All typical public high school students must complete what is called “the prescribed course of study.” The prescribed course of study is the list of 13 courses required by the state for receipt of a diploma. Those are the following:
- three courses of English
- two courses of math (including Algebra I)
- three courses of social science (U.S. History and geography; world history, culture and geography; and one semester each of American government and economics)
- two courses of science (biological and physical)
- two courses of physical education
- one course of foreign language or visual and performing arts or technical education.
[Cal. Educ. Code sections 51224.5 and 51225.3.]
School districts must ensure that students complete the prescribed course of study before awarding diplomas, but local school districts can add to these requirements. [Cal. Educ. Code Sec. 51225.3(a)(1)&(2).] You should contact your local school district to find out whether any additional courses or other requirements, such as a Senior Project, apply in your district.
Whether a charter school high school student must complete the same list of courses depends on a number of factors, and parents are encouraged to contact the Charter Schools Division of the California Department of Education at 916-322-6029 for more information.