Ontario's Designated Provider of Distance Education

Independent Learning Centre

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) Requirements

What You Need to Graduate

The credits and other diploma requirements you need to graduate depend on when you first enrolled in high school in Ontario.

When did you first start Grade 9?

Before September 1, 1999 After September 1, 1999
To get your OSSD you may need only:
  • four senior credits, including Grade 12 English

OSSD requirements if you started Grade 9 before September 1, 1999

To get your OSSD you need:
  • 18 compulsory credits (courses you must take
  • 12 optional credits (courses you get to choose)
  • 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • the provincial secondary school literacy requirement

OSSD requirements if you started Grade 9 on or after September 1, 1999

Started Grade 9 On or After September 1, 1999

To graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) you must earn credits, participate in community involvement activities, and complete the provincial secondary school literacy requirement.

Credits Needed to Graduate

Students must earn the following compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

18 compulsory credits
4 English (1 credit per grade)*
3 Mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
2 Science
1 French as a Second Language
1 Canadian History
1 Canadian Geography
1 The Arts
1 Health and Physical Education
.5 Civics
.5 Career Studies
Plus ONE credit from each of these three groups:
1 Group 1: 1 additional credit in English or French as a Second Language**, or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities (family studies, philosophy, world religions), or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education***
1 Group 2: 1 additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or French as a Second Language**, or cooperative education***
1 Group 3: 1 additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12) or technological education (Grades 9 to 12), or French as a Second Language**, or computer studies, or cooperative education***
In addition to the compulsory credits, students must:
12 earn 12 optional credits (courses you get to choose)†
Community involvement and literacy requirements
complete 40 hours of community involvement activities
complete 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. 2010

The 40-hour Community Involvement Requirement

As part of the diploma requirements, you must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. These activities may be completed at any time while you earn your secondary school credits.

Please refer to the ILC Community Involvement Manual (PDF, 232 KB).

The Provincial Secondary School Literacy Requirement

If you entered Grade 9 in the 1999 - 2000 school year or in subsequent years, you must successfully complete the Provincial Secondary School Literacy Requirement.

The test determines whether you have acquired the reading and writing skills considered essential for literacy. It is based on the Ontario curriculum expectations for language and communication, particularly reading and writing, up to and including Grade 9.

How to Take the Test

Once you have completed the requirements for Grade 9 (8 credits), and have earned at least one credit through ILC, contact us for information regarding the test.

If you want to take the test at a local school, you will be instructed to contact the school board in your area by mid-January of the year in which the Literacy Test is being conducted for information about the dates, times, and locations. Give the school the ILC's Ontario Literacy Test Memorandum, which outlines the process that the school and the school board will follow.

Download the Ontario Literacy Test Memorandum (PDF, 76 KB).

If you would prefer to complete the literacy test at the ILC testing site in Toronto, please contact an ILC guidance counsellor no later than January 15. The counsellor will make the necessary arrangements for you to take the test.

Started Grade 9 Before September 1, 1999

If you first enrolled in Grade 9 before September 1, 1999, you get your OSSD by completing the requirements that were in effect at that time. (The curriculum changed in 1999.)

To find out what you require to earn your high school diploma, obtain a copy of your Ontario Student Transcript from your last high school and contact ILC Learner Services.

You can get any additional credits you need for your OSSD by taking new curriculum courses, like those offered by ILC.

OSSD Requirements Under the Old Curriculum

16 compulsory credits
5 English/français (at least 2 Senior Division*)
1 French/anglais
2 Mathematics
2 Science
1 Canadian History
1 Canadian Geography
1 Arts
1 Physical and Health Education
1 Business/Technology Studies
1 Additional Credit in Social Science**
(Senior Division*)
16 Total Compulsory Credits
14 Elective Credits
30 Total Credits
* Senior Division: Grade 11, Grade 12, and OAC
**Social Science: Geography, History and Contemporary Studies, Personal Life Management, Family Studies, and Economics. Principal may substitute up to two credits for compulsory courses

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