Earning Your High School Diploma - California

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California is home to one of the largest, most comprehensive educational systems in the country, so it's no surprise that thousands of students walk away with their high school diplomas each year. What does it take to make the grade in CA? Read this article to find out!
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California schools have come a long way since founded by Franciscan missionaries back in the 18th century. One of the most comprehensive school systems in the nation, California has one of the largest average class sizes of any state, and more than 80 percent of those older than 25 have earned high school diplomas. A significant number when one considers the state's massive population. So, what does it take to make the grade?

According to the California Department of Education (CDE), www.cde.ca.gov, in order to earn your high school diploma in California, you must successfully complete the following coursework:

  • Three courses in English
  • Two courses in math
  • Two courses in science
  • Three courses in social studies, including American government and economics
  • One course in the visual/performing arts or foreign language
  • Two courses in physical education

The CDE also notes that all public school students will be required to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CHSEE).

Should a student choose to attend college, he or she is often required to have taken certain courses outside of basic state requirements for admission. These requirements typically include:

  • Four years of English (UC and CSU)
  • Three years of math (UC and CSU)
  • Two years of social studies (UC and CSU)
  • Two years of science chosen from biology, chemistry and physics
  • Two years of foreign language (minimum), both in the same language
  • One year of visual or performing arts (UC and CSU)

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