Secondary School Diploma Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma Requirements

In order to award the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), students must earn a total of 30 credits. A credit is defined as a 110-hour course in which the expectations laid down by the Ministry of Education in the Province of Ontario have been successfully completed. Eighteen (18) of the credits are compulsory earned in courses from a list of subjects that every student must take. Twelve (12) of the credits are optional, earned in courses that the student may select from the full range of courses offered by the school.

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

18 Compulsory Credits:

• 4 Credits in English (1 Credit per grade).

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) may be used to meet either the Grade 11 or the Grade 12 English compulsory credit requirement. The Grade 11 Contemporary Aboriginal Voices course may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement. For English language learners, the requirement may be met through earning a maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD); the fourth credit must be a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

• 3 credits in Mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12).
• 2 credits in Science.
• 1 credit in the Arts.

The Grade 9 Expressing Aboriginal Cultures course may be used to meet the compulsory credit requirement in the arts.

• 1 credit in Canadian geography (Grade 9)
• 1 credit in Canadian history (Grade 10)
• 1 credit in French as a second language

Students who have taken Native languages in place of French as a second language in elementary school may use a Level 1 or 2 Native language course to meet the compulsory credit requirement for French as a second language.

• 1 credit in health and physical education
• 0.5 credit in career studies
• 0.5 credit in civics
• 3 additional credits, consisting of 1 credit from each of the following groups:

Group 1: English (including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course), French as a second language, classical languages, international languages, Native languages, Canadian and world studies, Native studies, social sciences and humanities, guidance and career education, cooperative education. 

Group 2: French as a second language, the arts, business studies, health and physical education, cooperative education. 

Group 3: French as a second language, science (Grade 11 or 12), computer studies, technological education, cooperative education 

Note: The following conditions apply to selections from the above three groups:

• A maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language may count as additional compulsory credits, 1 credit from Group 1, and 1 credit from either Group 2 or Group 3.
• A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education may count as additional compulsory credits.

Community Involvement

As part of the diploma requirements, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities during their secondary school years. Accumulation of community involvement hours may begin the summer after grade 8. Most Merit students will have the record of their community involvement maintained at their day school.

The Secondary School Literacy Graduation Requirement
The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

The OSSLT is the standard method for assessing the literacy skills of students in Ontario for the purpose of determining whether students meet the provincial secondary school literacy requirement for graduation. The test thus identifies students who have demonstrated the required skills in literacy as well as those who have not demonstrated the required skills and will need to do further work. The test identifies the specific areas in which these students need remediation. Merit College students will normally complete this requirement through their day school. Students who are not registered at another secondary school will make arrangements to take the OSSLT through Merit.