HIGH SCHOOL
GRADUATION
REQUIREMENTS

Understanding High School Graduation Requirements

As a CPS student or family, graduating from high school is the culmination of years of hard work and planning that will launch you into the next phase of your life in college or a career. But in order to get there, there are certain requirements that students must meet.

Graduation Rates

Graduation rates among CPS students have been increasing steadily for the past seven years. As a district, we track these rates in two categories, students who graduate in 4 years and students who gradate in 5 years. This 4-5 year range is the ideal length of time needed to complete all the requirements needed to graduate.

2018 5-Year
Graduation Rate
2018 4-Year
Graduation Rate

Graduation Requirements

CPS’ graduation requirements were written with the intention of preparing our students for success in a variety of experiences after high school. While these requirements align to the entrance requirements for the state universities of Illinois, they were also written to prepare students for a variety of careers right out of high school. There is great flexibility in the exact courses that schools offer and students take to meet these requirements. To see how all courses in CPS’ High School Course Catalog align to the graduation requirements below, please visit: cps.edu/instructionalsupports.

Entered 9th Grade in:
Career Ed / JROTC
2.0 credits in any Career Education and/or JROTC III / IV course(s)
Financial Education (formerly Consumer Ed)
Must complete a course that integrates Consumer Education into its curriculum
District-Wide Assessment (DWA)
Must take the SAT or DLM-AA
Fine Arts
2.0 total credits may be earned in the same Fine Arts category or any combination of categories
Health Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Health Education into its curriculum
Math
Algebra (1.0 credit); Geometry (1.0 credit);
Advanced Algebra/Trig (1.0 credit)
Service Learning
Forty (40) Service Learning Hours
Social Science
World Studies (1.0 credit); U.S. History (1.0 credit); 1.0 total credit in any other Social Science course(s)
Drivers Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Drivers Education into its curriculum
Electives
3.0 total credits in any Academic courses
English / ESL
English I (1.0 credit); English II (1.0 credit);
English III (1.0 credit); English IV (1.0 credit)
PE / JROTC
2.0 total credits must be earned in any PE class. Students must pass Health & Driver’s Education. JROTC also satisfies this requirement.**
Public Law 195
Must complete a course that integrates the U.S.
and Illinois constitutions into its curriculum
Science
Biology (1.0 credit); 2.0 credits from Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Environmental Science, or Physics
World Language
2.0 total credits in the same World Language
*Note: Please review CPS’ Minimum HS Graduation Requirements policy for in-depth details.
**Per CPS Physical Education Policy, all high school students shall be scheduled in a physical education course each semester in every grade level (9-12) except when an exception has been authorized.
Career Ed / JROTC
1.0 credits in any Career Education and/or JROTC III / IV course(s)
Civics
0.5 credit in Civics or AP Government.
(Must include 1 Service Learning Project)
Computer Science
1.0 credit in Computer Science (recommended in 9th grade)
Electives
3.0 total credits in any Academic courses
English / ESL
English I (1.0 credit); English II (1.0 credit);
English III (1.0 credit); English IV (1.0 credit)
Fine Arts
2.0 total credits may be earned in the same Fine Arts category or any combination of categories
Post-Secondary Plan (LPS)
Must provide evidence of a Post-Secondary Plan
Public Law 195
Must complete a course that integrates the U.S.
and Illinois constitutions into its curriculum
Science
Biology (1.0 credit); 2.0 credits from Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Environmental Science, or Physics
Financial Education (Formerly Consumer Ed)
Must complete a course that integrates Consumer Education into its curriculum
District-Wide Assessment (DWA)
Must take the SAT or DLM-AA
Drivers Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Drivers Education into its curriculum
Health Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Health Education into its curriculum
Math
Algebra (1.0 credit); Geometry (1.0 credit);
Advanced Algebra/Trig (1.0 credit)
PE / JROTC
2.0 total credits must be earned in any PE class. Students must pass Health & Driver’s Education. JROTC also satisfies this requirement.**
Service Learning
Two classroom integrated (2) Service Learning Projects; one project must be completed in a Civics or AP Govt course
Social Science
World Studies (1.0 credit); U.S. History (1.0 credit); 1.0 total credit (0.5 must be in Civics). Other 0.5 credit can be Civics (recommended) or any other Social Science course
World Language
2.0 total credits in the same World Language
*Note: Please review CPS’ Minimum HS Graduation Requirements policy for in-depth details.
**Per CPS Physical Education Policy, all high school students shall be scheduled in a physical education course each semester in every grade level (9-12) except when an exception has been authorized.
Career Ed / JROTC
1.0 credits in any Career Education and/or JROTC III / IV course(s)
Civics
0.5 credit in Civics or AP Government.
(Must include 1 Service Learning Project)
Computer Science
1.0 credit in Computer Science (recommended in 9th grade)
Electives
3.0 total credits in any Academic courses
English / ESL
English I (1.0 credit); English II (1.0 credit);
English III (1.0 credit); English IV (1.0 credit)
Fine Arts
2.0 total credits may be earned in the same Fine Arts category or any combination of categories
Post-Secondary Plan (LPS)
Must provide evidence of a Post-Secondary Plan
Public Law 195
Must complete a course that integrates the U.S.
and Illinois constitutions into its curriculum
Science
Biology (1.0 credit); 2.0 credits from Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Environmental Science, or Physics
Financial Education (Formerly Consumer Ed)
Must complete a course that integrates a unit of study on Financial Education, aligned to state standards, into its curriculum
District-Wide Assessment (DWA)
Must take the SAT or DLM-AA
Drivers Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Drivers Education into its curriculum
Health Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Health Education into its curriculum
Math
Algebra (1.0 credit); Geometry (1.0 credit);
Advanced Algebra/Trig (1.0 credit)
PE / JROTC
2.0 total credits must be earned in any PE class. Students must pass Health & Driver’s Education. JROTC also satisfies this requirement.**
Service Learning
Two classroom integrated (2) Service Learning Projects; one project must be completed in a Civics or AP Govt course
Social Science
World Studies (1.0 credit); U.S. History (1.0 credit); 1.0 total credit (0.5 must be in Civics). Other 0.5 credit can be Civics (recommended) or any other Social Science course
World Language
2.0 total credits in the same World Language
*Note: Please review CPS’ Minimum HS Graduation Requirements policy for in-depth details.
**Per CPS Physical Education Policy, all high school students shall be scheduled in a physical education course each semester in every grade level (9-12) except when an exception has been authorized.
Career Ed / JROTC
1.0 credits in any Career Education and/or JROTC III / IV course(s)
Civics
0.5 credit in Civics or AP Government.
(Must include 1 Service Learning Project)
Computer Science
1.0 credit in Computer Science (recommended in 9th grade)
Electives
3.0 total credits in any Academic courses
English / ESL
English I (1.0 credit); English II (1.0 credit);
English III (1.0 credit); English IV (1.0 credit)
Fine Arts
2.0 total credits may be earned in the same Fine Arts category or any combination of categories
Post-Secondary Plan (LPS)
Must provide evidence of a Post-Secondary Plan
Public Law 195
Must complete a course that integrates the U.S.
and Illinois constitutions into its curriculum
Science
Biology (1.0 credit); Chemistry (1.0 credit); Physics (1.0 credit)
Financial Education (Formerly Consumer Ed)
Must complete a course that integrates a unit of study on Financial Education, aligned to state standards, into its curriculum
District-Wide Assessment (DWA)
Must take the SAT or DLM-AA
Drivers Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Drivers Education into its curriculum
Health Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Health Education into its curriculum
Math
Algebra (1.0 credit); Geometry (1.0 credit);
Advanced Algebra/Trig (1.0 credit)
PE / JROTC
2.0 total credits must be earned in any PE class. Students must pass Health & Driver’s Education. JROTC also satisfies this requirement.**
Service Learning
Two classroom integrated (2) Service Learning Projects; one project must be completed in a Civics or AP Govt course
Social Science
World Studies (1.0 credit); U.S. History (1.0 credit); 1.0 total credit (0.5 must be in Civics). Other 0.5 credit can be Civics (recommended) or any other Social Science course
World Language
2.0 total credits in the same World Language
*Note: Please review CPS’ Minimum HS Graduation Requirements policy for in-depth details.
**Per CPS Physical Education Policy, all high school students shall be scheduled in a physical education course each semester in every grade level (9-12) except when an exception has been authorized.
Career Ed / JROTC
1.0 credits in any Career Education and/or JROTC III / IV course(s)
Civics
0.5 credit in Civics or AP Government.
(Must include 1 Service Learning Project)
Computer Science
1.0 credit in Computer Science (recommended in 9th grade)
Electives
3.0 total credits in any Academic courses
English / ESL
English I (1.0 credit); English II (1.0 credit);
English III (1.0 credit); English IV (1.0 credit)
Fine Arts
2.0 total credits may be earned in the same Fine Arts category or any combination of categories
Post-Secondary Plan (LPS)
Must provide evidence of a Post-Secondary Plan
Public Law 195
Must complete a course that integrates the U.S.
and Illinois constitutions into its curriculum
Science
Biology (1.0 credit); Chemistry (1.0 credit); Physics (1.0 credit)
Financial Education (Formerly Consumer Ed)
Must complete a course that integrates a unit of study on Financial Education, aligned to state standards, into its curriculum
District-Wide Assessment (DWA)
Must take the SAT or DLM-AA
Drivers Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Drivers Education into its curriculum
Health Ed
Must complete a course that integrates Health Education into its curriculum
Math
Algebra (1.0 credit); Geometry (1.0 credit);
Advanced Algebra/Trig (1.0 credit)
PE / JROTC
2.0 total credits must be earned in any PE class. Students must pass Health & Driver’s Education. JROTC also satisfies this requirement.**
Service Learning
Two classroom integrated (2) Service Learning Projects; one project must be completed in a Civics or AP Govt course
Social Science
World Studies (1.0 credit); U.S. History (1.0 credit); 1.0 total credit (0.5 must be in Civics). Other 0.5 credit can be Civics (recommended) or any other Social Science course
World Language
2.0 total credits in the same World Language
*Note: Please review CPS’ Minimum HS Graduation Requirements policy for in-depth details.
**Per CPS Physical Education Policy, all high school students shall be scheduled in a physical education course each semester in every grade level (9-12) except when an exception has been authorized.
Macbook GoCPS

Graduation Requirements Guide

Download a summary copy of all graduation requirements with the guide below.

Download

English Learner

If you are an English Learner (EL), you will take English as a Second Language (ESL) taught by an ELA- and ESL-endorsed teacher and all core content courses are aligned to academic standards and taught by an ESL and/or bilingual-endorsed teacher, according to your EL-program eligibility. Please note that ESL I, II, III and Transition English I-IV courses satisfy the four years of English required for graduation. Your English Literacy Proficiency Level (LitPL), based on your most recent screener or ACCESS assessment, will determine placement in the ESL course sequence. If you are enrolled in a Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) program, you will also receive native language or sheltered English instruction in core content courses, as appropriate. If you are in a Transitional Program of Instruction (TPI) you will receive sheltered English instruction in all core content courses, as appropriate.

Diverse Learner

Diverse Learners receiving special education and related services under an Individualized Education Program (IEP) are expected to graduate with a regular diploma unless they reach 22 years of age without fulfilling graduation requirements. Diverse Learners are expected to meet the same graduation requirements as their non-disabled peers unless the IEP modifies the graduation requirements in whole or in part. For questions regarding graduation for Diverse Learners, please call the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services at (773) 553-1800.

Sample Course of Study

The course of study below lists sample high school courses taken during each grade level. The graduation requirements satisfied during each grade level are also listed. The actual courses taken and graduation requirements satisfied annually may differ as this depends on: 1) the courses offered at each school and 2) each student’s particular goals and interests. Parents and students are encouraged to review CPS’ High School Course Catalog at: cps.edu/instructionalsupports and consult with the school’s guidance department to select courses that support their long-term goals. Further information can also be found online at chooseyourfuture.cps.edu.

Subject Area (Credits Required)
English / English as a Second Language (4)
Mathematics (3)
Science (3)
Social Science (3)
World Language (2)
Fine Arts (2)
Physical Education (2)
Career Education (1)
Computer Science (1)
Electives (3)
Service Learning Projects (2)
Consumer Education/Financial Education unit of study
District-Wide Assessment (DWA)
9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade
English I (ESL I)
English II (ESL II)
English III (ESL III)
English IV
(Transition English I-IV)
Algebra
Geometry
Advanced Algebra/ Trigonometry
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
World Studies
U.S. History
(Public Law 195)
Civics
0.5 Civics required (suggested 1.0)(Service Learning Project)
French I
French II
Photography
Beginning Band
P.E. I (Health)
P.E. II (Driver’s Ed)
Dual Enrollment
Exploring Computer Science
P.E. III
Pre-Calculus
P.E. IV
Project #1
Civics Project
In accordance with Chicago Board of Education Guidelines
In accordance with Illinois State Board of Education Guidelines
Total Credits Needed:
9th
10th
11th
12th
Total Credits Needed: 4
9th
English I (ESL I)
10th
English I (ESL I)
11th
English III (ESL III)
12th
English IV (Transition English I-IV)
Total Credits Needed: 3
9th
Algebra
10th
Geometry
11th
Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry
12th
Total Credits Needed: 3
9th
Biology
10th
Chemistry
11th
Physics
12th
Total Credits Needed: 3
9th
World Studies
10th
U.S. History (Public Law 195)
11th
Civics 0.5 Civics required (suggested 1.0)(Service Learning Project)
12th
Total Credits Needed: 2
9th
10th
11th
French I
12th
French II
Total Credits Needed: 2
9th
Photography
10th
Beginning Band
11th
12th
Total Credits Needed: 2
9th
P.E. I (Health)
10th
P.E. II (Driver’s Ed)
11th
12th
Total Credits Needed: 1
9th
10th
11th
12th
Dual Enrollment
Total Credits Needed: 1
9th
Exploring Computer Science
10th
11th
12th
Total Credits Needed: 3
9th
10th
11th
P.E. III
12th
Pre-Calculus
P.E. IV
Total Credits Needed: 2
9th
Project #1
10th
Project #1
11th
Civics Project
12th
Civics Project
Total Credits Needed: 2
9th
In accordance with Chicago Board of Education Guidelines
10th
In accordance with Chicago Board of Education Guidelines
11th
In accordance with Chicago Board of Education Guidelines
12th
In accordance with Chicago Board of Education Guidelines
9th
In accordance with Illinois State Board of Education Guidelines
10th
In accordance with Illinois State Board of Education Guidelines
11th
In accordance with Illinois State Board of Education Guidelines
12th
In accordance with Illinois State Board of Education Guidelines
Notes:
  1. For more information on the Minimum High School Graduation Requirements, please visit: cps.edu/Pages/Gettingtothenextgrade.aspx
  2. In most cases, 1 credit is equivalent to 1 year in a particular course. However, there are courses in which other than 1 credit may be earned in a particular course. Credits from a previous school may transfer and be applied toward CPS’ graduation requirements. If credits are from a school outside of the United States, please call (773) 553-1936 and make an appointment with Beata Arceo for foreign transcript evaluation.
  3. The Dual Enrollment program allows eligible students to earn college credit while attending high school. The college credit earned is transferable to many fouryear colleges or universities.
  4. Students enrolled in a Career & Technical Education (CTE) program are recommended to start taking these courses in the 10th grade as many CTE programs are 3 years in length.

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, February 27, 2019