What you need to Graduate

The Credit System

All secondary school programs in the province of Ontario are based on a credit system. You must earn a total of 30 credits in order to graduate from high school. One credit is equal to a 110 hour course that you must successfully complete.

In order to receive a high school diploma (also known as the Ontario Secondary School Diploma – OSSD) you must successfully earn the following combination of credits:

Compulsory Credits

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
  • 1 credit in French as a Second Language
  • 3 credits in mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in science
  • 1 credit in Canadian history
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography
  • 1 credit in the arts
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1⁄2 credit in civics and 1⁄2 credit in career studies


  • 1 additional credit in English, or a third language, or a social science and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education
  • 1 additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or cooperative education
  • 1 additional credit in science, or technological education, or cooperative education


  • 4 credits in religion – as a member of the Catholic school community, you will be required to complete four religion courses. For more information about the religion courses offered at our schools, please visit the Religious Education link.

8 Optional Credits

  • The elective credits will allow you to build an educational program that suits your individual interests and meet university, college, apprenticeship or work requirements, as well as continue your growth in faith.

40 Hours of Community Involvement Activities

You must complete a minimum of 40 hours of unpaid community service activities at any time throughout your secondary program. You will be able to choose your own community involvement activities within guidelines that are provided by our secondary schools.

This requirement is to be completed on your own time, outside of normal classroom hours. All students are required to maintain and provide a record of their community involvement activities using the school forms that are provided. Our secondary school principals will decide whether you have met the requirements for both the Ministry of Education and the Board for these activities.

As part of the Catholic education system, we believe that completing 40 hours of community service is a wonderful way to demonstrate our commitment to grow in faith.  Through community service you will be able to live and reflect upon the morals and values of our Catholic teachings. 

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

Students in Ontario are required by the provincial government to take the OSSLT in Grade 10 and must pass  the test in order to graduate and receive their OSSD. Students who do not complete the test successfully will receive additional help to prepare them for re-testing in the following school year. Students who have been eligible to write the OSSLT at least twice and have been unsuccessful at least once, are eligible to fulfill this requirement through the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course offered at our schools.

What happens if you don't meet the necessary criteria to get an Ontario Secondary School Diploma?

We want to do everything possible to help you receive your diploma. 

If you do leave high school without achieving all of your necessary credits, we could grant you an Ontario Secondary School Certificate (often called a Certificate of Education). To receive a Certificate of Education, you will need 14 credits including:
  • 7 compulsory credits
  • 7 elective credits

The 7 compulsory credits include:

  • 2 credits in English
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography or Canadian history
  • 1 credit in mathematics
  • 1 credit in science
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in the arts or technological education

If you don't meet the criteria to receive the Certificate of Education, you may be granted a Certificate of Accomplishment. The Certificate of Accomplishment will be accompanied by the student’s Ontario Student Transcript. For those students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), a copy of the IEP may also be included.

Students who return to school to complete additional credit and non-credit courses, including courses with modified or alternative expectations in special education programs, will have their transcripts updated accordingly, but will not receive a new Certificate of Accomplishment. Instead, the OSSD will be granted when a student has fulfilled the appropriate requirements.

Both the Certificate of Education and the Certificate of Accomplishment recognize achievements and can be used for those students who plan to take certain vocational programs, other kinds of further training or who plan to find employment after leaving school.