Graduation Requirements

Graduation Day

High School Graduation Requirements

The mission of the San Diego Unified School District is to ensure that all students will graduate with the skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience to succeed in their choice of college and career in order to lead and participate in the society of tomorrow.

In order to graduate from a San Diego Unified high school, all students must meet all of the following requirements:


All students in grades 9-12 must attend eight semesters for six periods daily.

If it is in best interest of a student, an alternative plan may be created, with an accelerated program or shortened-day schedule. The plan requires counselor involvement as well as approval from the school principal and the student's parent/guardian.

Grade-Point Average

Students must maintain a cumulative weighted grade-point average (WGPA) of 2.0 or higher in scholarship, computed on the basis of A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0. The WGPA for graduation is computed from courses completed in grades 9-12. Students should talk to their school counselors about the effects of repeating courses on computing GPAs.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses, certain International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and designated Honors courses earn credit on a weighted or five-point scale: A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 1, F = 0.


Students must maintain a record of responsible citizenship. To participate in graduation ceremonies, students must meet a minimum standard of a 2.0 average in citizenship grades during the senior year. The citizenship GPA is computed on a scale of E (excellent) = 4, G (good) = 3, S (satisfactory) = 2, N (needs improvement) = 1, U (unsatisfactory) = 0.

California High School Exit Examination

All students in the State of California must pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) to receive a diploma. The two-part examination is based on the California State Content Standards for English language arts and mathematics. All students are required to take the exam in the spring of grade 10. Students who do not pass either or both parts in grade 10 will continue to retake those parts in grades 11 and 12 until they are successful.

Senior Exhibition

Students must present a senior exhibition in order to receive a high school diploma. Information about exhibitions is available from individual schools.

Computer Proficiency

Students may demonstrate computer proficiency (in Grades 5-12) through completion of a course of study (such as i21) that incorporates proficiency in computer applications. Proficiency may also be demonstrated through satisfactory results on the high school level district test of computer proficiency.

Requisitos para la Graduación

Class of 2016 Ushers in New Graduation Requirements

In 2011, the Board of Education adopted new, more rigorous graduation requirements that align with the district's mission.

The new requirements include taking specific high school courses, called "A-G," that are minimum subject-area courses for students to be eligible for admission to University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) schools.

The Class of 2016 will be the first required to meet the new graduation requirements. The district will also provide student learning support, staff professional development and resources to help all students successfully meet these requirements.

Proud Graduate

Diplomas, Certificates, and Letters of Recognition (not graduation requirements)

The district issues diplomas, certificates and letters of recognition based on the following criteria:

  • Diploma: Awarded to students who complete the district Course of Study with at least a 2.0 grade point average, present a senior exhibition and pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).

  • Diploma with Academic Distinction: Awarded to students who complete all general requirements for a diploma with a weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher in grades 10, 11, and the first semester of grade 12 or to students who in grades 10 through 12 complete 14 semester credits in designated, academically rigorous coursework specified in Administrative Procedure 4772 . Note: This procedure will be revised for the Class of 2016 and beyond.

  • Certificate of Course Completion: Awarded to students who complete the course of study but do not meet the minimum 2.0 GPA requirement and/or do not pass the CAHSEE. Students receiving Certificates of Course Completion are not eligible to participate in commencement exercises.

  • Letter of Recognition: Awarded to special education students who do not meet all requirements for graduation but who have completed all goals and objectives of their Individualized Education Programs. See Administrative Procedure 4770 . Note: This procedure will be revised for the Class of 2016 and beyond. Students receiving Letters of Recognition are eligible to participate in commencement exercises.

  • Credit Requirements See shortcuts at left.

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