts credit, public speaking earns elective credit, and journalism earns practical arts credit. English as a Second Language (ESL) 5, 6, may be used to fulfill two of the eight-credit English requirement.

  • Mathematics: Six semester credits (3 years) required: two credits in Integrated Math I; two credits in Integrated Math II; and two credits in Integrated Math III or other UC 'c' approved mathematics courses as specified in the Course of Study. Students and parents can log into the district's Naviance high-school graduation system to find complete course lists.

  • Science: Six semester credits (3 years) required: one year of life science (biology or other laboratory science course in the UC "D' subject area); one year of physical science (physics, chemistry, or other laboratory science course on the UC "D' subject area); and one additional year of science coursework in the UC "D' (laboratory science) or UC "G' (elective) subject area.

  • Language Other Than English (World Language): Four semester credits (2 years) required in UC approved courses in the 'e' subject area in the same World Language.

  • Visual and Performing Arts: Two semester credits (1 year) in the UC "f" approved Visual and Performing Arts course.

  • Electives: The required UC 'g' elective is fulfilled by satisfying the district's requirement for a third year of science. No additional college prep elective is required for graduation.

  • Physical Education: Four semester credits (2 years) Physical Education (Fitnessgram required). Students who do not pass five out of six Healthy Fitness Zones on the Fitnessgram must enroll in physical education courses until an overall passing score is obtained.

Additional credits needed to reach a minimum of 44 may be earned by completing additional courses in the above areas, career-technical education courses, or other electives.

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