Graduation Requirements

Beginning on the very first day of the education journey, students and their parents share the goal of graduation! Every school day during every school year, students work toward being better prepared for the life that follows school. The Tennessee Department of Education sets graduation requirements that best prepare students for opportunities to be successful in their post K-12 experience whether they choose college, career institutes, or immediate transition to the work force.

At present, high school students must complete 22 credits to graduate. They also take tests in core subject areas with End of Course exams, part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, also referred to as TNReady.

During the eleventh grade-year, students must take either the ACT or the SAT in order to receive a regular high school diploma. View the FAQ on the policy here:

Tennessee’s TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) requires assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The current measurement of learning for ELA and mathematics is Tennessee Ready (TNReady). See more at:

Per state law (T.C.A. § 49-6-1028), all districts shall implement a project-based civics assessment at least once in grades 4–8 and once in grades 9–12. The project-based civics assessments are developed by the district to ensure students demonstrate an understanding of civics and achieve the learning objectives contained within the social studies standards. All districts must complete the project-based assessment form by the date posted on the State website, usually in July.

Additionally, per state law (T.C.A. § 49-6-408), students must take and pass (70 percent or higher) the United States citizenship and immigration test during the student’s high school career (i.e., grades 9-12). Schools in which all seniors earning a regular diploma score 85 percent or higher on the U.S. civics test will be recognized by the department as a U.S. Civics All-Star School. All districts are required to submit their civics compliance forms for their graduating seniors.

For information about which courses are assessed, when, and how, the following link shows updated information:

See more at:

Credit Requirements

Total Credits: 22

  • Math: 4 credits – Including Algebra I, II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math course (Students must be enrolled in a mathematics course each school year.)
  • English: 4 credits
  • Science: 3 credits – Including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third lab course
  • Social Studies: 3 credits – Including U.S. History and Geography, World History and Geography, U.S. Government and Civics, and Economics
  • Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits
  • Personal Finance: 0.5 credits – Three years of JROTC may be substituted for one-half unit of Personal Finance if the JROTC instructor attends the Personal Finance training.
  • Foreign Language: 2 credits – May be waived for students, under certain circumstances, to allow for additional elective focus.
  • Fine Arts: 1 credit – May be waived for students, under certain circumstances, to allow for additional elective focus
  • Elective Focus: 3 credits – Math and Science, Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)

More information can be found on the TDOE website at:

Graduates in need of a duplicate copy of their high school diploma should complete the Duplicate Diploma Request form that can be downloaded from the following link:

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