Planning Your High School Courses

The classes you take in middle school will have an impact on the courses you can select in high school. Each spring, with the help of your school counselor, you will have the opportunity to select the classes you’d like to take for the following year. Your goal, to be ready to go to college after high school, is to take the most challenging courses you can.

Your Academic Plan

Your school counselor will help you make an academic plan for middle and high school. When planning courses for the follow year, make sure you tell your counselor that you are going to college. That way, your counselor can direct you to the appropriate classes.

There are courses that are required by the New York State Department of Education and those that are choices, including the arts, language arts and some technology classes.

In New York State, students in grades 7 and 8 are required to take
Courses Units English Language Arts (ELA) 2 units Social Studies 2 units Math 2 units Science 2 units Technology Education 1 unit Physical Education every semester Health Education 0.5 unit The Arts 1 unit; 0.5 unit in two sections in any combination of music and/or art Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Begins no later than 8th grade; choose a language offered by the school Home and Career Skills 0.75 unit Library and Media  

Within the required courses, if you maintain a high grade average, you may be able to choose an accelerated path and take high school level classes in 8th grade. You may be able to take high school level math, science, social studies, English, art, music, or a Language Other Than English (LOTE). In some cases, the classes will result in taking the NYS Regents exam for that course, which provide high school Regents credit.

Taking high school level classes in middle school is not required, but it may lay the foundation for being able to take advanced classes in high school. Your counselor will help you determine if you are ready for more advanced classes.

High School Graduation Requirements

There are two levels of diploma for graduating high school in New York State.

  • Regents Diploma
  • Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation

Each requires certain classes and exams.

Class Requirements

To graduate high school, students must take the following classes:

NY Regents Diploma Credit Requirements - 22 Credits Required

Diploma Type English Social Studies Math Science Health Secondary Language Art or Music Phys Ed Sequence Courses/Electives Regents Diploma 4 4 3 3 0.5 1 1 2 3.5 Regents Diploma with Adv. Desig. 4 4 3 3 0.5 3 1 2 1.5
Regents Exam Requirements

Regents Diploma - a score of 65 or better is required on these Regents exams:

  • Comprehensive English
  • Mathematics (Any one)
  • Global History
  • US History
  • Science (Any one)
  • Language other than English

Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation - a score of 65 or better is required on these Regents exams:

  • Comprehensive English
  • Mathematics (All three)
  • Global History
  • US History
  • Science (One physical and one life science)
  • Language other than English
Additional Designations

With Honors

The "with honors" designation is added to either Regents Diploma option for students with an average score of 90 or more on all required Regents exams.

Technical Endorsement

Students enrolled in an approved school district or BOCES career and technical education (CTE) program who successfully complete all requirements earn a technical endorsement to be affixed to their high school diplomas.

Learn more about New York State's high school graduation requirements from the New York State Department of Education.