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Who is it for?

The Ontario Secondary School Diploma is a diploma granted to high school graduates in the province of Ontario. It is part of the publicly funded province-wide school system. It is awarded to all students who complete the Ontario education curriculum.

Program Description

After the successful completion of a required course, students will be awarded 1 credit. In the four years of high school, students must earn at least thirty credits or equivalence, of which 18 are compulsory credits. 12 credits are elective credits that aim to prepare students for further education or employment.

To attain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), students must also complete at least 40 hours of community volunteer service. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to develop an understanding of the various roles they can play in serving their community and to help them develop a greater sense of belonging within the community.

All students must also successfully complete the provincial secondary school literacy test in order to earn the Ontario secondary school diploma. Students normally take the literacy test in Grade 10. The test will determine whether students have acquired the reading and writing skills essential for literacy. If the students do not complete the first test successfully, they can retake the literacy test every year until grade 12. For those who are unable to pass the test in grade 12, they can enroll in the English literacy course before their graduation in order to fulfill the high school graduation criteria.


The Ontario Academic Credit system applies to students from Grades 9 through 12. To obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, one must earn the following compulsory credits:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)*
  • 3 credits in mathematics (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 credit in French as a second language
  • 5 credit in career studies
  • 5 credit in civics

Plus one credit from each of the following groups:

In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:

  • 12 optional credits†
  • 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • The provincial literacy requirement

*A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.
**In groups 1, 2, and 3, a maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language can count as compulsory credits, one from group 1 and one from either group 2 or group 3.
***A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.
†The 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.

Group 1

  • English or French as a second language**
  • A Native language
  • A classical or an international language
  • Social sciences and the humanities
  • Canadian and world studies
  • Guidance and career education
  • Cooperative education***

Group 2

  • Health and physical education
  • The arts
  • Business studies
  • French as a second language**
  • Cooperative education***

Group 3

  • Science(Grade 11 or 12)
  • Technological education
  • French as a second language**
  • Computer studies
  • Cooperative education***